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The empire strikes back
It's not every band that can attract a private audience of Bono, Guggi and friends to a practice session in the Workman's Club. But Tallaght quartet Bipolar Empire don't do anything by halves.
Peter Murphy, 16 May 2011
Ask the Bipolar boys for their impressions of LA and they'll quickly scotch hopes of anecdotes about dropping acid in the Mojave or trawling the Sunset Strip. Their recording schedule was so brutal they didn't get beyond the mixing desk.
Callum: "I had all the drums done in a couple of weeks but the lads were working sometimes 12 or 16 hours a day. The work they put in was insane. I'd go in at 12 at night and they'd all be hating each other, looking up at the monitors."
Shane: "It was intense. When it starts it's great fun, but there comes a point where if you want to have a chance of getting the album finished, you need to be in there for 14 hours a day. I remember we left at half seven in the morning, our flight was at half nine to go back to Dublin, and we'd been in the studio for two full days doing vocal takes."
Even at that, the band's perfectionism resulted in film scorer and Kíla man Lance Hogan coming aboard to put the finishing touches to the record.
"What Pat did was fantastic, but there was a certain edge that we wanted to try and get," Callum explains. "When we got back it didn't sound as modern as it does now. The drums had a bit of an older sound and there weren't as many effects used on the guitars. We gave it to Lance to see if he could come up with any ideas, and he did some great things that complemented what Pat had already done.
"Sometimes when you are so involved in something, recording and producing and mixing, you can get too much inside your own head," Shane adds. "Lance was like an outsider who came in to offer a second opinion. He didn't have to do much, on some songs we did edits, but what was recorded was recorded absolutely brilliantly. Most of what Lance did was simplify things: where there were three guitars, he put in one."
The first fruit from those sessions was the band's single 'Tempomanic', released last October, with a video shot by legendary director Kevin Godley.
"Suzanne Doyle our manager was friends with Kevin for quite a few years," Shane explains. "If she wants something done she'll get it done. We were in England last year and he was doing this World Band project. The guitar player let him down for it, and Suzanne asked if I would do this for him. Eventually all of us got to go out to Pinewood Studios and dressed up in mad clothes and we did all the video footage and they used our images for the software."