Taking their ‘60s-sounding surf-rock songs that often feel like they come from an unknown planet floating in space, Wrong Planet Band have gone straight-on old school with their full-length debut album, leaving the world of digital recording behind.
Wrong Planet Band (WPB) is Norman Love on guitar, Craig Meek on bass, and Steve Love on drums. The band started in 2014 when the Love brothers wanted to play some surf-inspired tunes. One day when Norman was playing his Gretsch guitar, Steve recalls him saying, “I have this surf sound. Why isn’t anyone playing surf music?”
The band have no current releases and is coming hot out of the gate with an 11-song analog piece of art. “What makes this record different than most other recordings was the process. We did it all completely analog from beginning to end. There were no computers used in the making of this record,” said Steve.
WPB recorded the self-produced, self-titled album at Joel Plaskett’s studio in Dartmouth. It was recorded all live off the floor, which most musicians out there know can be a daunting task. “We counted in and played the song and that was recorded straight to 2” tape, and that 2” tape was then mixed down to a 1/4” master tape, and that was then sent to New York to have an analog master done,” said Norman.
“We all played the songs live on this record that’s sitting in front of you. It never touched a computer, and it’s an exact replica of what we did live,” which is easier said than done, said Steve. “We’d start playing a song, and if any three of us mess up any part, we just have to stop and start over from the beginning. When we get a take where we don’t mess up, then we have to say, ‘is this the take?’” said Norman. The only additional instrumentation on the album was a couple of guitar overdubs on two songs.
When reading recording credits from some of their favourite artists’ albums, WPB came along the name Carl Rowatti, who had mastered the song Rapper’s Delight in 1979. He’s been in the business for a long time, and they knew he was the guy to hire. “He gets the tape and arranges it so it’s sequenced in order. He presses play on the tape and live masters the tape as it’s playing,” said Norman.
“When we started this surf band, we weren’t doing any modern music. In the ‘60s that’s how it was all done. When we started writing originals we wanted to maintain that essence of the sound of the ‘60s, but using our own modern take on it,” said Steve.
At its core, WPB is an instrumental surf-rock band, while methodically weaving in western, punk, garage rock, and psychedelic influences. Song titles try to recreate how the song sounds, based on the journey it may take you on and how it makes you feel. One of WPB’s songs, said Meek, felt like Clint Eastwood riding on a surfboard heading into space.
The last chapter of the band’s recording journey took them to the locally operated Kaneshii Vinyl Press, where they had the album pressed. WPB picked out all the colours for the wax, each vinyl being a little different. The album’s graphic design was done by Sandstone Comics in Charlottetown. “It was nice to see it through to the very end,” said Meek.
Wrong Planet Band’s first album comes out March 7 at their release show at Baba’s Lounge in Charlottetown where you’ll be able to see them live.