There isn’t much Aussie rockers Airbourne haven’t done over the years. From playing alongside some of the biggest rock bands in the world to performing at Wacken on multiple occasions – they have been there and done that. Perhaps then we should sit up and take notice when they say that their new album – Boneshaker – is a ‘real fucking rock and roll album’.
Despite the success that the band have found over the years though they have set about doing things very differently this time around. That involved going to Nashville and working with award winning producer Dave Cobb who recently worked on A Star Is Born soundtrack.
Ryan O’Keeffe recently told HEAVY Magazine there was a simple reason for wanting to do things differently for Boneshaker. “As you know we’ve been going for awhile but we’ve never really captured what we wanted to capture,” he explains. “So we gave Dave Cobb a call, he’s in Nashville and he is the absolutely best producer in the world right now – he had Grammies rocking up at the studio while we were there… he knows what he is doing. He said on the phone call with us ‘the way I record records is I just capture the fucking band there is no over-producing or anything like that. I freak out record labels all the time because there is no pre-plan thing bands just come in most of the time without demos.’”
“We did have some demos down though,” says O’Keeffe as he explains more. “But most of the stuff was done right there on the spot… right there on the floor. That was the thing, that was the difference between this record and every over record we have done. It was done the way it should be – there was no pre-planning, there was no pre-pressures or anything like that. To be honest I would be surprised if more records don’t get start being down this way going forward for many bands.”
The thought of walking into a studio and basically laying down a live gig for a producer to record but me a daunting prospect for some bands but O’Keeffe says that certainly wasn’t the case for Airbourne. “I think it was easier to be honest,” he says frankly. “I think it was much easier. We would walk into the studio about 2pm and be like ‘okay what are we going to do tonight?’ We’d all sit on this couch in this big room, some of us would be in the kitchen making coffees and then while we were sitting on the couch we would start playing acoustically on guitars while I just tapped away on my knees while I was sussing out where things would go. Then we would go into the room and just go and sometimes it was the first take that was kept. Literally the band would just play from the memory of what we had done on the couch and we would just play and sometimes after the first take Dave would say ‘go into the kitchen and get a beer because you are done.’ That was the whole vibe of the album – keep the nuances, keep the stuff that producers over the last twenty years would always try to fix… and I can guarantee you right now that music is going to go down this road. Click tracks and samples are on the way out.”
It is obvious from our chat that the band were more than happy with the results they got working with Dave Cobb so I asked O’Keeffe what Cobb was like a person. “He was just like one of us,” he says with a laugh. “He wears exactly the same clothes every day, like I’m still wearing the jeans I bought ten years ago. But yeah he is just like us, there is no fashion or anything. One day he came in wearing a denim jacket and we were like ‘what is going on here’ and he was like ‘oh there is a Grammy photo shoot coming in’ and as soon as the photographers left the denim jacket came off and he was back in his hoodie. He’s just a fucking real music person, he has a beer at the end of the day and hangs out with everyone.”
To finish up the interview I ask O’Keeffe how people should listen to the album and he says “Buy a big slab of VB, get some Smiths chips and some Allens lollies. Have a BBQ, grab the album and on October 25th have a big cook up with a shitload of beer, get some mates around because you are about to hear a record that you will want to turn up loud!”
Boneshaker is out on October 25th.