Whatever Debaser Is, It’s Something Good: Andy Lawson.
Andy Lawson found himself producing music almost out of necessity. Years ago, when he was playing in the band Adora, they wanted to record some demo’s so, he did what most musicians would do and bought an 8-track recorder.
For him, producing his band’s songs went hand in hand with recording them.
“When you’re [recording] your own band, you’re producing and thinking of how it sounds and the way it wants to go so I guess, it’s always been something I’ve done,” he says.
A few years later – in 2002 − he formed Debaser with Joel Quatermain from Eskimo Joe and Rodney Aravena from End of Fashion.
“I met Joel and Rodney and we were all getting along and we just all started recording together somehow.”
He continues: “We started doing Eskimo Joe demo’s and then Gyroscope demo’s and things like that.”
The early recordings of some of Perth’s most popular indie, pop and rock bands have been credited with being done at or with, Debaser. Despite its notoriety Andy admits he does not know what Debaser exactly is.
“I don’t know…No-one really knows what Debaser is because it’s not a [recording] venue; I guess Debaser’s the three of us – myself, Joel and Rodney. I guess?” he says.
Andy may not be able to pinpoint exactly what Debaser is but, some of the recordings he has worked on under that name have achieved considerable national airplay and attention.
One such recording was Eskimo Joe’s second album A Song Is A City which he did two weeks post production work on.
“They spent two weeks with me experimenting and having fun with things,” he says.
Following the album’s Gold and Platinum accreditation (the album has since exceeded Double Platinum sales) Andy himself received both Gold and Platinum records.
Andy has also worked on tracks for Dan Bull, was a co-producer for Little Birdy’s acclaimed debut self-titled EP, Steve Parkin’s debut solo album Sandytown (he is currently also co-producing his follow-up record) and has just spent the last few months co-producing and mixing End of Fashion’s highly anticipated second album.
Despite the obvious Debaser connection between Andy and Rodney, the band decided on getting Andy to co-produce the album with Brisbane-based producer/engineer Magoo after they were impressed with the work he did on their demos.
“They were doing demo’s and Rodney wanted someone to help – he wanted to get away from what they were doing…I ended up finishing up the demo’s for them and they really enjoyed working with me and [so] they asked me to do the album,” he says.
Unlike many producers, Andy does not have his own studio – except for a very basic set-up at home – instead choosing to hire studio time as he needs.
“There’s plenty of great studios in Perth so I’m not going to build my own because that seems [like I would be] working against myself money wise,” he says.
Subsequently End of Fashion’s album was recorded at both Blackbird Sound Studios and Kingdom in Perth. The album’s pre-production was done at Shabbey Road in Fremantle and it was mixed at Studio 301 in Sydney. The whole process took several months and saw Andy step out from under the Debaser name.
“It was awesome. It was different. I guess from not working with the Debaser crew we made the album in a different way… It was great fun,” he says.
Andy’s input into the records he produces depends entirely on the band and the kind of record they want to make.
In the case of the End of Fashion album, his input was very minimal.
“They craft all the songs themselves. It’s little things with End of Fashion…The songs and basic structures were pretty darn good,” he says.
And minimal input is how Andy likes to work.
“The perfect scenario for me I guess is a band where I don’t have to do anything because it is so perfect. That would be awesome. You know, they just rock up and they just play and it’s just absolutely perfect.”
Debaser Studios on MySpace
Copyright (C) 2008 Christina Ballico.