Studio Essentials: Picket Palace
30.10.2020

Studio Essentials: Picket Palace

Words by Will Brewster

We get a behind-the-scenes look at the gear of Brunswick's favourite footy punks.

Last year, Picket Palace had an unlikely brush with fame when their track Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti’ – an ode to the explosive Essendon Bombers small forward – went viral. Of course, this is nothing unusual in the digital age, but for Picket Palace, the impact was nothing short of ironic.

The group, renowned for their give-no-fucks ethos and raucous DIY punk anthems, were derided on social media as sell-outs, and soon, the slither of mainstream attention that ‘Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti’ awarded the group turned into the antithesis of everything that they stood for. So, how can a punk band come back from selling out? The answer is simple: just keep on going.

On their new single ‘All About The Money’, Picket Palace poke their tongues out at their detractors, playfully embracing the notion of being a corporate shill while also calling for reform for the Australian arts industry.

 

It’s a sweaty, blistering ode to anti-capitalism that sees Picket Palace at their finest, with the band’s guitarist Jack O’Connell describing the song as a “‘fuck you’ to the people who decided the Arts ministry mattered so little that it should be consumed by the department of fucking transport.”

With the release of the new single, Picket Palace took us inside their Brunswick loft studio to show us their recording essentials, giving us a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the making of ‘All About The Money’.

1. Bubbly

Getting time in the studio is a treat and should be celebrated each and every time. A 2010 or older (if you have any self-respect) Dom Pérignon is a perfect match for most recording situations.

2. Electrovoice 635A

Shea’s go-to vocal mic. It’s an old handheld interview microphone so it has a very distinct sound and breaks up nicely when he screams into it. It’s super rugged, it’s been thrown around, and dumped in the bottom of bags for 5ish years now and still soundsharsh and beautiful. We have used it on everything as well, not just vocals, guitar amps, harmonicas, bongos. It sounds really great as a second snare mic underneath the snare to get heaps of crackle.

3. Oscar’s Bass

This is definitely our most treasured piece of gear. It was handmade by our good friend Oscar (@oscar.the.luthier) who has been at pretty much every Picket Palace gig there has ever been. It’s made out of old footy goal posts salvaged from an oval in Brunswick. Doesn’t get much more Picket Palace than that.

.

4. Roland Double Beat AD-50 Fuzz Wah

I’ve (Gus) tried to replace this numerous times with some more modern wah pedals, it’s from 1974 and weighs a tone and doesn’t fit on my pedalboard. But nothing is as scratchy, harsh or lively as this ol’ thing.

5. Tascam 22-4 Reel to Reel

We recorded all of The Footy Record on this thing, it’s just a basic 4-track from the early 80’s. We used it as just another signal processor on the way into the computer, giving every element of the recording a really pleasant saturation and unpredictable EQ. There’s heaps of limitations working with old gear like this but at the same time they do so much of the work for you (if that’s the sound you’re going for).

.

6.14×6 Sleishman Maple Snare

This snare drum was used on the last two Picket Palace singles. It has a free floating tuning system that shares tension between the top and bottom hoops. With far less metal in contact with the drumshell and less holes, the drum tone is super powerful and can resonate endlessly.

It’s not always ideal having loads of resonance and decay in the studio, but the power of this drum pairs so well with muffling techniques. On ‘All About the Money’, I (Jules) wanted the snare to feel modern and fat, but also have that more classic garage punk sound.

7. Towels

For Jules. He is sweaty. Especially when playing drums.

 

8. Aguilar DB750 Bass Head

Dan’s prized bass head that everyone else is scared to touch for fear of causing a city-wide blackout. It is crazily versatile, much like Dan, so it is heaps of fun having him and the amp jump around different sounds and styles whilst we are developing a track.

9. JHS Color Box

This was one of the first bits of gear we bought together and like the Tascam, pretty much every layer of the recordings we did at the Palace (our old recording/ living space) went through this thing. It markets itself as a Neve 73 preamp in a stomp box, that was good enough for us. Probably over did it though…

‘All About The Money’ is out now via Daily Nightly.