"I kinda feel like I made a major label record but I’m releasing it independently," announces Kilian Pettit, the main man behind Cork electro rock outfit EchoGram.
While the availability of cheap technology means anyone can make a decently recorded product, Pettit refused to cut any corners when it came to EchoGram’s debut self-titled album.
A week was spent recording the drums in the US at Temple Studios, formerly owned by Fleetwood Mac, now hangout to hip-hop stoners Cypress Hill. From there the sessions moved back to Cork, where EchoGram’s long time producer and former Cyclefly guitarist Ciaran O’Shea, worked on the tracks. Finally they were sent back to Los Angeles to be mixed by Sean Beavan, best known for his work with Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. Quite the journey and quite an investment.
“That’s what I mean by a major label,” Pettit reiterates. “I didn’t want to take any shortcuts to make something that I felt it had to be. I went in and made it on that scale and with that kind of ambition because I did hope that it would be picked up by someone along the way but I don’t think it got to the right people or any of the right people in any way at all.
“I suppose that just happens sometimes. But at the same time it’s like what people are saying now — that it’s the best time ever to put out your own music because you have full control of it. And that is true, it’s nice to have control over what you’re doing and what you’re putting out there.”
Pettit is philosophical about the situation. There may have been no major label sugar daddy in the mix but he would never have countenanced compromising on the sound he wanted to achieve. Ultimately he is happy that the record is finally out there, albeit as a digital release.
“I think there comes a point where you just have to put it out there. But I’ve just been very happy with the response anyway so far.
“I mean just as soon as it went on release it went straight to Number 2 on the iTunes Rock Chart and stayed there for a few days and the upper end of the Top 10 for the whole week. So I’m very pleased with that. Because you just don’t know what’s going to happen, you know.
“And it’s an obvious thing to say, but releasing it is almost like a release as well because you don’t have that worry about it anymore. And I’ve always been lucky to have good support from I suppose what you’d call the speciality radio shows in Ireland. Dan Hegarty made it Album of the Week, Today FM, Red FM, whoever else, have always been behind it.”
And of course the experience has been worth it, from hanging out with Snoop Dogg’s crew at Cyprus Hill’s studio to sitting with Beavan as he mixed the album under the watchful gaze of Marilyn Manson’s contorted portrait of the engineer’s dog.
“He understood that kind of industrial electronic sound but with melody,” Pettit says of Beavan. “I think he was just the right fit. And I think as well it was easy to work with someone like that on the west coast because people on the west coast always seem to really get it.”
Pettit also received a major fillip when album track ‘Weakness’ recently featured on MTV show The Real World on American television. But just don’t expect EchoGram to be playing your town any time soon.
“Gigging doesn’t do anything. Gigging is a waste of time,” he insists, despite his love of the live arena. “It doesn’t actually promote what you’re doing any better. Put it this way: getting a track on TV in the States and getting a Top 10 in the iTunes Rock Chart does way more for your promotion than playing gigs does.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved