Lyric Lounge Review caught up with Primary Slave to let them tell the story of the making of their latest album ‘Another Mark is Drawn’ and the tragic circumstances surrounding it. All of the remaining band members had input into the interview, so it’s quite a big one! It’s an amazing story though, so here is part one…
CD – Chris Dunham/ND – Neale Dunham/LD – Lee Dunham/G – G Lyons
1. Primary Slave have a very distinctive sound, how would you describe it these days?
CD: It’s like this…the band has so many layers, and the debut CD ‘Data Plague’ showed off just one side of the band which had a fiercely heavy vibe, where the new album shows off a complete other, Still keeping the Down-tuned heaviness but with layers of melodies and hooks galore it’s Damn Infectious – with a big spoonful of sheer madness in the middle and given a stir (for about 6 years) and Voila! I suppose Mark Giltrow’s aim was to become more commercial with this album to broaden the fan base, something for everyone you know? Lee and Mark grew up at the same Musicians Institute so you can’t expect one genre from them there’s so many styles & ideas floating about which gives it a very unique twist.
2. We’re big fans of ‘Another Mark is Drawn’ at Lyric Lounge Review, but there must have been so many times when it seemed the album would never come out?
ND: Most Definitely!
After the news of marks death shattered our lives, I knew that there was a whole body of work that we had almost completed that needed to be release one way or another.
Setting about this mission was no easy feat!!
Firstly, we had to disable the computer security codes that mark had installed just to get into the computer and as Mark had worked on a lot of the recording alone I had no idea what to expect once this was completed??
After decoding the machine, I could finally take a look the audio files that had been scrambled across the hard drive due to corruption. Once I had reconstructed them, I then set about the largest jigsaw puzzle I have ever had the pleasure of completing. Spending night after night listening to every individual take and part and painstakingly piecing back together the album. After 2 years I had collated enough material to decipher 10 complete songs.
I then sifted out the unwanted material that I thought Mark had used as guides such as Extra vocals and guitar parts that I couldn’t find a home for and set about trying to mix it in a way that I thought Mark would be proud of.
Each time I deleted a part that I was sure was not required, to make more space to enable the mix process (bearing in mind mark recorded the whole thing on computer from 2002) so about 1gb ram and 250gb hard drive which is not a lot by today’s standards!! I began to doubt whether it was something that Mark really wanted to keep!
Imagine trying to keep/delete an entire album without the person that recorded it to help you.
I’m even sure a few times I could hear Mark Screaming “I Wanted That Part…Don’t Fucking Delete That!!!! Lol! 6 Years later and the album you hear today was completed.
We will never know the answer to the ultimate question I guess…but it doesn’t matter now.
I just hope I did him proud, and a fellow musician the justice of having his final works published…Mark was a great friend and a musician of amazing quality and ambition. We all miss him but I will never forget him R.I.P my brother.
3. How close do you think you have got to what was in Mark’s head when he was recording the album?
(G) I’m sure whoever listens to the tracks and lyrics can hear where Mark is coming from, but everyone has there own interpretation of songs and lyrics relating to their circumstances. As for Marks mind, his lyrics were only a taster of a complex mind, and I’m sure his ideas were far deeper than I can comprehend.
4. The story of Primary Slave is very similar to NWOBHM band HELL’s story in that they lost a band member early in the recording process. They eventually went back and made the album over twenty years later… is that a story you were aware of when you were undertaking the project of putting ‘Another Mark is Drawn’ together?
Err…no that wasn’t quite the case here. Our good friend, a very popular guy, had just died in 2006 and we all wanted the album to come out ASAP as he originally intended, Mark had just had a Massive motorbike/trike procession funeral and a wake complete with bands and bikers a real redneck mash up ya know? (He’d have been real proud!) People wanted it to come out as planned. So we discussed…“we could do this for him still, it’ll be easy to finish”
But months turned to years as some weird force continuously threw a spanner in the works,
Don’t forget we endured no record company, no money to fund it, studio gear that was over 10 yrs old including the aged recording PC from the 1st album!
We had guide vocals to polish only and missing parts to some tracks,
The scrambled hard drive resulted in files flying everywhere on the disk in no particular order or song bundles anymore, all songs had to be reconstructed again based on the original demo’s . In fact it would have been years quicker to have re-recorded the whole album ourselves again putting his vocals over the top but that’s not the case here its 95% all marks work even now! We only rebuilt, edited, engineered, mixed & filled a few gaps.
“I think when you see it like that we are so proud of what we have all achieved together and the sound we owe to Neale Dunham for his time spent there day and night greatly.”
5. Mark was a pivotal part in this album and band, do you think you would ever be able to tour again without him/do you have any plans to tour?
(LD) Mark WAS primary slave! He put everything into the band’s music. This album was mostly written and played by him, paying immense detail to chord structures and spent weeks…no months on the lyrics to each song! It would be really difficult to raise primary slave from the dead without him, but not impossible.
I would be lying if i said we hadn’t talked about it. I think the hardest problem to overcome is finding a vocalist who is as diverse vocally as mark was! Someone with the “all out balls” and “singing” vocals to match, who comes from the same background as the remaining members. Someone who gets the music we like, where we come from and where we wanna go! That’s always really hard!
Chris Dunham‘s a great bassist, G although in the band ‘GULLS’ would commit if another album was on the cards I’m sure, and I’m game if we can find another vocalist that’s good enough, so I guess the answer to your question is…………………………watch this space ;)
Watch this space eh? Sounds like we’ve not heard or seen the last of Primary Slave (hopefully). Certainly not in interview form anyway because Part 2 of this interview will be up very shortly!
Find out more about the band and get your hands on the album here: www.primaryslave.com