The Triffids
In The Pines

A Personal View:

In The Pines In retrospect it was very cheeky of us to head off into the West Australian countryside to record this album.

Dave admitted as much to the folk from Hot Records in a transcript of the minutes of a band meeting held on 29th January 1986 - On the week beginning April 14 The Triffids plan to travel 360 miles into the WA wheatbelt to record an LP in a shearing shed, using an 8 track machine and a mixing desk. This would be the notorious 2nd LP - although far more acoustice than originally planned. It would be quite relaxed in feel, 1/2 acoustic and 1/2 electric using ready made instruments, water tanks, wind etc. There is (shearers quarters) accomodation - all free of charge - for at least 10 people. We would plan to film the entire week for posterity on both film and still cameras. The resulting LP of course might not be suitable for the likes of Virgin, but we still plan to make it a bloody good record.

To put this into some kind of perspective, we were still 11 months away from signing a major label deal, Born Sandy Devotional had yet to be released and the band's future on many levels was in a state of flux. But the idea wasn't an impetuous one and wasn't meant to make our path any more difficult than it already was. It just seemed like a really good thing to do at the time. The original seed had come from Paul Bolger, sometime sound person for the band, on a long drive somewhere or other. The McComb family owned the shed in question so there really weren't any obstacles as far as the venue went and the costs were going to be so low we could simply write them off if it didn't work out. And Dave did have a swag of songs that needed road testing.

shed trioSo off we went a couple of days after Marty and Liz got married, with Janine Laidlaw, Cathy Gray, Jim McKibben, Tim Dwyer, Susan Pippet and Bleddyn Butcher in tow. We ate a sheep, drank regularly for fear of dehydration in the harsh surroundings, got a glimpse of Halley's comet and recorded pretty diligently. The proceedings went largely to the plan above.

Bruce Callaway was brought in to produce after the event and he made a good fist of our collection of rather rough recordings. The album came out and, to our astonishment, became a firm favourite of many Triffids fans.

When I started thinking seriously about the re-issue of In The Pines my only firm idea was that I'd like the extra tracks that didn't make it on to the original to be there as bonuses. I knew I had a quarter inch tape of the album but could only find a cassette with raw mixes of the extras. So, one afternoon, I did some digging around in the internet. I was looking for those tracks in any passable shape and I thought perhaps Bruce Callaway might have some idea or possibly had held on to a better cassette than mine. His name turned up on a music software forum and before long I had a cryptic message in my inbox with a mobile number. It transpired that Bruce had, in a sense, been waiting for my phone call for 20 years. He had the actual 8 track masters and had been very kindly lugging them around with him for two decades because he had a feeling they might be needed some old day. Bruce was still involved in music and even had a small but entirely adequate home studio and immediately expressed a desire to remix the whole album. I agreed straight away and we began almost then and there. Bruce was able with modern recording and mixing technology to bring to life the music we'd recorded out there in the wheatbelt in a way that hadn't been possible 20 years ago. I loved the process - we never actually met but he'd send me mixes by email in the wee small hours for approval. Bruce still remembered the lengthy list of instructions Dave had sent him in '86 because a similar process was undergone then albeit by letter, cassette and carrier pigeon. Dave's original wishes were carried out as well as we could. Rather than simply tack the extras on as bonuses we decided to go all out and do a brand new running order. We hope it meets with your approval.
Graham Lee - 2007

Press Release 1986:

the shedStrictly speaking this is not the new Triffids record; it is not the official follow up to Born Sandy Devotional and it is not a "change in direction". In The Pines is simply the result of a week spent by the Triffids with an eight track recorder in a shearing shed 600km south east of Perth, Western Australia. It was a holiday from modern recording studios.

The Triffids fled to the edge of the Nullarbor Desert to ensure they were as far away from the world as possible. The shed itself was a large corrugated iron construction with birdshit encrusted lights and sheepshit encrusted wood planked floor, standing in a clearing in the blue malee scrub. A mixing desk and eight track machine were set up in the drive shaft that normally powers the shears. At night a major hazard proved to be moths getting caught up in the tape spools.

The songs were chosen for their informal, semi acoustic feel. It did not matter if they were only bare sketches of songs - in fact somehow this made them more suited to the primitive nature of the excercise. Performing polished heavy metal epics would somehow not have been appropriate. It was the type of recording where if you listen hard enough you can hear dogs barking, wind blowing and a tractor passing in the background.

Families from neighbouring farms dropped in to say hullo and sing some backing vocals. With the exception of newlyweds Liz Pippet and Martyn Casey, married only days before and now happily ensconced in the honeymoon suite, everyone slept in the portable shearers quarters. Meals of mutton were served in the adjacent kitchen. Many crates of beer and a bottle of liquor were consumed both day and night. Halley's comet passed overhead and moments of both embarrassment and inspiration were captured on tape.

The Triffids are currently performing on the Australian Made tour around the nation.

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