"Imagine the film The Hangover but set in Leeds with no actual consequences except an unhappy recording engineer."
Jordan Smith, bassist of Hull/Leeds five-piece bdrmm, recounts recording Bedroom, the band's debut album for Sonic Cathedral and a Rough Trade Album of the Year for 2020.
"We were short on time and only had about 7 or 8 songs finished a few days before we were due to start recording the album. I distinctly remember all five of us squashing into my basement in an effort to just get one more song. We’d all been listening to NEU! heavily at this point so that was the driving force of the track. Momo came out of that session and it was the first point we felt confident that we could actually record and finish a full-length LP without embarrassing ourselves in the process. Prior to the recording, we hadn’t spent much time together due to general life getting in the way (we often only practiced once or twice a month) so it was nice to forget about everything and focus on being a band for a few weeks.
The album was recorded over four weeks staggered over October and November 2019 at the Nave in Leeds with Alex Greaves. We’d spent time recording singles before with Alex and we all already had a mutual relationship that allowed him to constructively critique our work without us all bursting into tears. Most of the recording process was fairly straightforward, the challenge came when we were reamping stuff to create a lot of the more ambient atmospheres underpinning the tracks. At this point, we all got very comfortable with the Roland Space Echo becoming the sixth member of the band.
Is That What You Wanted to Hear? was the first song we finished on the album following our first session. I remember all five of us packed into Joe’s Dacia Duster on a cold evening, listening in absolute awe. Having that track at that point in all our lives was a godsend because it gave the whole record a sense of direction. We knew we wanted the record to have this ethereal, haunting quality but we hadn’t quite found it until this track came about.
When Forget the Credits was recorded, we finished the instrumental on Halloween and Ryan said he’d do vocals the following morning. That night, we all decided to go a bit wild and I don’t really remember much of the night. The morning after, however, is much clearer. Our sweet manager, Ryan, or as he likes to be called, Momo, came knocking at my door searching for the other Ryan (confusing I know) to go lay down the vocals for the track. Imagine the film The Hangover but set in Leeds with no actual consequences except an unhappy recording engineer. His phone was off and we weren’t really that worried coz this was classic Ryan behaviour. Eventually, we managed to find Ryan. For some reason, my heart told me to look in the basement and there he was, asleep next to an old tv that was endlessly looping the Adam Sandler film, Click. Luckily, the song required some fragility and I think Ryan’s hungover vocal performance does the job quite well.
Recording If… was a fun moment for all of us. This was the time that album really started coming together and we started talking about assembling it in a way that echoed the stages of a relationship. I distinctly remember us all hounding Greaves that we wanted it to sound as big as possible, and that that moment he was sorta apprehensive to do it. Ryan had sent across a few reference tracks prior to recording and they were all quite soft dream pop stuff – early DIIV etc. – so I think Alex had it in his mind that it should sound different. After continual pestering for more distortion, he came out with a quote that encapsulates this album quite well - “Fuck it, let’s make a shoegaze record”.
Gush was the very last song to finish recording. We were sat in the control room, a few hours before a celebratory night of shithousery, deflated because the ending of the song was pretty underwhelming. It was sad because this was one of the oldest tracks we had and thought it deserved its time in the spotlight. Ryan ended up just messing about playing stuff over the ending and managed to come up with this real nice descending phrase that just tied the whole thing up. That night we officially finished the record. I drank my first ever can following that. Special times."
Order Bedroom on LP or CD at roughtrade.com.
Watch the band's Rough Trade Transmission below.