Interviews, Music Business — April 16, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Steve Lillywhite Production Week Part 1


Steve Lillywhite with Atlas, Yellow Box Studios


Last month we put out a call to Singaporean bands for the chance to be a part of The Steve Lillywhite Production week. The final four bands summoned were Atlas, MONSTER CAT, The Sam Willows and Sub:shaman, all of whom had the pleasure of taking part in a live recording session at Yellow Box Studios with Lillywhite, as presented by SGMUSO. Of those four just one was hand-chosen to spend the remainder of the week being mentored by Steve. And that lucky winner was The Sam Willows. The indie folk four-piece further delved into Steve’s brain to acquire as much industry knowledge from the large volumes of expertise that the man had to offer.

We spoke to each of the bands about their experiences about the production. Today we look into Atlas and MONSTER CAT’s take on the whole affair. Stay tuned for Sub:shaman and The Sam Willows’ interviews.


How did you chill out with Steve in between sessions?

Atlas: Steve was a really down-to-earth person and in between recording or listening sessions, he would tell us stories of his exploits in the international producing scene, citing artist’s names that we were familiar with like Brandon Flowers and Bono and telling us what it was like working with them. It was a really enlightening experience. He was also very open to us asking him questions about anything at all, including his personal life, which allowed us to get to know him better.

MONSTER CAT: With tea and scones?

Atlas, Yellow Box Studios


How have recording sessions differed from Steve’s and previous ones?

Atlas: Recording sessions with Steve are vastly different from the recording sessions that we have had before, mostly due to the fact that we did not have a producer per se to guide us whenever we recorded. Although similar methods were used to record like multi-tracking. Steve brought a whole new dynamic into the recording process by constantly giving new ideas and letting each member try out something new for the songs.

MONSTER CAT:  In terms of organisation, the SGMUSO team and Yellowbox Studios created a really professional environment to work in. If there were any difference to our previous sessions, the pressure level was evidently higher – given Steve’s reputation as well as the presence of an ‘audience’ during the recording process.


Do you feel that the band has grown in any way after the Production Week?

Atlas: Yes! We have been encouraged immensely by Steve’s faith in us as musicians. We could see that he genuinely enjoyed our music and this in itself is already a great achievement for us, to be appreciated by such a big name in the business. Although we did not get chosen by Steve, we did take away a considerable amount of knowledge relevant to our music-making to be tremendously excited about, making our music better than ever.

MONSTER CAT:  We feel that there’s still so much for us to learn in terms of both performance and production. Hearing the tracks of Sub: Shaman and Atlas as well as watching The Sam Willows’ (congrats to them again!) process with Steve proves that there is a lot of talent here. And with the right treatment and attention to detail, we can take our musical products to an even higher level. We can’t wait to be involved again in an initiative of such professionalism and opportunity.




What pearls of wisdom did Steve impart to you?

Atlas: One sentence that struck us very deeply was, “never say no to an artist when he wants to try something new”. We were rather surprised by his take on the musical aspects of song writing and composing as we had the misconception that experienced producers such as Steve would be making all the musical decisions to make the song as commercially viable as possible. He also enlightened us about producers and how most have their own unique style of doing things. This helped us greatly as we were able to understand more about the whole process leading up to releasing an album and choosing a producer that complements us.

MONSTER CAT: That the feel, energy and vibe of the song is what’s important. Listen with your heart.


How did the band dynamic change having interacted with other bands in the studio?

Atlas: As we listened to the other bands’ tracks on the first day, we were quite impressed by the quality of music that was being produced and this made us want to make more and better music. The band dynamic didn’t really change but you could say that we were all very inspired by the others.

MONSTER CAT:  Well, if you mean dynamics within the band itself, nothing’s changed. Bands are like families and each has their own unique way of communicating and existing. But if you mean otherwise, we’ve, erm… become more social? It was fun chatting to the other bands in a casual setting, revolving around what we all love – music.


What are you going to do with the recordings and what can listeners expect from them?

Atlas: We are planning to use the recordings from our sessions with Don Richmond to help us complete our full length album or to be released as a single as we want to get as much of our music out as fast as possible. Not compromising on its standard, of course. Listeners can expect a professionally mastered track that would encompass all the stylistic nuances of Atlas, hopefully making them more excited about the upcoming release of our album.

MONSTER CAT: We recorded 2 songs with Steve – our hit single, “Underwater” as well as an unreleased track, “Salem”. We will definitely be releasing them at some point via our website. But as this initiative continues, we are very excited to be getting into the studio for one or two songs with producer/engineer Jason Tan (Octover/Syndicate). We’ve been avidly following his Octover work and his electronic sensibilities will no doubt help us explore new sonic ground. Aside from that we’re going to be hitting the studio in August to record our full-length album. So do check back regularly on our site as we stir up more aural love!


Atlas Artist Links




MONSTER CAT Artist Links

Official Website