Philadelphia’s The Drowned God have been creating sonic stories wrapped in chaos since 2015, but with their new record Pale Home, that chaos has taken a darker turn.
Recorded at the height of the lockdowns at Machines With Magnets along with producer Seth Manchester (METZ, Daughters, Battles), the record sees the band take a heavier, more angular and musicly gnashing tone than their previous work.
We caught up with Brandon Baun to talk about the record, the gear, and their plans for the future.
Pale Home is much darker and heavier than Moonbearer or I’ll Always Be The Same – how did that come about?
Pale Home is our response to everything that happened in 2020. We recorded the album during the height of the pandemic and social unrest – I think a lot of those feelings of uncertainty and grief got translated into the final product.
How did the band deal with the lockdowns in 2020? Did you guys end up spending more time on Pale Home than you might otherwise have?
One unintended effect of the lockdown was that we did have more time to flesh out the album. We think the end result is our most dense, intricate, and complete record.
So guitars! What did you guys use on the new record in terms of guitars/amps/pedals?
I used our producer, Seth Manchester’s Fender Toronado guitar and my own Epiphone Les Paul played through a Soldano amp as well as an Epiphone 12-string guitar for texture and layering.
Our other guitarist, Lucas played a PRS electric guitar as well as an ESP LTD through a Friedman head and Soldano cab.
I also played a Fender Precision Bass through an Ampeg SVT.
I used the EarthQuaker Devices Sunn O))) Life Pedal as my distortion pedal for both bass and guitar on this record.
Did you have any reference records going into Pale Home in terms of how you wanted the finished product to sound?
Musically, I was inspired by the bass-heavy approach of bands like Godflesh and the atmosphere of black metal. Production-wise, I am a huge fan of virtually all of the records that our producer, Seth Manchester has worked on. I think that he has some of my favorite drum sounds of any recording engineer that I’ve heard. His production on Daughters’ You Won’t Get What You Want and Battles’ Gloss Drop are personal favorites.
How was it working with Seth Manchester?
It was an absolute dream getting to record at Machines With Magnets, and I think the result speaks for itself. Seth is an incredibly intuitive engineer and contributed to some of my favorite parts on Pale Home. The track “Gnashing of Teeth” would be a different song without his input.
Machines With Magnets has a pretty incredible gear list, did you guys end up using anything interesting on the record that you might not have otherwise had access to?
Seth played the psaltery on a few tracks, most noticeably at the end of the song “Awake in the Mourning.” There is also piano and shaker layered into a ton of the album, which were some more of his contributions.
If someone wanted to learn a song from Pale Home – where would you suggest they start? Any riffs or passages that are particularly fun to play?
The second section of the song “I Met You” is a personal favorite of mine. There is this guitar and bass groove that comes in that always gets me. The end of the song “Awake in the Mourning” is a favorite of mine too – super hypnotic and missing a beat at the very end of each repeat so it cycles on the off-beat. I can’t decide if I like playing guitar or bass on that part more, they’re both so fun.
Does the band have any 2021 plans, or are you still in a holding pattern?
If at all possible, we’d love to tour at some point this year. We are also working on the follow-up to Pale Home and we’re excited about the direction it’s taking.