Sassy Kraimspri : Pussy Magnet EP Studio Report

Norwegian born, New York raised gangsta and wily pocket thief-cum music madame Sassy Kraimspri has traveled the world and played in New York at CBGBs, Toronto’s NXNE Festival, Norway’s Quart Festival and all over Australia. In the process the band have shared the stage with the likes of Ida Maria, Casiokids and Melissa Auf Der Maur.

This international Punk Powerhouse consists of Sassy on vocals and guitar along with collaborator husband Tricky Dick from Australian punk legends Smash nā€™ Grab on lead guitar, Stonehard Fattnes of Spit fame on drums and southern belle Lovely Linda Lustsalot on bass and backing vocals.

The band have toured and played relentlessly, somehow finding time at the end of 2007 to record the excellent Dirty White Lies album, as fine a slice of proper modern punked up rock as you’re likely to hear.

Russ Russell, The Man, The Legend, The VegetarianFast forward three years and they have further honed their skills in a series of high profile gigs in their native Norway and further afield, building up a cult following in the process. Although playing live runs in Sassy and her band’s blood 2010 saw them take a break from the constant gigging to enter the studio again to record an EP. This is both a statement of intent, and a taster for a new album due out later in 2011.

But not just any studio, oh no…

Nothing but the best…

If you are picky about the results that you end up with then you want to work with the finest producers, and with this in mind Sassy and the band headed to Parlour Studios in the UK for legendary twiddler of knobs Russ Russell to work his magic. In the past Russ has worked with the likes of Dimmu Borgir, The Wildhearts, The Exploited and Oaf so was the ideal man to get the very best out of the Sassy Kraimspri sound.

I asked Sassy how she first came across Russ, and how she managed to persuade him to fit her into his hectic schedule “‘I’m pretty sure I started following him on Twitter because of hilarious exchanges with Dom Lawson and found out who he was and what he’d Stoneharddone after the fact” she explained, “and I just said hi! Twitter is a great way to get in contact with amazing people without a lot of pretense or showiness. He checked out our music and said he was interested in working with us and there you go”.

Finding a convenient slot in the schedule wasn’t easy, “We were trying to find a date that would work both timewise and financially for a while. I had to get the money together and Russ is one busy man. I think we were booked in about four months ahead, but in the end he got a cancellation and it worked for us”.

The band flew into the UK for their appointment with Russ, eager to create a good impression. In the end the journey from London to the studio was, erm, eventful in the finest Rock’n’Roll tradition. Dick takes up the story… “The first night we arrived we had a long drive up the M1 to Kettering from London and everyone but Sassy got to sit in the car drinking tax free rum, baileys and cheap beer. This, unsuprisingly, resulted in some very inebriated band-members upon arrival, most notably Stonehard who is 6’7″ but can put it away quick!”

“Luckily Russ was just happy to see us and we shared a few ciders while we got acquainted and prepared for the next few days. Stonehard, Linda and I had “somehow” gotten through almost an entire bottle of rum on the way so it didn’t take much before we were happily inebriated, but Stonehard blacked out somewhere along the line and ended up spilling beer all over the drum-kit (borrowed from the studio). We finally forced him to lie down (upon contact with the pillow he passed out and proceeded to snore). He then woke up about three hours later yelling about needing shorts to an irate Sassy who proceeded to rip him a new one for fucking up the first night of the recording so royally AND keeping everyone from sleeping in (don’t fuck with Sassy’s sleep!!!).”

“Poor Stonehard, the next morning he had no recollection of what had happened and was mortified (and Sassy felt a tad bad about the screaming; lack of sleep people, lack of sleep), He then proceeded to record drum-tracks for 13 hours straight. The tracks for Pussy Magnet and Hit were laid that day,- perhaps Stonehard’s insistence that he worked better in a state of intense hangover was the truth!”

As the band only had a limited amount of studio time in which to record the three tracks for the E.P. they had to get their priorities right, so without wasting a single moment….

They went shopping…

For more booze…

Lots more booze…

well have you seen the prices in Norway ? And it’s thirsty work, this creativity lark šŸ™‚

By the time I visited the studio most of the hard work had already been done. Any hopes I may have had of being there for something exciting like the vocal tracking or guitar were unfortunately crushed and instead I spent the afternoon chatting to Sassy and her partner in crime Dick while, of all things, cymbal overdubs were recorded. It was a special cymbal apparently….

Tricky DickOnce the recording was completed on the day I was there Russ spent some time polishing and organising the output andĀ Ā  quickly assembled a rough mix of Pussy Magnet which, even in this unfinished state, sounded a bit special. Sassy had recorded this previously and if you want to see the benefits that top notch production can bring to a track hunt out the original version (it’s floating about on the internet) and compare it to the new Russ Russell-ised version.

But the band’s evening didn’t end with the overdubs, Sassy recalls “We had a great night and put on some silly backing vocals and the notorious cymbal (China ride baby, if you listen closely in the breakdown of Hit you’ll hear it; pure magic!) Anyways, we had a lovely evening but there were more backing vocals, guitar parts and final mixes to do the next day so Dick and I went to bed at a reasonable hour, but Lusty Linda and Stonehard sat up talking through to daylight. Linda came to bed around 9 am but Stonehard had decided that he didn’t want to disturb us and would sleep outside. Poor dude ended up passed out, fully dressed in a chair in the hot June sun for a couple of hours. whatadude. Anything for the band ;)”

Their time in the studio at an end the band packed up and headed back home to Norway leaving Russ to produce the final tracks and prepare them for mastering. The band then had the anxious wait to hear the mixes, “Russ worked really hard while we were in the studio between takes cleaning stuff up and getting a rough mix down. When I was doing vocals I could hear his fingers clicking the mouse and moving stuff around constantly. I think he said enough is enough about a month or two after we finished recording. He was working on a lot of other stuff after us and we were nitpicking”.

Sassy did have an input into the final mixes, but she explained they more or less left that up to the expert… “There were a few big things we had to work out together (all done via email in between Russ’s other jobs) like basic levels of things in the different songs, but Russ did most of the deciding. We trusted him and we’re beyond happy with the result. He’s very good at making you feel like you matter though,- used to working with uptight, control-freaky musicians ;)”