The Subterraineans: The Subterraineans Demo released to Bandcamp

The Subterraineans Demo has been released to Bandcamp. It features four songs and has an unusually live sound for a multitrack studio recording.

If you follow our News feed, you will remember that last month we announced a significant upgrade to our control room monitoring system. You can read about it by clicking here.

The results of this upgrade are starting to trickle through and come online now. More upgrades are on the way. We shall be announcing them in our News service and on Twitter whenever one of them is finished.

The Subterraineans Demo was one of our sandbox experiments, as it were. It was originally recorded in 1986 and 1987 on a four channel Tascam 244 cassette portastudio. This machine was only a few months old at the time and a state-of-the-art home recording device back in the day. There are some rather fun things going on in the mix, such as the EQ sweeps in the guitar solo in Get on the Road and the vocal panning in Short and Sweet.

There were two Aria mics, an AM 60D and an AM 20D, that came from legendary Exeter guitar shop Royal Guitars. You can read more about these microphones in this old brochure document we found by clicking here.

When we recorded Dean’s vocal parts, he would close his eyes and sway back and forth a surprisingly long way as he was getting into his zone. The mic (the AM 60D) was fixed in a stand. To compensate for Dean’s rockings, the input fader was constantly moved up and down to keep the audio level constant. We didn’t have a compressor in those days, and it seemed a better option than interupting Dean’s flow with a request to keep still, which he would have probably ignored anyway.

The Subterraineans Demo was mixed onto a Realistic SCT-60 dual cassette machine, serial number 05200319. This machine was new in 1986 and not too shabby at the time.

We digitised the cassette in 2008. By that time, the sound had deteriorated over the intervening two decades and was rather harsh and hissy at best. We felt it would be a good challenge to see what we could do with this old recording.

The results are a massive improvement! It was never going to be a clean, perfect, modern sound due to the degradation and the distortions within the original recording. However, it really sounds so much better now. In fact, we decided to release the Subterraineans Demo to Bandcamp for fans old and new to download. It is the first Subterraineans recording released there.

There was something we found necessary to do in order to remove most of the nasty hiss and rumble in quiet moments. This was ultimately an “artistic license” mastering decision. It was to brutally EQ out a lot of the low end of the mix at the very start of Out of His Head and Speeding With The Starlight. The intros sound rather thin and as if they are being heard through a telephone, which is an interesting effect in itself. It seems to have improved the previously overwhelming nasties in those places. The radical EQ ends when Jerry’s bass kicks in.

In addition to the audio remastering, we have worked with our publishing partners Explicit Music to re-write all of the relevant Subterraineans pages. There are now updated lyrics and various fun facts for each of the four Subterraineans Demo songs published at the Explict Music website.

The audio and writings of The Subterraineans Demo at SoundCloud have also been updated. You can listen and read at the same time on that platform by clicking here.

Sadly, Dean took his own life by suicide at the Clifton suspension bridge, Bristol, in 1994. He was just 29 years old.

Dean had no help at all from the uk medical profession or social services for his mental health, addiction and homelessness. If he had only had some professional help, he would surely still be here with us today. He was badly let down by the safety net he fell through.

All proceeds from sales of this EP and its individual tracks beyond 1 Euro will be donated to The Samaritans, who try to help prevent people jumping from that notorious bridge in Bristol. Don’t jump – things may not look so bleak tomorrow.

In Short and Sweet, Dean sings “Give me life” – we hope by keeping his songs in the public domain we are able to do that, just a little.

Rest in peace, Dean.

To listen to or download the Subterraineans Demo from Bandcamp, please click here.

The late great Dean Trotter on stage in 1987 with The Subterraineans.

The late great Dean Trotter on stage in 1987 with The Subterraineans.