By the time June arrived in 2023, we’d worked on more shows than we had any previous year: The Multiverse Is Gay!; Sean & Daro Flake It ’Til They Make It; Protest; Meet Me At The Knob.

I had left Scotland to tour with Franz Ferdinand for a couple of months and Lauren was running various courses at UWS as well as holding the fort at the studio. We were approached by Glasgow-based theatre production company Scissor Kick to work on a piece of physical theatre they’d been developing called Shrill.

We loved the concept of the show but with neither of us being in the same country during its writing and rehearsal process, we put forward a different style of sound design than what we’d normally offer. Usually our ideas are developed around real instruments with the live drum kit being a major part of the sound but when the drummer is on tour, that’s not so easy!

For the last couple of years we’ve switched up our writing approach for times when we are apart. We’ve been so used to being in the studio together for much of the time since we started Novasound in 2017 that we’ve become fast and efficient when in the studio and we saw this year as a great opportunity to flex our collaborative writing muscles whilst in different time zones! 

I’ll be honest, one of my biggest worries about heading off on a long tour for the first time was that the production skills I’d been working hard to improve upon would suffer. This was silly! I invested in a Maschine Mikro and Launchkey Mini and off I trotted with a Novasound miniature setup! Throughout last year, Lauren and I would send ideas back and forth, adding parts, mixing bits here and there, keeping our creativity flowing. So why not take this approach for a show?

The Shrill team were really open to this and with it being an experimental piece of theatre, it worked across the board. The show was going to run in a club in Glasgow so we wanted to make something that was quite detached in sound from the other shows we’d composed for this year. Something more suited to a club sound system. We used electronic drums, ambient sounds, pads and sub basses as the core of most of the tracks.  They were created mainly on the Maschine Mikro and using Logic’s stock synths (which are fantastic btw!) then Lauren would add layers of vocals with some subtle lyrics. This created texture, feel and dynamics. Usually I love being in the room when this kind of thing is being put together but there was actually a magic in a track getting sent back and listening to what had been added!

It was mainly written during the month of June whilst I was in America and Lauren was in Glasgow but we had a 2 day window at the start of July where we could be in the studio together. One track, The Thing!, was made in one day. We’d been chatting to Mel, the show’s director, and there was a general feeling about one section of the show needing something a bit heavier, more punky. We knew we had to get real instruments on this one so we followed our instincts (as that’s all we had time for) and made probably my favourite track from Shrill. I had to leave for tour again and Lauren added vocals and synths and gave it a mix. I loved what she did with it! It had become this grungey 90s sounding song which reminded me of the Yellowjackets theme tune!

Unfortunately Shrill ended up only having one live performance as part of Surge festival due to ill health amongst the cast. There is still hope that it will have a future on the stage but in the meantime you can listen to the album here.

Audrey (& Lauren) x

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