Cottage Industry Recordings
I came late to recording. I never bought an analogue 4-track in the eighties. It took me a long time to accept I had to produce myself. After my first band Movement broke up I wandered, writing the songs which would become Shadow History, then in 2002 I returned to Adelaide and started amassing gear. I borrowed a drumkit, a synth and a bass, and – with the help of arts funding for Brothers of the Head – I bought a Tascam 788 digital 8-track and a Rode NT3 condenser microphone. Cottage Industry Recordings was born.
I don’t know why the roster of my fledgling record company was such an exercise in absurdity. Maybe it was my inexperience as a producer, which made me loathe to take it all too seriously. Meanwhile I refused to record my “real” songs (ie: Shadow History) for fear I wouldn’t do them justice, and would get bored of them in the process. Much easier to improvise, and edit the results later. Well, I learned how to edit! And so much improvising loosened me up. I fractured myself into three alter-egos, each with a unique sound and style:
- Ben W: Naive, automatic, based on simple ideas and improvisations. Personal but guarded. Quiet, clean, lush.
- W. COQ: My punk alter-ego. All one-take improvisations. Ziggy meets Shady. Loud, retro-futurist, abrasive.
- Menu: My childhood imaginary friend. Folk, blues, rock ’n’ roll. Menu actually wrote songs before recording.
Around this core “trio”, friends Reed “Bleed” Cathcart, Jim (Glenorchy) Dandy, D.L. Ward, A. Snowball and Paddy Ryan of Greater Northern provided a revolving house-band which appeared, in various permutations, on releases by the Chautauqua, DandyCOQ2, the Chicken Dinners Project and the Rebellion Off-Duty. A compilation album, Discretion Assured: The Rise of COQ & Cottage Industry, was brought out to little fanfare in 2016. Solo albums by W, COQ and Menu, plus a retrospective of the COQ Bros, are still to come.
Lost greatest hits