Understand are soon going to release their long-awaited album ‘Real Food At Last’. Due on 7th April via Rise Records, the release features a collection of the cult hardcore band’s unreleased recordings from 1998.
“Around the beginning of ‘96, once our relationship with East/West records had dissolved,” explains vocalist Dom Anderson. “We were still writing & recording demo’s as we had a lot of promises from other labels to sign the band. John (Hannon, guitars), Rob (Coleman, guitars) & I had all dabbled in recording & producing with some other bands in the scene, so after some advice and guidance from Chris Sheldon (who produced the “Burning Bushes…” album) we rented a bunch of decent microphones & a second ADAT machine to link with ours and set about recording the ten songs we had settled on from recent demo & writing sessions at what was then “Mushroom Studios” – basically a shed on a Mushroom Farm in Hullbridge, Essex.
“The sessions went well & although we felt like we had some great recorded sounds, attempts at mixing the tracks never seemed to get them to a place any of us were happy with We continued to play a few shows over the course of the next two years, but work commitments for all of us started making that harder and harder and eventually, on (I think) 31st October 1998 at Bedford Esquires, we played our last show.”
He continues: “Fast forward 20+ years and John had established himself as a studio engineer & producer, working with hundreds of bands, across multiple genres in basically the same studio, that he had refined and developed over the years into what was now “NO Recordings”. For no particular reason, spurred on by some healthy banter on an Understand group WhatsApp, we had a go at converting the ADAT files to digital & getting the mixes to a better place. The songs were sounding good, so I started shopping the idea of a release around a few labels and was happily surprised when Rise came on board and said they were interested. I hadn’t really considered a label of that magnitude for the release before and it made me wonder if perhaps the songs might still not quite be fulfilling their potential so I called in a favour with my friend Rich Costey and cheekily asked him if he would have a go at running a couple of the tracks through his rig and polishing them up a bit. The results were amazing.
“John had the rest of the tracks converted to digital files and Rich had agreed to do all ten tracks as long as we weren’t in a hurry – it was mid Covid and nothing much was happening anywhere & then, without warning, on the 5th May 2021, we suffered the sudden, tragic loss of our friend, band mate & guitarist John Hannon. Obviously this stunned & shocked our whole camp, but it also inspired us to really make a go of this release and make it something special in John’s memory. To us, John was the original influencer. Every decision about music, artwork, or the way the band was presented, was influenced by him, so putting this release together has been an exercise in constantly asking “what would John do?”
“I think he would be proud of how it sounds, how it looks & how it represents the band & a moment in time that was the time of our lives.”
Check out new single ‘Real Food At Last’ below.