Formed in Denver, Colorado, the Yawpers have an unconventional lineup with no bassist. The trio consists of (from left) lead guitarist Jesse Parmet, drummer Alex Koshak—who joined the band in August 2018, just before they started tracking Human Question—and lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Nate Cook. Photo by Lex Quinn

Tracking at Electrical Audio

The Yawpers recorded their latest release, Human Question, in Chicago at legendary producer Steve Albini’s studio, Electrical Audio. During the process, the band moved between the studio’s two main rooms, studios A and B, which, according to Parmet, worked to their advantage. “We did three days in studio B, and that was basically all the live tracking,” he says. “Then we had seven days in studio A. The B room is really cool for live tracking. It’s got these 25-foot ceilings and a really nice character to the room. The A room is just an enormous, state-of-the-art space. You can set up different stations for overdubs and move from one to the other really quickly and easily. For us, 10 days was not a lot of time, but just being in that studio, everything ran so smoothly that we were able to be pretty efficient.”

Part of the fun was rummaging through the studio’s closets, which were jam-packed with unusual, unique gear. “There were some cool instruments lying around, like this bizarre, 16-string guitar,” says Parmet. “I don’t know what note it’s tuned to exactly, but it was all high strings tuned in unison. [Albini made one of these guitars for Sonic Youth, liked it, and then also made one for himself.] They also had these all-metal [Veleno] guitars that had a really interesting resonant tone to them. I played one of those metal guitars, which I was told was used on Nirvana’s In Utero sessions [Albini produced the 1993 album]. I used that on ‘Can’t Wait,’ the second-to-last track on our record. He also had three or four vintage Big Muffs and all sorts of great effects pedals. You don’t want to go too crazy spending time messing around with tones, but it’s nice to have some options.”

But that said, being in a larger, well-equipped studio made a huge impact on the album’s overall sound. “I think the overdubs had a lot more character than some of our previous records, where we were just adding subtleties in the overdub process,” says Parmet. “These were more prominent in the mix.”