DOM01-M: A Haunted Sawmill "The Dance Of Death... (The Fear Of Your Live)" 10"

Domestica Records

  • €14.50

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A. The Dance Of Death... (The Fear Of Your Life)
B. Epitaph The Grave Remix

"A Haunted Sawmill, were formed in 1987 by Ian Williams and Ivan Richards in Sidmouth, a quiet, regency, seaside town in England. I first became friends with Ian at junior school we both liked Dr Who and enjoyed listening to records. In 1981, we formed our first band called the Disgustoes, the band’s name would change many times over the years and friends would join and leave as frequent. With a fervent DIY approach, we experimented with creating our own music, hearing our own voices for the first time, and trying to make our recordings sound like the records we had heard on our radios. An early performance for us was at Sidmouth Secondary School during a music lesson where we performed "Make Me A Werewolf", a sort of primal chant of incantations, accompanied by the beating of a large kettle drum. 

I was a frequent visitor to Ian’s house, it was a large house on a hill that overlooked a cemetery, I’d arrive with my lyrics and Ian would play me his latest tunes and we would try out different ways to combine the two, blasting out our efforts to the mourners and dearly departed in the graveyard next door. Between practising we would watch rented VHS horror and science fiction films. 

It was intended that A Haunted Sawmill would have had four band members, myself on vocals, Ian on synthesizer, a Roland Juno6 and programming a Yamaha RX11 Drum Machine which was named Sandra Last, Seth Colin on lead guitar and Mathew Bader on Bass. However, soon afterwards Seth left and by the time “Epitaph” was recorded, it was just the three of us. “Epitaph” was recorded at Tricky Sound 16 track recording studio in Exeter and was engineered by Hugh Glanfield. It was an exciting time for us all as it was our first time in a professional studio. We produced four versions, although two have since gone missing and only two of these mixes are known to exist (The Grave Remix and The Original Mix). “Epitaph” was reviewed in Underground music magazine, in May 1987, by Stephen Edney where he described A Haunted Sawmill as “[…] evidence of the music cottage industry that’s sprung up in this country since people started buying portastudios and trying their hand at becoming pop stars […] monotonous singing, lack of character and too much technology […]”. From this un-encouraging and uncomplimentary review we were contacted by Kevin Pickstock from Being Cut who with Kevin White and Phil Vinall was putting together a compilation cassette of electronic artists entitled the Trance Compilation. After them hearing “Epitaph”, we were chosen to be included and the tape was released in November 1987. 

“The Dance of Death” was recorded at Tricky Sound Studios on the 1st of May 1987 and was engineered by Hugh Glanfield, with an upgraded 24 track mixing desk which we used to its full advantage. It was only the night before that I had completed the lyrics and had recorded a practice version at Ian’s house. By this time Mathew, had left the band and it was just Ian and me. We spent five and a half hours in the studio, Ian programming and experimenting and lastly me on the vocals. The recording session ended at 1:30am with a rough mix and we were exhausted but pleased with the results. Hugh then played the track at high volume, opened the doors of the studio and we listened from outside under the twinkling stars. Two days later, we returned and completed the mix. We sent out about twenty five demo cassettes of “The Dance of Death” to friends and record companies and two cassette copies went on sale at Henderson’s Records in Bumblebees Bazaar in Exeter. The demo was well reviewed in Event South West magazine, September 1987 “[…] Forceful and urgent, the music is a perfect expression of the turmoil that leads to violent death […]” 

This is almost where the story ends. Ian and I continue to write together for about another year still under the name of A Haunted Sawmill, during which time no gigs were lined up and none are played. We continued to be friends and hang out together. “The Dance of Death” got played at Timepiece night club in Exeter a few times and on the same night as Rosetta Stone played a gig there, I introduced myself to their manager and gave him a demo and he suggested that we could go on tour with them. But I suppose it wasn’t meant to be. A few home recordings were made of new tunes and one song with vocals called, “I Can’t Take No More”, which is perhaps how it almost ended. 

However Ian and I stayed friends and for quite a few years continued writing and recording songs. Now 25 years later we have returned to A Haunted Sawmill and have made a start on some new recordings."

Ivan Richards. 

Epitaph recorded at Trickey Sound on january 30th 1987.Remixed on february 10th 1987. 
The Dance Of Death also recorded at Trickey Sound on may 1st 1987. Mastered by Yves Roussel, 2012.

Ivan Richards: Vocals
Ian Williams: Synthesizer, Roland Juno 6 and Yamaha RX11 Drum Machine
Mathew Bader: Bass (Epitaph)

Presented in a handmade silkscreen printed sleeve. Includes button badge and booklet with complete biography of the band.
Limited edition of 230 numbered copies.

Release date: March 20, 2012

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