As a part of the recent Velvet Underground tribute LP I’ll Be Your Mirror, Irish post-bunkers Fontaines D.C. recorded an appropriately frantic take on ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’, the dissonant and ear-splitting penultimate track from The Velvet Underground & Nico.
To record the song, the band filed into the legendary Abbey Road Studios and filmed the process as part of the studio’s ongoing Lock-In series. The first episode in the series followed English alt-rockers Django Django as they collaborated with British-Jamaican singer Denai Moore on the song ‘Say Something’.
The band performed in Studio Three of Abbey Road, which is the studio where The Dark Side of the Moon, Blond, and John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band were all at least partially recorded. Studio One is mostly used for film and television orchestration recordings, and Studio Two has practically been turned into an untouchable shrine to The Beatles and all the work they produced there, so Studio Three is the one used by most recording sessions of the modern-day.
“There’s a real nice feeling about recordings that are done where there a kind of snapshot of the band on that day doing that thing, not the sum of weeks and weeks of thinking about,” producer Dan Carey explains in the clip. You can feel the band searching for that fleeting “lightning in a bottle” feeling during their session.
Carey was a natural choice to help the band bring the classic Velvets tune to life – he was also behind the desk for Fontaines D.C.’s lauded sophomore LP A Hero’s Death, which came out in July of 2020. The band sought to utilise someone intimately familiar with their cacophonous and discordant style, with Carey’s knowledge and fandom of the Velvet Underground being a bonus.
Check out the mini-documentary for the band’s recording of ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’ down below.