Sunday, March 22, 2009

Back in the studio (03.21.09)


That's the only word I have to describe my day at Phil O'Keefe's Sound Sanctuary Studio in Riverside, CA on Saturday March 21. Why don't you check out the video clips now, and then I'll tell you some more.

Okay, so here's what we did. Kat and I got up Saturday morning and started preparing to hit the road. We live near the beach, and Riverside is about 70 miles inland from us. We first stocked up on massive amounts of snacks and drinks for the day, and then hit the road. Arrived pretty much right on time, and (speaking of time) we didn't waste any; walked in and opened the case for the Martin. Phil threw a couple of mics up, and I did two passes of a solo acoustic instrumental piece called "Waxing Gibbous". The plan is for "Waxing Gibbous" is that it will be the penultimate song on the album, and acts as a long intro of sorts to "Waiting for This", which is the last track. Anyway, it came out nicely, and the Martin sounded great with shimmery new strings on it.

Bunny arrived a short while later (it was nice telling him we already had one in the can before he even got there), and we set up drums. He and I set up camp in the live room for a bit, going over a few runthroughs of the first song we planned to record, "Come Around". There are some tricky timing aspects to the tune, but as I could have predicted, Bunny completely locked into the vibe of the tune. That track was pretty punishing; Bunny was absolutely brutal on the drums, and I put everything I had into the guitars and vocals. But man, I love the result.

The last tune we did was really a blast. "Lines On Your Eyes" is a little more straightforward timing-wise, but has some interesting harmonic twists. Once again, we got to have contributions from Ken Lee, but this time he showed up with a Nord Electro 2 and played a great organ track. He threw down lots of good stuff, so it will be fun to shift through and see which parts can be used at various points in the song. The vocal lines for this song were much more complex, and as it got late that night, I found myself isolated and doing roughly 17,000,000 takes of harmony and background vocals. I told Kat this morning that I felt like Michael McDonald while cutting "Peg".

A couple of personal notes: really felt great about my bass playing and my guitar solos on both songs. I'm never really super happy with my vocals, but I think I did a passable job singing. Most of all, I spent about 90% of the day laughing. My musical collaborators are some of the best people on the planet... I'm convinced of this.

Great, great, great recording session. We'll post rough mixes to hear when they're available. Oh, and by the way: just two songs left to complete the Zak Claxton album, meaning after one more session at Sound Sanctuary, we're done with this one (and probably soon onto the next one, I hope).

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