Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recording Process Pt. II

Finishing a record can be a never ending process. I'm sure it would have been with us had Ryan not stopped us when he did. We always had something more we wanted to add or track or effect, but there comes a point when somebody has to say, "alright, thats enough shit," and that's when the recording process ends. For us, that day came in late February.

I would say it took about 20 or so trips to Edwardsville to get everything done. Maybe even a little less. Which is not bad when i think back on it. After our initial 3 day basic tracking marathon, the sessions were sporadic, but by no means sparse. At least a couple times a week, all three of us, or one of us, or two of us, in whatever combination, would be at the Wasoba residence working on the songs.

About midway through the recording process, a fellow named Chad moved into one of the tracking rooms upstairs to become the third permanent resident of the house. Chad is more well known by this name: Emperor X. All I can say is look around on his website, look up videos, songs, he is prolific and has some amazing stuff out there. He is also a great engineer and producer and had bits of input for our album. He also helped Ryan mix Worm Farm. But what was even more awesome about him moving in for me personally, is that he was (is) a member of (the somewhat defunct) The Cadets, a band who I have admired and loved since I was 17 or 18, and whose album "On the Death of Science as a Major World Religion," is easily in my top 10 albums of all time, and I think is one of the most defining albums of the "indie" genre to ever have been made, it's a masterpiece. This album is hard to find, but it blows many, many great albums out of the water. So i got to geek out with him about that.. and it was good.

Someone asked after the last 'recording process' blog whether we had to scratch or change any songs to make the album work. The answer to this question is no. But there were two songs that we completely re-invented while recording them, "New Letters" (the first song) and "Sweater Weather" (the last song). "New Letters" was a song we played only two times live, during our first two shows as EXERCISE. The idea behind it for the studio version was that Trevor would lay down the basic guitar/vocal backbone of the song, and Justin and I would take whacks at it with overdubs and make it crazy and weird and do whatever we wanted. It worked out well, all the parts are great, plus the marimba appears again on this track, and it totally serves the purpose of an "opening track" exactly the way we wanted. We used Ryan's crazy 7 stringed jazz guitar for this one, which is the same as a 6 string, but only above the low E is a low A.. it's actually really sweet to play. "Sweater Weather" is one that we've also only played twice live, and it also serves the purpose of the "closing track" perfectly. There is not too much of a story behind this one, it was originally a "solo" song of mine, that now sounds like a syrupy forest, complete with really awesome drums and wooden pipes from an old pipe organ that my mom gave me. You'll see..

Part III coming soon.

Who are all you anonymous people?


  1. I can't wait to hear the new songs, I never got to hear you guys play them live.

  2. It's really great you guys are doing this blog, usually it's hard to get background information like the recording process with local bands.

    Fun reads. looking forward to pt. 3

  3. panama sounds so rad.