Shuyler Session Day 3 – Friday, February 09, 2007

Greetings again, welcome to Part 3 – it’s the second day in the studio here in sunny Vancouver. It may actually not be sunny, but I wouldn’t know. I haven’t seen the outdoors in 3 days now.

I’d like to kick this off by recommending one of the funniest books I’ve ever read – The Adventures of Mixerman. It’s a blog turned book, that chronicles a rock session in LA – it’s completely overrun with tension, arguments, fights, quitting of the band’s, and all sorts of other awesome drama. It’s also non-fiction, which is even crazier. Anyway, if you’re looking for lots of drama and not much music, that might be an enjoyable read.

So, we’ve had one full day in the studio, we’ve nailed 4 songs pretty well – drums, bass, some guitars, some keyboards and the sounds being recorded are really dark and rich sounding… perfect for these tunes. We kick it off at noon – me and shuyler and sheldon. We’re going to try to get some vocal takes in the big room before everyone else gets there. It’s a bit of a drag having time pressure on us, which is essentiallyy to finish the bulk of recording in 4 days. It doesn’t allow us a ton of time for getting super-picky, but sometimes that’s what you need for a good vocal performance. Shuyler’s warmed up and sounding really good after a half hour or so, and we plow through 3 songs, a bunch of versions of each, and I’m jotting down notes on where all the best stuff is. I’m hoping we can get lots of vocals done this way at The Factory, where they have mics worth more than a small country, and then I’ll go through it all and piece it together if needed at my place later, where the clock isn’t ticking. The rest of the crew shows up at 2, and we wrap up our singing session with some cool vocals done on “Bottle of Wine”, Today’s Remains” and “Windswept”. “Windswept” has some really cool moments, because we tracked some keyboard stuff using a vocoder yesterday that was triggered by Shuyler’s scratch vocal. When he sings the real version, the timing/phrasing is slightly different, so the effect is quite creepy. fun times.

Keith arrives first and is bearing gifts. He has bought us all sticky spiderman-like action figures, with snotty little gel-bits on the hands and feet. Sheldon looks a little ticked as we all start chucking them against the control room glass. They break shortly thereafter.

We do alittle bit of listening and then hop to it again. I want to get 4 more tunes done today, so we decide on “Jealous Girl” first. After a bit of messing around, we start to feel pretty good about the arrangement and feel and get it down in about 3 takes. It turned out to be alot peppier than the demo shuyler made, but I think it suits the song, and it won’t hurt to have a couple more up-tempo numbers anyway.

The Dukes of Hazzard continues to be an inspiration today. It seems like every record we do as a group, we develop an attachment to a particular person/place/thing. Shooby Taylor was the big one on the last album we did. If you don’t know the shoobster (the “human horn”) , check him out. Everyone was so into it, we were sending each other MP3’s and scouring the net for new shooby material. Chris even burnt a shooby CD that he would listen to on the way to the studio every day. Shooby is old news now. Now we’re on to bigger, better, and more sophisticated sources of inspiration… the dukes. It’s Sheldon’s fault. He loves the dukes and has season 2 and 3 in the studio. Wireless internet + 4 musicians in a room + a spare half hour between songs = alot of odd information gathering. We found Roscoe P. Coltrane’s website, where he’s selling his own paintings of scenes of the dukes of hazzard, and has recorded a country album called “me and flash” (the dog from the dukes). It’s pretty good. Anyway, with more dukes inspiration, we soldier on.

“Cowgirl” comes together pretty quickly, with some twangy baritone and some great organ playing by Chris. We plow through that one pretty quickly, and all feel we nailed it pretty well. Chris and I go back to a song from yesterday, “Todays Remains” and do some overdubs. To save time, we overdub at the same time. I’m playing temolo baritone and Chris is on the glockenspiel, doubling up his wurlitzer part. We go again for another pass and I play another part without tremolo and chris plays the accordian. That song is coming together quite nicely.

Keith and I being communicating by email, even when we’re in the same room. It’s pretty fun. I’m in the control room and Keith is out in the hang-out room and we start to discuss the next song and what we’re going to play on it, both typing, about 5 feet away from each other.

After we eat, we do another tune, which I can’t even remember because we’re going through so many… running out of time in the day, we go for a really creepy one called “Hellhounds”. Very simple, but tricky because it’s so simple. Keith has a pedla called the “Wooly Mammoth” which is a really ugly fuzz pedal. It goes onto the double bass and we track it along with the acoustic sound. It’ll be really cool. We also tried some bass doubling today – keith playing the same part on acoustic and electric basses, ala Carol Kaye, the LA session bassist that played on all those great Beach Boys and Spector records. It’s an awesome effect and will work well on the song, but I honestly can’t remember which one it is, my prro little brain is so fried now.

That’s about it for today folks. 8 songs down, and a couple overdubs and some vocals… pretty good so far! Pics and sounds to come….

see ya!

Photos from day 3 here.

Sounds (unmixed… live tracks plus a couple overdubs)

Don’t Ask Why
Today’s Remains


~ by stevedawson on October 6, 2008.

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