Shuyler Session Day 1 – Wednesday, February 07, 2007

OK, here’s a weird and maybe fun concept. I’m going to keep a blog going as much as I can handle during the recording of a new album that I’m producing… I’ll post the day’s events (if there are any) as well as post photos of the cast of characters and MP3’s of the sessions as the songs evolve.
Hopefully it will be interesting, funny, unpredictable, and perhaps a little unruly. Or maybe we’ll all behave very well and will cut the album in all first takes and go home by 6 PM on the first day. Or maybe we’ll get in a massive scrap and knock each other’s blocks off. Hard to say. I bet it’ll be cool though. Making records is fun. Really. So, if anyone actually reads this, let me hear from you – I’d love to not be posting this to absolutely no one.

I don’t know how to post these files technically yet – I guess I’ll stick them up on a server somewhere, so hopefully it’ll work. Then I’ll just keep updating this post on a regular basis until the damn thing is done.

OK, so this is a record for Shuyler Jansen, a songwriter from Edmonton, recently relocated to Saskatoon. Shuyler writes lots of killer tunes, I guess they’d belong in the alt-country genre, for lack of a better term, but more along the lines of a Richard Buckner than Steve Earle or Wilco. Generally pretty dark and moody…
Shuyler has sent me 15 tunes, and I’ve worked on them, and written out charts for the band, and so we begin.

Day 1 and 2 – Shuyler has arrived from Sask, and I just got back from France and then Edmonton for a couple of days. Keith Lowe is playing bass, and he drives up here to Vancouver from Seattle. The other 2 players at this point are Chris Gestrin on keyboards of all sorts, and John Raham on drums. I’ve worked with all these guys a bunch of times, so I know it’s going to be pretty comfortable right off the bat.

The first 2 days are spent at my studio, The Henhouse. We just hang out, and try to work through all the songs at least once, figuring out what sort of tempos, feels, and also instruments we’ll all be playing on each song – Keith has a few basses – electric and acoustic, I have a bunch of different guitars, steels, banjos, etc, Chris has some of my keyboards and some of his own, and John gets off easy – he just plays his drums (very well, I might add).

Keith ate some nasty pizza after he got to town, so he’s feeling queezy… hopefully nothing 4 or 5 red bulls won’t cure.

The way that I like to record is to work around a live performance. Even if we don’t keep all of the tracks we play, the entire band will play live on pretty much all the songs. Then I go in and add, remove, and mess with stuff until it sounds right.

I’m going to post some photos of the boyzzzz, and some sound files of the songs – these were recorded with 2 mics in the room, and it’s also the first time anyone has ever played any of these songs before. By the time we finish, these will sound quite different, but these initial files will be from a couple of tunes immediately after the band has received their charts of the somgs for the first time.

Oh yeah, and we cut 2 songs, mostly because we don’t have the time or money to record 15. We’re going to head into the Factory Studio tomorrow to set up, get sounds and start recording the 13 remaining tunes.

OK, I guess that’s the beginning. We start for real tomorrow….

OK, I think I figured it out for now…
for photos of today, go here

For audio from today, click on a song title:
Don’t Ask Why
Today’s Remains


~ by stevedawson on October 6, 2008.

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