Monday, November 05, 2012

Back in the Studio

I stepped into a recording studio yesterday for the first time in about six years. The Love Letters laid down basic tracks for four songs at Machine Age Studios. We've been together about three years but the urge to record never really came along until recently. And by recently I mean the idea probably came to light in the past nine months or so because it takes us a while to get from thinking to doing.

I've recorded with most of my bands and in several cases, released albums (CDs) only to have somebody leave the band or see the band breakup a few months after we put out the album, leaving us with no way to unload all of the product. The Mofones had the right idea: we recorded an EP and burned copies of it as we went so we only had as many leftover discs as we needed. The Love Letters have moved along a little slower than most bands, since we all have other things going on beside the band, so it didn't seen like we were ready for quite a while.

I was actually a little nervous heading in, for some reason. Recording always seems to be a tense process for me. Sure you can go back and rerecord flubbed notes, but it's much more rewarding when you can get it right on the first try. Which never happens. But today, we had a good engineer who encouraged us to go back and record an extra take or two of songs, even if we thought the one we just finished was good. And usually the next one did have something strong going for it, either in spirit or technicality.

For the first time ever, I played to a click track. We have one song that doesn't have any drums in it for the first verse and we always seem to get a little wobbly, so the click was good for that (Dave the engineer shut it off as soon as the drums kicked in). And we're doing a Monkees song that is not only drumless until the very end, but is in 5/4 during the verses and 6/8 in chorus. Dave also made me bass sound really great. I love my Rickenbacker but the low end can disappear on the E string, leaving it to sound a mid-range and buzzy. But it sounded beautiful and rich in playback.

Once we get the songs done, a couple of them are going to be sent out to John Collins of the New Pornographers to mix and, I guess, produce. It seemed like a wild idea - the band has some direct influence from the NPs so I emailed John to see if he does things like this. And he does so why not? I think we can only afford to have him do two songs right now.

But before that, we need to get the overdubs done.

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