This Close-Up is Part 2/5 in a series on the process of recording a lifelong project by two guys in a basement band. I’ve asked Dan to write the majority of the articles, though I’ll be contributing some material based on my experience tracking drums. For some background on The Brothers of Penitence EP (formerly the Bon Hommes, formerly Musical F*ck Machines), check out Part 1. –M.G.
Monday, June 23rd
6 P.M- Arrival
After a thoroughly frustrating drive through London, Ontario’s notoriously clumsy summer construction we finally made berth at Sinthany Studios just in time for some fresh pots. If you are not familiar with fresh pots, I suggest you familiarize yourself.
(I can verify that Mike’s drumming is pretty much definitely that good on our record)
6 P.M- 8 P.M- Setting Up
Our initial couple of hours spent in Sinthany studios were used tediously setting up our equipment, as well as all the necessary recording devices that producer Justin has many fancy names for, but Mike and I know them as microphones– a lot of microphones. Justin is a helluva detail oriented guy with a great ear for musical sounds, and he put in a highly appreciated and astronomical number of hours tuning drums correctly, tweaking guitar settings, and explaining a lot of things that Mike and I probably should have known (because he provided a handy hand-out detailing much of the process).
8 P.M- 10:30 PM- “Recording”
I was in the spotlight for the next couple of hours laying down “scratch tracks”, which are essentially boring versions of our songs played in a way that ensures Mike could have a fair chance at keeping time, and recording some gut-busting drum tracks. That was the plan anyway. It turns out when you attempt to record an instrument that you’ve been playing for years, it feels like it’s been playing you for years; strings wouldn’t bend the way I like, chord voicings that I thought were interesting began to sound foreign, and all together I felt like I may not be cut out for the studio after all.
Fortunately for me, Justin and Mike have the patience of a single mother of 8 hyperactive, red-dye intoxicated children. They both calmly guided me through take after take, giving advice and encouragement, honing my ear to the degree that it is necessary to have in the studio. Eventually Justin and Mike were able to scratch away the nerves that were rusting my skills, and I was able to perform at a level that I found acceptable. All in all our first day of recording was a fantastic experience. Driving home it made me realize there’s not many things in life that make you lay back and say, “Goddamn, that was so frustrating it was fun.”
10:30 PM- 12:00 AM- Chatham-> London Commute
Stale Timbits for Mike;
A cigarette for me.
(Sorry, Mom, I’m still quitting)
there’re only two seasons