overdubs were evil that day, let me tell ya…
less than a month after we recorded the stripped-down acoustic CD, christian was interested in recording something that captured the sound of his full band. he came over to the house the day after valentine’s day and laid down guitar and vocals for a good ten songs or more. the plan was to overdub the rest of the band the next day.
i brought my gear over to his place on the 16th and we gave it a go. it didn’t work out. christian’s brother kept losing the beat when he tried to overdub his drum parts. we didn’t get one useful take the whole day.
christian thought he’d take another shot at recording the guitar/vocal parts, this time using a click track to ensure the rhythm was steady, thinking his takes were the problem. on the 17th he came over to my place again and redid all his parts.
on the 18th i brought my gear back over to his place, and we took another crack at the overdubs. the same thing happened again. ryan kept losing the beat. he was a good drummer. the problem was, he beat the living piss out of those drums. i think that was the culprit right there. he played so loud, he couldn’t hear the music well enough in the headphones to keep the rhythm consistent no matter how much i turned it up.
after giving up on all that, an impromptu jam session with the full band happened, with me sitting in on keys. we recorded three songs live off-the-floor. those were the only successful recordings to come out of the whole thing. ryan played bongos, cowbell, and anything lying around.
i gotta say, i think i acquitted myself well for someone who never played or had a chance to try and learn any of these songs before. i’ve always liked how you can hear christian smile through his singing when i switch from piano to an organ sound in the middle of so much to show.
sweet dreams is the clear highlight, taking on a pretty different feeling from any of the other recordings we made of that song. brian’s bass line is good funky stuff, and my organ riffing almost gives things a light bossa-pop feel. there’s some unfortunate feedback because of all the live mics going at once, but the buildup at the end is pretty fun, with me and anna egging each other on.
only one of the tracks we tried recording piecemeal survives. i guess i figured there was no sense in keeping those things or backing them up when they consisted of little more than vocals, acoustic guitar, and drums that weren’t usable. the one non-jam session song that made it is about face. christian’s guitar and ryan’s drums are there, though the drums are two different takes, with an earlier take picking up the slack after the second take we stuck on top of it breaks down. aside from anna’s vocal, the rest of the band never added their parts, so i recorded some rough bass and electric piano of my own.
the end result isn’t really album material, but i think it’s kind of interesting. gives you a brief look at what we were trying to do here, and what we finally accomplished a few months down the road.
this was only my second time ever recording a real drum set. i managed to get a surprisingly sound with not very much equipment. it was pretty much the only time i ever mic’d the bottom of a snare drum instead of the top. i’ve never liked the way that sounded any other time i’ve tried it, but here it sounded pretty good.
there’s also a ridiculous hidden track i added myself that sounds a little bit like chipmunk speed punk and has nothing to do with any of the other songs. sometimes it’s just fun to do goofy things like that.