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Date: Mon 16 Dec, 2002 at 10:44
Headline: In The Studio, part 1

Greetings & Salutations!

Debut, Part Deux

This past weekend, we stepped into the confines of Sound Image Studios to begin work on our new CD. Although this will be the second album to bear the name Sons Of Nothing, in some respects it's almost like starting over. When I recorded the first CD a couple of years ago, there was no band to speak of -- it was essentially me making a solo record, using whichever of my musician friends were available at the time to help out. This time around we have a fully-functioning musical team going in, which has made this a completely new (and much more positive) type of experience.

Breaking Semi-New Ground

This collection will technically be an EP...that is, if one can use vinyl terminology in the year 2002 and still make any sense. :-) The five songs we are recording should be fairly familiar to anyone who has seen us in concert over the past six months or so. Although there was some discussion of going back and re-recording a few tunes from the first CD that could have been done better, we decided in the end that it was more important to press on with new material. "New", of course, is a relative term. Nearly all of the songs are culled from our respective back-catalogs; songs that we wrote while in other bands but which were never officially recorded for one reason or another.

Y'know, my lacrosse coach used to say....

Saturday morning, we began with laying down the basic rhythm tracks as a unit, which was something that I had never done before. My previous studio experience had always consisted of first setting down a click track and then overdubbing all the instruments one by one, but I really enjoyed working together on the bed tracks -- the "glue", as our co-producer/engineer Toby Seljaas calls it. The chemistry of the band shone through more, I felt. Though there were a few flubs here and there that had to be re-recorded down the line, most of the parts were saved from the first take, including all of the drumming. It was a real pleasure to watch Daryn work. Since this was his first time in a studio setting, he was very nervous about pulling his parts off, but came through like a pro. Not for the first time, I was immensley impressed by his raw talent and energy.

The Weakest Link

Yesterday, we began work on individual guitar, bass & keyboard lines, cleaning up some of the mistakes from the basic tracks and getting started on overdubs. I have always said that I prefer to be the weakest musician in a band, because it forces me to work harder. Well....yesterday that professed preference was severly put to the test. Though two of my basslines were saved from the initial group session and two more were re-recorded very quickly and easily, the last one was a gigantic pain in the ass. I knew that this particular bassline was going to be a challenge for me, as I usually have to cheat a bit to pull it off on stage. Here I had to do it for real, getting all of the little nuances just right. Even though I had thought I was prepared, I still ended up hitting the wall for around an hour before finally arriving at a version that was declared "good enough". It was very discouraging, but I will reserve judgement on whether I need to tighten the part up even further until tomorrow, when I have a chance to hear it again with fresh ears.

Get Up And Boogie

My best memory from yesterday, and the experience to beat from this session so far, was watching through the glass as Tim, under very dim and moody lighting, ripped out a new guitar part to one song while Matt simultaneously recorded his organ part from the control room. Between the great vibe they had going and the pocket Daryn and I had provided for them the day before, it was nearly impossible for the rest of us not to start bopping about the room, lost in the groove. Fortunately, Tim and Matt -- both excellent musicians and very studio-savvy -- made up for my running down the clock by laying down their parts in short order with great precision and soul. Things were moving so quickly by the end of the session that we even got a head-start on guitar overdubs, which bodes well for tomorrow's work.

And so, there's a snapshot of where we stand as of now. Recording should be finished in another couple of weeks, then we're off to mix and master.

Bye for now,

your humble correspondent
Thom Bowers