Kyle's studio diary pt. 2

Day One of recording is in the books! I'm too wired to sleep just yet, so here's a blog entry for your amusement.

Things went very well! We had 6 hours booked, and we used every minute. It probably took us an hour or an hour and a half to get everything set up and ready to go for our first take of a song. That is very fast actually. We credit our engineer, Landon Arkens, with having as much as he could set up and ready to go when we walked in. It helps that we've worked with him before on three separate occasions. 

Present at this session were Jamie, Joey B, Peter, Ben Ferris (on bass), and myself. Ben has played with us before, and Jeff is finishing up a tour with Harmonious Wail. So Ben agreed to play a few songs for the session before Jeff returns tomorrow. One of the realities of playing in a 9-piece band made up of professional, working musicians is that you have to be flexible with personnel. The Big Payback has an extended family of musicians that we rely upon for gigs as well as studio dates. It means we get to work with a broad range of talented people, which is not a bad situation at all. Ben did a top notch job on some tough material tonight, keeping a bouncy forward energy while locking in tightly with Joey B. Thanks, Ben!

Jamie was there to play some throwaway trombone tracks as cues, but his actual parts will be recorded with the rest of the horn section in September. He also acted as producer, cheerleader, and pizza orderman. The rhythm section all sat in one room (amps in separate rooms) and played each take together. We try to get as much of a "live band" feel as we can in recording sessions. Things are overdubbed usually because of logistics or studio isolation issues. Rhythm section in one chunk, horns in one chunk, vocals either separately or with rhythm section, then a few scattered solos and overdubs. 

We had 3 songs on the docket for tonight, and we managed to knock them all out. One of them is brand new to us. We've never played it live, and it's one of the more complicated pieces I've written for the group. As expected, it took the most time to record. We had to break it down and build it back up section by section, but it didn't take us too long to get it figured out and put together into one whole.

I'm really looking forward to hearing how this particular song ends up. I'm a little nervous actually. I've demoed the piece with MIDI instruments and my own guide vocals, but that's the only time I've actually heard it from start to finish. I guess it's always a leap of faith to write music for a big band like this. You never know how your weird ideas are going to translate. But if tonight is any indication, this new one might be a keeper. The song is called "Above the Rain." 

Ok, that's all for now. Day Two lies ahead of us!