Mix-O-Lydian

Day 1

This morning John and Jeff met me at our home, and we all loaded our gear out of the basement to travel to the studio. I only knew one way to get here, so I wound up taking a route which cost us another 15 minutes. It was snowing in Washington when we left, however when we got to Mix-o-lydian Studio the sun was shining and we could drive out to get coffee without wearing winter coats. We got a surprising amount of tracks down today. We completely underestimated how much we could accomplish in a twelve hour session. I do have to concede though that Anna was right, we are definitely having more fun than feeling like this is hard work. Although, so far we have been recording final drum tracks and some final bass tracks, so the playing I have been doing is just for reference. We completed bass and drums on 6 songs today. We thought we would need all weekend just to get drums. Don is the engineer here, and he has all kinds of great vintage keys. I can’t wait to start keyboard overdubs and go nuts layering sounds. It is gonna be a blast.
In the control room Don has an old Macintosh computer set up running OS 7.2, apparently for the sole purpose of playing Mahjong. That game has become very addicting to me in the past few hours…I will have to watch myself. If I had it on my laptop i would be playing it all night. He also has one of those huge Apple displays with the clear casing for recording. I took a photo of it for posterity. I posted some photos below, and I’ll continue to put up my own photos of the sessions that I think look nice. Only about 30-40% of the pictures I take end up looking nice enough to use. Here they are:


The empty basement


John & Jeff following me


One of those cell towers that inconspicuously blends in with the surrounding trees


My keys, you can see the back of the C-3 to the right


The nest of wires behind the console


Me at the baby grand


Jeff in the studio


John and the drums of thunder


Our friend in the control room


Scott tracking with John’s Gibson


Relaxing after a hard day’s work

Day 2

This morning I woke up on our inflatable mattress (which was situated on top of a futon in the living room) in the apartment above Mix-o-Lydian Studio. Scott and John were returning from a local store with bagels. It was almost 9 AM, and recording started at 10, so i decided to get up and try to wake up a little. We sat around and watched Summer Rental, featuring John Candy. We made our way down to the studio and met Don and then discussed the day’s plan. The day before we left off on Before This Song, so we did that one first. We wound up spending a lot of time on a few songs, just getting the right drum and bass tracks. Poor John was playing over and over and over. He was playing drums for multiple hours without a break. The man is a workhorse. Andrew came in during the early afternoon, and was another helpful opinion as we evaluated the products of our efforts. It was nice to see him, and we got to catch up a lot today. Around 5 PM we were getting fatigued, especially John and Scott who had been working pretty hard for hours. We took a ride out to the Station House and had some dinner. Typical small bar & grill, with Dukes of Hazzard playing on a TV in the corner. We bought some packaged goods, and after dinner John and Scott were able to finish tracking for the album. Aside for the two 28 second tracks, we have final takes now for drums and bass. Tomorrow morning I’m going to start keyboard overdubs, which I can’t wait for. Don has lots of great gear, and we’re going to start with the C-3 Organ. I cannot describe my excitement with mere words. He also has a Leslie cabinet, and an intriguing setup for the microphones which will enhance their stereo panning. He’s got a really nice Fender Rhodes also, which will be nice since my Rhodes is fucked. Another instrument I can’t wait to play is the Clavinet. He has a Mellotron but it isn’t really usable. I’m going to also try using the baby grand piano on a few tracks. The action is really heavy (meaning the keys are hard to press down, take a lot of pressure), but I don’t really play piano too much, so it might be pretty standard. Don is also a keyboard player, and it will be nice to get pointers from him. He’s told us he’s excited about it. So am I.


Sunday morning with Andrew


Jeff has an idea for Scott


Scott and I relaxing Sunday night


Sunday night after hours

Day 3

So this morning John added a quick overdub to beef up his tom sounds in one song, and then he was finished tracking. At 11 AM I started tracking my keyboard parts. Got to use the Hammond C-3 Organ, which was unexplainable. I started my musical life on organ, and it was great to be able to use an instrument that sounds incredible, as opposed to my digital imitation, which is fine for live settings. I also got a chance to use the Fender Rhodes, which had a nice belltone quality to it, I used this in conjunction with a cheap Danelectro tremolo pedal on Before This Song. It sounded stellar. Tracking went pretty quickly, but there were a lot of different keyboards all over these songs, and most songs had a bunch of keyboards layered together for a unique sound. Don was having a blast. He is a keyboard player, and he was really enjoying tweaking the sounds I created out in the booth. There was also a Studer 2″ tape machine technichian there who described our songs to Scott as sounding like Elvis Costello or Joe Jackson. Awesome. He also offered to drop off a copy of our album when it’s finished to a label he works for in NYC. Cool man. Nice guy.
John left after he finished his drum tracking to go pick up his new car, which is replacing his recently stolen, then discovered Ford. He was really anxious to go pick it up, especially considering that if he didn’t get it before it snowed he might have to wait another week till they could dig it out. He did a lot of hard work over the last two days, so nobody minded that he split early today. Scott decided to go home after the weather started to look pretty grim, but Jeff stayed behind to keep me company and offer an extra ear as we listened back to the tracks I laid down. We were able to get all of tracks down on Monday, and then chilled out upstairs as we wondered about the snowstorm outside.

More pictures coming after I figure out how to get more photos uploaded with Flickr.

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Author: jayholler

A technology lover living in California with my wife and two children.

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