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Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Sleepwalker's Bed: Goodbye Regret

My senior year of high school was really hard. I'm sure lots of people say that, but it seemed to high school me that I was having an especially rough time of it. Several circumstances, caused some by my actions but mostly by my inacion, resulted in losing friends and respect. At 17, I found myself alone with more regrets than a teenager should have.

I wrote this song partly as a bittersweet graduation song that I would sing at my final choir concert, but also to comfort myself. I wanted to convince myself that even though I had lost friends and would soon move away from the friends I had left, they'd still stay with me. I'd still have memories of the good times before everything went wrong.

I wasn't strong enough to make it through that year, so in this song, I created an older version of myself to be my strength, to reassure me that everything would turn out alright.

And you know what? It did.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Recorded A Thing

We interrupt your regular programming to bring you a special broadcast … about recording!

Yes, it's true. I finally got around to setting down three of the ten billion songs I've written in the past five years. Since Sleepwalking was recorded in solitude with mostly electronic instruments, I decided to challenge myself on this EP by going in the opposite direction: recording quickly and organically with real instruments and as much collaboration as possible.

Elliott, the guitarist, drove me to Brooklyn, playing Jack White and Dawes for me. (How I've missed car stereos!) We met Shawn, the percussionist, at The Gallery in Bushwick, an ingeniously built studio in the normally unfinished McKibben Lofts. We were greeted by Brian, the co-owner and engineer, who turned out to be an unbelievably cool and talented guy.

Left to right: Shawn, Me, Elliott

I started off the day by laying down scratch piano tracks before starting the guys off. Brett Gleason, my co-producer and primo supporter for this project, joined in as an extra pair of ears. He came up with an idea for the bridge of "30k" that we had fun communicating on the fly by trying to explain through the talk back mic. Elliott and Shawn sounded great— and somehow Brian made cajon, shaker, and tamborine sound like a full drum kit!

Me and Brett Gleason

After they left, Sam came by to snap some photos and I laid down my final piano takes. I was even feeling energized and manic enough to start recording vocals up to the last minutes of the session. Sam and I left to go find sushi and passed by a girl skateboarding in a dress and the folks at Bushwick Open Sound System playing music onto the sidewalk. (Oh, Brooklyn.)

Me and the M-Audio Sputnik

The day 2 crew was just Brian and me. I did more vocal takes than I really wanted to edit, but singing into the M-Audio Sputnik felt soooo good I didn't want to stop! Most of Sunday was spent listening, editing, and eating vegetables. (Brian and I joked that we should submit our menu for that day for a world record for Healthiest Diet Consumed by a Studio Duo.) Brian sent me home with some rough mixes and I went to bed exhausted and satisfied.

I'm really excited about how everything is sounding! It's all so organic and energetic with the live instruments. "You Deserve Better" has become upbeat somehow, "30k" has taken on a honky tonk feel, and "If I Ever Break Your Heart" is sounding really beautiful. I can't wait for you all to hear the new recordings. :)