Recording Day 1: drums, guitar, and bizarre instruments
My first day of recording my new album was this week! I saved up for two years to record at Tiny Telephone in SF, where Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon, Third Eye Blind, the Mountain Goats, St Vincent and many more bands have birthed phenomenal albums.
I knocked out a bunch of acoustic guitar but my favorite part was recording drums. I’ve never played drums on my own album before because I’m a total perfectionist and don’t really feel good enough for my own standards haha. But only two songs needed a full drumset, so rather than hire someone I practiced like crazy. I forced the sound engineer to let us record drums first so I could get it out of the way and relax. Despite the nervous butterflies, I totally nailed it and even broke a stick! Who says mellow Folk music can’t be badass??
My super-musician friend Jon Mendle (who’s played Carnegie Hall and toured in Yo Yo Ma’s band) graced a couple of my songs with fishing-line-stringed banjo and early 19th century French terz guitar, both sounding absolutely gorgeous. If you don’t know what terz guitar is, (which I don’t think any normal person does, myself included) it’s a smaller guitar that’s tuned to thirds, adding a higher, brighter quality kinda like a mandolin or ukelele. Layering it onto my acoustic guitar chords gave the music more depth. So honored to have Jon on this album.
But the most memorable part for me was finally listening back to the songs with drums, after years of playing them at shows, only ever hearing the drum parts in my head. If a song needs drums, it NEEDS drums. Imagine Kashmir or almost any Hip Hop song without drums! Finally hearing the song fully express itself the way it’s always wanted was a huge moment for me. I was almost giddily laughing out loud. I can’t wait to share this album when it’s finished!!!