Aoi's new toy  

August 21, 2015 

What happens when we get locked out of our studio and have to wait for our bandmate to show up with the spare key? Why, we go for a stroll along the canal, of course: 

Pushing the red button and tangling wires 

August 8, 2015  

The last two days in studio have been a spectacular struggle. Troubleshooting has its good and bad days. I keep thinking that there has got to be a better way to handle the to-do checklist. If there is any consolation to be found, it is in the moments that we have managed to capture and that we are heading in a direction that feels right. There are other moments between head scratching and teeth grinding that I feel needs to be written down as well - if only to say that this recording business ain't easy! I can only tell myself that at any level, there are limitations: budget & time being the most obvious ones. Despite those odds, it's best to keep in mind that the only real limitations we face are our own selves. The way we choose to play our instruments take after take to bring perfection to the captures brings a certain measure of complacency if we're not careful to keep in mind that we are in fact sculpting emotions for every string plucked and every snare drum tapped. If you waver for even a microsecond, and the metronome is always ticking, you'll falter, you'll lose your nerve, and you'll cave in to hesitation. Hesitation is death in a recording context. The tension between making every note crisp and layering the tracks with feeling is a mental battle that every recording musician endures; but the question of a perfect or imperfect capture is not about precision, but of spirit. In this sense, human beings become instruments and our musical instruments become extensions of our intentions. Dare I say that they're pure..? 


Who's in charge here? 

July 27, 2015

Band practice in between recording sessions carries a restless kind of tension. You show up, ready to play, but some part of you just wants to revel in all the exciting things that you want to be happening all at once. What does this mean? It means there's so much to do and schedules are tight, which means time is limited. This also means we're forced to cram everything into short little sessions of "how should we spend our time together?" The work muse is always calling for more, however. It will never be satisfied. In my experience, you have to keep giving everything to it until you find a new project. Some kind of eerie symbiosis - when you're away, you can't stop thinking about the work. When you're arranging to get together with the work, it incessantly nags at you. Only when you're in the work - in unison with it, does the tension ease, the cellphones cease to exist, and you find yourself in harmony with all that should be, and the hours flutter by without a care.  


Cornflower blue 

July 24, 2015 

William and I had set down some thick bass tracks long before this update - almost forgot how painstaking it was to micromanage hectic schedules, cancellations, and the pressure to "play with feeling" (as they say) to a click. They are more like blips than clicks. Well, you can pretty much customize anything these days. In any case, having Mike come in to do his metronome snare tricks was a cinch and then we could move on to me. My usual hemming and hawing about tone and better tone can be, to say the least, consuming. Since I'm writing this post, I get to be generous with myself but I often wonder how it works for other neurotic control freaks who feel the burning need to "get it right" (as they say). I think accepting your role is important when you're in the middle of a D.I.Y. frame of mind. You can get caught up being a ping-pong ball sometimes, though...which is why I prefer not being alone in the studio. But 5+ studio hours spent tweaking and strumming and plucking and tuning (and re-tuning ad nauseam) your guitar until you've convinced yourself you've got it right (as I say) is its own rite of passage - best to do it on your own. Our studio is actually a makeshift basement-dungeon with a cover page image from something out of Fight Club meets Breaking Bad (more to say on the studio later). Something about being under the gaze of the soft and steady buzzing fluorescent lights can be strangely comforting where, normally, with others around, it is regarded as an annoyance. Productivity has a strange (and sweet, of course) siren's call.  

Moving along... 

When I was sure I was done, I checked and double checked (and to be honest, I checked about 30 times) to make sure everything was balanced, sounding like I wanted, and not under any pressure to meet others' expectations. What am I making? Why am I doing this? Wooing yourself isn't easy when you're criticizing yourself through the whole process. Productivity demands that you keep your bored bandmates interested though - so, I call up Aoi: 

"Let's plug you in." 
Well, that was easy...

4+ hours later: tweaking, frowning, finally settling on the Les Paul with the Fender amp - we get this glistening tone on the main harmony and a charming jangle-y sparkle on the chorus - another guitar track done. Not quite ready for the surgical part yet (mixing) - but it's oh-so-tempting! What awaits us instead is a bit of rinse-and-repeat. One more track for me to go. The others always seem to just fall in place when I'm out of the way; or maybe it just seems too easy when the pressure is off. But then it's not as fun, you see. 


Timing is everything... 

July 2, 2015 

First impressions and strange responses. It feels a little hollow in here but at least we are on the digital landscape in some form. We are busy busy busy like buzzing bees or maniacal chemists or crazed wizards: crafting, shaping, molding — recording! Yes, that too. Our intention is to bring to you our first EP before the end of fall. We are calling it POLYSONICA.

There will be more shows in the near future as well.

Stay tuned..