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.
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.