I had the good fortune to return to Signature Sounds Studio to lay down basic tracks for my upcoming record release. Sean, Miki, and I camped out for two days of basic tracking. I am currently editing at home, and I hope to head into The Bunker Studio later this summer to mix with my good friend John Davis. This is the first of a pair of posts dedicated to the process of putting the record together.
We all arrived at the studio bright and early on a Tuesday morning. Unlike my previous recordings, this session was at a “destination” studio. Though this destination was only 3 1/2mi. from my country cottage, it was almost an hour from home for both Sean and Miki. With plenty of beds for everyone, a full kitchen, airy communal space, a great microphone collection, and a quiet & contemplative vibe, it was the perfect spot to delve into the project fully, without the regular distractions of daily life.
I have not previously had the luxury of working this way. If money was no object, I would always work like this! I didn’t feel “on the clock” the way I often do in a studio. I had done a lot of pre-production before the band even arrived—arranging melodies, planning overdubs & orchestrations. This certainly streamlined my decision making during the session. However, the fact that we were all staying at the studio also bolstered this feeling. If we wanted to take a coffee break, or to make a snack, or walk outside to clear our heads, we could! I knew that there were things I could do after dinner or during down time to keep the project moving forward.
The studio is on the site of the former Hocus Pocus Artist Colony in Pomfret, CT. The big, converted barn contains the energy of many years of creative projects. Robert, a musician and friend of the arts, has been living on the property off and on since the late 80’s. Currently, he owns the land and inhabits an apartment below the recording studio. In addition to maintaining an ambitious garden, one of his latest projects is raising chickens. When we were there, he was installing their new coup outside. I spent a lot of time observing these birds and wandering around the vegetable garden. Robert is an earnest soul. It was great talking, eating, and listening to mixes together.
Good food also featured prominently in our time at the studio. Each day started with a nice full breakfast of coffee and eggs, or oatmeal, or pancakes! Each day ended with burritos, and then hours of hanging on the back porch telling stories and enjoying scotch. When I turned in around 11, I was able to relax after an artistically productive day, while being excited for the day ahead. In part 2 of this series, I will dive into the recording process itself.