November 2014

#GNALP3 Studio Diary: Day 3

Three days in the studio so far, over the course of six weeks. This is quite the opposite of what I’ve been used to in my recording past! Never before, since I started recording in studios when I was 16, have I spread out the process over so much time and space. I’m so used to the “balls to the wall” approach of holing myself up some place for 10+ hours per day, cramming in as much as I can, knowing that the end is near — that whatever gets done or doesn’t get done by a certain date, regardless of how it sounds, is what I’m going to end up with… forever.

Okay okay, it’s not quite that intense and epic, but this slower pace is such a different experience! Coming back to the songs with fresh ears, getting excited all over again about the sounds and ideas that we recorded, and at the same time hearing where there could be entirely new and different instruments and parts in a song that I wouldn’t have heard a month, two months, six months ago. I’m learning how quickly ideas can change and evolve.

So the third day was all about piano. Logan has this awesome, creaky old Wurlitzer upright piano. You’ll hear the sound of the sustain pedal on the final recordings — it’s that kind of creaky. Lots of character. We tracked parts for three songs, which didn’t take very long. Piano was my first instrument and I feel most comfortable playing it. Plus, it always sounds amazing, no matter how warmed up I am, or whether or not I have calluses on my fingers.

Fun fact: You can hear this piano on the film score for “Listen Up Phillip” which Logan recorded with Keegan DeWitt of Nashville’s Wild Cub!

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It wouldn’t be a G,NA recording session without a little synth action. We set up this Yamaha DX7 and got some pretty sweet (and weird) sounds out of it for one of the songs!

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Fun fact: The song “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins was recorded almost entirely on a DX7. (These are the kinds of things that only recording engineers know.)

We also tracked the bass for one of the songs, and Logan made me use a pick, much to my chagrin. So of course I had to tell him the story of how and why I learned to play bass with a pick, in my mid-twenties, when I auditioned to be the new bassist for Smashing Pumpkins in Los Angeles. What?! Yes.

With the holidays approaching, I’m thinking we’ll get probably one or two more sessions in the studio before it’s a new year. I’ve got a few demos to finish in that time, and I’d like to write one or two more songs, too. I’m really loving this slow and steady approach. “If it’s urgent, it’s not important. If it’s important, it’s not urgent.”

♥ Sarah

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