Great interview by Tom Murphy that gets into some of the finer details of recording and what the band learned by recording an album “professionally” for the first time:
Related to that the song, “In the Darkness” has a blurring effect on your voice in the middle, and you only seem to use it once or twice on that song but nowhere else on the record. How did you do that and what made that interesting to include?
That’s just a [Roland] Space Echo, and we turned up the intensity on it during that one part. It just loops into itself into oblivion, which is a cool effect you can do on that thing. It’s on that one song and “Bowling Trophies” a bit, too. We recorded everything through a Space Echo on the album. So everything is actually running through that more or less.
Why did you want to run the whole recording through the Space Echo?
I don’t know. You know, even if it’s not doing any echo, it’s still hitting tape, and I like that warble effect. Just from a completely recording standpoint, it has pre-amps that they build really solid, and it sounds really warm even if you’re just using it as a straight pre-amp.
For “On Blue Mountain” near the beginning you have a voice counting. What made that an interesting element in the song. It shifts sonic gears pretty quickly after that.
That was just Richard Swift who produced the album, and he played drums. He was just counting the song off, and there’s that organ part in the beginning. Initially, he just looped a “1, 2” like a metronome to play, too. We were going to cut it out, but he slowed it down and put some echo on it, and we thought it sounded really cool, and left it in there. There’s a lot of stuff on that song. That one probably took the longest to make.
Was there anything you did for this record that you discovered in making it in terms of sound and production? Perhaps that you hadn’t explored before.
With this album I think sonically we went in knowing what we wanted. We had a very clear vision of what we wanted. But we learned how to make a record professionally. We went into a studio and had an allotted amount of time and made a record, which we hadn’t done before. I think that’s where we learned the discipline to actually make a record like a professional band. Like real people making music rather than do it in our house or something.
What got you interested in playing a twelve-string guitar and what do you see as the virtues of that instrument versus maybe a six-string?
I had the twelve-string for a little bit and played it live. It was strung a little weird. I took away the D and the G double strings. Which I dubbed the “Mr. Tambourine Man Strings” because it made no matter what you were playing sound like The Byrds. It’s the thing that makes it really jangle-y and not every song can be jangle-y.
It was interesting, but it became too hard to tune. It was an old Hagstrom twelve-string, and it could not hold [up], so I had to stop playing it. When it worked, I really liked it. It had the double notes and I thought that was really cool and it would fill out certain parts on the higher strings.
The advantages are that it has a more full sound. But playing it live on every song, you can’t really bend the strings. You have to bend two at the same time, which is sort of hard to do. I went back to 6-string because it’s easier to play. I play a [Fender] Jazzmaster now.
If you want to see that 12-string in action, be sure to watch the video from the 3voor12 session last December.