Lots of people ask me how I can be in a band that’s largely based in Los Angeles without living out west myself. The answer: The series of tubes known as the Internet.
I halfheartedly attempted to live in Arizona and California about 10 and 5 years ago respectively, but the east coast just keeps pulling me back. My family is here; plus I love the pace, the people, the accents1, the flipping of birds, the seasons, the architecture, and the lack of earthquakes (call me funny, but I kinda expect terra firma to be, well, firma). So, when Andrew moved out west and stayed out west, we had a conundrum: find a new singer, or buy a lot of plane tickets for me, because me living out west wasn’t good for my soul.
The good news is that my former “real job” included lots of travel– I was a road warrior for a good long time, and had racked up a zillion frequent flyer miles. Work paid for my work-related travel, and the frequent flyer miles yielded plane tickets for IJG-related travel. Worked out great for performing2, but what about rehearsing and recording?
Since IJG typically performs consecutive dates via tours rather than a date here and there, it doesn’t really matter much where I live. Andrew mails us .pdfs and midi files of the new tunes which we woodshed on our own. Then we all descend upon the city a day or two in advance of our first tour gig, we rehearse, and then we hit the road. Naturally the shows towards the end of our tours are the tightest, and there have been tours in the past when we’ve hit the studio immediately following a tour while the material still has that fresh road feel.
For this new (currently unnamed) disc, my vocals were recorded separately, just like we did with LEEF (2008). Andrew sent me .wav files of a very rough mixes of the band via yousendit, and I brought ’em on a thumb drive to the studio and recorded my vocals over top. I asked Andrew to make sure Tany’s previously-recorded vocals were pretty high in the mix so I could be sure to line up with her articulation and phrasing, which is more important than ever given the new vocal style we’re trying. The output of my sessions was a single .wav of my nekkid vocals, one for each track, which Andrew would drop into ProTools (or whatever he was using) to mix it all down.
For our 2008 disc LEEF, I recorded my non-live vocals at Lollipop Recording Studios in south Jersey with Jason Ruch, and also at Studio Crash in Philly with Sean Smith; both studios are fabulous. For this current disc, I recorded all of my vocals at Studio Crash across two sessions; one with Michael Harmon (Studio Crash’s owner), and another again with Sean. All three engineers are terrific and total pros.
This new (currently nameless) disc is being produced by Andrew and the fabulous Chris Schlarb in Los Angeles as I type this. It’s very exciting, and I can’t wait to hear how it all comes out. Stay tuned here for details and previews of the new disc!
1 OK, except the Philly accent. I swear, that accent is like nails on a chalkboard. “Hoewme?” Don’tcha mean “home?” Gimme a Nicky Newark north Jersey accent any day.
2 Keep your eyes peeled for a future post re: “How does a 17-piece band fly to all these places without going broke?” As The Industrial Jazz Group’s honorary travel consultant, I have plenty o’ tips.