"The Squeeze" Recording Update: Perfection
So the band is nearing the end of our full-band recording sessions as we prepare to push headlong into overdubs and mixing of our upcoming album, "The Squeeze." The album is due to be released April 11th, in time for us to take it with us on our epic journey across the country. That means that we were short on time before we even began, and are nearing that insane crunch time moment we all swore we would never subject ourselves to again. I can't explain how happy I am that the album is titled what it is, because this production has been ultimately one of the most challenging and demanding projects that any of us have had the pleasure to undertake.
So where are we now? We're basically 80% of the way done with full band takes, having recorded one song per night (give or take) for the last eight rehearsals. We had a three week break from gigging in January, during which time we turned our rehearsal space into a recording studio and got settled in to prepare the songs for recording. But February has had us back on the tour grind, which has made the recording process a bit more strenuous and time consuming.
Every week, we have painstakingly removed our gear from the studio on Thursday night in preparation for the weekends gigs. It was Whitefish to Billings two weeks ago, two nights in Jackson Hole this past weekend, and this coming Friday, a run through Idaho Falls on our way to Park City, Utah. Sunday we spend in the van, weaving our way home from wherever it is we went, and Monday (or Tuesday), we carefully return our instruments to their weekday homes, careful not to disturb the microphones that have been expertly positioned by our producer and amazingly generous friend and mentor, Jesse Barney.
Needless to say, time is limited. We all work day jobs, and when we arrive at the rehearsal space-turned recording studio at 5pm, it's safe to say that most of us are approaching the low battery warning light. But somehow, despite our limited energy and time, we've managed to deconstruct, fine tune, relearn, and perform a song in the course of 3 or 4 hours each night for the last four weeks. We've pretty consistently found a way to tap into that ethereal place where inspiration and energy are born, gritting our teeth and feeding off of the pressure of the squeeze to make each performance happen.
At the outset of this process, perfection was on all of our minds. We want this to be the best work any of us have put out. The best of all of our collective abilities applied simultaneously. By our best efforts, we've come to fully understand just how difficult it is for each of us to bring our A-game to the same take in the same room at the same time.
It's exhausting work, and everyday we go home mentally and physically drained, unsure of where the energy will come from the following night. We don't always get "the take," and it's safe to say that this record will bear its fair share of blemishes that we will have to embrace for the beauty of the bigger picture.
It's not the perfection we set out for in January, but this record is already the best thing we've collectively created, and if the pressure wasn't on as hard as it is, that wouldn't be the case.