We wrapped all of the recording for the new album, “The Ghost of John Henry” this weekend with our final cello, guitar, and vocal sessions, in addition to getting some miscellaneous percussion tracks. Percussion “instruments” on this record will include chains, old cast iron jail keys, artillery shells, homemade stomp box, a “thunder tube” (not a double entendre) and regular, more normal things like drums, shakers, tambourine, what-have-you. That was a fun session to do. Also, I shaved my beard to celebrate. Here’s a look at the weekend, and how everything came together throughout the sessions:
I jokingly gave Jaron, our engineer, a hard time in this video — he just got back from a tour of Australia and New Zealand with the Dresden Dolls and has been working literally around-the-clock mastering another project that’s way more high-profile than anything I’m likely to do, but he still made room for us. I have to be serious and thank him publicly for his ability and insight throughout this process. The majority of my previous recording experience has been decidedly lo-fi, so the sound and performances on the record owe a tremendous debt to him. If you need studio time in the LA area, www.jaronsound.com gets our official endorsement (expect the Sci-Fi Romance bump now, my friend).
You can hear the first record “…and surrender my body to the flames” over on our Bandcamp page.
I took a stab at a video blog, and I’d love to hear what you think. Here’s a three-minute peek behind the scenes at our first sessions in the studio to work on the new record.
As always, for more about the band, free downloads, other videos, etc., visit www.scifiromance.net.
Tomorrow morning we start work on our new album “The Ghost of John Henry” at JaronSound Studios. We’ve got ten songs to tackle in order to tell the story of the album, and we might try to bang out a couple of one-offs or would-be B-sides if there’s the opportunity.
My plan is to try to do a video blog for every weekend we record, and get a bunch of pictures and whatnot up. I assume I’ll be tweeting in short bursts, as well.
To recap, then: I wrote a concept album about John Henry — the 1870s railroad hammer-man who raced a steam drill, and won, but died from the effort — and broadened the canvas with songs that touch on the struggle between man and technology, the unknown future, exploitation of workers, and I wove a love story through it all, trying to tell the story of the human cost of something that has become a familiar, but fading legend. The story of John Henry is one that has stuck with me since I was a little, little kid, and I’m very proud of the songs and the opportunity to add my voice to the conversation that this legend has authored.
And tomorrow we start recording it. Bass and drums.
Off to it…