April 2, 2014 by Nick Schneider -
I had to keep telling myself ‘two days.’ Two days? My memory keeps stretching it out to a week at least, more likely two, because there’s no way we finished the raw tracks of Unconscious Communication in a mere 48 hours. Maybe some bizarre form of Stockholm Syndrome set in after being locked in a studio for hours on end playing music, repeatedly listening to the tracks for any glaring flaws, brainstorming ideas to add at the last minute, and squeezing as much creativity as we could out of our comically limited time frame. We were eating, sleeping, thinking, breathing and talking music and nothing but music for two straight days, all communication taking place between bandmates, producer and studio engineer. You’d go a little crazy too if you were stuck in a room with these guys for an entire weekend.
Maybe it’s the post-traumatic stress talking, but I wouldn’t trade in a single minute I spent over that weekend for anywhere else in the world. Not at the Taj Mahal, not at the Great Wall of China, not even in Angelina Jolie’s bedroom. Okay, maybe (probably, definitely) Angelina Jolie’s bedroom. I mean, I would realistically only need about 30 seconds there.
But in all seriousness, the recording of Unconscious Communication was one of the most satisfying experiences of my musically involved life. Not only did I get to play music for two full days, which is a spiritually fulfilling action in and of itself, but I also had a part in creating music. It’s a fine distinction but an important one to point out. Just playing music is an action that limits itself solely to the present, the here and now, for the enjoyment of a few friends in a garage, a stadium packed with fans, a couple drunks at a bar, or simply yourself, the individual player. Creating music is a deliberately forward-thinking process: it is the purposeful crafting of songs, of building sturdy sonic structures to weather the ravages of time and changing tastes. The recording you create will far outlive you, that’s why it is so imperative you display the best of your ability for that particular studio session. You are essentially putting yourself out there for (hopefully) the world to hear. It’s a kind of pressure that doesn’t exist in the live setting, one where mistakes are instantaneously made and just as quickly forgotten. Mistakes in the studio can live on if unchecked or hastily passed over.
Here, in the studio, perfection is that elusive, beautiful woman always out of reach but never out of mind. She exists, you know she does. You can see her, hear here, smell her expensive perfume. But you can’t have her. And youronly comfort is the hope that by trying harder you may be able to draw a few steps closer to that capricious impossibility.
Despite the heavy tone of those last few sentences, the actual recording process was relatively painless and it was fueled with the energy akin to schoolchildren playing hooky: yes, there was ample room for fuck-ups and mayhem and embarrassing consequences, but we were gonna have some serious fun in the meantime. This whole thing could’ve been a disaster but, then again, anything in life has the potential to be a disaster.
Good thing we kick ass. Yeah, I’ll say it. To hell with being humble. There are only two things I’m good at in this shrinking world: playing drums and writing inane blog posts, and I’ll take as much pride as I want in those two things thank you very much. The fact that I can share these talents with such an exemplary group of musicians, well, there’s not much more I could ask for, is there? Besides a few minutes in Angelina Jolie’s bedroom, of course.