chasing ghosts

The weekend’s weather was a long-awaited taste of springtime, but we were booked at Kawari all day both days. The good news for Troy, Kenny and me is this studio in the wooded suburbs has a nice big deck, so we could work with the door open and take occasional breaks from the red-velvet-shrouded control room to stand outside in the sun.

We’re working on “final” mixes. I guess I put that in quotes because there always seems to be another tweak you could do, and unless there’s a date certain deadline you’re up against (we are not) you could keep on going forever, or until the money runs out, which will definitely happen long before forever.  We got very close to true finality with Fretz and Into the Night and Gettysburg.

Ghost of Yesterday was going to be an “easy” one, there are relatively few instrument tracks and just one vocal track, no harmonies. But the subject matter — maybe it’s told from the point of view of someone whose dear lover has died, or perhaps it’s actually from the perspective of the departed loved one, now in a colder, lonelier place — was crying out for other-worldly sound-FX. Matt cooked up some crazy reverse-delay thing, a multi-step process intended to mimic what you used to do with tape, and then applied it to my vocal track to get something spooky and magical, and sad too. It sounds like this singing girl is very far away and longing to be closer, but without any real hope of making it back. We came away with an almost-final mix that we can chew on until the next time.

Someone asked me recently why we’re doing this, like what exactly is the point, and what do we hope to achieve. Fair question, especially since we’re a bit, how-do-you-say, long in the tooth. All of the typical reasons are valid. Sure, it would be great to play some beautiful rooms full of open, interested listeners — we love to perform. Yes, we’d appreciate a good review, maybe some radio airplay, and a chance to find a bigger audience. And, who doesn’t dream about licensing that one big song to a hit movie, or getting someone with star-power to record a tune or two so we can all quit our day jobs?

But the true bottom line reason, for me at least, is there are songs inside and they want to come out. This isn’t a daily thing, but it’s a constant thing, songs forever wanting to come out. I think this must be true for each of us, I know it is for Troy who usually walks around the house with a guitar strapped on, always playing some new progression, or an old one in a new way, or the one from the other night that stuck in my head and inspired a melody, which might materialize into a song.  The songs are there and they want to come out, and so, when we’re lucky and quiet, they do.

And that’s pretty much it.