|Liquid Casing finishes basic tracks for the album, and loses its collective mind.|
Here is a compilation of some of my favorite moments in making this album:
1) Finishing the vocals for Checkpoints and Borders. I knew this song would have the most difficult vocal track on the album and I worked tirelessly to get my best performance. I was so happy when I got a good take. But, there are some really bad out of tune wailing that I had to work through in order to get there. I did not just walk in and belt that shit out. The song pushed my voice in a way that it had not been pushed before. I also knew that the performance wasn't just relying on hitting the perfect notes, but also connecting with the tone and substance of the lyrics. It took awhile to get happy with it, but it was an enormous relief to have completed that. I know the vocal take on the album isn't perfect, but once I was able to connect with it emotionally, I didn't need to go any farther. When you see us play it live, it will sound even better!
2) Finishing the basic tracks for album. Our schedules our ridiculously tough to work around. It was nice to finish the parts that required everyone's presence. The last song we recorded was called "Non-Linear Solution" and I feel like our recording ability and prowess in the studio had grown significantly. We were more confident and it was easier to get the sounds we had in our head, but it felt like that confidence came at the last possible moment in the recording process for this album. Also, Jim's bass playing and tone....WOW!
3) Recording overdubs by myself. We track everything as a band to capture the dynamics and feel of real people connecting musically in a live space. That's a big part of our recording philosophy. However, after the live tracks are done, we layer a lot of stuff on to complete the vision of the song. Sometimes this is additional instrumentation or extra bongo hits (hell yeah!) or vocal harmonies or whatever. Also, if you have a tricky solo and don't want to fuck up the rest of the band while you perfect some tiny note, it can be good to do this after the band has nailed all of the major parts. During this overdubbing process, I really enjoyed just being by myself in a room with a wonderful recording just trying to add nuance and detail with the additional guitars and ambiance. I also tracked my vocals on my own, and it feels safe with no one around, belting it out at the top of my lungs.
4) Hearing how massive the end of Non-Linear Solution became. Holy shit, it blew me away at the end when I finished the last bit of overdubs. Between the strings, drums, and noise, Damn, that was intense!
5) Jim showing us his painting. I struggled with the cover artwork. I took a lot of photographs for the album looking to tie it into the theme of borders and separation. But, none of the photos I had, really worked as the main cover. So, when we saw Jim's painting, we were blown away and we immediately knew that was the cover. It was so colorful, which flew in the face of the sadness. It was stark, vivid, and really telling all at the same time.
6) Recording the gnarly bass for "A Path of Footprints Forged in the Midnight Sun". Thank Steamboat amps for that piece of gorgeous fuzzy tone on the bass. Holy cow! We plugged an old gibson bass into the Steamboat Classic 50 guitar amp and cranked up the gain. I had a ribbon mic and a condensor mic on the speaker cabinet. That track didn't hardly need any post work. Just turn that shit up and go!
And here are my not so fondest memories for the album:
1) Giving up, on the song called "Surrounded". This one hurt pretty bad. We had everything recorded and mixed and mastered, but the drums were just not popping out like they should. It wasn't apparent until the mixing stage, that drums were just poorly recorded and the drum take was not as strong as it needed to be. Even though there are some moments of drumming brilliance on that song, the take wasn't there. Our schedules couldn't line up to totally redo the drums. I also didn't think the song added new element to the album. But it is such a fun song and has a quick kinetic energy to it that it really hurt to not put it on the album. It shall be reborn, though. We will re-do the drums and put it out with another song we did called Cascade Fire on an EP we are calling Kontrollpunkt EP. We will add some interlude music too! Don't worry, it will be great, and we will make this EP available for free when we finish it.
2) Trying to make "Jam 4" work. This is a cool little jam we had for awhile, and it NEVER worked like it did the first time we jammed it. And we got in a rut of trying to force this thing to sound like something and it resisted us every time! The inability to make headway on turning this jam into an actual song created some tension in the band because some of us didn't see it anymore, while others recalled how badass it had originally sounded. On a positive note, we came back to the song after we were finished with the main songs on the album, and just had fun with it again. We hit the record button midway through rehearsal and had such a blast that we took that small little recording, reversed it and made a little interlude on the album. Listen for it in between "The Line Which Divides" and "For a Memory Erased".
2) Struggling with inexperience. Recording is an art. Mixing is an art. Mastering is an art. On top of that, there is a whole foundation built on science that one must understand to make music sound like music on an album. Bottom line, we do all of this stuff ourselves and we are novices. But, we are always trying to learn and get better each time. Well, this bit me a few times during the mixing phase, where I would do the best I could do and finalize a mix. I'd listen to it and think it was passable, but a few days later learn a new mixing technique and find out the mix could sound incredibly improved. The only problem, is that I would have to employ this new approach on all the other songs. It's fine the first time, but by the sixth or twenthieth time, I get pretty bummed about re-doing everything.
4) Deleting guitar tracks on "Alambrista". So, I was fiddling around with our recording software and was playing with the time stretching functions to see if I could play with the tempo a little. I had thought that the song might have been a little fast or something of that nature. Well, I left the song alone for several weeks. When I got back to it, I noticed that the song sounded "funny", especially the guitars. I wrongly attributed it to a phenomenon known as phase cancellation. It sounded so bad to me, that I just decided to delete the offending guitar tracks. It dawned on me after I deleted those tracks, that the problem was associated with the stupid time stretching that I messed with. Once the tempo went back to normal, it was perfect again....and then I started to kick myself for deleting perfectly fine tracks. Grrrr! And what the hell was I thinking deleting anything, it's not like we needed more space. Apparently, I'm still mad
5) Losing Non-Linear Solution. The final take of NLS is take 13. However, we "nailed" the take somewhere around take 8 or 9. Well, in the process of backing up our hard drive and doing a bunch of stuff, those files got corrupted. I was so bummed that they wouldn't open up, and it seemed like the backed up drive had copied the corrupted file. I was UNHAPPY to say the least! I felt horrible having to tell the rest of the band that we had to re-do it. On the bright side, we added some additional nuances along the way, which made it
Overall, we are really happy with how the album turned out. The sounds and ideas that we had in our heads are well manifested onto the recorded music and even artwork. We are really sorry that we didn't write more during the process and provide a look inside the madness, anxiety, and fun. We had to endure some rough times, including Okiki and John who had to deal with separation from their families and immigration making things extremely difficult and costly. Somehow, we focused and kept trucking along. So, we hope you enjoy the new album, A Separate|Divide. It can be listened to at http://liquidcasing.bandcamp.com. If you want to contact us, send us an email at email@example.com or visit our website at http://www.liquidcasingmusic.com.
-Alvaro "Mind Now Intact" Rodriguez
|Liquid Casing: A Separate|Divide|