Silent Moon Pre-Release.

We done it! With Ross Otto joining us on bass, we played our new album along with some old tunes to a full house at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3. We worked really hard on this record and pushed ourselves a little out of our comfort zone to achieve something very different from the first that we are utterly proud of. We gave ourselves two years to do it, and we finished pretty close to the finish line. You need to do this when you have other commitments (day jobs, babies, other band commitments, lives in general). I remember writing the last two lines to A Better Life in my car in the studio car lot the day we recorded it. Tom, our producer jokes about how highly strung I was during some of the recording. I was. Two songs, Siren and Riot were finished in the studio while Take A Day Off was plucked from a solo record I was working on at a different studio. Anyway, now it’s finished. Although we physically gave away the album to everyone who attended, the digital release will be sometime in the new year. Thanks again to all who came out to see our show, as we begin promoting this one we have already begun writing the next. And so the cycle continues, the musical adventures continue…

All photos taken by the talented Thomas Pryor

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Finished!

Tonight I spent a few hours back at Moon Lab Studios to finish the vocals on what will be the last track of the album. I had gone to Moon Labs to record a solo single a while ago but after spending a lot of time on it, I felt it was god enough to include on the Supersmall album. This is the only track Daniela did not play on. Lane (owner/producer/engineer) put me in contact with two jazz musicians to play drums and bass and the overall feel of the song is very different. It will be the closing track on the album. Anyway, I guess I wrote all this to say that Silent Moon is now officially finished, done, over, no more recording. We master the tracks and then when the artwork is finished, we go on sale.

Colin, signing out, July 1st, 2015 😉

Mixing

I spent three days last week at the studio mixing the record now that all the recording has been done. It’s a long, slow but interesting process (of which the producer does 99.99% of the work – credit where it.s due). During the mixing of ‘Riot’ I felt it needed a guitar solo and was able to record it on what is now my latest obsession, a Gibson Memphis ES-330. We removed some backing vocals on ‘Free From Harm’ (also known as the yacht rock song) and made some minor adjustments here and there but it was mostly re-amping previous recordings. It sounded great and I’m sitting with them for a week or so to let them sink in. Tomorrow I return to Moon Lab Studios to finish the vocals on ‘Take The Day Off’ and then they’ll all be sent to get mastered and viola! We have our next record/first album. Much respect to Tom our producer, he’s an infinite supply of patience and energy. After touring the country opening for Neko Case, his first gig back was mixing our indie rock record. Daniela couldn’t make the sessions herself but hey, that’s what WhatsApp is for 😉

Below are some random pics of the days spent mixing.

Day 3 of 3 Recording

Well this update is a little on the late side, a full week late in fact. After recording I had a hectic week and tonight is the only chance I’ve had to sit down and write. Anyway, day 3…

Jeremy, a piano player friend of our Producer Tom lives close to me in Queens, so I picked him up in the car early Sunday morning and we drove to the studio together. He’s from Atlanta, Georgia but spent a lot of time in Athens. I of course nerded out being the huge R.E.M. fan that I am. Yes he met them, yes they’re all awesome.

As soon as we arrived we began putting keyboards on almost all the songs so we could return during the mixing stage and edit what we need. First up was ‘Home’, a fast-moving tune not unlike ‘This Other World’, then some Rhodes Organ was put on what is becoming my favorite tune ‘A Better Life’ (also known as the Belle and Sebastian song).

Some subtle strings were then laid down over the bridge of ‘Free From Harm’. This song is the one we’ve been referring to as ‘Yacht Rock’ due to its early 80’s, fun melodic vibe if you’re been looking at our tweets and Instagrams.

‘Silent Moon’ got some beautiful touches from the grand piano and a little Wurlitzer too. Like cheese, the Wurlitzer goes good on everything. Background strings also were used to fill it out a little.

‘Between The Sun and Candlelight’ got some grand piano chording which really helped the choruses. There is a lot of guitar on this track and it’s the one song that has morphed into something very different from what it started out as. It’s always interesting to see that happen.

‘Siren’ needs little or nothing but we put a faint background fill throughout which really suits it. This is a very complicated guitar part but to be honest it’s Daniela’s drumming which really rounds out the sound.

‘Riot’ which is just me on guitar remained untouched. I done many takes of this song and in some my voice in stronger while the guitar is weak and then in others the guitar is strong and my voice is wreak. I think this is to do with the fact that the song itself has changed constantly in tempo, key and lyrics. To be honest, I was still tweaking it until about two weeks before recording. I’m very proud of it, the version we done is as close as I could get to what was in my head although the tempo picks up a little at the end. Click Track? Yeah we don’t use that.

This Wednesday night we have a trumpet player coming in for the choruses of ‘A Better Life’ and then we need to figure if ‘Riot’ actually needs anything. Cello? Violin? Maybe it’s fine the way it is. Jeremy left early and I stayed back to give the songs a final listen and pack up. On the way home I stopped off at an Irish bar just a mile or so south of the GWB that I had passed on previous nights. something about it intrigued me, it was just a dive in the middle of nowhere really. I parked the car, walked inside and Like any local, everyone turned around and greeted me. I had a beer and watched part of a baseball game along with everyone else. It felt good to have all the work behind me. It took two years to get this Album together, many songs written and discarded, but we have Eight songs that we are very proud of and I’m looking forward to promoting it and playing live again.

Listening back to the rough takes it’s hard to imagine that Daniela was seven months pregnant while she was banging on the drums. She really rocks out on ‘Between The Sun And Candlelight’ so keep that in mind when you hear it.

I worked on a new song this morning and felt good about it, maybe it’s gonna be the first song on the next record 😉

– Colin

DAY 2 OF 3 RECORDING

I felt good returning today to the studio, we made so much progress yesterday. Our good luck continued as we tackled some more guitar parts.

‘Silent Moon’ gained a little noodle here and there but will most likely be wiped as the song is very simplistic as is.

‘Free From Harm’, a strange toe-tapper got some doubled guitar riffs that I had in my head ever since writing it. I got to play my favorite 59′ Jazzmaster again on that track and many other. It such an incredible guitar.

The Ebow was taken out for “Between The Sun And Candlelight’ and sounds awesome. Tom done a riff which stretched over five frets. I’m sure there is an easier way of playing it but he pulled it off regardless.

“A Better Life’ got some additional guitar and then I hit the booth to work on the vocals again. I wasn’t sure why I couldn’t nail this song until I realized that the key it’s in is just outside my comfort range. I can still hit the notes but I begin to strain a little. We done many takes and eventually got it after I decided to sing sitting down. this somehow relaxed me enough to get what I wanted vocal. I returned later for several more harmony parts that may or may not make the final cut.

Jeremy, the piano player is arriving tomorrow and much of the guitar work may be pushed to the side as we get into the final arrangement of the tracks. Tomorrow will be an interesting day.

Then what? Well, we need sot bring in our violinist and somehow get our hands on a trumpet player for ‘A Better Life’.

Then what? We return to mix the songs, add the track we done with the previous studio (Take The Day Off) and send them all off to be mastered.

Then what? Promote the record. Which is the hardest part.

Tune in tomorrow night for ‘Day 3 of 3 Recording’

– Colin

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Getting There.

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(sitting down) Office.

Day 1 of 3 Recording

One down, two more to go. I booked three days at Nuthouse Recording Studio to finish the bulk of the record and so far it was very productive. Today we adjusted the bass lines to ‘Between The Sun and Candlelight’ which we will return to tomorrow. It’s a rocking tune that I hope to put some interesting and unusual guitar work on.

After recording several versions of ‘Riot’, we almost returned to the original demo I recorded months previously. It goes to show that sometimes when you are not thinking, you sound better. The final take today just nipped it at the post. I played it on a Yamaha guitar (same type used by Elliott Smith) and it carried the melody a lot better than my Martin (Shock. Horror!) It’s a slower, lyrically heavy Nick Drake-ish track that I think is an indicator of where Supersmall may eventually veer towards more in the future. It has no drums but ‘Siren’, another song that falls into the ‘future Supersmall’ category does. This was also worked on today. Daniela’s drums create an unusual haunting atmosphere not too different to ‘This Grenade Will Love You”. It’s the most complicated guitar part i’ve ever written although to hear it you may not think so. The guitar is in C-G-E-G-C-C tuning which allows for some interesting chording.

‘A Better Life’ was completed except for vocals as my voice just wasn’t cutting it today. I got to use a ’59 Jazzmaster  for a ‘Shins/Beatles-esque’ riff throughout. A Rickenbacker 360 gave it an R.E.M sound on the ‘weird change part’. 😉

Both Tom and I laid down some guitar parts for ‘Home’. Honestly I think it’s done but Jeremy, a session musician who is arriving on Sunday may add some piano.

Tomorrow we tackle ‘Silent Moon’, a favorite and very personal song that was a true co-write. Also, ‘Free from Harm’ . A black sheep if ever there was one.