Apr 012009

It was a busy month for us in Organical-land. Steve, Ed, John and myself were spending three nights a week in The Lab at Badvision Studios, slaving away on recording guitar tracks. It’s a full-band effort… we all show up whenever we can to lend as many ears to the process as possible, and to lend moral and musical support as needed.

These were usually 4-6 hour sessions, and we cranked through a LOT of material. I did a quick count off the whiteboard the other night when we wrapped up, and i think i counted 13 tracks that have finished (or almost finished) guitars on them. We have a few more tracks we need to record drums and bass for, and then we move on to vocals and various acoustic and textural overdubs. We’re trying to keep those to a minimum, to try and retain as much of the “live” band feel as we can.

Overall, we’re extremely happy with our productivity over the month of March, despite having to re-learn songs (some of which we haven’t played in months) and in some cases, completely re-writing parts or eliminating parts altogether as we examined the material under the scrutiny of the studio environment.

Once we got into the flow of things, we were moving swiftly and methodically through the songs, with Steve and i trading off guitar duties. Our rigs are so different and so complimentary that even running through the same speakers and mics, the voices of each of our guitars comes through really clearly in the rough mix.

Not surprisingly, my Dean Evo Special 7 has been my weapon of choice through most of the recordings. The Seymour Duncan Custom 7 in the bridge (which i’ve modified with an Alnico 8 magnet) has given the guitar incredible density and growl without getting nasty. It’s punchy and percussive, with a nice “weight” to it.

The big surprise for me was how much i ended using my latest acquisition, a seven-string Telecaster-type guitar (an Agile T-7 Texan) on a lot of the cleaner and semi-distorted parts. I’ve never been a fan of Telecaster-type guitars before, but for some reason, the sound is exactly what some of these new songs needed. My 8-string Agile Intrepid has been used on a couple of tracks thus far as well.

darren's Agile T-7 Texan

darren's Agile T-7 Texan

The other surprise for me was that my trusty Music Man Petrucci 7 hasn’t been tracked at all. I plugged it in one night to record a part and it just didn’t deliver the goods. It’s a spectacular instrument, but it just doesn’t have the balls of the big Dean, so we haven’t found a place for it yet.

Steve’s been using his Tokai ES-335 copy quite a bit, and i’m happy to see (and hear) his wonderful Italia Mondial back in the mix. It had a couple of issues that made it unplayable for quite some time, so i took it back to my workshop one weekend and spent a couple of hours tearing it down, addressing the issues and rebuilding it. (Yeah, i’m the band’s guitar tech, too.) The Tokai and Italia are really great-sounding guitars. Steve’s Jagmaster also came out on a couple of tracks, as well as his Ibanez AX7520 7-string. On one or two takes, Steve also used my Dean if the Ibanez wasn’t quite cutting it. But it still sounds like Steve.

That’s all for now… we’re taking a bit of a break this week as Steve’s travelling on business. We’re picking up again on Sunday to hopefully get some drum tracks recorded for a couple of the outstanding tracks.

I think we’re still hoping to deliver this album in “spring 2009″… thank goodness spring lasts until June! 😉

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