On Monday night I experienced a real recording studio for the first time.

We scheduled three hours to record three tracks.  With the parts ready to go, practiced over and over with a metronome, one hour per song seemed plenty.  I knew it would take longer than I expected, but I was surprised by the 7 hours we spent that night.  It’s a good thing Sophie thought to bring a few six packs and chocolate.

After fighting rush-hour Denver traffic I almost missed the studio.  The building was much smaller and less imposing than I expected:

When we drove by it was already totally dark outside, making this building seem even smaller

Everyone arrived within 5 minutes of each other.  We started setting up the drumset at 6:30PM.  An hour and a half later the mics on the drums and bass were finally ready to go.  I think there were 7 or 8 on the drumset alone.

The drums with the mics

At 8:00 PM we finally started recording.  I was in a hallway with a window through to Brendan and Ben in the main room.  Sophie stayed out of the first recording, becoming instead an invaluable advisor and active listener.  Chris stayed in the main room with the computers and monitors, plugged directly in.

Darren was an excellent technician. Chris, the keyboard, Sophie, and the other two technicians were all sitting in this room as well.

We did three takes of each track.  Everyone could hear the final product through the headphones or monitors.  Sophie and Darren made comments for stuff to work on between takes.

The main recording space. My hallway was through the window in the door.

It was past 9:30 by then.  I was having a blast (it was incredibly fun to record with this top-of-the-line equipment), but I was starting to worry about money and time.  After all, it costs $50 per hour to be in the studio, and we still had to mix and master everything at the same price.  Darren advised us to be careful though, and go through all the steps.  I agreed so we sat down to listen to just drums, bass, and keys.  We fixed a few parts on the keys quickly by dropping them in, and decided we were happy with the rhythm tracks.

Now we had to rerecord guitar and then vocals.  And finally Sophie’s harmonies and then Brendan’s cello part.  That meant, all going well, each song had to be rerecorded 4 more times, plus all the time between.  Woah, definitely a process.

Second takes of vocals and guitars, the window behind me leads to the computers, beer, and my friends.

When my parts were done I finally drank one of the best beers I have had in a while.  For some reason I always have 90 Shilling handy at the most important times.  The boys cuddled on the couch while we recorded Sophia and then cello.

Loving cuddles at 12:00AM

As the tracks consolidated and were burned onto a CD, we finished the beer, cleaned up, and hugged a lot.  Darren, bless his heart, had left as soon as the recording was done so he could bring his little one to school super early the next morning.  Seamus, a great friend and awesome engineer, took this picture of us just before we all drove to our respective homes.

Tired out after seven hours in the studio

The tracks still need to be mixed and mastered.  They will be ready for listening by the second week of January!

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