Death of Paris studio journal

Hey everyone! We are in the studio at Killingsworth Recording Company in Los Angeles, CA where we are working with producer David Baker. We will be posting new episodes on Death of Paris TV ( daily so that you can be a part of the studio experience as well. We are also constantly updating our Twitter page so follow us on there, too. This is our very first full length studio album, as well as the very first album from our new band, Death of Paris. We want to bring you all along for the ride because as a new band we want everyone to grow with us from the very start. To catch up with us and our journey so far, check out Episode #2 on Death of Paris TV!

Thanks SCENESC for helping us make these awesome cards!


Here we go:

May 2nd, 2010
We began today by scrambling to pack everything we could into two suitcases. Just as we were ready to leave Columbia to catch our flight in Charlotte – the weather channel confirmed Jayna’s worst fears… and somehow fulfilled her premonitions (Final Destination style).


But we continued on and somehow safely made it to our connecting flight in Memphis, after we had to reroute an hour out of the way. Once we boarded the plane in Memphis, everything seemed like it was smooth sailing until we got to the runway. The flight attendant came to the front of the plane and got on the speaker, “Will everyone please return to their seats? We can’t take off until all of our passengers are secured in their seats.”

She noticed that someone was still in the bathroom of the plane. “Excuse me,” she said. “Will whoever is in the lavatory please come out, we need to take off.” 5-10 minutes went by and no one came out. She then ran to the back of the plane and started beating on the door. Still nothing. This is when Jayna whispered, “That’s going to be one hell of a walk of shame.” As we finished getting to the runway, a man exited the bathroom and sat back down.

We thought we were ready to go then we heard, “Passengers, this is the flight deck. We are experiencing a few mechanical issues and need to return to the terminal to check them out. Sorry for the delays.”

And so we turned around, and went back to the terminal. I looked out the window and saw 3 different cars heading our way. Officia-looking people stepped out and pretty soon the door to the plane opened. In came TSA agents, Police and other mechanic-looking people. A few men took the man and removed him from the plane. Then more mechanics, and even an undercover Air Marshal who was on the plane went back to the bathroom to check it out.

After another 30 minutes, the pilot came on again and thanked us for our patience. We taxied back out to the runway and took off.

We finally made it to LA! LAX is a big airport. Everyone seemed to be having something interesting going on. Jayna and I walked through the terminal looking around at everybody, and in my mind all I could hear was “Party in the USA” playing. Damn you, Miley, damn you.

The studio was about 20 minutes away from the airport, but once we got there we got right to work. Since Decemeber, Jayna and I have been hard at work writing new material for the album, which resulted in over 20 new songs. After arriving at the studio, we immediately sat down with producer David Baker and started going through the tracks, discussing the direction of the album, and finally settling on what we believe are the 10 best tracks.


By that time our excitement from the newness of LA had dissipated into jetlag and lack of sleep, so we passed out in our band bungalow/dorm. Did we mention how ridiculous this studio is??


May 3rd, 2010
Waking up was easy enough, but I can see now that my allergies are going to have a field day here. Apparently as Baker says, the Santa Ana winds blow some mean dust down from the hills and make it nasty on the senses – but it’s still got nothing on the death grip of Columbia’s pollen. Today was the day we got right to work on the songs, and that meant now that we had to go over each song we chose with a fine-toothed comb, deciding what kinds of sounds we wanted to use in each part of each song. Things to be considered: different instrumental arrangements, what songs needed electronic drum arrangements vs. the live drums, new vocal melodies, and overall mapping out the guitar sounds. Keep in mind – ONLY Jayna and I flew out to make this record, and because this is our new musical venture, we felt it needed to be solely us to actually make the record so that it could be exactly that – distinctly us.
We also decided what needed to be reworked and rewritten.

As I said in Episode #4, we are bringing back some old songs, and recording them in ways you’ve never heard before. We’ve made it a point to say “Death of Paris – new band, new sound, etc” but Jayna and I were the writing force behind This Machine is Me and we felt that sometimes our songs went in other directions than we had intended them to. This time around, we are giving songs like “Models & Bottles,” “Narcoleptic,” “Rome is Burning,” and Jayna’s personal favorite “Choke,” the attention and the direction that has been a long time coming. It was a very difficult decision for us to include TMIM songs on this record, for fear of what people might say – “they just changed their name” “they’re milking TMIM songs” etc. etc. But ultimately, these are some of the strongest songs that we have written and they need to be heard outside of Columbia, too. We aren’t just rerecording them either – you will be surprised.

Whereas “Choke” was an all out rock song before, it may become a little more raw and intimate, as Jayna originally intended. “Rome” is going to bring together a barrage of different instrumentation, from standard guitars and drums, to wurlitzers, rhodes, maybe even xylophone. All this was part of preproduction, which is one of the most laboring parts of the recording process, of what Baker says is often neglected by many producers and artists. But after spending over 18 hours in the studio our first day, we know that we are completely in the right hands and we wouldn’t want anyone else but David Baker (a Columbia native himself) to be bringing these songs to life.

May 4th, 2010
With scratch tracks done, we had to wait until Killingsworth producer, studio musician, and LA based band Scarlet Grey’s drummer Keith Cooper was free to be able to track drums for us. Everything else on the album will be played by Jayna and I, so we go to work tracking keyboards and guitar for a brand new song called “East or West.” First Baker had me lay down the backing synth pad to it, a really dark, deep, bassy chord progression that makes up the entire song. This song is going to be simple in the way it is only one chord progression, but much like how OneRepublic does their songs, it’s the dynamics and instrumentation that makes the songs really stand out. This song is unique because it was one of the first songs Jayna and I wrote after TMIM dissolved. The song itself is about standing at a point where you have two directions to go or two choices to take. One choice can lead you to progress and to excel, to move away from what you left behind and be better because of it. The other choice is to ultimately fail, and to let other’s down in your failure. It was very important to both of us to write so soon after TMIM broke up because we knew that for some, a band breakup could mean the end, but for some it doesn’t have to be that way. The song “East or West” is in a way, a message to many bands that have come and gone in Columbia – ultimately it’s not about you as a musician, bands don’t seem to think about the fans they are letting down by their giving up. And those people deserve a band they can count on.

After laying down the chord progression we added more synth leads, arpreggios and lead and rhythm guitars. Baker had me lay down 4 of the same guitar tracks that we are layering together for the choruses, and now they sound so huge. We worked on synth leads until midnight, and it left us with a few more things left to do instrumentally for the song. For tomorrow, we will most likely be finishing the instruments on “East or West,” and moving on to the next song.


May 5th, 2010
Cinco de Mayo is an awesome holiday, and while it might not be Mexico’s Independence Day, I couldn’t pass up celebrating. I mean, we are in Taco Central, CA, so we have to celebrate. We started the day off by listening to “East or West” and figuring out what we would need to finish on it. Baker wanted me to retrack some guitars and then finish some synth parts on the bridge. We worked on the song all day, finishing all the guitar work before we took a dinner break. The whole time we were tracking, I was thinking “Man, all my friends are celebrating Cinco de Mayo today, and I really want to go celebrate too.” We took a walk down the road and came across an awesome mexican restaurant called “El Chavo.” It’s small, with only 5 or 6 tables, but the food was delicious! They even fried their own tortillas to make the tacos. We might even be back before we leave.

After dinner, we came back to find Baker already working on the track, and this time drums had been added. The song sounds so good! All it needed was the bridge to be finished, which is what we worked on for the rest of the night. At around 1am, the bridge was finished, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. Baker might want us to add more. Next song coming up: “connect the dots”

Thanks so much for taking the time to catch up on what we’re doing! More posts soon. We can’t wait to come back to Columbia and share our new music with you!!!

-Jayna and Blake, Death of Paris

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