Hey again! We’ve been busy in the studio all this week, but we wanted to take a few minutes to let you know what’s been going on here at Killingsworth Recording Studios. We’ve been piecing together songs and trying to stay on schedule. Here’s what happened since we last posted:
The next song we began working on is called “Pick Me Up.” It’s another new one, and it’s a little different for us, coming from heavy synths in This Machine is Me. It has a much lighter, folkier sound to it that you probably wouldn’t expect. But with this record and new band – we aren’t trying to do what you’d expect, we’re doing what feels honest and genuine.
After rearranging “Pick Me Up”, Blake decided on the studio’s telecaster for it’s twang. What started as just drums and guitar then quickly blossomed into something else entirely, once bells, violins, cellos, and airplane swoops were added. We wrote this song completely out of our comfort zone and we feel that ultimately a band needs to do that to be taken seriously – and it is sounding soo good so far!
The days out here are so sunny and hot, and with the studio having a swimming pool, it can really get in the way of productivity. Baker says most of the producers that work here like to take the graveyard shift just so they can have the days to hang out by the pool, and I can see why. The nights, on the other hand, are cooler, so its kind of like being out in a desert.
The next song we began with was called “Connect the Dots” and it’s a great pop song with an awesome beat. We started building drums on it before laying down synth after synth after synth. It’s more in the same vein as TMIM, but we spent more time strategically writing every single aspect so this time around, our music is much more focused, cohesive, and honest. We are now trying to go at a pace of recording two songs a day instrument-wise, but by midnight we only had the verse and chorus keys laid down. Two people playing the parts of five and then some seemed to be a little more overwhelming than we had expected. Oh well, tomorrow we can get it finished…right?
Before starting for today, Baker offered to take us to a grocery store called Vons to stock up on more food before we started. The place was a madhouse, people flying through the parking lot, cutting people off, and yelling at one another. I thought it was crazy that people would be so riled up just to get groceries. We didn’t end up seeing the singer from Simple Plan this time, like we did the first night we got here, but Blake did think he spotted Lisa Kudrow (except the woman had dark brown hair and looked nothing like her in reality).
Jumping right back into “Connect the Dots,” we needed to work on the bridge keys and ending. We finally finished those and moved on to the next song.
While Baker finished mixing and editing drums, he told us to go out on the town for two days and sightsee, and since these days were our only days off, we decided to go check out Universal Citywalk and see Iron Man 2 on the IMAX screen. There, Blake was dazzled by the neon lights and acted like a kid in a candy store.
The next day we decided to head down to Hollywood Boulevard to see the sights, and along the way we met up with Yoda, Cinderella, the Burger King, and Indiana Jones. We ate at Mel’s Diner, famous for being the site of George Lucas’ American Graffitti. We checked out Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, where all the film premieres are, and Jayna just about peed her pants in excitement to discover an H&M across the street. We also were lucky enough to catch Nightmare on Elm Street – not lucky to catch the remake but to actualy see the film INSIDE Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. We were two of maybe eight people total at the latest showing – and let me tell you, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is HUGE and terrifying to walk into when everything is decorated in dark red while the Nightmare on Elm Street’s score plays in the background. Check out the last bit of Episode #8 on Death of Paris TV to see the inside of Grauman’s.
By the time we got back to the studio late that night, Baker was still up and said that starting the next day we’d need to start pulling all-nighters to finish on time – we finally accepted the reality of how much extra work it was going to take. The next day we knew we needed to start stocking up on energy drinks, so We headed to Gelson’s, another grocery story, and noticed how PERFECT the shelves were stocked. It was like some sort of illusion how symmetrical the aisles looked. We loaded up on 30 dollars of Red Bull and got to work, cranking out the brand new versions of “Models & Bottles” and “Rome is Burning.”
The next day Baker hadn’t yet risen from the coma he sank into after the all-nighter, so both of us went down to Studio C to practice some songs, rewrite some lyrics, and to get inspired and along the way ended up having a sing-along to Metro Station’s “Shake It.” We shook it alright and soon started tracking again, this time working on early TMIM’s “Narcoleptic at the Wheel,” a dirty rock song with some newly inspired percussion and sass.
Moving on, we tackled two new songs, “Villains” a dark electronic song and “Trapdoor,” a ballad that goes by the codename “oubliette.” Both songs took a lot out of all of us, due to their complexities.
These past 2 weeks haven’t been a breeze by any means. With only both of us and Baker creating the entire album, it has proved to be some long days and nights for all of us. Jayna has been resting the past few days and begins vocals today.
After suffering from a minor moment of crisis – worrying about whether or not we would have enough time to completely record everything we need and still have enough time for vocals – Jayna got up bright and early – determined to get half of the vocals done in one day. And she did just that. Seven hot teas, two multivitamins, two hits of dayquil, one cough drop, and five hours later – she had successfully gotten through “East or West,” “Narcoleptic at the Wheel,” “Models & Bottles,” and “Pick Me Up.” We were on a roll, but her voice was starting to give out and the frontman from the band Tiger Army was coming in to use the vocal booth for a project.
In the meantime, Blake has been hard at work finishing the instrumental for “Choke,” which we are recording right now. We felt this song needed to be more lyrically exposing and that it really called for a certain rawness that it hasn’t been rightfully given in our live shows. This will be the first time that we’ve ever recorded “Choke,” and we are so excited for you to hear it in this new very simple and honest acoustic-only version!
Jayna is determined to track at least two more songs by the end of tonight. We’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for reading!!!
-Jayna and Blake, Death of Paris