Our Day at Daytrotter
By Keon Masters:
We woke up in Chicago around six am. Rock Island is a solid three-hour drive west and we had to be at Daytrotter by noon. Keep in mind, rounding up six adult males in their twenties at any time before sunrise is quite a feat, but we managed. We left Chicago by seven o’clock or so in decent spirits. Our shows outside of the Carolinas had not been exactly what we had hoped for, however we were learning and getting experience that will be beneficial in the future, and after all, we were on our way to Daytrotter. On our way to Rock Island, we learned that the Land of Lincoln is quite flat. Not much to look at, but a lot to soak in. We stopped at this little place named McDonald’s for breakfast. I was hoping for a sausage gravy biscuit, but apparently those aren’t available at any of the golden arches north of the Mason Dixon. I think we all got McGriddles, (The sausage, egg, and cheese treat sandwiched between two pancake like buns.) Except for Wolfgang, he got the burritos. Got gas, checked the oil, got back on the road.
Rock Island is located on the boarder of Illinois and Iowa on the Mississippi River in an area known as the Quad Cities (Rock Island, Moline, Davenport, and Bettendorf). Our Hotel was in Moline. A quaint Fairfield Inn equipped with a free continental breakfast and an indoor pool. We checked in, lounged for an hour or so, and departed for the Daytrotter studios, a seven-mile drive into the heart of Rock Island. We pulled up to an old local news station that looked like it was built sometime in the late 60’s early 70’s and parked on the street. It doesn’t appear to be much, but I think that’s half the beauty of Daytrotter. There’s no sign to announce it’s presence, you just have to go for the only door that’s available, climb the giant stair case to the second level to come across a stand that reads “Daytrotter 3rd Floor” and climb another giant stair case to an open door. Through that open door is Daytrotter Studios, the hub of a nationally renowned music blog, fashioned in organized chaos.
We met the men behind the scenes, unloaded the necessary gear, and began to set up. You can choose to use your own equipment, or use what is available to you at Daytrotter. I think most of us chose to use what they had, with the exception of Christ. He’s got a signature tone to uphold. I was on this old acoustic electric Washburn, which was actually pretty awesome. Jordan was on a Gibson SG bass, Steven on some old electric piano, and Wolfgang on the house kit covered in blankets. It was surreal. We’re standing in the same room that so many artists before us have been in: Grammy award winners, festival headliners, up and comers, and no bodies, like us. It was wonderful; it made us feel large, yet very small at the same time. Either way, we had to track, Daytrotter is a well oiled machine and had to be done with Brave Baby and Elim Bolt by 4 o’clock so they could do the next session. We tracked four songs, two from our new record and two new songs yet to be heard. A westernized version of “Magic and Fire” that I think everyone will like, “Forty Bells,” a new slow track named “Electric Friends,” and a song Wolfgang wrote recently named “Ancients.”
Playing in that room is sensational, the energy is high, time is against you, and since it’s tracked live you have to let it ride, mistakes or not. Mike, the recording engineer behind the Daytrotter sessions, is awesome. He is an extremely nice guy, who might have the best job in the world. He did an excellent job on our session, and I hope we get the opportunity to work with him again. All in all it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had as a musician and I hope many more memories like this one will be made.
Brave Baby has a long way to go, but we’re going to keep at it. Sorry to make this so sentimental, but it was an important day for us. Usually we’re full of jokes, but we’ll remember this one with a little more tenderness.
I hope you enjoy the session.