Little Drummer in a Big Studio

I started last week by driving 5 hours to Nashville, TN. We arrived in the studio at 9AM, tired… very tired, and began our journey to make a new album. When we got here Kevin Clay (producer) and Steve Wilson (producer & engineer) were already here ready to get the ball rolling. Being that I graduated school with a major in recoding technologies, I was very excited to see what type of role everyone would play. Personally, I have helped write songs with friends before but nothing to this extreme! Kevin started it off by giving an agenda and a few simple rules to follow. I can’t remember all of them (though there where only like 3), but I know that one of them was to never worry about the order that the songs where going to be on the album, it’s best to just let that type of thing happen organically. Michael and I had worked pretty hard over the past few months writing different demos for the album, so we had a little bit to work with. Kevin picked the song that he wanted to start with and we were off. I didn’t have much time to think about HOW exactly we were going to start before Kevin said, “Okay guys, lets all get our instruments and jam it out, see where it goes.” Steve got his bass Kevin and Michael got their guitars and I went into the other room to sit behind this very nice custom drum set. Steve set up all of the inputs and outputs so we could all talk to each there and BAM! we were ready to rock! This was how we approached more songs than not on the album.

So, generally speaking, we started out with a jam session to get a good scratch track. (a scratch track is an arrangement of the song to build from) Once we got a good scratch track and after many, many, many comments along the lines of, “More of that!” … “Less of that” … or “Go back to what you were doing only play it with more furry!” I would go into the drum room and we focused on the drums to get them done. The track that we started with was a song called "Saturday’s Gone", and I was nervous to say the absolute least when I knew that no else was playing and it was just me listening to a recording with a click track and playing drums. Thinking in my head, “Matt, don’t screw up, this is it, you are here.” Lucky for me I had listened to the demo enough to have a good idea for the drums. So, with that and Michael, Kevin, and Steve all giving me real good feedback on what to play and how to play it… after the first take or two I felt right at home. By the end of the first day (keep in mind Michael and I had been awake for like 19 hrs, with almost six of those hours being driving at the crack of dawn) I wanted nothing more than to meet my host family, Tom and Allison Sheehan, and go to SLEEP.

 Kevin and Steve working hard on the new songs!

Kevin and Steve working hard on the new songs!

“Wait a minute,” Michael interjected on the way to the Sheehan’s house, “What are we going to eat this week?”
Soooo, we made our way to the Kroger before going to the Sheehan’s house where they had dinner waiting for the both of us. Well, unfortunately we couldn’t get there yet. Kicking the tire, I raised my head to tell Michael the super awesome news, I locked the keys in the car. We called a lock-smith, who took over an hour to find us… at the Kroger, spent another twenty minutes to get the keys out, then FINALLY we were on our way to the Sheehan’s house. Michael introduced me, politely passed on dinner, and after a few short conversations, he was on his way to sleep on the couch  back at the studio. I headed up to my room and went to sleep… I had survived day 1.

 

I want to give a special thanks to the Sheehan family for their hospitality and flexibility with me over the past few weeks, and look for the release of our new album ARTS&HUMANITY in the next few months!