Steven Stanley. Amiright!? I just really like the songs the guy writes. They’re mellow and upbeat, dreamy and real, far away and right on the tip of your tongue trying to put into words something you know but can’t articulate. Now I’m just writing about ‘writing about Steven Stanley.’ This just got meta, I have to move on.
I’m not exactly sure how Careers exists as a band, that is, I don’t know if they have an actual lineup that is Careers or if Careers is Steven Stanley. Band relationships are complicated…you know? Here’s the facts: Steve, Meg Duffy, Ian and I played on this Careers recording that happened at Swordpaw.
Recording 'Le Reve'
Mostly live, in two and half sessions. That’s how it was recorded.
One night at Swordpaw, Steve, Meg, and Ian set up two guitar amps and a drum kit in the same room. I walked into the room and pointed mics toward the sounds coming from the instruments. They played the songs sans vocals while I pushed a button on a computer. This is recording. They did a few takes, nailed it, hi fived and left with some great tracks.
Steve and Meg came back to the studio for a second session of just vocals. We really worked on the vibe more than anything. There were two gobos set up in a V so the singer could hide in between them, the room was dim, the mic was facing the wrong way.
You see, there are a few bands who reside in the Swordpaw space and we all share recording gear. When I saw a Rode NT1a in the mic cabinet, I was like, ya, I’ll try that out. It’s not mine. I’ve never used it. I set it up on a mic stand pointing the wrong way. The vocals sounded terrible. It took a few minutes to realize what the problem was and when we figured it out we laaaaaughed and laaaaaughed…
Anyway, Steve and Meg gave great vocal performances, we hi fived and left with completed songs. But then there was bass.
Since Steve and Meg are like one awesome guitar machine, I tried to convince Steve to leave bass out of the recording and just focus on how awesome the guitars were. We tried adding a subdued synth bass to add some low end to the recording but not, you know, record a bass. The synth bass wasn’t the sound we needed but we couldn’t just leave it out. It’s just so hard to say no to the low.
I ended up recorded bass at home for “A Lovely Glimpse of Sound” and “Cheap Wine.” These two were so much fun to play on. I borrowed heavily from Air’s “Sing Sang Sung” for the bass line on “Cheap Wine.” I just couldn’t make it happen in time for “Lucid Lullabye” and “Oh Darling,” which is fine because they didn’t need me anyway. hmph.
Some boring mixing and mastering happened, like it does, and then this four songer popped out of my computer, into Steve’s mailbox and onto the innernet. Hi five!