If you’ve ever been to a Silver City Bound show, then you’re probably familiar with Justin, Noah, Will, and myself. But just like with any project or business, there’s a much larger community of people who are contributing to making this EP launch a success. This post is about giving props to all the folks that have been involved in Take My Picture up to this point. It takes a village to make a recording come to life.
We did our basic tracking at Tiny Telephone Studios in San Francisco, a sweet independent studio specializing in high-quality analogue (tape machine as opposed to computer) recording and vintage gear. The studio is run by indie-rock musician and producer John Vanderslice who brings an incredible amount of good vibes and positivity to the room anytime he walks through carrying unusual synths, spare tubes, coffee filters, or the studio cat. Rob Shelton was the engineer and took a hands on role in the experimentation and hang, helping me explore a variety of vintage amps and pedals for the accordion and even joining us for burritos three days in a row.
By the way, “basic tracking,” means laying down just the core instrumental parts of a song: the drums, bass, and in our case, guitar and accordion parts. Once we had these in place, we were able to transfer the analogue audio from magnetic tape into a digital format on the computer, and continue adding to the songs. This type of layered, collage-like process in recording is common practice across the board for most contemporary music—perhaps with the exception of some jazz, classical, and bluegrass recordings that are produced live. It ensures that the underlying grooves of your songs are rock solid and then allows you to get creative, adding the vocals and other instrumental textures in layers that can always be edited and stripped away later if you want.
Back in Brooklyn, we worked with our good friend Sam Owens to record the vocals and the remaining guitar, accordion, keys, and other instruments. Sam works regularly at Figure 8 Studios in Prospect Heights. He has an awesome band called Celestial Shore and also performs as a solo artist under the moniker Sam Evian. Sam did a crack job recording and mixing the project and also contributed a lot to the aesthetic of final product. You can hear his angelic falsetto in the high harmony parts on a lot of the chorus vocals.
“Take My Picture” is an anthem, so it needed horns. Luckily we’re friends with some of the best horn players in the city. We got Eddie Barbash, Ben Flocks, and Sam Crittenden to join us for a day of recording at Silent Barn Studio in Bushwick. They also helped us get the floor shaking for some rousing stomp-claps on the break-down section of that song.
Any hit song requires a music video. We decided that we wanted to make a video that was emotionally evocative, portrayed our personal landscape, and basically introduced Silver City Bound to the greater world. So we contacted Kelly Teacher who had done work for many of our friends’ projects like Bailen, John Fatum, and Sammy Miller. Kelly’s work has a beautiful touch, so we approached her with the challenge of making a documentary-style video for “Take My Picture.” She’s been following us around with a camera for the past month and a half, and has gotten a first hand experience of the weird and wacky world of Americana in New York City.
Last, but not least, we brought on Nick Loss-Eaton to handle publicity for the EP release. He’s been approaching blogs about premiers and mailing CDs to various music industry people to try to help us get the word out as much as possible. Nick has worked with some of the best in Americana and is a musician in his own right, and so we feel confident putting the project in his able hands.
Now, reading back over this post, it’s humbling to see how we’ve benefited from this incredibly talented community. These are all people doing exciting and successful things with their art, and we’re really lucky to be part of their lives. As this project progresses and as we get closer to the release date, I’m sure the community of people involved is only going to continue expand.