[in a recording project]?
JP: It is, and I think that any band that hasnâ€™t actually been in a recording studio before, always underestimates how much time that itâ€™s going to take. And they donâ€™t realize that the setup time, depending on the arrangement of the band, can take up a huge chunk of the day. And on top of that, almost anybody that I know thatâ€™s either been in the studio and recorded a lot or is an engineer knows that things always take twice as long as you think theyâ€™re going to take.
IP: Beyond that, no matter how much time you book, you use every last second, and you usually end up going late into the night on the very last day.
JP: You inevitably find a way to use every last bit of time. And the thing that Iâ€™ve found is that a lot of bands that want to record a couple of song or an album, theyâ€™ll book like two days or something like that. When I first started, from both my lack of experience and the band having never recorded before, itâ€™s like, â€œAlright, this is going to be a crazy two days, letâ€™s just give it a shot.â€ You can get stuff done, but realistically Iâ€™ve been in the situation so many times where a band will want to book three days to record a record or to do a certain amount of songs. I try to be pretty upfront with people and tell them that I donâ€™t think three days is going to be enough, if we totally hustle we might be able to get through all this stuff, we probably wonâ€™t be able to mix blah blah blah. Usually Iâ€™m more on the optimistic side because who wants to spend a million dollars on recording a record?
JP [continued]: And musicians are, generally speaking, on the poorer side, so of course they want to spend as little money as they can. But so many times what ends up happening is we run out of time and itâ€™s like, â€œOkay, we didnâ€™t even start the vocals yet,â€ or â€œWe didnâ€™t start this or thatâ€ so then they have to book more time and figure out how weâ€™re going to finish this record. So time management, itâ€™s really difficult. Thereâ€™s inevitably that moment where youâ€™re like, â€œWell, you know, if you want to get this done in three days and not blow time, youâ€™re going to have to start making some decisions really quickly, like what you want to keep and what you donâ€™t want to keep and that sort of thing.
IP: And a real time killer can be arrangements within the song, and bands not really hearing the song and all the instruments and all the parts the way they actually are in the rehearsal space because theyâ€™re either in front of their amp and itâ€™s blaring right at their head or somebody else, for whatever reason, canâ€™t hear a keyboard line or a guitar line or whatever. And then they get into the studio and they can hear all the parts and theyâ€™re like, â€œOh, I didnâ€™t realize you were doing that,â€ or, â€œYou know, this just doesnâ€™t work.â€ Then a couple hours go by and theyâ€™re trying to find different ways to remedy that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnâ€™t, but that can be a real time sinker.
TBB: So you guys worked together and recorded the newest Deerhoof album [Offend Maggie] right? How was that? What was that like?
JP: It was tons and tons of fun (as Ian adjusts Jayâ€™s microphone). I know, Iâ€™m not projectingâ€¦In the past weâ€™ve worked on a lot of stuff where either sometimes Ian would get a session or I would get a session and the other one wouldnâ€™t be working that day so we would pop by and help the other person out for a day or a part of a day, or for a few days. But with Deerhoof, weâ€™ve worked with them before, two or three different times?
IP: Well, since Reveille.
Deerhoof – “Holy Night Fever”
JP: Weâ€™ve worked on some songs from Reveille and Apple O’, two songs that were used for Milk Man but were recorded in the Reveille sessions, over dubs and some other parts on Friend Opportunity, and then we recorded most of the new Offend Maggie. It was really fun. And theyâ€™re old friends too. Itâ€™s really fun working with them.
IP: We were really able to cash in on the history we have with the band and working with them on kind of figuring out more of what they want and that sort of thing so it kind of feels like, with this latest album, we had finally come to this understanding. We can translate what we know into a natural sound or something and that way they can just record without spending a bunch of time saying, â€œItâ€™s kind of like this,â€ or, â€œWe donâ€™t want that.â€ As far as the music itself, we have nothing to do with that, whatsoever. But yeah, they are the most decisive musicians that Iâ€™ve met. Thereâ€™s nothing that they havenâ€™t considered and labored over.
TBB: Other than the recent Deerhoof record, whatâ€™s something that each of you has worked on or is going to worked on or has worked on that youâ€™re excited about?
JP: I think the thing Iâ€™ve worked on recently that Iâ€™m most excited about is, well thereâ€™s this San Francisco band Or, the Whale, and so Iâ€™ve been working with them for the last little bit. We just finished with them Saturday. And that was really fun, working with those guys. Theyâ€™re all great guys, and girls, and super talented and everything. It was just a really pleasant experience working with them. Iâ€™m stoked about it because I think theyâ€™re a good band and I think their recordings came out good. And I think Scott Solter is mixing the record next month and so Iâ€™m excited to hear what happens with it because Iâ€™m sure itâ€™ll be good. And just by saying this Iâ€™ll probably blow all opportunity of this happening out the window, but Iâ€™m kind of stoked because this band from Belgium wants me to record them. And theyâ€™re like, â€œHey how about we fly you out to Belgium to record,â€ and Iâ€™m like, â€œOkayâ€¦? That would be awesome!â€ So I donâ€™t know if itâ€™s actually going to happen or not but if it does then thatâ€™s another thing Iâ€™m stoked about.
TBB: How about you, Ian?
IP: Actually on Sunday, the Rogue Wave session is starting and thatâ€™s going to be a lot of fun working with them again. We just did pre-production. Let me clarify what pre-production is. I went over to their rehearsal space and listened to the demos of the songs weâ€™re going to record. So we did that, and Iâ€™ve been listening to the demos and stuff and that seems like itâ€™ll be a lot of fun. The demos are really good and thereâ€™s a lot of time to reallyâ€¦ well I hope thereâ€™ll be a lot of time to mess around with everything. Beyond that thereâ€™s a tour coming up in May with John Vanderslice, so Iâ€™m going to be doing sound for that and uhâ€¦.tour managing. This will be the second time Iâ€™ll be tour managing. I did it once for Dirty Projectors. John is going to be really fun to tour with, itâ€™s going to be a really good crew.
Rogue Wave – “Publish My Love”
TBB: Whatâ€™s it like when youâ€™re not doing the mixing? You spend all this time recording and developing sounds and even harmonies and overall arrangements, and then it leaves your hands. Do you wish you were doing it? Do you hope that it turns out the way you wanted it to?
IP: Yeah, itâ€™s sad to see it go. You spend a lot of time on something and youâ€™re forming and idea of what it should be in the end, and then half way through, somebody else gets to take it. Itâ€™s kind of your baby, you kind of put it on tape or into Pro Tools, and then, yeahâ€¦I hope it comes out well.
JP: I pretty much feel the same way about it. Like, sure, Iâ€™d like to mix it.
TBB: Do you guys do a lot of mixing without the recording? Is it weird taking someone elseâ€™s recording and finishing their work?
JP: Iâ€™ve done a fair amount of that too, I really like doing it. When youâ€™re recording, you start to know like, in this song, where all the tracks are, where this part comes in, â€œOh thereâ€™s a weird cough on this track at this point thatâ€™s annoying, they have to remember to take out.â€ And then when youâ€™re mixing, and getting these tracks for the first time and listening to them for the first time you often say, â€œOh! Thatâ€™s that guitar part right there,â€ and itâ€™s really fun.
IP: Itâ€™s kind of like playing memory, in a way. More recently, when recording, I usually try to really commit ideas or the way I want to hear it or the way I think everything should sound as a whole. Committing to the tone so that you donâ€™t need to have a bunch of processing to make it sound a certain way. You bring the faders up or you bring the tracks up completely clean and flat and itâ€™s got this sound that is either, well you know, itâ€™s hopefully what you have in mind and itâ€™s something that exists without having to say, â€œOh but what was that setting?â€ and that sort of jazz. So if youâ€™re not mixing it, it could box somebody in, but at the same time, maybe thatâ€™s a good thing, maybe itâ€™s not.