With a rich history in the Bay Area scene, it seemed only natural to invite Deerhoof in for the first New, Improved, LIVE session. The group is, after all, known worldwide for its unconventional indie rock sound and consistently excellent albums, like last year’s Offend Maggie (Kill Rock Stars). Their N,I,L set below includes highlights from their rich catalog alongside an exciting cover of “Let’s Dance The Jet”, an obscure song from the 1967 film The Day The Fish Came Out. As you’ll hear in the mp3s, the session captures the energy of the band’s live performances as expertly engineered, mixed and mastered by the New, Improved Recording team.

New, Improved, LIVE, featuring: Deerhoof

1. Deerhoof – “Giga Dance” (originally from Milk Man)

[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/thebaybridged/Giga_Dance_160.mp3] Download: 160kbps mp3 / 320kbps mp3

2. Deerhoof – “The Great Car Tomb” (originally from Holdypaws)[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/thebaybridged/The_Great_Car_Tomb_160.mp3] Download: 160kbps mp3 / 320kbps mp3

3. Deerhoof – “Let’s Dance The Jet” (cover; originally by Mikis Theodorakis for The Day The Fish Came Out)[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/thebaybridged/Lets_Dance_The_Jet_160.mp3] Download: 160kbps mp3 / 320kbps mp3

4. Deerhoof – “Milking” (originally from Milk Man)[audio:http://media.libsyn.com/media/thebaybridged/Milking_160.mp3] Download: 160kbps mp3 / 320kbps mp3

Studio Sessions Video

Deerhoof – “Let’s Dance the Jet”

Deerhoof – “Milking”

Interview with Greg Saunier of Deerhoof
TBB: How long have you known Eli Crews and New, Improved Recording?

GS: Ooh, I’m embarrassed to say. I’ve known Eli for about 10 years which is longer than he’s had the studio. We met at Mills College. I remember thinking he was so far ahead the rest of us in the gear department even then. He was playing a nice Rickenbacher bass through a SansAmp pedal while I was trying to figure out how to play a pair of cracked hi-hat cymbals with my house keys.

TBB: What have you recorded there?

GS: We’ve done quite a bit, all different kinds of things. Three songs from our EP Green Cosmos began their life at N,IR. We did the drums, guitars, and bass there, and you can also hear one of his organs and his marimba on there.

Next time I came back was when another local band called Sholi decided they wanted to record there and have me as a producer. That was my first time being exclusively on the “control room” side of a recording project. In a way that made it all the more clear how good the studio was.

Then when Deerhoof was almost done with our album Friend Opportunity I was talking to Eli about recording some of his organs – what a collection he has! He had a free morning so he said to come over. That record is extremely organ-heavy and most of it was recorded that morning. Also one of the organs had “rhythms” on it, you know how old organs often have those little drum beats. The electronic drum sounds on there were so wonderful, I sampled them and have been using those sounds ever since.

Then we came back again when we were doing our last record, Offend Maggie. In the same building as N,IR is a gear rental place. Eli has a truly amazing collection of instruments, effects, microphones, amplifiers, and control room gear. But if there’s ever any microphone that you particularly want that he doesn’t have in his collection, he can easily get it from next door. So we recorded all the vocals there with a special microphone, and had other microphones around the room catching the excellent “room” sound while Satomi was singing, plus a mic in the piano with the pedal taped down (making all her notes reverberate like an echo chamber), and the sound of her voice put through a guitar amp with a spring reverb, plus a little Walkman cassette machine that had a little condenser mic in it. When we blended all these sounds together we had the perfect vocal sound!

TBB: Can you think of an especially memorable or ridiculous moment from your time recording at New, Improved?

GS: I can’t remember any moments that weren’t ridiculous because Eli always makes the experience fun. It can be a very stressful experience, paying money to go into a recording studio and pray that you’ll be able to recapture the magic that you get in the practice room or in a concert. Eli has such an easygoing attitude that really helps people relax. At the same time he has a lot of energy, so like if you get an idea like “we need a more trebly sound for this part”, he’s already getting a new mic set up for you practically before you’ve even finished your sentence.

TB: What inspired you to select the songs you played in the session?

Well we’ve taped a lot of stuff for various websites and radio stations so we just wanted to play songs that we hadn’t ever done before for any tapings.

TBB: Could you talk a little bit about the covers you guys performed at the studio?

GS: We played “Let’s Dance The Jet” which was written for a 60s Greek movie called The Day The Fish Came Out. The song is by Mikis Theodorakis, a composer I’ve started to get quite interested in. He’s done a lot of soundtracks, as well as classical works. He also became very active in left-wing politics in Greece, and has a very interesting website filled with essays against war, or about dissolving NATO. Check it out: http://en.mikis-theodorakis.net/

Studio Session Photos

Audio: Eli Crews, John Finkbeiner, Chris Cline
Photos: Vice Cooler, Michael Zelner, Christian Cunningham
Videographers: Greg Serpa, Kevin Woodruff, Christian Cunningham
Video Editor: Greg Serpa