Archive for October, 2014

Pockets New Session

Monday, October 27th, 2014

This weekend was a fun one. Well, at least for a while it was. Let me go back and elaborate a bit to explain. Deep Pockets booked a session with our bud Steve way back in January to record new songs. The problem surrounding that was we also booked a tour following, and it was the dead of winter. The result of that session was a tiny bit of fun, but mostly anxiety and stress. We ended up being late for the first day due to preparing for the tour. Then the second day we were late due to a fucking BLIZZARD. Let’s just say the end result was so rushed that none of us were all too happy.

For months we sat on the session and wondered if we should even attempt to salvage it. It was almost a bit of a traumatic thing in a sense. We still put a lot of work into it, and it all seemed to be a waste because it was over before it began. So at this point we wanted a fresh start on these songs. A while back I/we met John Meredith through playing with his band Go Sell Drugs. He mentioned having a studio in Ridgewood, but we didn’t think much of it at the time. Everything Sucks had our own thing going and never wrote enough to even need to record more. Flash forward in time and Matt and I are playing with two new string players. Our new songs are still unfinished and this fellow John is helping two of our favorite bands, Fellow Project and Crow Bait, produce their new records.

We hear these records and decide this would absolutely be a good fit. And we were right. On Friday  I woke up easily, ate my breakfast, threw on a coat, and even dropped off my goalie skates to be sharpened before leisurely heading over to Ridgewood on the L. I walked over to Gates Avenue and hung out until one by one we gathered at the doorway. We were greeted by John’s friend and co-engineer of sorts, Josh. He would help us down with our gear along with John. Once everything was in I took a moment to take it all in. It was a comfortable space, very warm and inviting and not overwhelmingly filled with gear that it felt like we’d be buried under mountains of compression and drown in rivers of plugins.

The string players talked amps for a while and I began to look over the available drum set. I think it was a Pork Pie? It’s funny I can’t even remember and it was two days ago. While the dudes worked on setting up their gobo’s and tones we worked on a bit of a difficult issue where a out-of-tune-tom was making my snare buzz like a mother. A changed head, some time, and a bit more tuning and it still wasn’t full fixed but it turns out it wasn’t an issue on tape anyway. Solid.

John began getting tones and immediately everything was sounding good. I liked his way of working. Very professional, not overly pushy on any suggestions, and seemingly looking to be a tool to help produce, rather than a producer who’s a tool. After the initial hour or so we got more into our normal personalities everything was starting to click. Senses of humor were broken in and it was a lot of fun. We started to hit “record” and blazed through a bunch of tracks at once. John would pipe up “hey, do you guys want to come in and listen” and collectively we all felt the vibe of each other to say “nah, let’s just keep going.”

We finished the first 5 pretty rapidly. Yeah, maybe there were a few we might want to scrutinize a bit further, but rather than interrupt our progress we decided to push on. At this point the only one left was the slow one, the one we refer to as “audible frequency kids.” This song is usually very dependent on Matt’s vibe when he’s in the room with us. Matt however, was not yet in the room – he was at work until 5 the earliest. I think it was me who suggested we just go for it and if it doesn’t work out we can always do it again later. Hey, good thing. We did three takes and after I started playing a bit harder we nailed that shit.

At this point the basics had been laid. We were all basically really hungry. So we took a break to walk down to the local taco carts (and coffee shops) of our choosing. I fell behind the pack a bit and I guess chose the wrong cart according to the locals, but my torta was nothing short of delicious. We digested a bit and got back down to listen to some of what we worked on. Overall we were extremely happy. The one that struck us as a bit off was our “weird end” song. The ending was weird, sure, but it was 3 different tempos and that was not the point. We went back at it but the problem with putting something under a microscope is it starts to show too much. I began to lose track of what take was what and when I did what thing when. I had to rely on trust after that moment, trust that I did what I wanted to and that everyone saying “that one sounded good” actually meant it.

We had actually finished basics now and my job was basically done. Of course, I could throw my two cents at just about anything, but I’m making an effort to butt out more these days. Besides, I have a lot more confidence in what we were doing considering we had now demoed these songs about 3 times. Matt was given a glass of Whiskey and got himself behind a microphone. He began by crushing it. He finished by crushing it. He knocked out three that night.

I headed up to pee at some point and found myself engaged in a long conversation with the homie Josh about everything from consciousness to mediums to ETs to the fact that we could all be living in a fingernail. Sort of, well not all that but a hell of a lot. It was a fun conversation and it ate up a good portion of the time when Matt was singing, which was sort of my intention. I didn’t really want to be around to hear all the vocal effects that were being added. Luckily they didn’t make it onto the mix we got, but initially there were waaaay too many for my taste. The night ended at some point and Justin drove me back to my home.

I woke up, headed over to get my newly sharpened skates, then jumped back on the train. Who knows if it was someone that sneezed in my vicinity or just something that I produced from lack of sleep but I wasn’t feeling too special that morning. I blamed it on my apartment’s heat coming back on and pushed forward. The boys were getting ready to do their guitar overdubs and punches. I brought my Hassleblad to try and capture some of those moments (and here in this post you see some of the results). Things were sounding good (aside from a few third track things I wasn’t loving but was assured I would come around on) but at this point the feeling shitty caught up with me a bit. I headed upstairs to try and see the sun for a second.

One of John’s cats, Yoda, certainly cheered me up a bit sleeping in it’s little frying pan but I still needed some fresh air or something. I headed out to grab a snack and a drink and some air but it was clear that was not going to be enough. What I truly needed was to relax and eat cayenne laced chicken soup. I came back and offered my opinion on a few of the things added to the tracks but was too out of it to really hear much more. Matt was prepping more of some kind of grain alcohol and readying himself to jump back into vocals. Conor and Justin reminded me that with the recording so near finished that mixing would probably follow. I hadn’t considered that for some reason.

It didn’t matter much at the time, I didn’t want to feel sick and that is where the earlier no fun came in. I had to leave. I’m glad I did though, I knocked that shit out of my system right quick this time around. I still feel it necessary to go get a flu shot tomorrow and prepare for the horrible shit to come, but at least I don’t feel too bad now at this moment in time. They finished the mixes and passed them on later that night. I listened and overall am satisfied. A few things I would have absolutely liked to be there for, but nothing so major I can’t send in an email. It’s a matter of agreeing with the others though, because having not been there I don’t know what was done intentionally and what wasn’t. So that’s a bit awkward. But either way it shakes out I’m still incredibly stoked on these new songs and the overall experience at John’s The Mollusk Studio. I am bummed I had to leave because I didn’t finish my other roll of film either, I know there’s some shots of Justin playing guitar on there. I did wanna get some of Matt doing vocals too. Oh well. I did end up filming a bit of the experience on my phone (because the DP GoPro didn’t hold it’s charge for whatever reason). Here’s a drum view of one of the tracks.

New Song

SI, BX and what not

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Some over the summer stuff me and Chuck D did: I took her on the SI Ferry for her first time. Surprisingly, she had never ridden the thing in her whole time living in NYC. No disrespect to Staten Island, but it is the sort of thing that if you’re not from there you probably have no business going there. So no one’s holding it against her. I feel like skating had brought me to every borough at least once, so that is the only reason I would go. Anyway, it was kind of a gloomy day so the ride was a bit cloudy and cold. I love her wearing my bandana to keep her hair from whipping around. The pin up look is awesome with her beautiful locks.

It did sort of make the view a little dramatic. I was smart and thought to bring our newly purchased binoculars though, which we fully took advantage of (and made everyone else riding jealous)

Here’s a camera phone’s view of how close they got us

Pretty different view, obviously

The coolest thing is how the binoculars make what you’re seeing seem somehow much  more 3D, in a very weird way. It doesn’t translate in this photo, but the depth of field varying from one eye to the other somehow makes it feel like you’re looking through one of those 1800’s side by side photos. I am terrible and forget the name of the technique, but it requires you to look through glass and the position of either photo is just off from the other and gives it a 3D effect. Blah, anyway

It was a cool, short trip. Once we got to SI we basically walked along the water for ten minutes, I went into a awesome comic store, and we headed back. Whatevs brah

But really though, “we all agree it’s a mystery so why’d they give it to us?” What a weird gift, ya frogs

Another summer time trek – one of our favorite long walks is down from the Bronx (Spuyten Duyvil, to be exact) over to Inwood Hill Park. We have taken the M60 to 125th, then Metro North over from Harlem to the Bronx. It’s a very short ride but somehow makes the trip a little more direct.

The short walk over the bridge offers that crazy view. Basically when you get off up there you’re greeted by a bunch of massive cliffs you didn’t ever expect to see in what’s technically New York City.

These are the cool things that most of the downtown/midtown peoples never experience. We’re not up there, often, but at least we try

Its walking over a bridge on a beautiful day and seeing a view such as this that I totally appreciate and respect this graffiti artist’s view. Me too, brother/sister, me too

The walk through dusky Inwood Hill was definitely an interesting one. Not a single street lamp seemed to be in normal repair. In fact I would say 97% of them seemed like they’d been vandalized by Orcs

We were looking through the map to find some cool shit, like this weird cave thing. I don’t know if this is actually it or not. The entire time the sun was sinking deeper and deeper into the horizon and we kept getting the feeling that if we were lost enough, without the aide of any manmade light, we’d probably have to spend the night in that park and become zombies or something

One cool/bum out of a thing is here. We found the rock that marks the spot where Manhattan Island was “sold.” Even reading this plaque it just reads like a bad deal. What I mean by that is that they couldn’t even type it up to make them sound decent. Also, someone explain what the hell a Guilder is…

The view down at the base is quite cool though.. all depressing rocks aside. The tide was way out so there were tons of foul delighting in whatever weirdo creatures live in the bottom of a lake

That up there is the bridge we walked over and caught the view from earlier in the day. The whole park has such a different vibe than any other in NYC. It feels a bit New England, but and somehow it also feels a bit weird-Upstate. Like a guy named Shrek is gonna offer to fix your car at any second (see: Deep Pockets tours)

Again the ol’ binox came in handy getting in tight on the little dudes and dudettes swimming around in the shallows of the lake. They were really feasting. Afterwards we headed out of the park, ate some Uptown pizza, and headed home.

Here though, is yet another trek up there. I noticed the construction right beside the train and thought about some of the conversations I’ve had with some folks on jobs. People who live up there are saying how worried they are in Harlem about the rate of rapid gentrification. How Harlem is getting a Whole Foods. And how it’s the next “spot” in NYC. I agree with them.  Can we have any culture anywhere in this city anymore? Does everything have to turn into a $$$ cow? I know I’m a white dude so who am I to talk, but I ain’t a rich white dude so I think my issue is legit.

Anyway, here is the Spuyten Duyvil station. Such a weird little valley to be in New York. The far right side is where we were looking at ducks in the earlier low tide picture.

This weird, old ass looking stair well is what greets you when you get off the train. Someone famous and rich from history must’ve set up shop way back when out here. I bet they wrote some weird 1800s laws into being, or were a judge for the first horse and buggy parking ticket, or maybe just owned all of the Bronx or something.

This view does not get old to me. It’s just such a strange train bridge thing. And the high cliffs surrounding? I am blown away everytime.

This particular trek we ended up walking north through the Bronx along side the river. Well, as close as you can get without the fancy richie homes telling you it’s private property. If you walk long enough you’ll get to Riverdale park. Another one of those places you think “this is too much wilderness for New York City” until you walk a little further and notice all the throw ups on trees which brings you back home. Ah, shitty New York.

We took what seemed to be a mountain biking trail long enough down til we got to what looked like a good place to sit. I’m not positive, but the stone we found seemed to be giant chunks of petrified wood! Am I right? I don’t know. Either way, it was really cool looking.

I can’t recall what Charlotte was fake-reacting to, but it made for a funny picture. Maybe she was “petrified” of something? Yeah, that should stick.

One sketchy and seemingly dangerous thing was the proximity to the train tracks. I am a responsible adult, but given the amount of trashed beer cans thrown about down there I figure some kids gotta be walking around in there kinda often. There is not much of a “danger – do not cross” “extreme electricity” “third rail” “DON’T GET RUN OVER” message anywhere to be found. We walked to where we were a safe distance from the tracks, but could still get a close view. I don’t trust the idiotic, cell phoned youth of America to do the same.

After some more hiking we headed for home. This was the first time I noticed Mr. Henry Hudson towering over the trees on the way back. Really awesome statue, kind of amazing to behold. Though I always feel shitty that in this instance there isn’t a smaller, detail version down at the base. So you’re this famous, explorative dude, and so famous they make a statue of you but if anyone wants to see you’re face they either have to have a cherry picker, or  be really good at that shit where you hold a rope around the back of something and shimmy up it. (You know what  I’m talking ’bout).

This photo is not from the Bronx at all, but from the North shore of LI. IT just happened to be the last one on the roll. My mom rented a house a week or two later out in Baiting Hollow and this was what it was like on the beach. She wanted to visit her former home now that she’s out in FL. We went out for a weekend and this was from our walk on the insanely still, insanely-somehow-hot-in-late-Sept beach. I may have more photos, but that roll is still in the ol’ camera. So more later I guess