Monday, October 04, 2010

Old and New

So I'm done (nearly) with my part of the new Paper Arrows record... down to a couple guitar parts and then it's mostly editing and mixing... always a weird feeling because you work so hard for so long and then, suddenly, you're done.

Most of the new songs were pushed out in the early morning hours of the spring/summer of 2009, refined, rewritten and demoed in early 2010, and then committed to tape and hard drive this August... a long but fairly standard road from inception to final product. Also weird is having it all recorded and still not knowing what it's going to sound like when it's finished...

One thing I do know is that I'm super proud of the songs, the arrangements, the band, and the vocals... especially the vocals, which scared me half to death but seem to have gone smoothly and quickly. Whereas the first two Paper Arrows records were (literally) built around acoustic demos and therefore extremely sympathetic to the original vocal approaches, this new record found us deconstructing the songs in the studio and recording as a band... and when it came time to record vocals, I found I had to reinvent my approach on many of the songs... which was great but challenging.

I never learn more about myself as an artist than when I'm recording vocals... every time, each recording process (and god knows I've been involved in enough of them) I discover a new capacity and grow as a singer and musician... One major feature of these songs is that I pitched them well... which has not always been the case. When I discovered I could sing (sort of) a high A several years ago, I felt the need to do so... which is fine, I guess.

But my voice is really at its best is the middle-upper range I've worked so hard to make comfortable. And that's how we sang the majority of these new tunes: comfortably. Not without intensity, not without emotion but... relaxed, easy. A marked contrast to the rough edges of Things We Would Rather Lose and a perfect match for the new material... which is very much about being at peace... finding hope and love again after the loss of Look Alive and the complete destruction of Things We Would Rather Lose.

So that's how the new stuff sounds. I think.

My fingers have been finding many many clues of new songs lately so... I'm leaning towards commencing a new writing push in the next couple weeks... I'd like to hear the new record finished first but I'm not sure I can hold out... too many ideas, too many figures in the fog I'd like to start clearing away and seeing what comes next... I think I have an inkling but one never knows until one gets in the middle of it... Or even until one gets out of the middle of it.

On the last album, I took the time to write a post on each song, which is something I'd like to do again with the new record over the remainder of the year... I've been additionally inspired by reading David Lowery's incredible blog 300 Songs... and while I have neither 300 Songs nor a biography quite as dramatic as Mr. Lowery's... I'm excited to get a little more biographical and historical (or was that hysterical?) about these new songs when the material calls for it... the writing and recording arc is such a magical (substitute: cathartic, spiritual, therapeutic, calming) process for me, I'd love to try to accurately represent its place and importance in my life...

So... There you have it. Another record nearly down, another about to start up...

And in the meantime, an attempt to put into words what is often beyond them.

I'm ready for it all.