Another sessioneer realisation began today with NJ Brian and his Valley Of Salt project here in Dallas, Texas. We arrived at the studio mid-morning to find Jason putting together his drum kit in the driveway. Jason plays with The Polyphonic Spree here in Texas and was also part of the Salim Nourallah project that I co-produced and played guitar on four long years ago before the world went mad, actually, I suppose the world has been going mad a little longer than that. He has a great new Slingerland drum kit that once belonged to the drummer in Alabama, I’m not sure which one as they had six different guys on the kit through the years. Inside the studio Kevin the engineer was setting up as Brian, Olivia and I arrived. It’s the first day and there’s a lot to figure out technically, so all you can do is leave them to it contributing to the practical until the music starts.
John arrived, he played drums on Salim’s album and will be part of the technical crew for this project. On Salim’s album John played most of the drums and some of the bass, Jason played most of the bass and some of the drums. They swap depending on the style needed and on this record it’s more of a Jason style than a John style. Salim’s Pleasantry Lane studio is a beautiful place, warm and efficient, tastefully and practically designed and it’s a pleasure to be here.
It took us a while to get going, these days the technical issues are all about the digital and we had some issues with the digital files on Brian’s computer which were recorded on a different system (Logic Pro) to the studio (Pro Tools). When we did finally get going we started with a track that was one of the most straightforward because a lot of the songs on this record have some complex arrangements and tempo changes. There are a lot of instrumental passages as well as vocals. I was thinking about records in the seventies and how they could have sprawling instrumental interludes whilst having catchy melodies, real songs but not imprisoned by the three-minute format.
David arrived with his bass and with Jason, they played on into the night until we felt we had enough for the backing track of this initial piece. Whilst they played, outside the rain came down. A relief, when we woke up this morning and went outside, it was humid. A gecko, three squirrels, and yellow ladybirds but no birds, maybe the birds don’t like the humidity. It’s hot outside and cold inside as the air conditioning works to create an escape. Then, you need to escape from the air conditioning into the humidity and so it goes on throughout the night.
Music today has been Supertramp’s third album, Crime of the Century (1974). Dreamer is the most famous song from this album but it has lots and lots of memorable songs. Catchy tunes with meandering instrumental sections, a classic seventies album.