We stepped onto the dewy lawn of a charming little dark brick house all done up in ivy. I was a little disappointed when Dia side-stepped the front door of the cute house and began ducking under some branches as she tip-toed along the side.
Finding the sessions has been one of my favorite parts of my visit to L.A. so far, whether the recording studio looks like a dentist's office from the outside welcoming one into an interior decor decked out with original Dr. Suess paintings, dead flowers, and broken cellos and barroom pianos with the sea-foam green paint chipping off or, whether the studio screams of formality on the property of Universal Records with intimidating gigantic portraits of Cold Play greeting you in the pristine marble hallways.
Sometimes we search for home studios. With those, we've have had to climb up rickety staircases looking for numbers, numbers or music. "Number 4, Number 5…" Back down one rickety staircase and up another. A strangely chipper voice floating through the entry way, "Welcome!" Number 7. We've found it.
The studio we recorded in today was in the basement of the engineer's home. He was a very calm man who always had a pleasant "That sounds nice." to say after every vocal or instrumental take.
The studio had wooden floors, and the sound absorbing foam on the walls had geometric shapes painted on in pastel colors. There were photographs of little boys barely out of their diapers with recording headphones on, gigantic instruments hanging on their little bodies. There was a grand piano, several single speaker vintage amps (which I was drooling over), a strat, a tele, a Danelectro (which feels really nice when you play actually).
I'm shaking my head in disbelief as I'm writing this right now. I wish I could have taken some pictures and my camera hadn't died, because I'm never going to be able to explain how this place made me feel. It was simply… heaven, heaven in a little room.
Dia did some amazing vocal takes as always, always asking to deliver full vocal takes, always kindly declining any sly mention of "vocal tuning". I laid down a few guitar tracks. Sometimes I was happy with them. Sometimes I still feel like I don't know what I'm doing, and for once I was wishing some of those big-time names we had been working with over the past few weeks were there to nod or confirm whether what I was doing was right or wrong for the song at hand.
We used sleigh bells. We had some guy vocals involved with some chanting. I programmed in some demo strings.
Just another day filled with everything I love to do. In a way, because I was so happy, I felt like my day was just a complete joke, and at any moment someone was going to pull the rug from under me and say "Just kidding!"