Sadly, tonight is the last show of our November residency with The Californian. It’s been a great month with amazing bands, and I can’t think of a better way to end it with sterling sets by Tigerbitch and Le Switch. So soak up any lethargy you may be experiencing after the long Turkey day weekend with some booze at LaBrie’s and kick ass music. Continuing our mp3 previews, are some free mp3 downloads plus a bit of back story on the making of the songs:
Grant of Tigerbitch on “Melatonin:”
OK, so just to clear everything up for everyone, I recorded every song, every instrument, by myself with a broken leg (I broke it skateboarding and was in a cast for eight months), in a warehouse that I snuck into every night after 10pm so I wouldn’t get caught. No band, no studio, no help. The closest thing to help that I had was a forklift and knee pads.
The only thing that makes “Melatonin” different was that it was recorded at about 6:30 in the morning. Once i got the cast off my leg, I started working the graveyard shift at Home Depot, stocking paint. I worked 9 pm-6 am Monday through Friday, so the only time I had to sneak into the warehouse and work was from 6:30 am to 7:30 am, right before anyone got there to ask me, "What the fuck are you doing here with all your shit?" My life had a very strange schedule and like everyone else on the overnight freight crew, I started taking melatonin, not just to help me sleep during the day but to give me a portion of what I was missing from hardly ever getting sunlight.
Life sucked so I made a song about all the guys funked for life in the orange abyss, smelling like propane and cardboard, looking like paint, and getting paid dogs dick to do so. I didn’t want the song to sound all that negative though. More like "life is strange" or "beer taste better in the morning when everyone is driving to work."
The song popped into my head driving from work in the morning to record at the warehouse. The It’s the goods. It’s the damn goods part. By the time all my gear was set up, Ihad the lyrics and melodies ready in my head so I just hammered it out. It’s a pretty crap recording, but I like the song, and who doesn’t like keys through a talkbox? It could use more though. I recorded a version that morning and another the next, but ended up keeping the first just because...well he was first.
John of The Californian on “NaNaNa:”
Every time we go to record anything -- an album, an EP, whatever -- I manage to write a new song and
bring it to the band in the last few seconds before we hit the red button. The original album of cheap demos in 2007 that was the birth of this band was only finished after I quickly recorded an acoustic song in my bathroom. I called the song, the album, and the whole project "The Californian" and shipped it off to the printer that day.
"NaNaNa" is one such song. We had rehearsed the other three songs for our EP for a few weeks. The fourth was to be this spooky slow song called "Wake Up" (which we've still never recorded). At our final rehearsal before heading into preproduction with our producer, I told everyone I had a new song that was dark and fun and had a chorus in a strange meter. The band all liked the song and also the challenge of getting it solid in time for the recording. In the end, "NaNaNa" will always be one of my favorite songs and recordings I've ever been a part of. Psssst! You get a cookie if you can decipher the quiet vocal just before the first chorus.
Aaron of Le Switch on "Call Out:"
Call Out is one of the toughest songs we’ve arranged as a band thusfar. For some reason every time we tried to put it together, it fell apart so much easier. We tried so many different types of arrangements and endings. It was always kind of a pain in the ass. This went on for months. I really wanted to figure it out as I thought it had great potential. It always reminded me of something off of Figure 8 that I wanted to finish big like Built to Spill or something.
I loathed the lyrics. I couldn’t relate to anything I wrote in the beginning. I really wanted this song to be universal but include my feelings about living and what that means to me. Turning 30 was doing its finest by confusing me about who we are and why we do what we do as human beings, why we make the choices we make--all that kind of stuff. I really wanted to convey my thoughts and feelings about that process. I went through 3-4 revisions until I was finally happy with the lyrics. The end still plagued us and was the biggest issue going into the final recording. We had recorded a couple demos and the ending never sounded right.
By the time we entered the studio, I was pretty hell bent on ending the song big like “American Girl” but didn’t know how to make that happen. We rehearsed a lot of variations but then decided that halfway through we’d go into the “American Girl” drumbeat which proved to work really well. I also didn’t want to write any more lyrics for the ending because I didn’t want to deviate from the beginning message. We finally decided that we’d use the first line of every verse for the end chorus and that it would a have a bigger impact than just writing some random end chorus. Joe and I kept adding more and more parts and layers. It was a lot fun produce.
I remember listening back to the song the first time (once we were finished) and feeling like we put something really cool together and it was exactly what I wanted to hear.