How We Made The
Record is a new feature on
Radio Free Silver Lake. Each week we interview bands about the back story of
their new album. We talk about the process of putting an album together:
generating creative ideas, writing music, financing and production (recording,
engineering mastering). For every record there are trade offs and compromises.
There are problems that need creative solutions like choosing a studio, a
producer, and developing great sound with limited resources.
We return this week with Lost on Purpose. Will Vander Wyden (The Ross Sea Party) has been recording solo as Lost on Purpose since 2003. He recorded Ronin with keyboardist and vocalist Jacquelyn Thropay. The album, which takes its name from the Japanese term meaning “masterless samurai,” was influenced by a two-month journey when Vander Wyden’s traveled though Japan, China and Southeast Asia. Ronin is out now. -K. Pinto
By Will Vander Wyden
What was the creative concept, or a point of departure for the album when you started? Did you have a unifying concept or just start writing songs? When did you write the songs: before you went into the studio, or did the tracks come together as you recorded?
The songs are all heavily influenced by my travels throughout Asia, particularly Japan. I’ve spent a fair amount of time there over the past couple years and even learned some Japanese. There’s just something about the way a different culture and language impacts the brain – it’s like parts of my mind I had never used were suddenly being molded in totally new ways. All of the songs on Ronin were affected by those experiences, to the point where I noticed that similar lyrics kept popping up in different songs throughout the album. Also, this is the first album where every song was recorded as part of the same process. In the past my albums have been more like collages, collections of songs recorded at different times and in different ways. You can even hear a difference in quality between some songs on my older records because I learned how to engineer better in between recording them! Ronin started out the same way, but as it took shape Jacquie convinced me to start from scratch and re-record every song as a unit. And that turned into the next year of my life. As for the writing process – the basic arrangements were “finished” when recording began, but not every part within those frameworks were written and in the end I occasionally rearranged some songs during the recording process… thank god for computers.