I still have to go get a new tire before the trip, but I keep finding more things to do to prep…I should just go.
Got a tire. I was so late, the tire guy yelled at me when I walked in.
Made it back to UTR HQ and now everyone is in the throes of packing. Especially Brendan, who I can always count on to handle business when I’m getting yelled at by tire guys.
hiiiiiii. the end and beginning of this year was so off for me. was in a total emotional tailspin for really dumb reasons in hindsight. i actually got so knocked off kilter that it put me into therapy.
through those recent sessions i came to the realization that i just needed to see more of the world, involve a wider cast of characters into my life, and stop hyperfocusing on bullshit that upsets me.
when casey & co invited me to do this, i might have said no if i wasn’t in this particular moment of my life – feels like the perfect thing to do for my health if nothing else on TOP of being a great musical opportunity
not much to report on in terms of the larger swath of the day – was mostly packing, getting into my car, unlocking my front door 6 times as i forgot things, and then driving to Wilburn Arkansas.
the guys were a couple hours behind me and we they got here, we immediately grocery shopped, got back, set up the instruments/jam area, and even jammed out a few things
casey at the last minute – like 15 minutes ago – came up with this little ditty that we’re all humming already. might start there for tomorrow
anyway, my main takeaway for this entry is that i feel insanely chummy with these other boyos already – and we’ve only spent a cumulative like 8 hours together at this point? in our whole lives? maybe they’d agree abt the chum levels
i’m earnestly very optimistic and positive about this trip. feels like a vacation already
It’s me, Sean. I’m lying in bed enjoying an Arkansas thunderstorm from my window and life is good. I got the best room if you ask me. This guy was in here. I’m gonna name him Printy after a good friend of mine. Can’t wait for tomorrow! Already got a thread for a song . . .
Woo! What a day.
That was a hell of a drive but I’m super stoked to be here. Drums sound great in the room and after jamming a bit, I’m really excited for what we come up with tomorrow.
Check back tomorrow for another video journal from me. I’m gonna go sleep like a baby now.
t’s raining super heavy. This house is made of this old 70’s-looking pine (?). Was happy to find it was pretty lively and resonant on B’s kit, but the same goes for the rain.
PITTER FUCKING PATTER.
It’s late. We stayed up talking music.
I was optimistic about this trip, but I had some reservations (I’d only met jesse in person once!).
Turns out I feel really comfortable in this config. Jesse cracks me up. I like his outlook a lot. And he’s kind. He pulled his weight with setup and even stayed up extra late to help us with some marketing juju.
And he’s good to the boys.
The rain is really coming down now.
Sounds like putting your ear up to a conch shell.
I guess the ole’ airbnb single is working its magic again. Worked in Pine Mountain Club, worked in Marathon, and it’s working here.
In Wilburn, Arkansas.
I think so much of music is about manufacturing some of this kind of magic. Opens you up somehow. Renews your lease on the thing.
Anyways, I’m exhausted but I wanted to put my thoughts down.
More tomorrow ☠️🌻💛
Arkansas storms are no joke! It was rainin heavy all night. Not gonna lie, it was nice to fall asleep to. I love that we’re wayyy out here. 20 min away from food and 45 min away from booze (thanks to this being the driest county in the Bible Belt).
On another note, I just looked over the railing from the loft I’m sleeping in and this place is already a full studio that some musicians would only dream of . . . and we took the whole damn thing on the road! Sometimes, I’m convinced we’re crazy.
I’m pretty relieved we got everything set up last night so we can get straight into working out a tune. It’s always a pain when your itchin to go, but the such-and-such isn’t plugged into to the la-dee-da.
BP brought his Juno and some drum machines that I haven’t used in person and I’m sure we’re gonna make some weird music stew.
I’M FEELIN THE MAGIC!!
This band never ceases to amaze me. We’re gonna be unstoppable this week with BP in the mix. Gonna make some coffee and get to work.
P.S. These Airbnb hosts really love their fake birds and I don’t mind a bit.
i have to say i’ve never been in quite this set of musical circumstances ever before. my resistance to stuff like this in the past partially comes from the fact i’m so entrenched in my solo way of working. it’s kinda like – i know what i can do on my own. so inviting anyone else in is always more a risk than it is a clear benefit. if i know i can execute well and quickly alone, it’s hard to know who to “trust” to BEAT that, per se.
all theoretical – but the point being, today was pretty wild. i don’t think i’ve ever worked harder on music in a single day than today. we did everything from musical warm ups to extensive free writing exercises and eventually tracked the bones of what would be this first song.
the MAIN challenge with songwriting in my mind is self judgment. you’re constantly picking up tiny little pieces of ideas and going “eh, not that one, eh not that one” – and it’s all kind of arbitrary based on what you think sort of pleases YOU individually in that one moment?? which is not a great barometer, especially because the you of TOMORROW exists and might love that thing
main thing i learned from the david longstreth songwriting class was to “grab as many ideas as possible and sort them out later”. i would say we did that. it’s natural to not feel entirely satisfied and sure about the song we’ve written at this stage, but there’s so much left to form around it? i’ve been in this situation enough times where a song is not entirely convincing at the 17% completion mark, and it feels like that all the way up until the 72% (or something) and then you KNOW bringing it to that point was worth it.
anyway i would say we did the hardest part of creating a recording today. there’s lots to be done but it’s less about braving the dark forest that is creative uncertainty and being expected to bring back spoils. now it’s just cookin’ ’em, or something.
that all side, shitloads of laughs and fun all throughout the day today. at the end of the day this truly is a vacation for me
hope you’re enjoying following along, if you’re a bp fan leave a comment ya heard
Today was just us getting our musical bearings, but we move so quick it’s insane.
We have a scratch but HONESTLY, I’m having a little bit of a hard time imagining the transformation to a real song. Hope the boys don’t read that.
All my unreasonable doubt aside, I’m having a fuckin blast and I’m positive every one else is too.
Melding our genres is fascinating to watch unfold and it’s rad to hear BP’s sound come out in his contributions. He laid down such a cool Juno track today and it was just a scratch. Things are gonna get so much cooler from here.
I can’t wait to track guitar. Not sure exactly what I’m gonna do yet, but there’s plenty of room for some fun time. We’re talking about accordion and trumpet and clarinet…WTF THIS SHIT IS SO MUCH FUN.
Alsooo, even BPs gear is as colorful as his brand. Such a cool guy.
Another long day but I’m feeling pretty good about how much we accomplished. These Airbnb singles are always pretty stressful and come down to the wire, but I think if we can record a good drum track tomorrow, the rest will fall into place.
I’m excited to get tracking tomorrow, I have some pretty good ideas for how I want the drums to sound.
More from me then!
The song’s still a bit loose but if I had to put money on it, I’d bet it’s going to work. We’ve never tried something so new so fast, though, and it’s pretty nerve-wracking.
Our engineer Dave is pretty big on actually trying to seek out situations exactly like this. He says something like, “One foot in the dark, one foot in the light.” Maybe I’m botching that…
Still, I can see how it makes you grow.
Today, we were forced to make commitments without the comfort of being sure. Nobody could just lean into old habits or wait until noon in their pajamas for The Muse to shuffle in, lazily, with a good chorus.
If it turns out bad, everyone knows, we wasted the whole trip, all the money, all the time…
And isn’t that just perfect? That’s why I think it’ll come together.
When we record in the comfort of our own homes, our own little wombey environments, there are no stakes.
And stakes do something.
I also thought a lot today about collaborating with someone I see as a musical peer. In past iterations of these single, we’ve brought people who were a bit less “in it” vs us, but that’s not the case with BP.
When the going’s slow, or we’re stuck, I can’t steamroll the songwriting into fruition like I have in other iterations of these singles, because I’ll miss out on something I really want on the recording: Basic-Printer-ness.
Instead, I found myself focusing my energies on giving him venue to work this song the way he knows how to.
For example, we’d usually have all the lyrics solved and done by night two. In fact, we’d usually be running the song live by now.
But Jesse has a unique style of writing vocals, where he records a vocal melodies with an instrument first and THEN adds lyrics to the melodies.
And he does it alone, without distraction and judgement and farting. So I figured, shit, what if we leave a section blank for him, and then, tomorrow, once the foundational instruments are tracked, me and the UTR boys go on a walk and leave him to his own devices on the verse?
I like thinking this way. It’s the way I imagine a good producer thinks. Like, how do I create the environment that will pull the best thing out of so-and-so?
You have to trust the person, musically, and work in a more supportive role. And I trust Jesse.
And I love that I can do that this time.
Oh, one more thing. The song so far is about a guy waiting in the airport for a girl he met on the internet. He sent her a bunch of money and plane tickets, and now he’s waiting for her to show up.
Isn’t that great?
Started a little late, but it was all good cause it was freakin BEAUTIFUL out. I woke up to BP doing his 1.5hr yoga routine on the patio and Brendan made a bomb breakfast. I was getting anxious when it hit noon and we still hadn’t started drums.
When we were setting up, Brendan was tuning up his drum heads and POP. You already know what happened. So we packed into the car and headed to the nearest music store called Quattlebaum (hehe) 20 min away in Searcy.
We went in for a drum head and Brendan left with a pretty cool Ludwig acrolite snare that’s now on the track. We finally made it back and officially started at 5pm.
After some technical issues, Brendan flippin RIPPED on the kit. We finally have our drum track and we can move on! Im starting to feel more comfortable with getting this mofo done. Tomorrow is bass, keys and guitars.
Gonna sleep good after the dinner BP made (grandma’s rice and beans).
Photo: Had to get creative to deal with the room not sounding great. I think we utilized every couch cushion and pillow in the house.
Song is sounding so much more like a sure fire thing today.
Funniest thing about today was when Casey walked out of the house this morning right as I was finishing up my yoga routine, and he asked if I read the journals last night. I knew EXACTLY what he was gonna say (which was exactly what I was thinking) – about how everyone was kinda anxious and unsure about the song but no one really said it outright at the time, hahaha.
You have to air on the side of progressing in this environment though, or you end up with no song. You just have to trust that everyone in the situation has good ideas and instincts on most levels. If you trust that about the crew, can you really go wrong? That’s really the thing to hold onto.
As I mentioned last night, getting to that certain percentage marker on a song can make all the difference in terms of confidence. I really did believe that adding drums would add the congealing factor to this idea and make it clear if it was a cool song or not.
By the end of today, everyone was kind of saying “you know, this song is actually gonna be fuckin awesome” in some way, shape or form.
So insanely beautiful out today, was really glad to get my yoga done. felt pretty easy to do it.
also as you can see in Sean’s post we had to make an emergency run to the music store and it was good to go for a drive.
we’re about halfway in to the trip, and i really do think the second half will be a lot easier (but who knows)
There’s one part I still can’t stand, but the rest is going somewhere. I messed around with that part for a while after everyone tapped out and right when I was considering cutting my losses and hitting the hay, I plugged the resonator into a Fender tweed and found this MAGICAL tone.
You’ll hear it.
Still didn’t totally fix the part thought.
The songwriting, too, needs something in the lyrics to bring it home. Jesse’s verse might do it, but I have to be ready for the layup. Maybe I should write some ideas down before I conk.
All that aside, I think it’s working itself out like it always does.
I’m noticing that we’ve gotten much more ambitious with our recordings since Three-Legged Dog (BP fans can click here to hear the first of these bnb singles, which happened to be our first release).
Anyways, we took the drums much more seriously. We put mics in the loft, in the bathroom shower, set up a pair of mid-side ribbons and nestled an RCA clone into the null of the toms, beneath the ride.
Tomorrow we’ve got a ton to get down, too. The dream list is long: synth, synth bass, guitars, bass, reso, maybe even some mandocello and clarinet.
If we pull off JUST the technical side of all this, I’ll feel like we’ve really come a long way.
Okay, I’m going to be a wimp and keep this one short. I need to be on it tomorrow (:
Today I was tuning up my drums and was almost ready to track when I noticed the bottom head of my snare was seated wrong. Meaning that there was uneven tension between each lug and more stress to one side of the head. When I tuned it up a little more, the head finally popped. God damn. Can’t use a snare without a bottom head.
So we drove 30min to a music store to pick up another drum head, delaying tracking by an hour and half.
I was a little frustrated but this kind of stuff always happens on these trips. You just have to prepare for some amount of hiccups.
There was a silver lining. When we were at the music shop picking up a new head, I saw a little snare tucked away in the corner. I asked the store owner how much he was selling it for and he told me $100. I looked the thing up online and found it was worth almost $300, so I bought it with the intention of selling it.
When we got back to the Airbnb it sounded so good that that’s the snare we used on the track.
That’s why I love these Airbnb singles. Each song picks up little pieces of the people, things, rooms, instruments, etc in and around the Airbnb. It ends up creating a completely unique sound and feel to each song.
Synth bass, lead, an entire new section, bowed bass, a potential trumpet, trombone, and clarinet section…this song is intense.
There’s so much still left to do, and everyone’s pretty dog-tired…but we’ll get it.
I don’t want to make a single concession though, and I might have to. Good problem to have, but…still…
I’m pretty into the style of this thing. We’ve been playing a lot more acoustic instruments, folk instruments, mandolin, resonator guitars, slide, and BP’s got both feet in electronic music. The tension between the respective tricks the two camps have to lean on makes for something wild.
In some ways, it’s fragmented and collage-ey, but in other ways it’s completely novel.
It really is something.
Most of all, the song, like this trip in general, is fun. It just goes and goes, idea after idea, like a train…and tied on the railroad in front of its heavy, careening cars are pop appeal and maturity and easy listening.
And isn’t that just fucking great?
I can’t remember the last time I’ve had this much fun just exploring, feeling around in the dark until something I’ve never heard before emerges like a Rick and Morty Cronenburg mutant, ready to bite your head off.
It has these moments that make you go, UNH! Yes! What?
Here’s a little clip.
Anyways, more than ever I have to get some rest. I have a suspicion tomorrow’s going to be a long one.
till we dead!
Today was a good one!
Got a lot of stuff done including a killer synth bass recorded by the incred Jesse Gilenwalts. It slaps.
I can see this song coming together in a pretty cool way and I’m pretty happy about.
I want to start a new band with these guys. A totally new project. We’re open to any cool band name ideas…
We still have a ton of stuff to do before tomorrow and we want to be able to enjoy ourselves a little bit, but we’ll see if we have the time.
Holy crap. I passed out last night and had the best sleep I’ve had all trip. Probably because the tune feels much more like a complete idea now. Not gonna lie, it was a little fuzzy just the day before, but we hauled ass yesterday.
The day was super productive and Jesse was a big reason for that. He laid down some synth bass and some lead that was mega tasty. Dude is has a killer music brain and there’s this one part that makes my ears perk every time.
I sat down to track some guitar and after putting down the obvious parts, I was at a loss. Nothing seemed to work. If Jesse wasn’t so pleasant to be around, I would’ve been super embarrassed. Then it hit me. Most of the song doesn’t even want guitar. The synth is already in my guitars frequency range so I kinda re-thought my role and I’m ready with a new plan today.
There’s still so much to do before we leave tomorrow and I hope there’s time for all the silly experimental stuff we usually do, but I’ll be more than satisfied either way. Who knows…maybe the new instrument I just picked up will make it on…
I’m gonna get me some breakfast and start gettin some tone. This is the rig I’m workin with on this trip. Pretty snazzy, rightttt??
Wish us luck!!!
We did it.
And it’s good!
I think at one point, every one of us was nervous about how this song would come out. Now I can definitely say that I think this song is fucking cool!
It’s super unique and a really crazy mash of both Under the Rug and Basic Printer in the most interesting way.
I’m so excited to share it with you all.
We have to pack up this Airbnb tomorrow morning and only have two hours to do so. I’m not looking forward to getting so little sleep tonight, but it is all so worth it.
so, my main motive for taking this trip was to shake up my life a little bit. get some new characters involved. see a new place. do something weird and new.
i thought that was probably the best precipice to base this decision on. that way, if these dudes were weird and annoying, or if this song came out bad, it was a 0 sum game. i wasn’t here to make some of my best new friends, or merely create an amazing song.
i thought my motives were more base level and personal that would make this trip extremely worthwhile no matter the outcome. just do something, you know?? and the fact it was based around a musical challenge – well, that’s a great and extremely relevant bonus element…
but how this trip paid off for me?!
like, 10x returns on every single layer of the experience. i got out own town. i learned how to work in a group (i never do this, really). i was able to hold my own in a writing, performing, recording, and filming context under intense pressure. i laughed so hard my abs hurt EVERY day. i had amazing nighttime dinners outside under the stars. AND, i met 3 people that have easily skipped the rungs towards some of my fave friends and peeps of all time.
this trip was straight up magic! i can’t wait to do it again. what an incredible thing to do. i really feel like i’m leaving this trip a better person. i’ve never felt more confident and impervious.
the song rocks, really. i hope you’ll all love it! i’m proud of my contributions!
now, i’m very tired because we all slept like ass last night and i drove 6 hours. night night :’)