Avishka and I were excited to be invited back to Boxcar Sound Recording Studio for day 3 of the making of the new Ghost of Memphis record.
First we took a little detour. Having arrived early, we had some time and decided to take a stroll through Gage Park. It’s a coincidence that we were in the park during the weekend of the Festival of Friends (which we just attended two nights before) and Gage Park is where the festival was previously held. It was a fairly quiet Sunday night, but people were out enjoying the beautiful weather – going for a run, walking their dogs, and children were having fun in the playground. We spotted the Tropical Greenhouse, which is open year round and admission is free. A carnival was also being set up nearby – too bad it wasn’t up, or we would have been tempted to go for a spin on one of the rides. We walked around and checked out the major landmarks of Gage Park – the fountain and the George R. Robinson Bandshell. Unfortunately, both were looking pretty run down and could definitely use some sprucing up. Being drawn to the bright aqua-coloured bandshell and being performers at heart, Avi and I couldn’t resist running up onstage and taking a few action shots. After all, we were on our way to a recording studio, so we had to get in the mindset of rock stars. Fired up from another one of our classic impromptu photo shoots, we made our way over to Boxcar.
If “J’Entend Ton Coeur” wasn’t already stuck in our heads from the week before, it certainly is now! Day three of recording was spent tracking Trevor Howard’s guitar parts for this song in particular. Matt Montour was back at work producing the record and, this time, producer and singer-songwriter Ben Somer was in the studio as well. We were pleased to get a chance to meet and chat with Ben because now we have met all three of the producers who make up Boxcar (we met Sean Pearson last time). It was a relaxing day in the studio where Avi and I got to sit back and listen to the guys at work. Max Wray (who we’ve featured on the blog before, and will again) had already laid down the drum tracking for a few songs earlier in the week, so we got a sample of his sounds as they were added to the mix. It was interesting to hear the song taking shape as layers were added to it. Brian Byrne, formerly of Canadian band I Mother Earth, had also been in the studio on their second day of recording to add his vocals to a song. Trevor and Ben were speaking from their own experiences about how recording music in a studio compares to playing live. It is a completely different experience when the pressure is on, even with a song they have played at countless shows.
Trevor and Matt later switched gears and began working on the song “Water”. It’s a beautiful song, and Trevor nailed all of his vocal takes. Strings and female vocals will also be added, which we can’t wait to hear. I mentioned in my previous entry about Boxcar how fitting “J’Entend Ton Coeur” was for us, because it incorporates our heart and French themes. If you’ve been following, we have also have a love of all things nautical. Of course, Trevor’s song is titled “Water” – another full circle moment we had at Boxcar that Avi and I were quite impressed with. Matt even referred to Trevor as “captain” at one point. It all just made sense to us.
Taking our full circles moments even further, we spoke a bit with Ben about our tour and encountered yet another happy accident – Ben worked at Il Fiasco in high school, saving up money he made there to buy his first microphone. As you know, Il Fiasco was one of our tour stops this summer, and is a special place for us because it is where we had our first interview. Yet another sign from the universe that things were clicking between us and Boxcar.
The last discussion of the night that we observed was what direction to take Trevor’s song, “Save Me”. Like “Water,” it is a song that Trevor has previously recorded. Even though they agreed they like the song the way it is, Matt and Trevor made the decision to try recording it again to see what happens. It will be interesting to hear the new direction the song takes.
Right before we left, we witnessed an epiphany from Trevor as he quickly scribbled down some possible album titles in his notebook. I won’t reveal it – you’ll just have to wait and see!
Chronicling the making of a record is definitely a new experience we did not expect to have on our tour! We’ll be keeping tabs on the process and hope to check in at Boxcar again.