Through the past few months I’ve clutched a unique instrument that has reciprocated the devotion generated through our relationship. The instrument was a Craigslist find. Stella was a brand of guitars owned by the Oscar Schmidt Company and was founded around 1899. Notable users include Kurt Cobain (used one on the tune Polly), Ben Gibbard- Death Cab For Cutie and Lead Belly. Stella was acquired by the Harmony Company in 1939. The brand was dissolved in 1974, and has since been reintroduced by M.B.T. International, who are now the Harmony Company’s corporate parent.
I purchased a 1965 Stella for $60 bucks. This guitar has a unique sound and through my research I learned that it’s often used as an old blues box. I tuned mine in the open E tuning started to discover some amazing sounds when played with a finger-picking style. I also added some slide techniques and immediately started to write a batch of songs. The songs came quickly and the guitar sounded phenomenal mic’d up with a fairly low budget Rode NT1a.
I pulled out some old and new lyrics that I had lying around and started to arrange an acoustic based group of tunes. I’ve always written songs in batches so to speak. These collection of songs could best be described as very subtle and soft. The arrangements were complex in nature but simple sounding. I wanted to limit the tracks. I set a goal to not go beyond 8-10 tracks and let the songs breathe. All songs were tracked in my home studio. (Logic X – the drummer feature is amazing by the way). When completing each song I started to create simple melodies to weave throughout. I mostly compose melodies by humming or playing electric piano. In the end I had 4 songs sitting at 80% completion mainly due to the fact that I made the personal promise to myself not to over edit by stacking tons of instrumentation/midi.
During this time I was communicating with Steven Foxbury at Yellow Couch Studios. I knew in my heart that Steven was going to be part of this project. Steven is a very talented musician, arranger, singer and mostly listener. For me songs have to elicit emotions. A simple vocal change or instrument choice can change the mood of a song. He is very aware of this and understands where I was heading or where I went to get there. I remember singing these songs and recall the feelings I had so I was adamant about maintaining the feel. I trusted Steven and when we holed up in Yellow Couch Studio it all started to unfold. There were magical moments that made us laugh, smile and understand. The vocal arrangements took shape and became the fingerprint of the project. So when you eventually get the chance to truly listen these songs the lyrics should hopefully place your ear in an uncommon space.
Usually when I dive into the recording process I don’t write new songs. That hasn’t been the case recently. I wrote and recorded 3 songs while mixing the other 4. Two of these songs ended up on this EP.
I am really excited about the completion of this project called “Reverse The Sun”. The songlist currently stands at:
Reverse The Sun, Man With Three Names, Reign Of Rain, Life’s Commercials, Feed The Wolf and White Off Rice. I am really proud of the lyrical content on this EP. I really believe that the dichotomy between the music and words gives the EP a quiet strength.
The EP will be mastered by Rueben Cohen, at Lurrsen Mastering in Hollywood CA. He has mastered albums, singles and/or compilations for artists such as Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros, Incubus, Bruno Mars, Far East Movement, Skylar Grey, Snoop Dogg, Tyrese, Skylar Grey, Little Feat, Dev, Rob Zombie, Ingrid Michaelson, Marc Cohn, and Scott Weiland. Soundtracks include, Slumdog Millionaire, Pitch Perfect, Despicable Me 2, Disney’s Tangled and Cars 2, Across The Universe, Identity Thief, and Bridesmaids. I am very thankful to my friend Jimmy Hoyson for making this contact a reality. Jimmy is a very talented Producer/Engineer and is in high demand and has worked with artists such as Michael Jackson, Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow, James Taylor, Lou Reed, Goo Goo Dolls and many more!