The recording process of our debut album is over, which is good for two reasons: 1. Our first full-length is finally within arm's reach
2. That shit was intense!
It was like training to become a Shaolin monk, except we were tapping into our musical abilities instead of meditating and doing two-fingered push-ups. No, wait. We were doing that, too. And we're stronger musicians for it.
The whole process has carried insane levels of polarity, starting with the initial recordings of the 3 songs on our demo. Three years ago, we sought to create a single (Pax Emerikana) with Brian Mackenzie to see how things would mesh with him, and we had our expectations and prejudices completely vaporized by how well the creative process was captured when working with Brian. During that time, it was David, Joe, and I performing the music, and we wouldn't eat until we were done recording for the day. This was mainly a nervous reaction to recording in a professional studio for the first time in our lives, but it was also a way to get in gear through fasting for the day. It wasn't intentional, it was just the way we were functioning, and it seemed to work. We were, and still are, very happy with our first studio effort.
The second recording session came a little over a year later. It was the session in which we completed our 3-song EP, and it coincided with a self-imposed, week-long fasting ritual that I'd been taking part in for the third year running. The recording of my guitar tracks began on the day I began fasting, and everything flowed seamlessly. A few days later, I was on my fifth day without food and I was reading in my prison bus room, waiting to head to Brian's to lay down my vocal tracks, when my father walked up to tell me that he'd just killed a snake while walking the dogs. I ran down to this headless snake -still writhing and twisting on the ground- and brought it back to my room to claim it's skin. Taking it's skin was very macabre, because it was still twisting in around as I gutted it and peeled it's skin off. By the time I had it's skin laid out to dry, it was time to take care of the vocal tracks, so I jumped in my van and drove to Seaboard Street. I had made it all the way through both tracks before I realized that I was covered in snake blood. A couple weeks later, Brian had it completely tweaked, mixed, and mastered how we wanted. I had an old concept for a CD cover in an old sketchbook of mine, so I scanned it, photoshopped it, and sent it off -along with our music- to DiskFacktory.com to have our first professional-grade demo made, which is what we have on our page today.
Now, we'd had multiple home studio efforts in the past that just didn't cut it, so finally having something of substance in our hands was very exciting to us. David and I began making plans for a summer tour, but it was in this time that Joe decided he wanted out. Talk about some shit! Luckily, T.J. had been kicking it and jamming with us for years, so we immediately had someone to step in and play drums with us, but all touring plans went out the window. David and I had already written King Hell with T.J. in experimental jams, so we knew that there was something to be had with T.J. on the drums. He was able to learn all of our existing songs in his first month with us, and we were writing new material in no time. Shortly thereafter, we were contacted by the father of the kid guitarist in Legacy Uprising, and he was hot to get us on the bill for the Indianapolis Metal Fest II. I looked into it, and saw a band that we'd toured with before (Deliver Us From Evil) would be playing the same stage as us. We worked it out that we'd pick them up in Evansville with our prison bus, take them to the event and back, and their drummer Alex Morgan from Stryk9 Productions would do some promo shots for us. We said fuck yeah and hit the road to play alongside a shit-ton of metal bands we've admired for a long time. When we got there, two of the three stages were shut down by the state of Indiana, we ended up losing our time slot on the first day of the festival (being promised an enviable spot the day following), audience attendance was near non-existent, and by the dawn of the second day the entire festival was shut down. Through the determination of the bands that had driven hundreds -or even thousands- of miles to play this showcase, as well as some of the more militant organizers, a spot was located for us unsigned bands to play: the side yard of a head shop. It's funny, because it was directly in front of what looked to be this family-oriented neighborhood, but I guess they didn't care too much about the noise as it was only about a half mile from the Indianapolis Speedway. We partied, thrashed out a quick set using communal stage gear on a makeshift plywood stage, and partied some more until it was time to head back home again.
When we got back, our band funds were completely tapped out, so I immediately began saving every 1-dollar bill that went into my hand, either through change or from the tip jar at work, to fund the recording of the album. I found myself with thousands of dollars in no time, and we got back in the studio with Brian. As soon as our drum tracks were taken care of, it was realized that our time slot had been double-booked, so we were put on the back burner for a month. Back in the studio, David layed his tracks down in a day or so, and I began mine. I tried to approach it as I had in the past through fasting, but found my actions to be disingenuous and inorganic, as well as my studio time to be overly stressful. So I just went with my gut after 4 days of no food and began eating and laying down great tracks.
If there were ever any doubts as to what we want to do with our lives, they have been destroyed and transformed into confidence and strength upon listening to the rough tracks of what will ultimately come together to make our debut album. It's a damn good feeling, and it's been a long time coming. I hope you all are as excited about this release as we are. It's gonna be a fucking monster.
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