Friday, August 20, 2010

Qs from Sai

Sai asks:

“Hey, Elec. I figured I'd ask a question/s, but I'm not exactly sure if you'd be willing to answer because it's such a mouthful. (Also it branches into like fifteen different questions near the end. I can't condense to save my life.) However, here goes!
I was wondering how CP works internally for putting out CDs. Of course, you guys make excellent music and that'll always be one of the most important components, but there's so much more involved in making and marketing a band than just their epic awesome music (I'm sorry for being such a dork--I really like learning about how bands market their stuff... it's really interesting and there are sometimes really unconventional ways that people go about doing it.) So... How many people do you guys work with on a daily basis to put together these singles? Did you guys have publicists, managers, artists (I see someone asked about the cover-art, which I found particularly fascinating.) etc. working with you guys, or is most of the work with these singles done by you guys along? I don't think you guys are signed to a label, which makes things more difficult because you don't have that form of backing (are there ways of being backed without turning to a label?)”

We approached Speed Disk about putting out 5 singles in 5 months, culminating in a one-man at O-West. They agreed to help fund those, so technically we are a Speed Disk band. On the flipside, all booking and interviews are handled by us ourselves still; we’re still trying to go at a lot of things as an indie band just so we have a bit more control over funds earned from shows, even though it’s not a lot.
They did handle the Korean tour, and they handle anything related to the releases, like the pressing and getting them out to the stores, as well as selling to any online distributors. They also make sure we film the special comment DVDs for each shop. When you’re actually in a jimusho, someone typically accompanies you from the office to your gigs, but since we’re giving it largely the indie go, we have a roadie and a staff girl that we hired on our own.
In the studio, it’s just the band and the engineer, who has been an old friend since Tenten was in Hanamuke.

“How many hours did you spend in the studios compiling all of the songs, recording, rerecording, re-recording again and again--then scrape everything off the drawing floor and start over? I can't imagine that it's an EASY thing to put out 5 consecutive singles, especially as a debut. (I bet you guys didn't exactly have lives for a good portion of the recording. I've seen friends abandon pretty much everything to finish recording an album... not fun.) So, I guess the last bit of that would be how you coped with making that many singles in the time allotted.”

Each session took about a week, and we still had lives and tours in between. Because we are stupid. Each day took from 1pm to 11pm, though sometimes we went a little over cleaning tracks up and then heading home on the last train.

Here’s a breakdown of sorts:

Tokarev recording in April. We recorded Chaos, Harlot, Picasso, Rubbish, and Walking Ashland (for the music video), so it was pretty intense and it was my first time so we were all getting used to the new place, engineer, technology, process, etc. Recording went pretty smoothly.

Beretta recording in May. We did Artbreaker, Bellamy, Yamusora, and Memento Mori. We brought in a female vocalist to do the beginning of Yamusora and she got both parts in one take each, and when I was processing it the pitch was spot on. She goes by “nosugar” in the credits. Right after it finished we had PV production meetings, a live at West, interviews, PV shooting overnight, and then an Osaka/Nagoya tour, which led right into pre-production rehearsals for the next single, then show the day before we headed into the studio for…

Hinawaju recording. Roundabout Satellite, Planetarium, Sick Boy, Canvas. We bring in a different female vocalist for Sick Boy and Canvas as nosugar wasn’t available and I have her since some sort of complicated stuff but she too gets each part in one take. This took place from the 5th to the 10th, and on the 11th we left for Korea. When we came back we had a show the next day.

Derringer recording. Birthday, Tsubasa, Kyokaisen, Irotoridori. This started on June 27th and went to July 1st, with interviews and rehersal on the 2nd for a show on the 3rd, then final mixing and mastering on the 4th. This was the single where we started thinking, hey, this is kind of exhausting! We ended up having to re-record a lot after some tense discussions, but I think it worked out for the best. Then another tour the next week.

Peacemaker recording. Started on July 25th and ended on the 31st, with a live the next day. We’d already recorded Ashland so all we had to do was Sakana, Subarashiki, and I love suG my life. Sounds like a breeze, right? Nope: just before laying down vocals, we came to the decision to totally re-record one of the songs. Barely finished and then had a nice little party in the studio, and for some reason Yuma from amber gris was there. It was so nice to get it all done by August, to be honest.

Sunny the Engineer was there to do all the miking and Pro Tools wizardry, and gradually we figured out what we were capable of in that set up. Starting from the 2nd single, he actually let me do a lot of editing and stuff by myself on all the songs, and on the 4th and 5th singles, Shiun did some drum magic by himself.

Not sure how we coped with it! I tried to work half-days at my regular job when I could, but I had to some days off, which they were cool with. Joe would work AFTER studio until the morning. It was ridiculous. And then the studio is underground and gets no reception, so it was like a cave, not being able to use our phones… until one day, they installed an antennae down there for Docomo users! A couple members were very happy about that, but since I have an au, I was not.

“Also, this may seem kind of silly, but what the heck... Memento Mori--I don't get the end of it at all. My Japanese isn't awful, but I couldn't understand a word of what was being said/sung. I was wondering if you could give a little insight on that, because my poor brain can't take it anymore.”

Do you mean the actual part of the song, or the bonus track? If you mean the bonus track, well, Bellamy is all in English so Shiun was trying to sight-read it. It was pretty funny at the time. :-P

Thanks for the questions!


Sai said...

Thank you for answering my questions. (Your poor fingers!) It's nice to hear that you're sticking with the indie-roots for the most part, despite being considered part of Speed Disk. Is that a permanent thing, or will you guys be parting with the company once the one-man and the release of your final of the five singles? Or do you think that you'll stay with them and put out an album? (Are you guys planning an album?)

Thank you also for the breakdown of how you guys run the band (and it's also cool to hear that you guys have a lot of control over what your band does and doesn't do.) My brother plays guitar for an American band and he says one of his biggest fears is getting his band well-known, signed to a label, and then losing all artistic integrity. It's nice to hear that CP isn't having those kinds of problems. It's also nice that you guys are working closely with only a few people, rather than a lot. I would imagine that it makes the process a little easier, or at least more comfortable. Better to have a few people you know and are able to form connections with than having nameless faces.

As for the recording-- it sounds like it was quite an experience. You think you'll ever do it again? Think you CAN do it again? Do you think you'll ever WANT to do it again? Impressive that you guys didn't break down into sad piles of musician-goo by the end of that.(And still went to work in the morning? Holy hell. I don't know whether I should applaud you guys for being willing and able to do that or wonder if you've all just lost those last few marbles in the bottom of the bag.)

The finished product was really worth it, though. The singles sound great from what I've heard, and it looks like you guys can at least take a few nice deep breaths before the one-man and whatever you guys have in store for CP. Also, you got to play around with some of the songs? Which one did you have the most fun editing?

And that last question... What the... At least now I know that I wasn't going crazy, that my Japanese skills weren't failing me, and that letting Shiun have a microphone and attempt to speak English is going to end in many "What was that? Was that some form of Japanese Pig-Latin?" moments.

Oh, damn it. I told you, can't condense questions or posts to save my life.

Anyway, have a good day!