It might not sound like a long time, but seven months without writing a single song was a first for me in my songwriting life. While it's true that I've been working from a backlog of about 60 songs for the past three years it was still alarming to have gone that long without writing a single new song. What kickstarted the process was being able to play a few shows as a duo the way that we had back when we were playing in support of 'down to sleep.' Without three other people to consider we could play as loudly as we wanted to again. As a bonus we were able to explore our more spontaneous side more fully like we had in those days. I'd never thought it had that much value, being able to go off on a musical tangent without warning, but when we started practicing for those shows it became apparent very quickly what we'd been missing since. Since it'd been so difficult to get everyone together and keep them all focused towards the end and having so many things to consider when picking out the songs to play the release of all of that external stress was a nice reminder of how much we enjoy what we do. It's a shame that bands get so bogged down with so much external nonsense that seems so important and can't be overcome- I'd always thought that was kind of a cop-out, but now that I've lived through it it's not as easy to ignore.
By the time we had our third show booked for April of last year half of our set was made up of entirely new songs and as I worked on them more and more came. The recordings were done quickly and were incredibly enjoyable- there wasn't a moment of stress present in the creation of these songs. I was able to figure out new approaches to my recording style and I was able to pull things off that I'd never thought possible. Suddenly the record was done. Even the mixing was brief, which normally is the longest part of the process. The immediacy burned and I wanted to get these tracks mastered as soon as possible, but since we're working on paying down our back taxes there simply isn't extra money to spend on mastering, even at the low rate we've had at Magneto Mastering for years. I started messing around with the tracks in Adobe Audition and figured out something that achieved what I was after. I'd meant to sit on these mastered versions for a while longer, but one day I was out and about listening to it on my iPod and comparing it to records that had a similar sound that I was after and I realized that the record was done. Almost completely by accident. Since the overarching goal is to one day press it to vinyl and since I would have to pay for that to be done professionally it seemed natural to try it myself for the digital release, since it won't be coming out in any other digital form (except for some CDr promos). Plus the idea of playing these songs live for a year (possibly two) without being able to point people in their direction seemed so out-of-sync with the spirit of the whole thing. Plus there are other releases waiting in the wings and it's getting to the point where I need to start cranking this stuff out so I can move on from some of it (I have a double record that I've been working on since 2006- I'd like to get that monkey off my back). Plus, we'll have to figure out where we're going next, because for the first time ever I have no idea. Since this record came together without any planning it seems that not knowing where we're going is something to be excited about.