15 Mar 2003

Helena Josefsson, backing singer at AGM Studios (V): Winokur's Swedish Diary (V)

Justin Winokur came back to Sweden to finish the recordings for his new album at AGM Studios with Christoffer Lundquist. Helena Josefsson has taken part as backing singer.

The album could be released this summer.

Arriving in Sweden again —gotta go and finish recording my songs!

Last night was kind of a mess. We tried to work on Shooting Star but it was just terrible. We played together like an absurd caricature of a mediocre band. No matter what we did, it just turned out sub–par.

2003 - AGM by Justin Winokur 1

So we decided to take a different approach. Christoffer learned my chords and played the song on the Rhoades electric piano and laid down a track of that. All of a sudden everything clicked. I could sing the notes, and the song felt better that we imagined it ever would have—especially after the boom crash mess we had spent the last few hours trudging through. But, it was after midnight and we were all too tired to work any more. Delirious with exhaustion, I was falling asleep each time I blinked—dreaming 300 millisecond dreams each time. In spite of our new brilliant path, this song would have to wait for the morning.

It was funny, though. When I got back to Gubben's Hus I couldn't fall asleep. I tried melatonin, 5-HTP, and focused meditative breathing. Even the beating of those drums was no match for my unyielding circadian rhythm. So I laid awake much of the night, in and out of fragmented sleep—hoping desperately to put the sporadic dozing minutes together into the completed puzzle of a full–night's sleep.

Today was much more productive than yesterday. Through some miracle we were able to lay down bass guitar, drums, and scratch guitar for five songs. I still can not believe it. Even a band that has practiced together for many months can often not record basic tracks for five songs in one day. Now imagine that three people who have never played the songs together getting together and hammering it all out in a short 12 hours!

Life is ironic, and no facet of it is exempt from this irony. And my recording session was especially plagued by it. Of course, the songs we thought would be the easiest ended up taking many hours to even get to the point where we could play together without everything turning into a catastrophic musical fiasco. Yet we layed down Blue Eyes—the song I thought would require the most work—in a mere 45 minutes.

Today was truly incredible, though. I thought that there was no way that any mortal humans could completely track three songs in four days. So of course Christoffer suggested we ought to do four. And when I arrive I played him a song of mine he had not heard before—Celestial. So then the four song plan turned immediately into the five song plan. Maybe we're immortal, then. Basic tracks completed today: Shooting Star, Just Go Out With Me, Just Go Out With Me, Celestial, and Blue Eyes.

2003 - AGM by Justin Winokur 2

Jens Jansson was really a trooper, and his drumming was excellent. I was sad he had to go. He is so much fun just to be around. When we dropped him off in Sjöbo to catch a bus back to Malmö at about 10:55 PM, I suggested to Christoffer that maybe we ought to drop by the one depressing pub in town and have a drink to unwind. So, we did what Christoffer and I do second best next to making music together: we took a break there and sat and had some great conversations.

I had hoped to run into some of the people I hung out with last time I was at that bar in Sjöbo, but none of them showed up. That says a lot about that town. It is quite small, but just not quite small enough that all the people you know are at the pub on a Friday evening. I remember last time I was at that bar was a Saturday night and it seemed empty. The bartender told me that I missed the boat—Friday night was the good night. But, today was Friday. Was this as good as Vollsjö gets? An acoustic guitar player played to an audience of zero in the other room, and the restaurant–by–day and pub–by–night was nowhere near packed with no more than 25 people. Welcome to a hopping Friday night at the only bar in Sjöbo.

Soon the acoustic guitar player's set ended, and he was immediately replaced with painfully unintelligent Euro techno. The music and the obnoxiously loud level at which it was played seemed much more appropriate for a large European dance club packed full of drunk 18–year–olds looking to fuck. In a nearly empty pub in a forgotten rural town drowning in the ocean of the Southern farmlands of Sweden the pounding dance music seemed almost comical. Nobody was dancing. Not a single cell in any of the bodies in the room was dancing. Yet the room was filled with smoke. My hearing and the clean, fresh scent of my smoke–free garments are not worth this abuse, I thought. Time to stop by the store, pick up some cookies, and go home. And that is what we did. Christoffer sent me off with a bottle of whiskey to help me fall asleep better than last night. Ah, better lihing through chemicals. And, after a few shots of the spirits, I'm in the mood for snoring. After another cookie or two, that is. Good night for now...
Justin Winokur

No comments: