14 Jun 2005

Helena Josefsson, backing singer at AGM Studios (VIII): The Swedish Dream of Doug Wyatt (I)

Doug Wyatt, the musician from New Orleans, has flied to Sweden in order to record his new album at Chris Lundquist's Aerosol Grey Machine Studio. Helena Josefsson will record backing vocals for this album. We can read his day-by-day notes here.

Day 0
Despite Justin Winokur never before having been charged for excess baggage, we’d agreed that we would pack as if we were going to. Justin dropped me and the luggage outside the international terminal at SFO, returned the rented minivan, and reappeared 12 minutes later. Shuttled the bags to a spot near Icelandair’s checkin counter. I got perhaps 4 or 5 solid hours of sleep on the plane. We arrived Copenhagen without Justin’s clothes. Major endeavor getting all the gear onto train to Malmö. Fortunately two friends of Justin’s had met our plane and helped. Just a little under 24 hours after meeting Justin outside my apartment, we arrived at the studio guest house. Fell asleep quickly.

Day 1

Got 5.5 hrs sleep Thu. night, at the right time. Optimistic about adapting to time change. AM: Got cash, food, gas (43 liters=11.4 gallons, 476KR=US$64, $5.60/gallon!). A steady diet of salmon, cheese, bread, mustard, and herring? Yum! Hit it off well with Christoffer Lundquist—major common musical influence: Genesis’ A Trick of the Tail. PM: Listened to all 9 tracks and discussed arrangements. Considering major surgery (simplification) on perhaps 3. There’s some healthy diversity of opinion but we seem to be agreeing on the big things. Jens Jansson(drummer) arrived around 4 and listened with us. After dinner, set up to record drums. Moved Logic session onto Christoffer’s G5. Slaving mac to 24 track was working well (that day :-/). Set up keyboard rig in control room. Recorded drums and some percussion for Implications.

Day 2
Got to the studio around noon. Practiced piano while Justin and Christoffer had lunch, then told them I wasn’t really ready to perform Cobblestone Mirrors that day. Christoffer suggested Artifacts and Fantasies instead, which made me happy because it’s the one piece I’d been practicing a lot on piano in the last week. By dinnertime we’d gotten the first half of Artifacts and Fantasies rearranged, adding a reprise of the opening theme. Then Christoffer, Justin and I doubled the chords under the theme with 4 layers of 3 “monks” singing 2 parts, and Christoffer replaced my bass track with the real thing. Christoffer experimented with microphone positions for awhile and ended up capturing a glorious, sweet, singing tone.

Day 3
Now it seems we have a solid workflow going forward. We talked about it before breaking for dinner and agreed, it’s kind of inevitable that whenever you bring prerecorded material to a session, there’s going to be a certain amount of time spent just figuring out how best to integrate it. It’s not the kind of thing that’s easily planned, especially when we hadn’t worked together before and had no idea of how the other worked. On the way back from dinner I noticed a Swedish flag on someone’s house and remarked to Justin, do you think that in Sweden, flying the national flag has the same jingoistic, nationalistic connotations as it does in the U.S.? He laughed because he’d been wondering the same thing on our drive to town the other day (as had I). He said, the Swedes might have as much of a nationalistic streak as we do, but it’s for different principles; great concern for the environment, social welfare, etc. I said, maybe I will plaster my car with Swedish flags.

Day 4
After dinner, we took some publicity photos in the studio and then got down to the business of replacing the digital piano track. The one other overdub we did was Christoffer playing a low note on a bass ocarina (?!) that added a really nice organic quality to the ending. I’ll have to come back and finish in the fall. But it’s natural for things to move more slowly at the beginning before everyone’s sure of what they’re doing.

Doug Wyatt - Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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