The 1984 Draft entered the studio on January 19, 2014 to record our upcoming EP, titled Bo Jackson Up the Middle. The record is being engineered and produced by Micah Carli (Hawthorne Heights) at Popside Recording Studio. The EP will be released in April 2014 in conjunction with an NFL Films production the band was taped for, which is dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the actual 1984 NFL Draft.
Popside Recording Studio, which has seen recent notoriety due to the recently released Story Changes and Kris N records., is a haven for guitar players and musicians.
The studio features a 600 square foot live room where Justin Santinover, our drummer, tracked his drums nailing almost every song on the first take. My right leg hurts just thinking about some of those kick drum parts! Justin refuses to use a double bass pedal so he does it all with a single kick. Justin played his usual Gretsch Catalina kit with a loaned Hawthorne Heights autographed Tama Star Classic snare drum.
Guitar players that record at Popside can bring their own gear or choose among any number of quality tube amps, vintage guitars, or hordes of boutique guitar pedals. Joe Anderl tracked his guitar parts live from the control room while drums were being recorded in the live room. Being the gearhead that he is, Joe mic’d direct and then re-amped through a Hiwatt Custom 100 in combination with an Orange 4×12 cabinet (that later part was with much help from Mr. Micah Carli!). Joe adopted drop tuning (open C#) as a solo artist to enhance his guitar playing prowess. Joe likes to brag that he is not a “good” guitar player, but don’t let him fool you, he is one of the best song writers and vocalists I know. By the end of the session Joe was spending most of his time exclaiming that he was “the best guitar player in the world”, even throwing windmills while sitting in his chair.
At that point, the gauntlet had been thrown and we were going to have to nail the rest of the guitar and all of the vocal parts in order to finish the three-song EP in our one day session. I played my Strat through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe featuring amp distortion and analog delay. Guitar tracking took much less time than Joe’s ribbing of me would have one believe. Only one of the three songs included any over dubbing. The goal of this session was simplicity.
After we tracked drums and guitars we took a short break to grab some dinner at the local burrito place, Hot Head Burritos, where we discussed Micah’s music career and swapped war stories from years on the road in cramped vans.
After dinner, armed with a 12-pack of Milwaukee’s Best Light, we headed back to finish the EP with vocal tracking. Joe set up and went to work like a champ. He poured everything he had into this session stopping just short of completely losing his voice. At some point in this process Micah praised Joe’s voice may saying he sounded a bit like Neil Diamond. Joe, being in a snarky mood, fired back a comment about the number of Hawthorne Heights’ gold records vs. Neil Diamond’s. Micah, being a good sport, jokingly responded with a “touche” and they continued the vocal tracking process.
After Justin finished tracking backing vocals, and Joe wrapped up just short of throwing his voice, we had one final task to finish as a band. We tracked gang vocals for the end of “Scarlet and Cream”. Recording those vocals as a band in the live room after such a productive day was the perfect way to end the recording session. “Scarlet and Cream forever” indeed.
When it is complete, the forthcoming EP will feature three songs, all inspired by football to some extent; “Clear Heads Full Hearts”, “Straight Out Of Will Compton”, and “Scarlet and Cream”. With songs that pay significant homage to a lot of football imagery, we developed these songs to deliver the feeling that our armchair quarterback tendencies, and this opportunity with NFL Films is more than a mere coincidence. We were a band lucky enough to be noticed by NFL Films, not only for our name, but for our love of the popular American past time.
You can purchase a CD or buy concert tickets here.
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