15 days til the studio.
We started practicing to a click track. It makes it sound great but it's a bit of a chore. If someone messes up it makes it harder for everyone to jump back and and still be in the right spot. No slowing down for anyone. Lots of starting over. Chris and I are going to record scratch guitar tracks (quick, imperfect guitar tracks just for Ryan to play along to) to the click before we enter the studio so that way everything is laid out for the songs before hand. We'll also get a chance to go over last minute riff changes and lock everything down for ourselves. It's also good because we won't have to stand there and play the songs with him every time. That's what we did last time and it makes things difficult and much more tiring.
On Sunday I took a couple of Chris' riffs and strung them together with a couple of mine as well as a little bit of transition-type parts and put together a good chunk of a song I called "Webster's Room." Not sure where that one came from. Regardless, it's a lot like "Big Al" in the sense that it's a little different from what we usually do, but it still sounds like us. I'm really excited to get these ideas recorded to hear them all together.
Jon finally got a chance to come up to practice last night. It's one thing to be playing these songs over and over, but adding the vocals in changes the songs completely. It's interesting to see how he interprets the songs...where he places vocals and how he paces the lyrics. A couple of the songs we've been playing for a while really came together after he got some vocals on them and made me even more excited about them. For a while the songs were getting kind of stagnant and I wasn't sure about certain parts or how they were laid out; adding the vocals in really makes the songs entirely new again, so it's been a breath of fresh air to hear them complete.
Aside from writing I've been working on some transitional pieces that will go between the songs. I had a concept for the intro to the album a few months back and put together a quick idea of it in Pro Tools before we went on tour. Then I had the idea to transition from song to song using similar sounds and I just expanded off of what I had in the intro for the transitions. It's a way to tie the whole album together and create a start-to-finish listening experience as opposed to just listening to a song at a time. I've got three done right now and I'll probably do about three more. We may use all of them, we may only use a couple...just depends on how it feels. Another issue is placement and overlapping. If we choose to overlap the transitions with part of a song, you'll HAVE to listen to the transition every time or else it will cut off weird when you skip a track or when a new track starts. It's a lot to consider. I'm having a lot of fun making these pieces though. It's definitely a sound design project and I'm getting to record all kinds of random sounds (pennies in a glass bottle, my shower curtain, an empty soda can, etc.) and alter them with pitch shifting, reversing, time compression/expansion and adding reverb, delays, modulation...it's fun. I hope it all works out and everything flows together like I'm envisioning it to.
In response to carbon14c - yes, it's a good thing Jon has begun writing more thought-provoking lyrics and is straying from the gore/shock value stuff. While I feel like I'm not into that anymore, our last album is what it is and it's how he got his anger out at the time. I don't feel embarrassed or anything by it, but it is nice to have a more relevant and meaningful message.