We’re ahead of schedule, but I think we’ve let the fast progress go to our heads a bit. We need to slow down a little. Tempers were a little short today – the result of three straight twelve-hour sessions with too little sleep, not helped by the fact that none of us have been out of the house since we got here. It’s not healthy to breathe the same air for too long.
It was only the morning session that suffered, though. We battled with a couple of songs, getting on each other’s nerves, mistaking suggestions for criticism, letting the tension get the better of us. But we know each other well enough by now to see this kind of thing for what it is – human beings being human beings. Three European tours in a small van has taught us to notice the warning signs and we’re pretty good at not letting a bad vibe spread. So we took a break, ate some food and drank some tea. Tea is a pretty good cure for a lot of things.
These early days were only supposed to be a kind of soundcheck and arrangement period, but we’ve always been fast workers once we get going and now we’ve become greedy to finish stuff. I think all of us are looking forward to the part of the process where we get to add the weird bits (kitchen percussion, toolbox, dog chorus, etc), as that’s always the most enjoyable part of making a record. I suspect we’re starting to view the rhythm section sessions as a barrier to this, like a stern aunt insisting that we eat our broccoli when all we want to do is skip straight to the ice cream.
But what we’re doing now is the most important part of the whole project. If we don’t get this bit right then the whole record will sound awful. Without a good groove and solid foundation, none of these songs will work. No amount of catchy riffs or clever lyrics can redeem a poor rhythm take. The lead lines of a song appeal to the mind, but the beat hits you square in the guts.
After our little breather we pressed on with business. We’ve now covered quite a range of material, and today we got good takes for the two prettiest numbers on the record as well as two of the loudest. I’m pretty sure they’re all keepers. We’ll listen back later to make sure.
Time is still on our side, but I’ve never trusted Time much. My relationship with Time has always been rather grudging and suspicious, like the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of non-aggression.
Still, we press on…