"LOVE, is the product of one exhausting, yet rewarding journey complete with ‘cuts, scratches, and cigarette burns’. The recording and mixing process, done at Harlem Flophouse and then later at Felix’s studio, The House of Tone, ended with a flow of sound amplified by more textural qualities: close-knit rhythm sections, soul-drenched vocals, and storylines about love: both wanting and losing it." —Adrienne Bess on "Joonbug" Read the full interview here.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Posted by bugpowder at 9:14 PM
Thursday, February 7, 2013
|Felix Reyes, Producer, Chicago House of Tone|
You may remember how we met Felix. He came to The Harlem Flophouse on his way to The Midnight Ramble in Woodstock NY. He was performing there with somebody he referred to as Hook. Hook plays blues harmonica. Hook is famous or notorious, actually both. I have not met him yet.
When Felix booked the room he did a little research on its owner, me. He found out I had a band. He asked if I was playing that weekend and I was, on Sunday, which was perfect. Felix came in the afternoon and rehearsed with us.He played with us to the an almost empty bar, Paris Blues in Harlem. It was magic.
I took him around the darkened streets of Harlem on the Friday before. I showed him Bill's place, PB and a quick stop at The Lenox Lounge. He liked how at Bill's Place you had to stop in at a local liquor store, the kind with a thick plastic bullet proof shield engulfing the entire establishment. You bring your own brew to Bill's. Bill only provides the music.
We kept in touch on Facebook after that. During the following summer Felix suggested coming back to The Harlem Flophouse to record the band. We worked out the dates of January 6th — 13th.
I closed the entire house. Kosi and I went shopping and loaded up on food. Amos and she stayed for the session. We were still up in the air on bass players. At the last minute a neighbor stepped in. Craig. The other Craig, not the shitty one.
The first Sunday was grueling. As soon as Felix arrived he and Craig went to work figuring out a setup. We had to lay down "bed tracks" for all the tunes we wanted to do. Bed Tracks are essentially the drums and bass for a given song. The rest of the band has to be there performing sotto voce and unplugged so that the rhythm section knows where they are. I had pretty ambitious plan. We ended up getting six done.
Craig flew to Vegas on Monday. I spent it with Felix recording all of the rhythm tracks. On Tuesday we started doing the vocals. One at a time we went to the mic. Luckily we have been doing these tunes for awhile and one or two takes got it. I was wiped but Kosi suggested we go back to work at 7pm and get it all done. Wednesday was me doing lead guitar in the morning. That evening Craig returned. We had all the elements for the first six. We made a group decision to move on and do bed tracks for two more pieces. Thursday was spent going through the process again.
We were more or less done. Felix and I were certainly finished. Exhausted. Felix made bounces and I got a listen to the raw tracks. They were good. Plenty of cuts and scratches and cigarette burns but good. Special. I think it will be like the Eraserhead of music for us. You know. The David Lynch film he made for 5 grand when he was in art school. Lots of imperfections, charming, and perhaps his best work.
Posted by bugpowder at 12:49 PM
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Kosi's Hypothisis is that they say "Damn, he gonna replace us if we don't all get back in there." I find that compelling. I like to believe in Animism. I also like to believe there might be some synergistic principle of physics at work.
I was explaining this to Stacey. Stacey lives in an ashram in Virginia called Yogaville. "Basically it's a cult" she says. Probably true but mitigated by the fact that it's charismatic founder is dead. Stacey came and played with us at Paris Blues last Sunday. She had played in and out of country bands and kirtans for decades now. The first time I ever played in front of a crowd of strangers was at a salon she hosted in her Brooklyn apartment. She also was the one to get me to sing at an open mic for the first time at Common Ground in the East Village.
The Sunday before last we had a wonderfully appreciative audience. The weather was fair and good crowd showed up. Old friends and new I like to call them. I think some radio personality used that as his sign off. The joint was full and the clapping was loud. People laughed. The band was hot. We even had some people on the verge of dancing.
On the Solstice we played at the new community garden on my block. The Lakshmi Community Garden. You can guess who the founder might be. The cedar platform we performed on is nestled in the middle of the lot right where the two buildings end. The acoustics were stellar. Music drifted up and down the block but was never loud. We played an incredible hour and a half straight without a break. We didn't even play every song we knew. I called it The Mega-set.
Last night I was on the stoop with some friends and Larry, a blind musician was hanging with us. He lavished praise on my band. I figure you must be doing something right, when a blind man likes your music.
Posted by bugpowder at 10:09 PM
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
The rhythm section is like a marriage. It can take months for bass and drums to lock. And it can take years before they begin to look like each other and their dogs. That's the advantage of scoring a pair like Jerome and David. They have been playing together since Texas. Texas was a long time ago.
The first time we all played together was last fall. Both Jeff and Amos had subbed out. It was like standing on the deck of a battleship. Kosi looked at me sideways across the room.
"There's a whole lot of blackness going on here."
"Yeah." I said. " It's The Goddess Lakshmi Blaxplosian Band."
We were reunited last Sunday. It started out a little tentatively. But by the end of the first set somebody jumped up and started dancing. That's what's up.
Posted by bugpowder at 12:17 PM