A Little Band Gets Bigger
The new album, “Seven Hour Storm” is taking shape already! We’ve had four days of ‘pre-production’ sessions with our producer Jeff Kazor (The Crooked Jades), our Sound Engineer Bruce Kaphan (David Byrne, R.E.M., The Black Crows) and our full band – Henry Misner (Cloud Season) on electric guitar and Rob Bayne (When the Billionaire Plays Guitar) on drums!
We spent four days over two weeks in Bruce Kaphan’s studio in beautiful Niles, CA and came away with some gorgeous demos and lots of amazing ideas for the upcoming album, “Seven Hour Storm”.
The first day consisted of deep discussion about the direction of the new album, we asked lots of questions and brainstormed about how we can broaden the scope of our music for this new offering. We also devoted time to mic testing, choosing the perfect mics to capture the sounds of our vocals and instruments. The results were amazing, on the second day of pre-production we recorded demo versions of the songs that are slated to be on the album as it is now in live takes. Then we listened back to what we’d been able to capture. The sound is immaculate, a beautiful snap shot of our full sound as the duo.
On the third day we had a four hour session with our full band and captured demos for five of the songs that will be on the new album complete with the full band sound. We had a blast playing with Henry and Rob and after the recording was completed we sat down and had some more thrilling discussion about musical possibilities and arrangements for the new album. The ideas were flying and it continued to inspire and inform our direction with the new music.
The final day was all about deconstructing the elements of our sound as the duo, defining the key ingredients that make the Misner & Smith sound what it is. We broke down the song “Seven Hour Storm” and recorded it in it’s separate parts, vocals and acoustic guitar. Then we started to play around with the arrangement, adding more vocals and playing with the feel and sound of the guitar parts. We walked away from the last day of pre-production with the feeling that the sky’s the limit for the sound of this new album. Even the small adjustments we made of adding extra vocals onto the title track, “Seven Hour Storm” made the song open up and the result was inspiring! And after four days of intense work we walked away with a really good feeling about the direction the music is taking us.
Sam Misner & Jeff Kazor
Lots of people have asked us why it is important to us to do this next album in a studio with a producer, a sound engineer, and guest musicians. This is the question we get most about this new album and it’s a great one.
Over the last eight years we’ve put out three full-length albums of original music. Halfway Home and Poor Player were both recorded in a studio as live takes, we played the songs live and the sound engineer captured our performances without any “over-dubbing” or adding extra tracks of instruments and vocals. And of course our live album Live at the Freight & Salvage was an amazing experience and captured a truly unique and electric night of live performance in a state-of-the-art acoustic concert hall with a full audience. It also gave us the rare opportunity to pre-release three of the songs that are to be included on our new album to give our audiences a glimpse into the near future of our musical direction. We’re very proud of all our albums and all that we’ve accomplished because of them and now we’re ready to try something new! Our imaginations are teeming with more musical ideas than four hands and two voices can produce on their own. The songwriting and specifically the lyrics of our new songs are filled with stories and characters that beg for musical exploration, these new songs are pushing us to dig deeper into our music than ever before. We’re looking forward to getting the chance to really flesh out those musical ideas and bring them to fruition with this new album.
Here’s a little taste of what we accomplished in pre-production . . . enjoy!