Last summer Hop Along booked 6 weeks in our recording studio to make their new record “Bark Your Head Off, Dog”. They asked me to help Joe (who plays guitar) with the engineering so he could focus more on writing his parts and just being in the band. Simply said; it was a ton of fun (and obviously a lot of work) to make. We’ve all been friends almost as long as Joe and I have been doing the Headroom; Frances (the singer/songwriter) was playing solo acoustic shows at Kung Fu Necktie around the same time Joe and I were recording on 8 inputs into a laptop in our warehouse. We’ve all been on this crazy journey together, so being able to work intimately on a record like this was extremely rewarding.
We tracked drums along with Bass and guitar/vocal scratch tracks. Mark (drummer) is meticulous about tuning and finding different drums for different sounds for each song, which makes it very easy to record! Recording the rhythm section of the band is fairly straighforward; Relatively few takes for drums, and we kept almost all of the live bass takes (Tyler is an amazing bass player), though there was some amount of comping for drums to get the right fills. Lead guitar, Keys, Vocals, overdubs took more time, as a lot of the arrangements were worked out in the studio. We got to use our brand new Wunder CM7 for vocals, and we had a new AEA R44 ribbon for drums and guitars. We generally tried to track almost everything with little eq or compression as we wanted to give the mixing engineer a blank canvas when it came to mixing. A typical day would consist of tracking Frances in the main live room while Joe played DI into another computer working out different parts, while Mark would make edits with an intern on aux percussion or different drum parts on a laptop. It was a whole operation! This song, “How Simple” has Acoustic (probably Joe’s Guild), Rhodes Piano, Cello and Violin, most of the electric guitar was Joe playing a Gretsch hollowbody, Mark probably used his black Ludwig acrolite snare w a Big Fat Snare mute, and Tyler used his P Bass, with our friend Chrissy (from thin lips) singing backing vocals at the end.
Big Thanks for Ryan Schwabe, who is usually our go-to mastering guy, for doing an amazing job mixing this record!
“Bark Your Head Off, Dog” will be available via Saddle Creek this Spring