Co-producing, mixing, arranging, songwriting, performing (guitar, vocals)
Arms Down is the second and final full-length record by my former band Get Him Eat Him. It is by far the most in-depth and expansive musical project I have undertaken, the culmination of two years of writing, revising, performing, recording and mixing.
While Get Him Eat Him's debut album Geography Cones consisted largely of songs I had written as early as high school, all of Arms Down was written specifically for Get Him Eat Him. I set about to make a record that was less claustrophobic and more elegant, showcasing both my improved songwriting skills and the formidable talents of my bandmates. I was thrilled when Jason Caddell, a skilled producer/engineer and the guitarist from the Dismemberment Plan (one of my all-time favorite bands) signed on to produce the record.
At Jason's suggestion, we tracked drums, bass and some guitars for the record at Brooklyn's Studio G with Joel Hamilton, an incredibly talented engineer best known for his work with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and Blackroc. We left Studio G with vivid and versatile basic tracks, the perfect building blocks for the far-reaching and intricate album we intended to make.
While we built out the songs with additional guitar, keyboard and vocal tracks, I sought the help of some musicians and engineers in our orbit. Our friend Chris Brown recorded a variety of horn, string and organ parts at his Brooklyn studio, Charles Bissell of the Wrens recorded some additional guitars (and contributed a beautiful 12-string guitar part to "The Coronation Show"), and Beirut's Zach Condon laid down some trumpet parts at my home studio. We then made our way to Washington DC's legendary Inner Ear studio, where we finished guitar and vocal tracking with Jason and were joined for an afternoon by veteran cellist Amy Domingues.
After three intense days of tracking and overdubbing, we went next door to Silver Sonya studio, where we began mixing with the incomparable Chad Clark. Working with Chad was nothing short of revelatory; he masterfully guided us through a subtractive and thoughtful mixing session, paring down some of the more excessive decisions we had made during tracking and coaxing unheard depth and nuance from the tracks. Emboldened by Chad's approach (and up against the limits of our budget), I took three songs home ("Patronage", "Exposure", and "CBT") and began mixing them on my antiquated PC, meticulously editing and automating the tracks to a degree that would not have been possible "on the clock."
Having attempted a few additional mixes at home, I returned to Silver Sonya and re-mixed a handful of songs with Chad and TJ Lipple. Following through with Chad's initial suggestions, we continued to pare down the arrangements, often omitting guitars or drums from an entire verse or chorus.
As we finished up mixing, my artistically inclined bandmates put together the album's artwork. Drummer Jeff Wood assembled an incredible sculpture out of clay, housewares and Lego, which was in turn photographed and transformed into 2-dimensional art by bassist Joe Posner. I conceptualized a unique 4-way folding insert, in which each fold reveals another angle of Jeff's sculpture, as well as credits and text embellished with drawings by keyboard player Raf Spielman.
Arms Down was released by Absolutely Kosher Records on June 5th, 2007.
An album by the Capstan Shafts. I produced, mixed, and played drums.
My contribution to Australian lit/music magazine The Lifted Brow's "World Atlas."
My former band's final EP. I produced, engineered, mixed, sang, and played guitar.