KLEENEX GIRL WONDER - SECRET THINKING

Producing, engineering, mixing, performing (drums, guitar)

I first became aware of Graham Smith's work as Kleenex Girl Wonder in 1999, when Magnet Magazine ran a glowing review of Smith's one-man opus Ponyoak. I fell hard for the album, going so far as to scrawl a lyric from "Anne Marie" on the outer binding of my high school journal (valuable real estate for an emotional 15-year-old).


I largely lost track of Graham's recorded output until the release of 2008's Yes, Boss, which caught me completely off guard and became one of my very favorite albums of the last 5 or so years. In february of 2009, I invited Graham to open for my former band Get Him Eat Him at our final show, and offered my services as a drummer. Six months later Graham, guitarist Thayer McClanahan, keyboardist Ryan Smith and I made our way to the Bruce Goff Castle B&B in scenic Cobden, IL to begin recording the album that would become Secret Thinking.



We flew to Chicago with suitcases full of recording gear, drove straight to Cobden and rented a drum set from a rehearsal studio in nearby Carbondale. We put the drums in one of the B&B's two stone "towers," and set up microphones to capture both the tone of the drums and the unique resonance of the space. In three days, we managed to track all the drum, keyboard and basic guitar tracks for songs that we had never played together as a group.

We took the tracks from Cobden back to New York, and began a lengthy process of editing, overdubbing and mixing. I recorded most of the remaining bass, guitar and vocal tracks through a modified Ampex 351, which lent the overdubbed tracks a heavy and warm character that worked well with drum tracks recorded in a large stone room. Graham turned in a particularly strong batch of songs for Secret Thinking, and I approached mixing with the goal of highlighting his talents for unique vocal melodies and unexpected structural arcs.



Secret Thinking was mastered by Alex Saltz at APS Mastering and is available at kgw.me.


LINKS

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