To the non-musician, the process a band goes through to make an album may not seem like hard work.
Those unfamiliar recording may think that the songs are always fully realized before the band enters the studio — that musicians can just go in, nail their various parts in a few takes, then move onto the next song. It seems like making an album should come easily and naturally.
But talk to any musician about recording for more than a few minutes, and you’ll know this isn’t the case in the least bit. You’ll hear stories about spending a whole day recording one guitar solo or drum fill, or singers scribbling down lyrics just minutes before the song they’re writing is to be recorded.
Making music isn’t easy. That’s why Young Statues knew that, to record their sophomore LP The Flatlands Are Your Friends, they wanted to travel somewhere to both limit distractions and feel more inspired. So the band spent three weeks recording in Athens, Georgia at Chase Park Transduction Studios, where frontman Carmen Cirignano had also retreated to years prior and wrote Young Statues’ debut album.
Today, we bring you a documentary filmed, produced and edited by Jesse Cornaglia and Brad Wyllner, colored by Ryan Berger, which follows the band through the Flatlands recording process this past March. Notice that there are very few atmospheric shots of the band out and about, enjoying the music-friendly Georgia town. That’s because they spent most of the time they were there working in the studio.
“Part of the motivation behind coming down here to do this was we had nothing else to focus on when we were here,” Cirignano says in the documentary. “We don’t really know the area very well. We’re down here to make a record. There’s no distractions. There’s nothing to go do when we’re done.
But did Young Statues really “sequester” themselves in order to record Flatlands?
“It sort if makes it sound like we weren’t having any fun,” says co-producer Drew Vandenberg in an interview with The Key. “But we were having a lot of it! Beers were had.
“I think the main benefit is that everyone can concentrate better when they’re not having to worry about the typical things you would have to worry about at home,” Vandenberg added. “The all-in sort of experience of sleeping at the studio and just getting up and working and living and breathing it all the time makes it completely absorptive. It affords you the ability to concentrate on another level. We definitely worked long, intense days for thee weeks straights, but it was worth it completely.”
Though some overdubs and flourishes were added, Flatlands was mostly tracked live – the main benefit of which Vandenberg says is the intangible feeling that’s added when a band is able to look at each other and play in the moment.
“Capturing that can be very important,” he says. “Sure, there are lots of cool records made in different ways and different processes will work better for different artists on different records, but for a band like Young Statues, I thought that was important.”
“I hope when people listen to it, they’ll feel what all of us felt when we were in here doing this,” Cirignano says in the video, “they’ll feel the energy and the raw emotion that comes out of the music, and they’ll be able to relate to it – that’s the hope, that’s the goal always.”
That hard work certainly paid off — the energy and emotion of Flatlands are though to miss.
The Flatlands Are Your Friend is the featured album in this week’s edition of Unlocked. Download “Got The Knife” in Monday’s post, read yesterday’s album review, and check back tomorrow for an interview and Friday for more on Athens.
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