Recording an Album at the Beach: The Dream Job I Lived

If you have lived in Richmond for at least three years, I know you remember Cinemasophia.  If you do not, you must be a hermit.  Living under a huge rock.  Deep deep under the water.  They have internet underwater?  And how are you breathing?  Well, in any case, go listen here before reading.

I had the privilege of producing, recording, and mixing this album during the summer of 2006.  At the beach.  This is the dream of every musician, producer, engineer, etc., and let me tell you: it is exactly as awesome as you think it is.  We woke up when we woke up.  Played music when it felt appropriate.  Swam.  Ate.  Drank.  We were just so dang merry.

"Whole Ghosts" Album Artwork

Album Artwork, Artist: Miles Washington

Were you to listen to the album, you would hear the influence of the undulatingoceanic tones throughout each song.  Well, maybe that was the massive shoegaze craze that the members of Cinemasophia were all savvy to during the recording.  Either way, the waves are there, and they are fierce.

We had no Class A tubed mics or pre’s.  Just a Digi 002 and a few decent mics.  But I learned a thing or two at Hogwart’s School of Recording, and so it worked out beautifully.

Unfortunately, we were only at the beach a couple of weeks for tracking and writing.  I was then sentenced to the ‘real studio’ to mix the album down.  After living the rock-star life at the beach, mixing at a recording studio in a creepy middle-of-nowhere warehouse felt like mixing in a haunted prison (yes, I believe in ghosts; no, I have never been to prison).

You engineers out there know what I am talking about when I say prison.  And it doesn’t even have to be in a scary warehouse.  When you are tracking, the band is having fun because the changes in the recording are constructively obvious.  When you are editing and mixing, the band begins to resents you.  Tracking is like framing a house; editing and mixing is like painting a white over primed walls.  But it is all in the details, right?

Cinemasophia (the brainchild of Landis Wine) was great to work with from beginning to end.  I love these guys because they pushed everything as far as they could, and it was a fun ride while it lasted.  The band: Landis Wine, Jay Ward, Miles Washington, Travis Smith, Jill Jaquith, and Daniel Cottner have changed lineup a few times and released two more albums before finally dissolving.

Although they do not play together anymore, I still listen to this album now and again.  Have a listen to “Buried in Blooms” off of this album, “Whole Ghosts.” Tell me: can you hear the waves?

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