The Painted Dogs: Recording at The Sugar Shack
Last Saturday, The Painted Dogs had a recording session in London, Ontario at The Sugar Shack on Wellington.
Dylan and I left home for London at about 7am.
We arrived for our session at 11am. I greeted the city with my usual hello, sitting in one of the countless Tim Horton's parking lots as I smeared excessive eyeliner on my face. Bonus points if you can't even see my eyes because I haven't cut my bangs in weeks.
We found The Sugar Shack to be a modest house centered between a tattoo parlor and a beauty supply store. Without knowing it's exact location, you'd never be able to find it. Thank god for Chris' white caddy.
Studios have a habit of staying hidden, but once you step inside it's always a dream.
Upon entering The Sugar Shack we were welcomed by Simon Larochette and his feline sidekick, Winston. The studio was very comfortable with its warm and rustic atmosphere. Perhaps it helped that Simon and Winston actually live there as well. It was easy to see how people can walk into this studio and unknowingly emerge days later.
Those musicians are a lucky crowd; we only had one day.
Going into the studio, our goal was to record eleven songs in ten hours, which I felt was very ambitious... but possible. We worked from 11am to 9pm, with an hour lunch break.
Canadian ketchup is much sweeter than American ketchup.
At The Sugar Shack, Dylan and I ended up recording both our bass and drum tracks at once. I was in one corner of the room, sitting behind a Ludwig kit, and Dylan was in another corner with his bass. My kit was mic'd as expected and Dylan's bass was both DI'd and mic'd. His amp was in the same room that Simon worked from, dividing us by thick glass doors. Chris was in a separate room, also divided by glass doors, for his guitar and vocals. Since we were just focusing on the drums and bass today, we could record both his vocals and guitar at once for reference tracks.
We rehearsed each song once before recording in case of any last minute adjustments. As we worked we fell into a pattern: rehearse, tune, record, tune, record at least two more times, tune, listen to the playbacks with Simon, tune... and do it all again.
We bonded through hard work and sweat.
Some songs took longer to record than others. We recorded "Amen" from 5:28pm to 5:50pm. "Be My Baby" took about an hour.
As the marathon session neared its end we became more fatigued. This wasn't very surprising. Recording for nine hours straight can take both a physical and mental toll. We had a bit of difficulty laying down the last song, but once we found our flow the final tracks rocked.
Dr. Minz, an artist located in Toronto, joined us during the session. He wanted to get some shots of us recording for upcoming music videos.
After managing to break the high hat stand (luckily fixable) and destroy the bottom head of my snare drum (yeah, I don't know how either), we ended up laying down the drum and bass tracks for ten songs in a single day. We were thrilled.
I love making progress.
In order to complete The Painted Dogs' album, we still have a couple more recording sessions at The Sugar Shack. Chris still needs to record his final vocal and guitar tracks. Dylan and I still need to record backing vocals.
I am very pleased with the day and extremely excited to finish the work on this album!
Stay tuned for more news on release dates for both the new The Painted Dogs' album and associated music videos. As soon as we get solid dates, I'll be sure to make an announcement.