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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Recording New Kay Kay

posted by on July 24 at 15:29 PM

kirkle.jpgKay Kay and His Weathered Underground have been recording. One of the new songs is called “My Friends All Passed Out.” Here, singer / guitarist Kirk Huffman talks about recording the song and its process. Kay Kay are the first mainstage band on Saturday at Block Party. 2:00!

Line Out exclusive listen - “My Friends All Passed Out”.

How is the song being released?
Kirk: It’s coming out as a limited edition 7-inch on containing two new songs from the forthcoming full-length.

Was there a process for the recording?
Kyle (O’Quin) and I spend a lot of time farting around with instruments. It’s an obsessive compulsive thing. I don’t know shit about music, but I guess that’s the beginning of the process, bringing those ideas into Phil Peterson’s (House of Breaking Glass Studio), brainstorming instrumentation, and starting to mold the song. Phil, Kyle, and I laid down all the tracks then Thomas (Hunter) came in to do the guitar solos and steel slide work. Bobby and Tori (Parker) did all the horn and violin work.

What stands out to you about the song from your end?
Phil is in the middle of recording the new record from our friends in Thee Emergency and they had brought over some field recordings made in the early 60’s for use in meditation sessions. Phil decided that the midwestern lightning storm would be a perfect tongue-in-cheek woe-is-me addition to the theatric mood of the song. I suppose I get my rocks off on shit like that.

Does your writing for this song differ from the writing you did for the last album?
It doesn’t feel too much different. The process has been exactly the same just far more refined than the last go. Our concept for the new record is entirely different. I think the first record set the tone for who we are overall thematically, but it was purposely an opus and as far over the top as we could take things without losing our central focus on the album’s melodical flow.

The first record was one giant piece of music to be listened to as a whole and thought of cinematically. This one is a collection of individual songs with their own unique feel. We’re doomed to forever hear, “Yeah, I mean I like it, I just get lost in the song.” Heaven forbid you get lost in a song, right?! So we decided to take on the challenge of trying to pattern these new diddies alike. Only because all the writing that Kyle and I have done for the past four years or so has all been songs with no sense of structure at all and to try and sort of standardize the Kay Kay opus into 7-inch singles is a mind bender for us. Hopefully, this will set us up for a third LP where we can go back to doing whatever the bunk we want whenever the bunk we want.

Seems like you all have such a great thing going with Phil’s studio and Tom Pfaeffle’s Tank Studio. You know these studios and have worked in them a lot. Does that come into play? Do you feel less nervous? Or is it something you don’t even notice? Maybe you’ve always felt super comfortable at those places.

Jacob Hoffman and I were ganking outdated and unused recording equipment from our high school music departments and figuring out 8 track Adats and tape recorders at fifteen. I feel comfortable being in recording studios or recording anything anywhere. Now that we’re about half way through with the 2nd LP’s recording, I realize more than anything that the sounds derived from Phil’s oddity of a house and the musical instruments strewn about within it are really the key to Kay Kay’s sound and character. I think if you removed us from that setting, the band loses its identity.

I’m a 21st century man acclimated to having things laid out in order with helpful key commands. In that sense, ProTools and Logic are helpful ways to map out a song before navigating the instrumentation. Everything we track is a real human being playing a real instrument with no editing, Beat Detectives, triggers, or auto tunes. We’re brutal about our recording ethics because Kay Kay is such an homage. I want to track drums in Phil’s living room because his ceilings are curved like the Stax Studios. Kyle wants to two-tier an organ and piano part in order to reference Harry Nilsson. These are familiar territory for Pfaeffle because he grew up listening to those records and seeing those bands live, so we all end up feeling extremely comfortable and trusting with each other.

Any new effects or approaches to the recording?
Tracking the piano hammers, that’s just an oldie but a goodie. Each track is essentially a pre-mixed set of instruments compiled into one master track for mixing. All the multi-tracked percussion for the entire song runs into one percussion master mix instead of having ten different percussion items to deal with in a mix individually. This time around we were extremely deliberate with our approaches to the instrumentation, trying not to repeat ideas and progressions being played on other instruments and spooging tracks all over ProTools. I think the song ideas are clearer and it probably saved and will save Tom months of work.

RSS icon Comments


Excellent post. I really like the song.

What's the twangy thing called?

Shame on anyone for ever getting lost in a song.

Posted by Anna | July 24, 2008 8:49 PM

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