Peek-a-Boo Records 2005

Toto Miranda - drums, beats, guitar, bass, keys, sounds, piano, accordian, glockenspiel, screams
Yvonne Lambert - keys, piano, sounds, theremin, guitar, glockenspiel, screams
Josh Lambert - guitar, bass, sounds, beats, drums, trumpet, saxophone, piano, accordian, screams

Colin Swietek (guitar), Erik Bogle (guitar), Nick Smith (trombone), Stacey Meshbane (violin), Tamara Wiggins (violin), Tammy Grumberg (flute), Michael Byers (piano), Erik Wofford (engineering), Carl Walsh (engineering)

We started initial recording of this song with Carl Walsh at the Firestation in San Marcos, TX in the fall of 2002. The headphone system at the studio was on the fritz the day we decided to go in there, so recording situation was, needless to say, interesting. Guitar overdubs consisted of Yvonne, Josh and Nik Snell (playing guitar with us at the time) in the control room counting off with our fingers and making big hand gestures through a window while Toto (in another room) attempted to play in time.......all the while not hearing any of the backing tracks. The result was actually pretty exciting, and subsequently was the only track that showed up on the album version. On the whole we were pretty disappointed with our performance at this session, so we decided to start over from scratch; building up from that one ridiculous guitar track.

Everything else that made it on the record was recorded at Josh and Yvonne's house with the exception of the big "A Day in the Life" piano hit at the end. We recorded that in the UT music building with Tammy Grumberg and Michael Byers providing extra hands on the keys.

By the way, the total destruction sound of the drums in the right speaker is intentional. Your system isn't blown.

We did this song entirely at Cacophony studio with Erik Wofford. And, with the exception of a couple of bass overdubs and some tamborine stuff, I think this song was done in one go round. Not on the first take, but the way we played it together is how it stands on the record. This was a pretty new concept for us considering all of the songs on 'Identification Parade' were done piece by piece over the course of a couple of years or so.

All in all, we are really excited with how this song turned out sounding. As far as writing, this is probably one of the songs that changed the least from demo form to the way it showed up on the record. It sounds bigger on the record (no doubt due to the big tracking room at Cacophony as well as Colin's enormous sound), but as far as arrangement, it's pretty much the same song that Toto initially brought to the band.

This song started off from a bass line that Yvonne made up, but quickly evolved into the song that's on the record. We recorded the basic tracks at Big Orange in Austin, but extensively reworked and rerecorded many of the tracks once we got home. We beefed the drums up by recording another take and then panned the two separate takes hard left and right in the mix. There are even a couple of tracks that came from the original demo recording we made in our practice space. Specifically, the descending guitar line that Erik Bogle played.

A couple of years ago we bought a Webster Wire Recorder (probably made in the 40's) that records on spools of wire. When we listened to the spool included with the machine we found that there were spurts of home recordings from whomever previously owned the recorder. Mostly, they were newscasts about Capuchin monks and World War II bulletins, but every once in a while sounds of people playing and talking would show up. This is the source of the "Let her go from here..." sample you hear at the beginning of the song. Unfortunately, the sound faded out before we got to hear "whatever noise she want(ed) to make."

This is the other song we started recording during the same session at the Firestation as "Exit Counselor." We kept most of the stuff from that session (one guitar track, the main keyboard melody, the bass line, the sequnced beat, and the piano at the end), but we added a couple more guitar tracks and two different sets of drums once we got home.

My favorite part about the song is the piano at the end. We first heard that sound in the Beach Boys song, "You Still Believe In Me," and had been dying to try it ever since. In order to accomplish that sound Yvonne held down the chord on the keys while Josh and Toto plucked the strings inside. The Firestation has this huge, beautiful grand piano that we were pretty excited to take advantage of.

"Responsible Stu" is the one song on the record that only Toto played on. The version on the record is the original version that Toto made as a demo. This is due, mostly, to the fact that the rest of us felt it was perfect the way it was, and secondly, to the fact that Toto's hard drive was wiped out before he could make a back up of the ProTools session.

Yay computers!

Luckily it turned out great, and we didn't have to try and recreate those amazing sounds! The only downside is that we can't play it live. We've tried, and it didn't work out so well!

We started writing this song sometime in the summer of 2000, but it wallowed in its horrible, horrible state until the fall of 2002 when we completely revamped it. Originally, it was just the bass line (played on a keyboard) and the beat loop with a whole ton of ridiculous noises surrounding everything (including an incessant sample of Toto saying "Music Is Happiness" in a goofy voice). I think it was also somewhere around 10 minutes long!

The song didn't really take shape until Yvonne started messing around with it and added her keyboard parts. We all (Yvonne, Toto, Josh and Colin Swietek) got together one evening in our living room and pulled it all together into the song you hear now.

Colin added that beautiful, ascending guitar line, Yvonne added more keyboards and the theremin part in the middle, Toto made up some more stuff on bass as well as the cut up drums in the middle (which he actually did in about 10 minutes!), and Josh added the higher-up guitar stuff.

All in all, this song came together really quickly, and was definitely one of the most fun to write.

We recorded most of the song with Erik Wofford at Cacophany.

This song was one of the most fun songs to record on the album.

The main guitar melody was done by running a guitar through a couple of distortion pedals, then out of a megaphone. That's why it has that thin, destroyed, "about to explode" sound. Toto did about 3 or 4 tracks of guitar that way.

At some point before starting on the record we read an article in Tape Op where they described the Beatles recording a bass with the mic about 8 feet from the cabinet. This sounded intriguing, and we decided to give it a try for this song. We thought it sounded kinda cool.

Probably the best story to come out of recording this song has to do with Toto recording the drums. He had done about a million takes of the beat, trying to get it just right. On one take he messed up pretty badly and got so frustrated that he threw his headphones down, smashing them to bits. We took a break after that! He nailed the track later (using Josh's headphones), and we all think it's pretty funny now.

Really, come to think of it, all of the songs were a blast to record.

Toto got that beautiful sound of the guitars by recording them through the mic in his laptop. I really like the way the mic picked up the beat coming through his headphones. He also recorded the drums through his video camera, giving them a super-compressed sound.

Nick Smith really added a huge element to the end of this song with his trombone playing. We had the flute, trumpet and saxophone chords in place, but asked him to come in and add some stuff on top. After only hearing the song once or twice he proceded to lay down track after track of trombones. The result is what you hear on the record.

Last, but not least, is the fade out at the end. We pulled our computer and a PA speaker out to the sidewalk in front of the house. We then played the end of the song through the speaker while recording it through a minidisc player (with a stereo mic), and simultaneously walked away. I think we did this a couple of times, but knew we had the take when the car drove by at just the right moment.

Here's another instance of us sneaking into UT to record stuff. Toto and Josh went to film school at UT, and in the Communications building (the same one where Austin City Limits is filmed) there's this enormous concrete stairwell. We had been dreaming of recording something there for a while, and were excited when the chance came up.

We snuck into the building late one night during November of 2002, and set up our computer in the stairwell. We recorded the main guitar melody as well as the accordian tracks with one mic on our floor, and one mic a couple of flights up. The guitar was incredibly loud, but thankfully noone found us and kicked us out. We also recorded a few tracks of us shouting the melody, but, um, they weren't very good.

About a year and a half later (uh, we took a break), Stacey Meshbane and Tamara Wiggins came in and did some violin tracks for us. We had written some basic stuff that we wanted, but they both added their own touches.

Another tidbit of note has to do with the bass. We were trying to find a sound that would compliment the stairwell sound of the guitar, but still fit in with the more dry sound of the beat. We accomplished this by pointing the bass amp (actually, it was going through a Fender Deville) into our piano and holding down the sustain pedal to get the resonance of the bass through the piano strings.

This was probably the most difficult song to do on the whole record. It was the first song we ever wrote together, but didn't show up on our first record because we just couldn't get a decent recording of it. We decided it would be best to put it in the hands of Erik Wofford at Cacophany. So, we headed into the studio in December of 2003, and did the basic tracks in a couple of days.

We took it home and added quite a few more tracks over the next couple of months, and subsequently gave ourselves enormous headaches trying to mix. There's a lot going on in there, and it took quite a long time to get it right. We finally took it back to Cacophany to mix, and Erik Wofford pumped it up and evened things out. It's amazing what fresh ears and some nice equipment can do!

The last song on the record also just so happens to be the last song we recorded!

Once again, we snuck into the stairwell at UT to do the guitars. We used the same set up as "Hold the Ladder"; one mic on our level, one two floors up. This time Toto and Josh did three tracks of guitars through a tiny Crate practice amp.

We then went home to record the beat off of our Yamaha keyboard as well as Yvonne's keyboard and piano stuff.

One last thing.... Incredibly quietly in the background, just before everything except the one guitar drops out, you can hear Josh saying to Yvonne, "This is it." Which reffered to the end of the song. It's pretty minute, but we really liked it and decided to leave it in there. Kind of a fitting end to the record.