This was recorded at David Bennett and Bunny Bennett’s family’s horse ranch in a little mountain town above San Diego called “Alpine”. The was the only song recorded up there, and for the occasion, the temporary studio was affectionately named “Honeybee Studio”.
If I remember correctly, up to this point we had only gotten david’s acoustic guitar part down, and a scratch vocal from bunny to re-record over later. Scratch vocal parts are a important part of most recording artist’s ground work, its the same for Steam Powered Giraffe. The scratch vocal tracks helps an instrumentalist overdub instruments on top of the basic idea of what the lead vocal will be. If there is a word sung like “Rain”, the instrumentalist will then have an image to play off of, like a cascading rain-like sound etc. What is different about Steam Powered Giraffe scratch recordings is that due to the energy of the first scratch take, we often end up using the very first scratch take as the final one because we like it so much.
This recording is the last section of Honeybee with the Bass, Guitar, and Piano soloed. I had a lot of fun with this, because as you’ll hear I got to play with feedback from my electric guitar amp, and add it to the song as an effect. I was inspired at the time by The Beatles “I Feel Fine” which uses bass guitar feedback as the intro note. The bass guitar part was a result of me trying to fill musical space / find a counter melody when we played Honeybee live for the first few times and the song was really empty. I liked the part so I kept it. And finally my favorite addition to this song, besides the truly haunting lead vocal and harmonies, the upright piano. It was sitting outside the door of the little studio we had set up in. This Piano is old and huge and beautiful. It was slightly out of tune, but that is in fact how I prefer a piano to sound. Adding the piano to Honeybee was just a random idea, and none of us were fully sure about adding it until I played little test and it felt right. David and I led some microphone cables under the door and out to the piano, recorded this part. The actual part was literally coming together as we were recording it. I think on the 6th full length take the part was solidified and I got it. Now, Jon plays this part live, but using a Wurlitzer sound which if thicker than a piano sound and fills space better.
The building of the piano part inspired a usage and building up of a drum part at the very end. we laid down some place holder virtual drums in the program until I finally brought up my acoustic drum set, which we inserted in favor of the virtual drums.