39 episódios

Classic albums, told by the people who made them.

Life of the Record Life of the Record

    • Música

Classic albums, told by the people who made them.

    The Making of THE RUNNERS FOUR by Deerhoof - feat. Greg Saunier, Satomi Matsuzaki, John Dieterich and Chris Cohen

    The Making of THE RUNNERS FOUR by Deerhoof - feat. Greg Saunier, Satomi Matsuzaki, John Dieterich and Chris Cohen

    For the past three decades, Deerhoof have been one of the most consistently inventive rock bands around. Their seventh album, The Runners Four, remains a fascinating result of a band obsessively recording themselves in their practice space for many months. After Deerhoof first began as a solo harmonica project by Rob Fisk, drummer Greg Saunier joined only one week later. They signed to Kill Rock Stars and soon after Satomi Matsuzaki moved from Tokyo to San Francisco, she became the lead singer. They released their first two albums, and by 1999, Fisk ended up leaving the band, with guitarist John Dieterich joining later that year. Two additional albums followed and after this point, Chris Cohen came on as second guitarist. As a four-piece, they released Apple O’ and Milk Man before turning their attention to their seventh album. This time around, they decided to embrace taking their time recording in their practice space, with each band member bringing in songs they had written. The result was the ambitious concept album, The Runners Four, which was eventually released in 2005.
    In this episode, Satomi Matsuzaki, Greg Saunier, John Dieterich and Chris Cohen, have an honest conversation about what it was like to be a band on the rise in the Bay Area and the pressure they felt to deliver a timeless record. Saunier describes the hours he spent tinkering with the free version of Pro Tools in a windowless practice space and the toll it took on his mental health. Matsuzaki talks about how swapping instruments with Cohen for this album, brought about a different rhythm and freed her up to sing some interesting vocal melodies. Dieterich describes using the then new technology of Line 6 POD amp simulators and how this approach allowed them to record in the practice space setting. Finally, Cohen describes the band members’ interpersonal dynamics during this time and how he ended up leaving the band after this record. From self-mythologizing and writing songs about the band, to recording in the hallway, to embracing classic rock, to the intense relatability of Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster, to a concept album about secret messages, time capsules and the flood, we’ll hear the stories of how the record came together.

    • 2 h 6 min
    The Making of I WANT TO SEE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS TONIGHT - feat. Richard Thompson and Linda Thompson

    The Making of I WANT TO SEE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS TONIGHT - feat. Richard Thompson and Linda Thompson

    For the 50th anniversary of Richard and Linda Thompson’s first album as a duo, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, we take a detailed look at how it was made. After Richard helped pioneer British folk rock in the late 1960s with Fairport Convention, he was feeling burnt out and decided to leave the band to focus on writing. In 1972, he married Linda Peters, who had been performing in the folk scene during the same time as Fairport. Richard was under contract with Island Records and released his first solo album, Henry the Human Fly in 1972. The album was a commercial disappointment and Richard convinced Linda to start performing with him in the folk club circuit. Eventually they decided to record an album as a duo and booked studio time with their friend John Wood at Sound Techniques without informing their label. By working with musicians they had played with before, they were able to move quickly and fly under the radar of their label while cutting the album over a few days. When Island got word of the album, they held onto it for a year, claiming that the vinyl shortage was preventing them from putting it out. I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight was eventually released in the spring of 1974.
    In this episode, Richard Thompson describes his writing process for this album and how he was less focused on guitar than he had been up to this point and how he was more interested in songwriting. Since he was writing different characters, he explains how he found Linda to be a helpful collaborator who could sing in a variety of styles and fully inhabit the characters. Linda Thompson offers her perspective on the songs Richard was presenting and how her background in traditional music and acting helped shape her performances. Due to Linda’s vocal condition of dysphonia, her daughter, Kami Thompson, reads her interview responses throughout the episode. From integrating the electric guitar into traditional music, to coming up with the song titles first, to musical diversity and the importance of track sequencing, to taking inspiration from The Band, to a crash course in arranging horns, to a shared love of bleak songs in the folk tradition, we’ll hear the stories of how the record came together.

    • 1h 19 min
    The Making of VENEER - featuring José González

    The Making of VENEER - featuring José González

    For the 20th anniversary of the debut album by José González, we take a detailed look at how it was made. After getting his start playing in hardcore bands in Gothenburg, Sweden in the 1990s, José González began studying biochemistry at the University of Gothenburg. While he was a student, he continued playing in multiple bands while recording his solo material on the side. His band Junip was working with a local label called Kakafoni and they agreed to release a 7-inch of the solo songs he was recording on a 4-track. The “Hints” and “Deadweight on Velveteen” single found its way to Joakim Gävert, who was starting a new label called Imperial Recordings with Magnus Bohman. They signed González to a deal and released the Crosses EP in the spring of 2003. The full-length album, Veneer, followed in the fall of 2003.
    In this episode, José González describes taking a new approach with his solo work by playing classical guitar and embracing minimal arrangements. By recording in his small apartment with inexpensive equipment and pirated software, he describes how these limitations helped shaped his sound. In addition, González describes reaching a breaking point in his mental health during this time when he was overwhelmed with his studies, personal relationships, and a lack of sleep, which led to him being institutionalized before the album was completed. From switching to music as a relief from biochemistry to discovering Nick Drake and alternate tunings to overdriving cheap tubes for added drama to an impromptu cover of The Knife’s “Heartbeats” that became a classic, we’ll hear the stories around how the record came together.

    • 1h 14 min
    The Making of OUT OF STEP by Minor Threat - featuring Ian MacKaye

    The Making of OUT OF STEP by Minor Threat - featuring Ian MacKaye

    In celebration of the recently unearthed Out of Step Outtakes, we take a detailed look at the making of the original record. After Minor Threat formed in Washington D.C. in 1980, they began to find an audience in the American punk scene. Their first two seven-inch records contained songs written by Ian MacKaye, such as “Straight Edge” and “Out of Step,” which kickstarted the straight edge movement within punk. By 1982, guitarist Lyle Preslar had left for college and Minor Threat temporarily broke up. After speaking with H.R. of the Bad Brains, MacKaye was convinced of the impact the band was having and considered reforming. At that point, Preslar agreed to quit college and rejoin the band. Despite accusations of the band selling out by reforming, Minor Threat began playing shows in their hometown and embarked on a cross-country tour. Brian Baker decided to switch from bass to second guitar so they asked Steve Hansgen to join as the new bassist. In early 1983, they returned to Don Zientara’s Inner Ear Studio to begin recording as a five-piece. Out of Step was eventually released in the spring of 1983.
    In this episode, Ian MacKaye describes this pivotal moment in the band’s history when they decided to reunite and change their sound by adding a fifth member. Though they faced backlash about reuniting from their hometown crowd, this fueled the next batch of songs they would write as a band. MacKaye discusses how most of his lyrics on this record reflect the gossip and backstabbing that was prevalent in their scene at the time. In addition, tension within the band was rising over MacKaye’s lyrics and their overall musical direction. The new version of the title track reflected their differences as Jeff Nelson convinced MacKaye to include a spoken word interlude that explained how the straight edge lyrics were personal to MacKaye and didn’t represent the band’s views. From Minor Threat’s first 12-inch to a joke song about selling out to recording vocals live for the first time to the benefits of an expensive strobe tuner to hearing the call of punk to self-define, we’ll hear the stories of how the record came together.

    • 1h 32 min
    The Making of I SEE A DARKNESS by Bonnie "Prince" Billy - featuring Will Oldham

    The Making of I SEE A DARKNESS by Bonnie "Prince" Billy - featuring Will Oldham

    For the 25th anniversary of the first Bonnie “Prince” Billy album, we take a detailed look at how it was made. Will Oldham grew up studying acting but decided to pursue music while he was attending Brown University. In 1992, he released his first single with Drag City under the name Palace Brothers. A series of albums followed under several variations of the Palace name, which reflected Oldham’s unique approach to treating the album, rather than the artist, as the primary entity. In 1998, he had an epiphany that he could inhabit a new character named Bonnie “Prince” Billy for his music moving forward and put his concerns about an artist identity to rest. He began living in his father’s farmhouse in Shelbyville, Kentucky along with his brother, Paul, who had been studying recording and set up a makeshift studio. In this isolated environment, Oldham worked on writing songs and had the freedom to record himself in a way that he never had before. Eventually, Oldham invited other musicians including Peter Townsend, Bob Arellano, Colin Gagon and David Pajo to flesh out the songs that would make up the I SEE A DARKNESS record.
    In this episode, Will Oldham describes a newfound approach to making music at this time and how he viewed his former Palace work as his apprenticeship years. As Bonnie “Prince” Billy, he found that he could portray a larger than life character who had the power to sing songs across the emotional spectrum. The Bonnie character opened up his approach to songwriting as he began to incorporate some traditional elements like bridges and dramatic builds. From a growing confidence in his singing to a deteriorating relationship and the decision to form a sub label to a love of post-apocalyptic landscapes to adding humor as a release valve to taking inspiration from contemporaries like PJ Harvey to the unlikely events that led to Johnny Cash covering the title track, we’ll hear the stories of how the record came together.

    • 1h 38 min
    The Making of SUPERFUZZ BIGMUFF by Mudhoney - featuring Mark Arm and Steve Turner

    The Making of SUPERFUZZ BIGMUFF by Mudhoney - featuring Mark Arm and Steve Turner

    For the 35th anniversary of Mudhoney’s first 12-inch record, SUPERFUZZ BIGMUFF, we take a detailed look at how it was made. After Mark Arm met Steve Turner at a show in Seattle, they became fast friends and began playing in multiple bands together. They started Green River with Jeff Ament and Alex Shumway and eventually added Stone Gossard on second guitar. Tensions over the musical direction of the band eventually caused Green River to dissolve with Ament and Gossard going on to form Mother Love Bone and Arm and Turner deciding to form Mudhoney. With Mudhoney, they had a vision for fuzz drenched guitars and blending 60s garage with punk rock. They eventually added Dan Peters on drums and Matt Lukin on bass and had their first practice on New Year’s Day in 1988. Bruce Pavitt of Sub Pop offered to pay for some studio time with Jack Endino so he could hear the material they were working on. From those sessions, they released the "Touch Me I’m Sick" single in the summer of 1988. At that point, they went back into the studio with Jack Endino to work on the songs that would become SUPERFUZZ BIGMUFF.
    In this episode, Mark Arm describes his approach of “vocalizing” rather than singing, and how playing guitar with this band changed how he thought about song arrangements. Steve Turner talks about his discovery of vintage fuzz boxes and how they informed the Mudhoney sound at a time when fuzz pedals were out of fashion. From the early days of Sub Pop to rocking baby blue 60s guitars to Dan Peters’ unique drum patterns to Matt Lukin’s relief of playing simple songs to Sonic Youth knighting them as the next big thing to a pivotal moment in Seattle music, we’ll hear the stories of how the record came together.

    • 1h

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