We decided to drive up to York Thursday night instead of Friday morning for the York College WVYC radio show. Truong’s car broke down at a Sheetz in Ephrata so Ben and Jake came to get us. We packed everything and everyone into Ben’s car and drove the rest of the way to York.
Thursday night was quiet. We grabbed a variety of the cheapest six packs a place called “Quick 6” and proceeded to watch Meet Dave, make Megabeds and drink together.
Ben and Jake’s house has an interesting life to it. The downstairs is marked by the dozens of people who temporarily inhabit it at night. The couches always seem to have that happily worn in slouch to them. The kitchen has two fridges against the back wall and runs a narrower length of the house. The upstairs is a series of rooms that have all different types of music pouring out of them as you walk by. The genre and volume of each door is really indicative of who lives inside of it.
For the weekend, both Ben and Jake’s rooms have been transformed into mini control centers for recording. You can see a lot of Jake’s equipment in his YouTube videos. Ben’s room is on the third floor and is sort of separated from the rest of the house. He rigged up a vocal room in his closet and strategically placed lights underneath the futon and in the closet. Despite how many people we would later cram into the space, the room is comfortable and open and has a vague cinematic quality to it.
We had an early morning on Friday. Ben and Mike woke up first–which is not especially atypical–and started to rally the troops. We dragged all the gear downstairs and played physical Tetris with the trunk space. Around 10 o clock, signs of life were stirring around the house. Pots of coffee were draining over and over again and bass distortions were sneaking underneath the crack under Jake’s door. We listened to Sun is Shining by Bob Marley a few times and walked out the door.
When we got to the College campus, we met with the guys from WVYC. They periodically do artist spotlights with bands that attend the school. Both Ben and Jake attend York College for Music Industry and Recording Technology with minors in Business Administration and are both heavily concentrated on both the creative and production side of the industry.
We started playing at 11:30. The radio hosts at WVYC would stop and ask us a few questions about our music, influences, and etc. Tim Harris met us there and filmed the show for the Seven Knots Productions documentary series, Young Summers: The Video Ledger. He brought Nick Kohut, a film student from Temple, with him for the weekend.
After the show, they followed us back to the house and started setting up cameras in Ben’s room. Matt Braun would be meeting us in York later that day to track trumpet parts for our new single, “New Skins.” Before we settled in a few of us ran to the grocery store to get food for the weekend.
We divvied up meals pretty quickly. Ben and Jake grabbed grill food and an enormous pork shoulder they were intending to smoke for hours prior to eating. Mike and Colleen grabbed fruit, bacon and pancake mix for the next morning. We like to cook in this here band.
While we were gone, the Seven Knots guys and Truong had been set up in Ben’s room. They filmed a takeaway version of “H.Love” with Truong in Ben’s room. All the windows were open and the sunlight had already saturated the room. We moved downstairs and started grilling and drinking outside. Some of the people from the show and DJ Dangerzone from WVYC stopped by.
We ate lunch and started the first of the outdoor takeaway shows we were planning on filming for the day. By this time, Matt made it to York. We went through “Our! Bodies! Are! Young! Offenders!” a few times in the backyard. Tim and Nick filmed from opposites of a circle the band formed with a few lawn chairs and stools. Ben and Jake were letting the pork smoke on the grill and a few stragglers hung out right behind us.
We moved out front to the porch, which was surprising not altogether crowded with seven people standing on it. We decided to try “The Fall” for the second takeaway show with Truong playing the only traditional instrument during the song. Jake overturned an empty, plastic trash can that he leveraged with a few bricks. The result was a healthy, full bass drum. He also perched a recycling bin half-full of cans and plastic bottles on a spare lawn chair that served as a make shift snare. Ben grabbed the tambourine and a few sleigh bells and the two of them made a rhythm section made entirely out of stuff we just happen to have.
Matt, Mike and Colleen sang back up harmonies. We caught a few front-porch loungers sitting out for the day. As much as we like to create full sounds, it was nice to strip away all of the layers and catch an essence for awhile. The day itself was beautiful. It’s was comfortably warm and the sun was indeed shining.
We returned the front porch to itself and headed upstairs to track trumpet with Matt upstairs. Matt tracked for about two hours which is something that not everyone can really hack. He would pause for a few sections, run through a take and mutter “my chops!” Despite the physical toll of tracking for trumpets, Matt has a very comfortable focus about him. He can run through each take several times and talk in between. His trumpet style is unique to that focus. It’s bright and has a warm, lively quality about it. It unanimously reminds us all of New Orleans style jazz music.
We finish tracking and immediately eat some of the smoked pork and spend the rest of the night enjoying one another’s company–re-watching Meet Dave and playing corn hole. We remade all the Megabeds and settled in for the night.