I stopped by the old standby Dungeon recording studio in North Miami Beach last week to visit local trio Jacobs Ladder, who were working steadily and meticulously on a new five-song EP. Some people think a rock band's recording session at a pro studio is some kind of wild party. It's not.
Clockwise, L-R: Producer Cyrus of NFG, engineer Ryan of Capsule, Oren of Jacobs Ladder (mostly hidden), Sammy of Jacobs Ladder
Studios are actually quite relaxing in their tomb-like silence, thanks to all that soundproofing everywhere. A session itself is usually a bunch of antsy, unshaven people either being bored and waiting their turns. If it is their turn, they'll spend part of the time playing an actual instrument, and the rest of it staring at a computer screen, watching one note set across it over and over again in search of the right tone. The process is actually kind of meditative to observe, in its almost mind-numbing repetitiveness.
The day I visited, Wednesday, the band was "working on guitar sounds." Frontman/guitarist Oren Maisner had already laid down his guitar tracks, and now they were going over and over one song, "White Magick," an earlier version of which you can download here. It's a spaced-out jam that Maisner described as "Pepper meets Bayside" -- that's admittedly totally awful-sounding, but luckily it's not entirely accurate. There are definitely reggae-ish passages in the track, but on this new version of the song, the rock parts really, um, rock, with an interesting sort of proggy weirdness.
The rough drafts I heard at the Dungeon were already impressive, and Jacobs Ladder had a good team behind them for this session. The studio's in-house engineer Ryan excels in coaxing out textures from his own band, the sludgy post-hardcore act Capsule. And the EP's producer, Cyrus Bolooki of New Found Glory, of course knows all about perfecting those pop-punk hooks.
Video is forthcoming in a few days. In the meantime here are a few snaps from last Wednesday.