Progress Report

Progress Report: The Long Winters

NAME: The Long Winters
PROGRESS REPORT: Recording their fourth full-length album at Electrokitty Recording, Bog Roll Studio, and Two Sticks Audio in Seattle.

“It’s been a pretty hilarious process,” say Long Winters main guy John Roderick of their transient recording process. Recording the followup to 2006’s Putting The Days To Bed, the Long Winters have seen the inside of “half a dozen different studios,” from producer John Goodmanson’s studio to home setups at Roderick’s place and (currently) Roderick’s mom’s basement. “Dave Bazan has suggested I record some of the vocals at his home studio, just to have a change of scenery and because he has some nice microphones, and Chris Walla has offered to help us record some horns and strings at his Hall of Justice in Portland,” Roderick says. “So if we take those guys up on their offers we’ll have been all over the place.”

They’ve been recording for nearly a year, and are still a while away from completing the album. A lot of the delay has to do with the way Roderick, drummer Nabil Ayers, bassist Eric Corson, and guitarist/keyboardist Jonathan Rothman are working this time. Roderick and the guys brought in pieces and riffs to work on in the studio, rather than nearly completed songs as before. Since then Rothman and Ayers have returned home to New York, leaving Roderick and Corson to piece together songs. He’ll take a guitar line from one song, and try it with the drums from another, or strip away everything except drums and keyboards and write new parts in a different key. Roderick says it’ll sound different from Putting The Days To Bed, (itself a sort of different direction for the Long Winters). “[It’s] fewer big pop songs and more long explorations. The tracks are very layered, and the vocal ideas have tended to be more restrained and intimate,” says Roderick. “Since we’ve had so much freedom to record on our own, we’ve spent more time finding cool and interesting sounds to express ideas we might have previously turned to stacked harmony vocals to communicate. It’s going to be a feast for the ears.”

Roderick hasn’t tracked any vocals yet. It’s surprising to me because Roderick’s got some of the sharpest lyrics I’ve ever heard, which makes me think vocal melodies and lyrics would come first. But it’s not the case at all. He says he has “stacks of typewritten lyrics,” but nothing recorded yet: “I do usually do [vocals] last, but I’ve never been this far along in the making of an album without any tracked. It’s daunting, but it’s also given me a chance to work out melodic ideas I wouldn’t have pursued in the past,” he says. “Now the only question is: can I sing them?”

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