STUDIO LOG: Notes about “One Day,” a tune I produced for my friend, B.T.S. Agnomen (nom de plume of Brent Taylor Stenhouse) . . .
We were working in my home studio, which was a back porch operation. The porch had been walled in years before, and other than the floor’s slight downward tilt toward the ocean, it was adequate for our musical needs. We didn’t quite have the highest end gear–I was working with a now defunct laptop, a Line 6 Guitar Port, a Target-purchased Yamaha keyboard, and an AKG C1000S mic. On this particular cut, I used a borrowed Hofner Beatle bass knock-off made by Rogue. The intonation was so far off, I had to play the bassline in two parts–one take with notes below the 10th fret and one take with notes above the 10th fret–because the bass had to be re-tuned depending on which fret the notes were being played. It was still worth it to go with this bass over my P-Bass to get that particularly pleasing punchy tone only the Hofner style bass (knock-off or not) produces.
On all of the tunes we’ve worked on together over the years, Brent sings and plays piano; I play guitar and bass. (The one exception is “He’s a Cowboy,” in which Brent plays acoustic rhythm guitar–my man nailed his scratch track, so we kept it!) On our first two collaborations, I put the drums together literally one piece at a time. I had a CD given to me by a friend that had all of the individual sounds a drum kit can make. It wasn’t MIDI; these were actual sound recordings of a kick, snare, closed hi-hat, open hi-hat, choked hi-hat, ride, couple crashes, couple toms. I’m not saying I didn’t copy and paste a bit here and there once I started constructing the beat, but this method, even with a few shortcuts, took forever.
So, on “One Day,” we had an idea… Let’s have Brent’s drummer friend, Tony, play on the track. Unfortunately, we couldn’t have him play a full kit in my tiny studio. Plus, I only had the one AKG mic, so unless we were gonna go for that 50’s every instrument in the room with one overhead mic vibe, that wasn’t an option. So, we asked Tony to recreate a drum kit sound using a cajon and a hi-hat. And he did exactly that. Did the cajon in one take and the hi-hat in another. Then overdubbed tambourine and hand claps. Boom–an authentic acoustic rhythm section!
I hope you enjoy the song. Brent’s melody and harmonies are rich, and as always, there are layers in his lyrics which offer greater satisfaction the deeper you dig. So dig…
Click here for more music by B.T.S. Agnomen.