Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Snake Charmer studio 3 session

Tonight represents the return of Studio 3 sessions after a couple of months of them not coming together. Tonight also represents the return Ian Wilkinson, who recorded many sessions for us over at the old St. George location. This studio is a very different set up as sessions now take place in the broadcast studio thanks to the re-location of live programmers for a three hour period down to the map room studio. We have to move furniture around so that we can record in what is our week night and week end studio. The drum kit goes in the interview studio, the guitar amps get squeezed into the production studio, and everyone else stands in the main studio. Mics run to all the various instruments in a desperate attempt to capture a sound. But the equipment we use now is different then what ian is used to. And he lets me know a few times as he is nervous about figuring it out. I am too especially given how many times Ian brings it up. But he is able to get a sound although Snake Charmer's session does have the guitar very low in the mix. This was one of the lessons learned from tonight's session. But overall I am pleased with what we have. I feel it is comparable to other recordings Snake Charmer have done and I hope they are pleased as well.

This is the second try and recording Snake Charmer. We had to abandon a session last year around the same time due to Kelsey's hectic school schedule. This year everything seems to work out. I have met Kelsey when he came in for the Born Wrong session. I had also double checked with him when I ran into him at this year's Not Dead Yet at the show where they opened up for Left for Dead. And Kelsey had also sent me an e-mail so we were both working to make this session happen.

I met up with Ian to show him the studio and get him started on figuring things out. Then I ran downstairs to try and find the rest of the guys who I have never met. I was hoping that Kelsey would be with them. He wasn't. But as I looked through parked cars I noticed this guy with a few band buttons on his jacket lapel. I took a chance and knocked on the window asking him if he was in Snake Charmer. He was. This was Daniel and he played guitar. Tanner (bassist) and Ryan (drummer) had gone to look for the studio and had found it when Daniel got in touch with them. They came back to the van and we carried up some equipment. Daniel had also heard from Kelsey that his train had come in and he was making his way towards the station.

Just as we were getting upstairs, Aldo from Punks n Rockers had arrived. Everyone is unpacking and I am trying to give me attention to Ian so we can figure out the mic positioning and the how we can record this. He had levels, but no playback so we went with that. Jonathon helped us by e-mail to figure out some things.

And we had at it. The sound check had Daniel playing some more metalic riffs that reminded me of my old band Countdown to Oblivion.

The first song attempted was a song called "Don't Touch Me" which is a song about America although Kelsey described it as a song about trying to screw the Statue of Liberty. I am not sure how literal to take that description. This is where I reminded of how great of a drummer Ryan is. I saw Snake Charmer at Not Dead Yet in 2012 and had the same recollection during their set. I was further impressed by Kelsey's manic pace during the set as he took over the dance floor or tried to encourage people to take up the space.

Snake Charmer attempt two songs that run into each other known as Part 1 and Part 2. Working titles no doubt. These songs remind me of the Cursed. We come back to the songs. They are different songs and unconneted thematically. There is an interview the band does after the session where I ask them about all their songs.

The next song we get to is "Identity Crisis". Again I think back to my first band One Blood where I wrote a song called "Mid Twenties Crisis" which essentially is the same idea.

"I'm not responsible, You're not responsible" was written about Kelsey's frustration in dealing with OSAP, which is the province funding agency for tuition. When I learn it is about OSAP I think that CIUT is based on the University of Toronto campus and an expression like this is so suited for this campus broadcaster.  

A song about the frustration of activism inspired by the Arab Spring is next up. This is the song "Self-Immolate" which is also found on the new ep. And the ep just came out, which has an association to Andy Stammers and the Spearhead sound. But that is another story shared in the interview.

The next song starts out with Kelsey sending a fuck you out to Vic Toews. The song is called "Ball and Chain" and I came to find out that the song is about the omnibus privacy legislation that the Federal Tories tried to ram through with the line "If you don't stand for this legislation then you stand with the peadophiles". These dramatic and ridiculous comments are commonplace with the Federal Conservatives which may explain why the Prime Minister tries not to let his folks speak.  

Throughout the interview Kelsey made references to places in Hamilton that have similar names to places in Toronto. One of them was the song "Nothing West of Queen Street" which explains the divide in Hamilton that defines the city's industrial past.

"Snake Charmer Death Cult" also known as SC DC and I like the fact that it resembles AC DC.

The band gets talked into doing "Codex" which reminded me of DRI. Then the band goes and does a cover of "Reagnomics".

There are some station IDs that the band did and MP3 files for all of the above those can be saved over at https://archive.org/details/SnakecharmerStudio3Session.   

Here is a video clip shot by Punks 'n Rockers:

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