DARA‘s been able to breath a little easier after the busy month of September. We only have one studio date lined up for October so far, but it will be a long one. Most of it will be editing, mixing, and tweaking the first half of the album. With Halloween coming up though, we’ve decided to set aside a few hours to record a spooky song to release in the spirit of the holiday. It reminds me of the now infamous Santa Baby incident. It all started around Christmas time last year…
DARA’S MUSICAL CHRISTMAS
The holidays were fast approaching and DARA was feeling festive. During one of our practices we began talking about our favorite things about Christmas.
“I like all the food,” I said.
“I like giving gifts,” said Dave (our bassist at the time).
“I love how beautiful the snow makes the landscape,” Jasie chimed in.
“The friends and family coming together is what I like best,” said Ben.
We took a moment to reflect on the season that was upon us and were filled with those warm fuzzy feelings. One thing that unified us in our love of Christmas was the music. Though it may get a little out of hand with department stores and restaurants playing it everywhere you go, the music still resonated with us and brought us together.
We began to throw around the idea of doing some DARA Christmas music. How much fun it would be to get into the spirit of the season. But what song? After a lot of research and debate we decided upon Santa Baby. The plan was to make a light hearted and maybe a bit goofy version of the song. I didn’t think there would be much trouble with it on my end. Lay down a light swing beat on my electronic kit through Audition or whatever program we had and then everyone else could just play on top of that. How wrong I was.
“Why don’t you play piano for this?” asked Ben
“Because I’m not a pianist?” I said with only the slightest bit of snark in my voice.
“You play piano, c’mon, it’ll be great!” Ben obviously had more faith in my piano abilities than I did.
“Mmmmmmm…. I’ll see what I can do,” and with that we parted ways.
After a long night of trial and error (and part of the morning too) I had come up with a piano part that I thought would work for the song. It was the piano equivalent of a drum loop, but that’s all the song needed. Even still, my fingers would have liked more than the few days we had until Christmas to play the part fluently. I posted a video for the band to see the structure and come up with parts from there. This cover was moving forward, though be it shakily.
THE DAY OF RECORDING
That night we met a Ben’s house. The plan was to run my my piano and Dave’s bass directly into the computer. Once the rhythm tracks were done Ben had borrowed a condenser mic to record Jasie’s violin and his vocals. It sounded good in theory, but theory rarely describes reality.
I may have a bit of a perfectionist streak when it comes to music. Which is great in most situations, but with the time crunch we had and me on a less familiar instrument, it translated into a lot of false starts.
“You know, with the magic of recording you could just play one hand at a time,” suggested Dave. I would have none of that. By the time I had gotten a usable track down we were already running behind schedule and tensions were starting to build.
Dave was nice enough to leave a family function he had going on to record his part. He got his track done in a hurry and left shortly after. Our videographer Ferg arrived just in time to get a clip of Dave playing. At this point tensions were getting high and the Santa hats we all wore hid the ire that bubbled below the surface.
As we continued to track parts and film the “music video” simultaneously we began to realize we may have bitten off more than we could chew. Ferg was fighting a cold and the rest of us were hurting from a long stressful day. Merry Christmas eh? But we rallied and got all the parts tracked and video shot. The next step was up to Ben to get everything mixed. The next day when I saw him, the bags under his eyes told me he had gotten the mix done, albeit by sacrificing any and all sleep.
Ferg got the video edited and we sat down to watch what we had created. It was a mish mosh of clips from recording the day before with what could be described as a “unique” take on the song. But we had banded together and gotten the video done in time for Christmas. We were all proud of that. With lessons learned we went home to celebrate with our families. A stressful, but merry Christmas.
WITH LESSONS LEARNED AND MORE TO COME
Now we’ve learned from “the Santa Baby incident” DARA has set aside a bit more time to record a legitimate music video for Halloween. Seeing it shape up I’m beginning to get more and more excited about it. Keep an eye out, something wicked this way comes!
Sending love on behalf of DARA music,