On The Record: Vol. I

What's the most basic Denton Fact you know? Maybe you're thinking Denton is a college town, or Denton is a neat place. But we're willing to bet a lot of you are working with some minor variation on a major theme: Denton is a place for music. It's a fact we're reminded of daily as we traipse past live venues on-and-off the square, drive through our college campuses, or pack ourselves into houses to see musicians we admire.

But what do we listeners really know about the music-making process? Do you ever listen to one of your favorite artists and think, "I wonder how they pulled off that guitar effect? How many people are on this track, and who are they? Why do these vocals sound so insanely tight? What the hell is that incredible noise peeking through the wall of this song?"

We thought so. We wondered too. So we went straight to the source.

Welcome to On The Record, a new monthly roundup that aims to shine the spotlight not just on Denton musicians and artists, but on some of their best friends—their sound engineers, producers, recording studio buds, and record label reps. Who better to answer these burning questions than the professionals who make our favorite albums so clean and pristine? For our inaugural installation, we got some beautiful insight from Brack Cantrell of Dojo Baby Records and Michael Briggs of Civil Recording. Read on and you might learn some sweet secrets about some of your favorite local acts.

"Tracking The Noids was super fast and fun—they have an incredible live chemistry. I picked this track because it's the opener on their album Modern Life and pretty well sums up the attitude and energy of the whole record. When it came to overdubbing all the vocals we wanted to stay away from anything too sterile and forced-feeling, so we set up one crummy mic through my Roland Space Echo tape delay straight into a tiny Fender Vibro Champ guitar amp. Josh and Lauren both had vocals on the song, so they each had their own headphones but shared one mic. They would just step up to the mic when their part came up and trade off like that. We immediately loved the sound, so I think we ended up using that vocal set up for almost the whole record. I also think Josh may have played the noise guitar solo while lying on the floor, which is kind of his thing." --Brack Cantrell, Dojo Baby Records

"Mink Coats is a band full of fantastic players who aren’t afraid to fuck around with their songs and parts. I think experimentation and open-mindedness in the studio is key. Nobody wants to rehearse a song five hundred times, record it, then have it played back sounding exactly the same way they’ve been hearing it for months. There is a long jam at the end of this song (starting around 3:05) that was totally spur-of-the-moment and turned out awesome. You can almost hear the hesitation at points, as if everyone is thinking, “Should we keep going? Fuck yeah, let's keep it up,” and everyone is sort of pushing it to continue on. There is also a little toy piano (mixed kinda low) in the verses of this song that Trent found in our garage! We had to tape some keys together to keep it from rattling too much." --Brack Cantrell, Dojo Baby Records

"Avery Boner and the Blonde Dicks just released TWO brand new albums. This was the result of their successful GoFundMe fundraiser to get a new shirt for The Roseman. He needed a new shirt with roses on it that cost $50, so they made a campaign on GoFundMe and to everyone's surprise they got the requisite $50 from three donations. Two people (Topher and Stephen) donated the $20 each in order to have Avery Boner write a custom original album for them. This was recorded at the same time as a ton of new Flesh Narc songs that will likely be coming out soon as part of a split with Thin Skin. I also recorded Thin Skin's half of the split and it's great, so get ready for that." --Michael Briggs, Civil Recording

"While it's technically not very recent, I'll go ahead and mention that Mimisiku's debut LP is now (finally) up on their own bandcamp so it's much easier to find than before. This is one of the records that I'm most proud of being involved with. It's just a fantastic album with awesome songs and great players. I always love working with Parker Lawson, and he writes some of my very favorite songs. Cade Bundrick (who also runs Gatsby's Mansion) is an absolutely incredible drummer. One of the best that I've ever heard, no exaggeration. The album was initially released in March of this year on Count Your Lucky Stars Records out of Michigan and is available on 12" vinyl. I really can't say enough good things about this band or this record. Give it a listen." --Michael Briggs, Civil Recording

"Rei Clone recently released thier new album Wet. The songs are great and I'm very proud of the mix on this album. It's a clear step forward for the band from their previous release, which was also really good. The songs on this record have really good catchy melodies, and the intricate and interesting violin parts really bring it over the top. If you like shoegaze, anime or Whataburger (I hate the latter two), then give this album a listen and go see Rei Clone live." --Michael Briggs, Civil Recording

"I'm very proud of and happy with the newest Better Now EP that we recorded here back in June. Like Rei Clone, Better Now is also quickly progressing in both their songwriting and playing, and I'm very happy with this mix. Better Now is coming back to the studio in November to record a couple more songs and I'm definitely looking forward to that." --Michael Briggs, Civil Recording

Header image design by Jason Lee