Whirlwind Week


Posted by Cassie

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Sailing with friends

We just had a fantastic whirlwind of a week! In a month or two I can write a little more about the details, but just suffice it to say that it was just amazing! We learned a lot, met new people, tried new things, visited cool places in Rincón and had a lot of fun. Stay tuned…

Cassie at Pool
Hanging out at the Horned Dorset

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The Rincón Continentals and a Quick Update


Posted by Cassie

We’ve been pretty busy mostly with band stuff lately so there hasn’t been much to update on the property front though Britton has still worked steadily through it all and the chanfles (siding boards) are almost all fully installed. We are moving on to the next stage soon.

Rincon Continentals
Playing out at Pool Bar

It’s cool being swept up in the excitement of the tourist season and that includes our band.  We had a gig recently at Pool Bar in Puntas which was fun even though the bass amp caught on fire! Fire, fire in the bass amp! So there was a last minute scramble for something else which sort of threw us off a little. Overall though we did really well and are constantly improving and adding more songs to the repertoire. We have gone through so many different possible band names, but I think we are pretty solid now as the Rincón Continentals!

Rob Caitlin Mark Cassie
The after party! We didn’t get home until after 4am!! That’s the problem with being both the “stars” and the roadies haha

Besides the fun and excitement that we make (more to come soon as we foray into television….!) life in Rincón is still just mellow and slow. It’s drying out quite a bit and so we’ve had to water a few of our plants by hand. Humidity is much lower and I get a bit cold in the middle of the night (with the doors and windows open in February). I just love how the rural and modern mix in this little town. You are just as likely to see live music as live moooo-sic!

Cow bull
Friendly bull and barb wire fence

And I recentely saw cotton growing wild. I have never seen it growing before. It’s pretty cool stuff. Amazing that the majority of our clothing comes from this fluffy plant. I just had to pick a little of it. Now Britton calls me cotton-pickin’ Cassie. Perhaps my new band nickname. Hasta la próxima -C

Cotton

Wild cotton growing

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We Want Natural! Recording an Original Song


Posted by Cassie

Our experience in Puerto Rico has been somewhat like a dream. Maybe that’s because it really was a dream of ours to move here, but it just seems like a sort of magic occurs more often than not. It’s a convergence of people, energy and just simply being at the right place at the right time mixed together to form experiences that even in the moment you know are special.

Chris Cassie singing

The most recent magical experience happened just this week when we recorded one of our band’s original songs. Our singer/guitar player wrote a great, funny song called No GMO (We Want Natural). It is super catchy and fun and we all believe in it -both the message and the song itself. The chorus goes: We don’t want no GMO, just go outside and grow your own! We don’t want no GMO in our food….we want natural!

Anyhow, he made some arrangements with some big names in the musical industry even on a non-existent/ shoestring budget. And we were on our way.

Practicing
Practicing to the click track at Rob’s House

We spent the last week or so before recording practicing to a click track which is much harder than you might imagine if you’ve never done it before. It is the most annoying metronome sound you can imagine and we had TICK TOCK in our heads for hours on end. Probably is some form of torture. If not it could be!

Rob and Habish
Habish getting Rob’s drum mics all ready in the studio

Finally the moment came for us to record. We had two full days set aside to do this. We recorded at Spectra Studio in Aguadilla where the owner Habish Rosario welcomed us. It took a while to get all the equipment ready and so there was a lot of hanging out before each of our parts.

Kevin Chris Cassie Britton
We spent a lot of time hanging out under a beautiful flamboyan tree -Kevin, Chris, Me and Britton

One of the special guests of the recording was retired sound engineer Corky Stasiak. Corky’s resume in the musical industry is crazy impressive. He has worked closely with Kiss, Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, Beatles and so many others. He has been retired now for nearly 30 years and lives part time in Rincón. To have him come out and help with our production was quite simply amazing!

Corky Book 2
Corky Stasiak with a new book about the making of Kiss’s Destroyer album

So not only were we recording in a top-knotch studio where some of the best bands in Puerto Rico have recorded, we were also working with world-renowned industry heavyweights.  

Door of bands
Some of the awesome bands that Spectra Studios has worked with!

What was really cool was that our producer/friend Giovanni could totally hang with them. He knew just what and how he wanted things and kept the schedule moving at a great pace.

Group photo
What a crew on day one! L-R: Rob, Chris, Corky, Giovanni, Cassie, Britton, Habish

Britton Habish Chris Mark Gio
In the studio with Britton, Habish, Chris, Mark and Giovanni

Making a studio song is nothing like making live music. It is all deconstructed and then put back together again. We started with the rhythm which meant Rob on drums, Britton on bass, Chris on guitar and Chris and I on scratch vocals. Scratch vocals mean that they use it just for keeping the reference in the song. We would record our full vocals the next day and dub them over.

Corky Rob Britton

Britton made the comparison that this first stage is sort of like the batterboards in building a house. You want the song to be right on beat and time to the metronome just like you want your house to be straight and level. Everything else will build from there so it is very important. This was a tough stage and we took many takes. At one point we were so frustrated we had everyone except the band members and Giovanni leave. We finally decided to play it without the click track and we rocked it -but to a slightly higher beats per minute! So Giovanni reluctantly turned up the beats and we were able to finally get a great rhythm base to build the song on.

Under the Flamboyan
Camping out under the flamboyan

The day was just flying by! We basically camped out and had a couple of food runs but spent the entirety of the day at the studio. From 10am to 12midnight on day one! We got all the rhythm including some fun stuff like my tambourine part, stomps, and claps.

Cassie on tambourine
Cassie on tambourine

Day 2 was another long day. We got through a lot though! We did the lead guitar part, trumpet part, lead vocals from both Chris and me, gang vocals, keyboard and backup vocals. It is sounding awesome!

Mark Guitar
Mark on lead guitar! Sounds sweet!

Chris and Cassie singing behind

I was pretty nervous doing my part solo. When I was with Chris it was a little easier because we are always joking around. But alone it is a little intimidating to have people behind a window that can hear you but you can’t hear what they are saying unless they pipe through to you. I took a few takes and overall I think it went really well. I tried to have fun with it.

Singing in the mic

On day one when Corky was in the studio I received probably the best compliment about my voice that I have ever heard, especially coming from him! He said I sounded a little like Kate Pierson of the B-52s and that I have a really upbeat bright sound that is fun and will carry in a band because it adds such personality. It’s probably partly because I really do just have so much fun with this band and the music we make! We are always making silly jokes, wittisms and double entredres. So I am constantly cracking up.

Chris and Cassie
Chris and I have a great rapport together and are always joking around

Day two ended pretty late as well at around 11pm. When we were in between parts there was a lot of just chilling out in the barn area or under the tree.

Kevin Chris Rick Gio
Pizza time! With Kevin, Chris, Rick and Giovanni

Britton Cassie Caitlin
And time to chill between parts -Britton, Cassie, Caitlin

What an incredible, dream-like experience! We can’t wait to see where this dream takes us next! Yesh. Tiptop indeed.

Que Chevere

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A Walk to the Beach (and Other Spots)


Posted by Cassie

We live just down an offshoot of the main road of the 413 in Rincón and about 3/4 of a mile from the beach. So whenever possible we try to walk. Walking provides a different sort of perspective on the world. You are much more likely to stop and talk with your neighbors along the way, you notice the small details and life just slows way down. We walk down to the bakery, friends’ houses, the gas station, Sandy Beach, food stops and other spots. When Sean was here we took even more walks because we pushed pause on a lot of our other projects.

Hanging out with Will and Sean
Britton, Will and Sean hanging at Jackie’s Gyro place

Cassie HammockHammock relaxing
While I literally hung out

Sean also took a few solo walks and found a path from our house directly to the beach and so we all decided to go for the hike to check it out. Britton and I have been curious about a trail that would supposedly end up at the beach but we hadn’t ever actually taken the trip.

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Through the back jungle

We took a machete and just followed Sean’s lead through little creeks and over small bridges, bamboo clumps and flower-carpeted trails. We took our time and stopped to admire all the things we came across.

Field on walk
Open meadows

Flor
Flor de maga -Puerto Rico’s official flower -looks like hibiscus but is not

Horses
We even came upon these beauties covered in burrs that made their manes look like Rasta dreads

Condos
We then popped out of the jungle and right into civilization at these mostly empty condos

Beach palm tree
And onto this beautiful coconut palm fringed Rincón beach

It was a fun little side quest that took us only about a 30-40 minute walk through the jungle. You never know what awaits just out your backdoor. Sometimes the best adventures are found on your own two feet.

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