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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7 thoughts on “We Want Natural! Recording an Original Song

  1. Barbara Schutt

    How awesome and so impressive of a group! I’d love to hear the whole song, maybe you could post it, pretty please? You all must be so excited for the venture. It is great that you are just going with the flow and having fun, which is most important.

    Reply
    1. Cassie Post author

      Thanks Barbara! When we play live if someone videos us, I could post it up. Otherwise the studio version will take a bit of time to finish, publish and release. When it comes out we will definitely promote it though!

      Reply
  2. Annie

    This was a fun counterpoint article today as we read about the passing of Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane/Starship (who was way before your time but was a fantastic musician showman and songwriter). I saw him in 1968 in San Francisco at the Fillmore auditorium before the Airplane took off. The fun and energy your band is generating makes life sweet. Rock on..

    Reply
  3. Annie

    P.S. love how some of you are barefoot in the recording studio!
    A movie you may want to catch is “Love and Mercy” about the Beach Boys. One of them, Mike Love,had a recording studio down the street from our home on Selrose. Don’t know if Cassie and family were visiting when they were playing. We could hear it down the street but the music was so good none of us complained!

    Reply
  4. Tonie

    Great that your band is recording. It looks like you had a blast. Enjoy the good times. Love to hear the end result.

    Reply

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