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01/01/19 - Now entering our 20th year of operation.
01/03/19 - First wave of drum takes from Allen Johnston.
01/09/19 - Our comrade Thomas Montgomery has died. He was an amazing artist. We are fortunate to have captured his work on nearly all of the tracks for the new album before losing him.
02/15/19 - I've written and recorded music with Patrick Meagher for nearly 20 years. He also has mixed and co-produced 3 of my "solo" albums. He is absurdly talented and has always provided me with a bar to shoot for which I can just barely see off in the distance.
Patrick is uncomfortable with self-promotion so when it became clear that he had a solo album coming out, he asked me to help him come up with a bit of text to promote it. It occurred to me that interviewing him could serve as an end-around his discomfort and be an informative introduction to the record, especially if I didn't tell him what the results of the interview would be used for. Just two friends talking.
Here we go:
So, tell me why you made the album. You're in a recording band that makes a record every 6 years. Why wasn't that enough?
Recording a solo album is something I've always wanted to do. Perfectionism, procrastination and life always seemed to get in the way. I credit three things for finally motivating me to make it happen: leaving a difficult employment situation, being humbled and inspired by your prolificness with Johnny Marie & the Lonesome Petunias, and becoming a dad for the first time. I decided to just write and record songs for myself; no pressure, just let the tracks be what they wanted to be.
Did you play, engineer, and produce everything yourself?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is my day job requires me to compose, perform, engineer and produce myself on a daily basis, so it would have felt strange to work any other way. But it's a double edged sword, makes for a much slower process (at least for me).
How long did it take you to make it?
I started it in late 2015, so it took about 2 1/2 years from start to finish. Working on the follow up now.
Why did you decide to record as Yesnoyes instead of Patrick Meagher? What does it mean?
Yesnoyes is a throw-away phrase I heard one day while watching television. For me it represents the inability to make up one's mind which I know a lot about. Ironically, I went back and forth over whether or not to release the album under my name or use a band name. Obviously I went with the latter which I now semi-regret. It's just that my last name is impossible to pronounce and "yesnoyes" is so easy to pronounce!
Did you have any self-imposed rules? (e.g. no rhymes, no drum machines or no harmonica, etc.)
The only rule was I wanted to make an album that I would want to listen to. Not to say that I don't normally approach songwriting this way. But I often find myself steering songs to be more "radio friendly," whatever that means. That being said, I did impose the rule of "no acoustic instruments" on the songs "Artificial Dreams"and "Sooner Later." Then I broke the rule by adding acoustic drums because I couldn't get the electronic ones to sound organic enough.
What did you play that you don't normally play?
I played cello on a few tracks which mostly ended up as pads. (what are pads?) There is a little bit of banjo. I also did a lot of sampling which was fairly new to me. I actually created a Kontakt instrument out of my voice and used it for background texture.
You're a finger picker, so why is it drenched in electronica?
I blame Kid A (Radiohead). The album ruined me. I didn't understand how those warm electronic sounds were achieved; I just knew that I liked them. So I started dabbling and really liked how different my synth songs sounded from my guitar ones.
Do you have a gut summary of the album? Is there a common thread or theme?
The lyrics are reflective; some of them deal with becoming a father for the first time, angst over a bad personal situation, and frustration over what was going on with Thomas. There's also an element of anxiety over the digital take-over happening in our lives right now and the emergence of artificial intelligence. "Artificial Dreams" is about a sentient machine/code. I find the concept horrifyingly fascinating.
How satisfied are you with the result?
There are a few bumps and bruises but overall I'm very satisfied. Knowing I can do it now makes me eager to finish the follow up.
Where can it be listened to and purchased?
Physical copies can be purchased from cd baby and the album can be streamed on all digital platforms, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play etc.
03/05/19 - Patrick brought something lovely that he had built up from a jam we did several years ago. I brought Every Penny. Plans were made.
03/08/19 - Sent Patrick some vocal ideas for the outro of Present Always.
03/12/19 - Worked up bass parts for Present Always.
03/26/19 - Worked on bass parts for the outro of Present Always. On Monday I need to deliver the tracks for Every Penny and Present Always.
04/01/19 - Worked on more bass parts for the outro of Present Always. Patrick uploaded my Every Penny session.
04/16/19 - Did some editing on Every Penny.
04/24/19 - Steven added some bass parts to Every Penny. Listened to some of Allen's drum takes.
05/07/19 - Worked on arranging Old Into Young. Mostly Patrick editing while Steven and I jibber jabbered.
05/14/19 - Steven added bass bits to Old Into Young. I added a hook. Doing percussion on something next week.
05/21/19 - Recorded some percussion parts for Miss Majesty. Waiting on some drum parts from Allen and may re-cut a vocal here and there but I think we're done tracking as a group. Going to start on the 5th one next week.
05/28/19 - Dragged over the DM12 to start making up stuff for a new album. Patrick banged on keyboards and drums (while everybody he knew texted and called him about the tornadoes) while I played guitar and Steven bass.
05/31/19 - Patrick had a chance to start mixing our work from the 28th and got 3 nice guts of songs out of it. Started right away playing with harmonies and words.
06/04/19 - One of those sessions where the bulk of time is spent just talking and tracing cables. Set up to continue making up songs by "jamming" using bass, Thomas' Kurzweil and a guitar with loads of effecets.
06/18/19 - Recorded more jamming after Patrick shimmied around moaning behind the equpment rack for half an hour.
07/02/19 - Moved Patrick to guitar and myself to keyboard for this session.
08/13/19 - I think we mostly sat around and talked. Sold Patrick my Gold Top Les Paul.
08/20/19 - Sat around and talked.
08/27/19 - Another week of just talking.
09/03/19 - We have seven bits of songs that are primarily A & Bs with some melodic ideas. The songs are currently referred to by number. Patrick added banjo parts to song #1.
09/10/19 - Yacked the session away.
10/01/19 - Talked the whole session. Patrick is working on remixing 12 and sleepnovox. That was something.
10/08/19 - Wasted another session just being friends.
10/15/19 - The local sports team's slide was liberating. We got right to work and recorded jams for almost an hour. Heroic effort for us.
11/13/19 - Listened to what Patrick had done with our last session. He is also nearly done re-mixing "12" and "sleepnovox". Jerry Riccardi will be working on drums for the 6 songs Allen Johnston couldn't get to over the holidays.
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