Would you move to a brand new city to record your album?

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Would you move to a brand new town to record your next album? Knowing nobody, yet needing to assemble a group of musicians to give it the life you knew it needed?

What if you’d already tried twice to record this concept album, and with no success?

Meet Chelsea and Alex-Mirror Fauna

Walking between the worlds, we spend most of the growing months of the year outdoors in communal gardens and what wilderness is available to play in with the rewilding movement.

Three years ago we abandoned a musical project/monster. We’d tried recording it in home studios whilst living in the deep woods, but it became apparent our vision was larger than the tools at hand could recreate. We were nervous to re-commit to this album, because we’d tried twice before. If it failed a third time we were set on giving up on recording music altogether

We headed towards the unfamiliar Olympic Peninsula, knowing only that we needed to be near a city. We did not really choose Olympia, it had just begun to rain too abundantly to camp any longer and we were offered a cheap cabin out on Steamboat Island Road. We didn’t really know anyone living there, had no home internet to plug us into the music scene and had no clue where or whether any good studios existed. But we settled in, aired out our songs and oriented ourselves to the cultural landscape.

We eventually found open arms with the Olympia Song Tribe, a magnificent group of people loosely inspired by the Singing Alive movement. Through them, Craigslist, and random encounters with bastions of the art scene, we found a group of musicians who loved music for the sake of music and were willing to learn new material and collaborate on a concept album knowing that when it was all over, we intended to leave town. Cello, electric guitar and bass, mandolin, washboard and drums all rose out of the abyss and lent their awesomeness to the sound. A group of vocalists from the singing circles began to meet and work out group vocals prevalent to the music. Everything was coming together, except that we still hadn’t found a place to record!

We visited a few professional and home studios, all with good merit and possibility, but we found ourselves debating options in a sort of brainy way that isn’t really a good sign, sort of the opposite of intuition. Visiting with a friend at New Years, he asked if we’d found the studio of our dreams yet, and we knew we hadn’t. So we gave it another week of eyes and ears open, asking around, and another wonderfully helpful Song Tribe sister pointed us to K Records and Dub Narcotic Studio.

We’d always had this vague notion of K Records being in Seattle, and were pleasantly surprised to find them humming away in an old synagogue in downtown Olympia. We called Bob Schwenkler, checked out the space, and promptly fell in love with the timpani, the latent possibilities of the space, and Bob’s grounding, supportive attitude.

We made short work of committing to recording dates and began practicing as much as we could with our musicians. Alex wrote out the bass lines, the group vocalists dreamed and exceeded with us, and we got three cellists. Miracles happened: Such as a last minute block of studio time opened up that allowed us to record drums with a drummer we’d met only a week before – and who was leaving town the following week.

Thanks to the open-hearted, helpful people we have met in Olympia, and Bob and Dub Narcotic, it actually, really happened. Yet again life teaches us to unravel the lessons we have learned that limit us, to take risks and find out for ourselves what we are capable of.

Now that we have spent time with Bob, we lay awake at night, thinking of the precious embrace we have with Bob at the end of every session. With great anticipation we talk about how good our next hug with Bob is going to be. Bob is magic! All hail Bob! We love Bob!

Check out Mirror Fauna’s album here. Straight up pagan-folk with moments of distorted acoustic guitar folk-metal.