In today’s music world, it is a huge feat for any band or artist to release a record. Since most artists I know are responsible for the upfront financing of their creations, it is a huge accomplishment when there is a completion and release of their work. Such is the case of Big Sir for this DIGITAL GARDENS release. Lisa Papineau and I reached into our own pockets, as we have on every record we have made, and pulled together the best representation of Big Sir that we muster.
Looking back at our first record, Big Sir/Big Sir, we were able to complete this record because Bruce Bouillet, ex member of Big Sir and Racer X, owned a studio at the time. We wrote, rehearsed and recorded basic tracks for a lot of it there. Lisa and I asked a few friends like Mickey Petralia to do us a solid and work for free on additional engineering and mixing. This was also the case with Robert Carranza on Und Die Scheiße Ändert Sich Immer who recorded and mixed it for us for free with Lisa and I paying for other expenses that go with making a record and overdubbing ourselves.
Before Gardens After Gardens was no different with help from Robert and Lars Stalfors. We couldn’t afford mixes for every track so Lisa and I mixed a couple. To this day, I wish we could have had Our Pleasant Home mixed by someone. There are so many layers of stuff I put down that did not make the final mix clearly, but such is the modern music world dilemma.
Today, Lisa and I release to the world, DIGITAL GARDENS, our own digital hardcore take on our last record, Before Gardens After Gardens. I basically took the old tracks’ arrangements and put heavy electronic drums on them and ramped up the bpm’s, as well as, cutting some stuff live with Shane Smith engineering. Lisa then took the electronic tracks and cut her own vocals and did her own vocal effects. She is why this record is so great and unique. Recording with this punk rock approach, I knew Lisa and I would be more forgiving than if we were trying to do slick remixes of these songs. When you make abrasive music, it is easier to let inconsistencies and shortcomings go.
I am so pleased with how DIGITAL GARDENS came out. Lars Stalfors crushed the electronic drum mixes and Shane Smith did as great a job with the live cuts he recorded. Dave Elitch played drums on those three songs (all recorded live) in an afternoon at Manny’s Estudio in Lincoln Heights. He came with an amazing drum kit and cut them with Lisa and me tracking at the same time. Shane then mixed them for us in record time and we couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome.
The only track on DIGITAL GARDENS that is new music is Foucault’s Gold with Deantoni Parks on drums. I recorded this in 2009 right before D rejoined The Mars Volta (it was after that session, D text me, telling me he wanted back in The Mars Volta). It feels like years ago but I always knew I would get this track done and Mike Rodriguez did such a beautiful job on the mix.
DIGITAL GARDENS inception was two years ago and I am happy to say it is a great day when it is finally sent out to the world. If you are interested, this record is available on cassette and will have a vinyl release as well (both formats will come with a digital download). Or, if you prefer digital downloads, you can order here:
Also, if you live in Portugal, Italy, France or the UK, Big Sir is coming through your country in June! If you live in Los Angeles, look for a record release show next month!