Our full-length debut album How Far is the Fall turns 10 on April 28, and we’re celebrating all week. Earlier this month the whole band had some fun kicking around thoughts and memories about this album and its production. We ended up having a pretty long email conversation, and I opened it up for any of us to ask any of the others questions too. Here’s the first part. —Keir

TO BRYN: Can you talk a little bit about the lyrics you wrote for this album and how they ended up the way they did?

BRYN: I don’t think lyrics are my strongest contribution to any band I’m in, but the ones I wrote on this album still work, I think. Both “Keep Moving” and “Let Go” were written when I was traveling around Europe for a few months at the end of 2003. I’d never been away from home for that long, and periodically I felt pretty desperately homesick and lonely, even though one of my best friends was traveling with me.

I tried to take a stream of consciousness approach to articulate this, picking a few images that stood out in my memory from things I’d experienced during the trip. Not my best lyrics, but I think they get the idea across pretty well. I especially like that this recording, for some reason, turned out better than I’d expected it to; the fact that there is only one vocal track on the whole song helps to reinforce the idea of being alone, too.

“Let Go” was basically me trying to convince myself to leave the girl I was in love with alone—that it just wasn’t going to work and I should get myself over it. Of course, it did end up working out, since we’ve been married for a while now. “Bottlerocket” was a look back at how the whole college experience (and especially living in Isla Vista) had begun to feel by the time I was 25. How unpredictable and potentially dangerous a lot of the situations we’d placed ourselves in seemed in retrospect.

TO BRIAN: We obviously all agree you really turned on the awesome for this project. Of course you’d been steadily doing that for at least a year, but what were your sonic inspirations for the galaxy of textures with which you anchored our sound?

BRIAN: For inspirations, of course Dave Gilmour. Both in play style and sound. I like how there’s a good amount of space in his lead guitar work, and distinct melodic phrases rather than one long onslaught of sound. Plus lots of reverb, delay, distortion, phaser, etc. Neil Young is always an influence too, but I feel like everyone knows this already.


TO BILL: You’d been recording much more than everyone else, like with other groups in other studios (back then, most recently with Futureman in Austin). How did this experience compare to those?

BILL: While it’s true that I had recorded more than the rest of the band in a studio setting, Take Root was by far the best equipped studio I’d played in. I think, judging by the end product, Jon was the best engineer I’d worked with also. The only other main difference that really changed things was how it was recorded.

The session in Austin was recorded live with all the musicians basically playing a live set, then going back and adding a couple guitar parts and vocals. There was more pressure to get a cohesive sound from the engineer, but fast hardcore punk can come out a bit muddled and it can work for the recording. I remember to get the right sound we set the bass amp outside the studio on a balcony overlooking the Colorado River. On another recording I did with the Colorado based punk band Fallaway we recorded every part separately in one room of a two bedroom apartment. I recorded the drum parts while listening to the bass player in the other room patched directly into the sound board and un-amplified, then the other guys tracked over me. That was absolute hell.

I think the best recording environment is when a band can set up in a familiar location acoustically and then play as if they were practicing or playing a live set for a crowd. It puts MUCH more pressure on the equipment and sound engineer as it’s WAY harder to tune things into separate frequencies so every part can be heard clearly and you don’t run into issues with a lot of sound bleeding from microphone to microphone. It also puts a lot of pressure on the band to play well. Sure you can go back and overdub, but it will always sound separate from the rest of the track. This is of course my own opinion and I am nowhere near an expert in the field of recording. For a band like Honey White though, I think having us in separate rooms and not able to feel each part is a big deal since we used to really feed off of each other on a sonic level to build an ambient tone.

TO MARIKA: In addition to photographing us, you did a lot of waiting around. Studio time is notoriously boring, even for the musicians, so how did you take up the time?

MARIKA: I really enjoyed getting to watch Honey White in a new setting and the process of recording an album, which I had never seen before. It was a great opportunity to keep an eye out for pictures I would never ordinarily get the opportunity to take and I got to sneak behind the scenes while you guys were working. I got to hear the band through Jon’s ears, as well, and I got to hear how a sound producer breaks down a track. As a photographer, I spent a lot of time lurking and watching for cool pictures. When I wasn’t taking pictures, and this is a little embarrassing, while listening to you guys play I would imagine, draw, and write music videos for songs. For instance, for ‘Let Go’ I had a plan for a watercolor-style animation of a bird and a fish who fell in love. I think it ended with the bird sacrificing itself for the fish by swimming into the ocean depths and the fish struggling with it.. Brian’s ethereal and emotional guitar solo and Bryn’s lyrics told the story better than I imagined my little video would, however.