Maraqopa Recording Session / National Freedom Studio / Cottage Grove, OR (2011)
In the summer of 1996, I entered Avast Studios, then located in the Wallingford neighborhood in Seattle, Washington, for the recording of what would be my first full length album for Sub Pop records. I had already recorded the "Motorbike" EP, so I had a sense of what recording in a professional recording studio would be like. The only difference was, where my first EP took only a day to record, and with a producer who I had known since high school, this was going to be a two week session in a what was a Seattle music institution. I had no idea what to expect. For the session I hired my sister Maria for backing vocals, and two friends of mine, Ed Carrigan, and Paul Mumaw, who would join me in tracking all of the instruments. Ed, who was a very talented multi instrumentalist, was on bass guitar, trombone, trumpet, electric and acoustic guitar. Paul, who to this day I would list as one of the greatest drummers I have ever had the privilege of playing with, was on drums, various percussion, and timpani. Steve Fisk who was not only producing, was on board for playing piano, Hammond organ, mellotron, theremin, and optigan. I was very familiar with, and was an established fan of Steve's production, working with such bands as Halo Benders, Nirvana, Beat Happening, Girl Trouble, and Unwound, to name a few. Though aware that I was in great hands, and working with a great team of musicians, I couldn't help to be nervous. I honestly had not a clue as to what I was doing. It all seemed like a dream, that I was living someone else's life. And in no time I would be found out. I wrote all of these songs, but could I perform them in a professional recording studio? Listening back to the album I can hear these thoughts in my vocal delivery. I also recall at the time, having no clear picture as to what was going to happen after this album, or any future album for that matter. Will there be other albums? Was I officially, and technically a "professional musician" now? What did that mean? Was I to quit my job, and just go on the road? Besides playing in various living rooms, and all ages venues with my old band, I had never been on tour. There were no goals of "making it". My only dream since childhood was to be a visual artist. How would I translate what I originally envisioned on canvas, to music? With the tremendous support of family, friends, plus the guidance, and care of those working at Sub Pop records, "Waters Ave S" would be my first step towards finding out.
"Waters Ave S" is now available for the first time in my online store.
Photos taken on a disposable camera by Ed or Paul.
It's been some time. Endings and beginnings. Figuring it out. I made the move down the west coast to the state of California with every intention of staying. The combination of both love and distance said go back, and so I did. We did. Two earthquakes, and a spectacular fireworks show courtesy of the city of Los Angeles, to send us on our way. At the state line of Oregon we pulled the car over, and threw our apartment keys back into California. See you never. I was back in the state of Washington. Home. I said to my son a few days ago, that after more moves than I myself can count, I feel where I am finally forever home. It is a feeling and security I have longed for my whole life. I move slower than I used to. I am more productive, and less anxious. Since the new year I have written six full length albums, and am in the middle of writing my seventh. There is no telling as to when I will get around to recording them. Soon. I tuned out, and turned off. Quit social media. Grew a deeper appreciation for both silence, and the tangible. Investing my time in being aware of senses, emotions, and thoughts. Listening to music. I mean really listening to music. Looking, and just taking it all in as if watching a film. As if never seeing a mountain or body of water before. Missing Richard. Everyday feeling the loss, and wondering how long does one grieve for exactly? What would he think of these songs, photos, or current day? What a very strange and complicated journey to be on. "One day at a time sweet Jesus."
I hope to be in touch more through this website with news, and the liking. More soon. - Damien