The Spray Tan EP was born right off the streets of Jersey City in an unassuming storage facility near Journal Square. Drive over the Pulaski Skyway towards Manhattan and check out the right hand side. See those empty monstrosities? That's where we camped out to record this EP. It was the result of three haphazard days in one storage room turned recording space created by our friend Dan Zavaro. We entered the unlit mile long hallways of storage spaces with half written overlooked If You're Young tracks. We left with our most honest and cohesive record to date.
We recorded If You're Young in a major recording studio with a major budget. It was such a blur. Our producer Chris Shaw (Weezer, Bob Dylan, Nada Surf) gave us exactly what we asked for which resulted in a big sounding rock-pop conglomerate. But was what we asked for what we really wanted? We were never quite sure. Our time in the studio was an altogether unfamiliar situation . What did we really know about recording a debut album? It was the experience of a lifetime and we enjoyed every second of it. However, now it was time to go back to what we knew.
When we found out our friend and Laces producer Andrew Maury was free from his relentless touring/ producing/remixing schedule, we jumped at the chance to rekindle some magic. We followed the same game plan; hunker down in an unconventional space (for Laces we used a church attic), and leave the songs with space for creative spontaneity. The entire three days was a hodgepodge of quick takes, new guitar pedals and experimental layering (like the power drill mixed in behind Henry's solo in "Party Favors"). Every day felt uncertain. We didn't even know if we would continue to be allowed access into the storage building. Luckily the day guards were pretty relaxed.
We could tell that Andrew's methods of production and skill level had increased dramatically since we last worked with him. He had been on the road with Ra Ra Riot and engineered/ co produced their album The Orchard with Chris Walla. He had also continued to remix with RAC Remix Company while balancing a steady tour schedule with Givers. Bottom line, the kid had grown busy and well learned. He would often pace around contemplating not only what would sound good, but what felt right. He implored us to not worry so much about the technical habits we had developed in the studio.
The reward was powerful. We all felt an electric sense of excitement regarding the new sounds and on the spot writing methods in our tiny shelter. There were grins ear to ear every time we tried something like including the ill tempered Fuzz Factory guitar pedal. Should we use my brand new hardwood snare drum? Fuck it, let's use Andrew's old metal snare that's been unused since 1980. This was exactly what we needed.
When we finally heard our home cooked Frankenstein EP, we were silent for a little while. We carefully listened again and smiled. It took some time, and a little bit of fucking around...but we had finally crafted our sound exactly how we wanted. Everything was spontaneous, yet polished. The songs felt strong, but loose. Andrew had succeeded in capturing our live energy. This is what we'd been looking for.
So please enjoy our adventure. In many ways it's a love letter home. Sometimes it IS better not to cross that bridge or tunnel. The Spray Tan EP.