I’m in an instrumental band called “MaSSs” and we are releasing a record called How I Killed A Bear on September 1.
Here’s the story…
In 2012 I was touring with Owl City and my friend Jasper Nephew was playing guitar. Jasper and I would often jam at sound check – just noodling around with ideas. Most of the time we would quickly come up with something that we both thought was pretty cool, and at that point we would usually lament the lack of time during soundcheck to document and preserve the improvised compositions. We concocted a plan to someday go into the studio and jam with mics up and tape rolling, but I honestly figured it would never happen.
But then we somehow managed to rope in our crazy talented friend Matt Patrick. On Jan 2, 2013 we loaded our gear into The Library Studio in Minneapolis and got everything set up and dialed. Jasper had his guitar and typical ENORMOUS pedal board and Matt had a couple keyboards, a bass, a turntable with a bunch of effects pedals in the chain, and a few other misc sound-making devices. We then met in the control room and discussed what the day would look like, because there were no songs and no real real plan. The only idea was to improvise – to just start noodling around on our instruments like we would if it were an Owl City soundcheck – and see if anything developed. I remember saying something like, “let’s just press red and go play whatever we happen to play and listen to each other and then we can stop and circle back if we land on something we like.” So we did that – we walked out of the control room and picked up our instruments and proceeded to play the first track on this record. I mean, we just barfed out a cohesive song with a clear beginning and ending and storyline and it was super magical and we got done and looked at each other in disbelief. And that’s how the day went.
We ended up with 12 tracks. Some are one-take improvisations like the one I just described while others took some adjusting and shaping. Some are only a trio and some include overdubs and editing. Some were recorded with a click track and others are totally free-form. As we recorded each tune Matt would pull random quotes out of an old science book that he had in his studio which we then used as the titles for the various tracks.
Our respective lives have been pretty busy over the 2.5 years since we recorded this music, but Matt eventually mixed and mastered all the tracks and we even did a photo shoot. I’m not sure if we will ever play a live gig, and that wasn’t really the point of the project anyway. All I wanted to do was document the inspiring ideas that always came from jamming with Jasper, but adding Matt to the mix turned the whole thing into its own creature. I’m really proud of everything we recorded, and there are even a few drum solos (I’m rarely proud of my soloing).
I don’t know how to describe the music. It definitely isn’t Jazz, and it’s also not ambient or electronica. Below is a short preview and I hope you dig it.