Scotty: Also, the time frame was a big factor. Here we record ourselves and if we don't like something we've done, we can take a step back and get some other stuff done. We can mix it down, take it home and listen, and come back the next day and maybe try using a different instrument. At Diamond Mine we were supposed to be ready to lay down our masterpiece right when we got there. And that made every take more pressure-filled, especially with all the extra people around who want to have a say.
J: And for how much it costs to go in a studio you can obtain the tools to do a decent job. We blew a good amount of cash on Diamond Mine and I don't think we'd want to again. I'd rather have an asset. But I don't want to portray Diamond Mine as making it a bad experience for us - it's just not what we do.
S: Jeff is a great guy and he really tried to see what we wanted and to help us achieve our goal. He wasn't doing what he normally does - he was trying to make a Moviola record. It was just more difficult for us to do that there.
How do you feel about the 'Kitchen Waltz Preamble' single (one of only two recordings from the Diamond Mine sessions released)? It sounds a lot different than your other records. It's much more bombast.
J: I think it sounds too slick to all of us.
S: It's really jangley and really trebly.
Ted: The guys up in Boston that put our records out really wanted us to put that song out. They really liked it.
So what equipment here did you use on The Durable Dream?
J: We used an 8-track cassette machine that only has six tracks that work. We did basic tracks on that. We have this Macintosh [computer] setup, but it's just a stereo in-and-out so you can only do two tracks in and out at the same time. So for most songs, we'd do basic tracks on the 8-track, where we could do several tracks at one time, and then spend some time getting a good mix down to the computer. We did overdubs on the Mac since it's digital and has no tape hiss. So we used a kind of a half-ass, hybrid cassette-Macintosh thing. I don't think that is how we're going to continue to do things though, as it was hard to have everyone gather around a monitor and figure out what's going on. [They haven't - Jake now uses his reel-to-reel in the backyard studio. Similarly, the band records eight tracks, mixes it down on a Mac, then puts it back to one of the 8-track's tracks.]
T: It became computer class.
J: Or we'd end up waiting for the computer to restart or optimize the hard-drive or whatever - doing other things than recording. Then there were our own limitations. There was a learning curve because we had never done it that way before. We had always just messed around on the cassette, bouncing tracks.
Was that the process on Glenn Echo?
J: Even some of that was just 4-track before we got the 8-track. We never did a whole record on just the 8-track cassette. It did wonders for us, though. There were times when one or more of us would come here and work out songs on it. It's been a nice thing. I think we're going to step up, though. I got an 8-track reel-to-reel and we're going to try that, which should be a step up in sound production.
I think there's a definite sound departure from Glenn Echo to Durable Dream. Durable Dream is much cleaner than Glenn Echo. Bela [Koe-Krompecher, owner of Anyway Records] has described Glenn Echo to me as demos. Was there ever any intent to go further with that album?
J: There was, but that description is pretty accurate. We spent a lot more time on Durable Dream - thinking about the sequencing of the songs, trying to make it fit together conceptually - and that wasn't the case at all with Glenn Echo. I think it's pretty obvious that Durable Dream wasn't just knocked out or thrown together. I think we thought that Glenn Echo was going to be a 500-copy release and it grew and got to be more than that.
What dictates who plays which instruments? On stage you switch instruments and, judging by the liner notes, you do the same in the studio. How is that determined?
J: The recording dictates what we play live. We came pretty close to being able to play the whole record in our set with one line-up. One thing we've never done is do a record and then do anything that makes any sense as far as supporting it. So we thought that this time we'd try to aim for the single line-up. We ended up deciding that we couldn't use one line-up so we started switching around. I've had a lot of fun switching around and playing bass. I think it was getting old using two guitars as well. Scotty got the Rhodes piano and it's been a lot of fun since that happened. It was getting too status quo.