A Night Of Recording, Part One

By Kelly Mahan Jaramillo, Sept. 16th, 2007

Tomas is currently working on two projects at once – the documentary American Dumpling, and the Graphic Novel “City of Fire“. The piece of music that is on the trailer right now is a temp piece, except for the very end – those vocals are Tomas’s. So, about two weeks ago, he was ready to record some live instruments, which is where I come in. We have a small recording room in the studio which can barely hold one person, the instruments, and a microphone. However, it sounds good, so we squeeze ourselves in and try not to breathe.

For those of you who live in Los Angeles, you may recall that two weeks ago, around September 1st, the temperature was hitting 103 degrees and climbing. We decided to wait to record until evening, when it had cooled down a bit. Well, it had not cooled down, the house felt like it was built on prime property in Southwest Hell, and both Tomas and I were in shorts and tee-shirts, dripping sweat. But, we had to get the live percussion and guitar recorded as Tomas had to start cutting, so finally he went into the booth, shut the sliding door, I sat down at the console and…..take one! Let’s go! I set the levels, gave him a three count, and hit record. Then the director in me comes out and I start throwing out ideas, getting so caught up in the fun and creativity of it that I forget he is melting in there.

Luckily, it is only a two minute trailer, and it is not percussion all the way through, and I felt we had plenty of coverage in four takes. Tomas came out of the booth, and I thought he was going to have heatstroke.

“GOD it’s hot in there,” he gasped.

“Well, it doesn’t help that you were playing clay hand drums – that alone works up a sweat,” I said, wetting a washcloth and holding it to his forehead.

When people ask what a music co-producer really does, I always forget to tell them the most important task in summer is cooling your composer down with ice water and cold cloths. Dead composer, film has no music, we don’t get paid. This is to be avoided at all costs.

“And you nailed it in only four takes,” I continued, “so the guitar will be easier.”

He sighed and reluctantly picked up the modified twelve string and shut the door.

We both put on our headphones and before I could count off, Tomas said, “wait, wait, I have an idea – when I am finished with this, why don’t you come in here and add some vocals.”

Oh dear. The only time I sing is when I have imbibed a bit too much, and it is not pretty. It is worse than the guy with the lampshade on his head.

Well, I had no choice but to keep him in there for thirty-six takes, and pray that the heat had done permanant damage to his brain, and he would have forgotten this ‘Kelly doing vocals’ idea.

But those Eastern Europeans are tougher than I thought.

This entry was posted in American Dumpling, City of Fire, Composing. Bookmark the permalink.

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