Apples and Sunshine is not Bully In The Hallway's first recording... Oh no! There are in fact several recorded practice sessions (from our days pre-dating even having a practice space) which were recorded at CPE Sound, a song recorded for a yet-to-be-released Elbo Room sampler (anyone seen one yet?), a recorded radio show from "Chicago Acoustic Underground" (which was far from acoustic) and of course, our initial demo entitled "Danger: Shallow People." Before talking more about our time at Phantom Manor with Mike Lust working on Apples and Sunshine, I figured I'd take a moment to talk about our "Danger" demo.
It must have been sometime in spring of 2007 and after finding our first 'real' practice spot as a band, we knew the next step was to get a demo to local venues in order to play shows. Simon did some searching on this website called Myspace.com and got in touch with a fellow named Adam who worked at Humboldt Park-based studio called Sentient Studios. We booked about 12 hours to record and mix a 5 song demo. Plenty of time, right?
So in anticipation of our first recording experience, we practiced and practiced our 5 song set, which included "Chicago," "9 to 5er," "They Barely Bopped Their Heads at Ladytron," "Stickin' to our Guns" and "Tears for Jeers." Our practice space then was an old converted factory on North Avenue, housing a mix of about 150 bands, several live-in 'artists' and who knows who else. In the dead of winter, it was about 78 degrees on average in our one-light room. We always locked it with additional padlock for security each time we left, and we only used the 'freight' elevator of death once to move our stuff. We practiced and practiced in the stifling, breezeless humidity and heat of a Chicago spring until one lovely Friday night we headed down the street to the studio to record. (On a side note, we have since switched to a new practice space after part of the ceiling fell and hit Jannotta in the head during pratice).
Recording each piece of the record track by track was difficult for us... a band who was only used to playing live together in a dreary, hot practice spot. Some takes came out fast, some were slow, and I remember the funniest part was that we all came with our instruments to play on the first night, which ended up only being tracking for drums. We mixed each song on the fly, and somehow managed to track 5 songs in a weekend.
Aaron listening to his bass track.
Discussing "Hook" with Adam.
Kennedy Laying some guitar down on "Stickin' To Our Guns" with Simon's scratch vocals
All in all, I'd say our demo sounds pretty hilarious but that's only because I was there during and after the recording session. I'll be damned if all of our friends and just about every venue in the city didn't get a little blue cd with our 4 songs on it (our "9 to 5er" didn't make the cut). We were proud of it then, and we still are today. While of course "Chicago" was re-recorded for Apples and Sunshine, every now and then "Stickin' to Our Guns" appears in a set and "9 to 5er" has since been completely revamped from it's mellow inception into a full-out rocker that we play quite often (re-debuting at our Schuba's show). The other songs have all but dried up, but since writing this article I am wondering if we'll give them a spin on some of our upcoming sets just for fun.
Kennedy waits to play.
Jannotta's hair is a lot shorter than nowadays.
Lots of waiting in Rock n' Roll