Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Hum Track (Not Gross)

There was no window between the mixing booth and the area we recorded, so we relied on headphones to communicate. I was layering a song with an acoustic track. Mel, Tom, George and Jonathan the producer were in the other room, looking at every musical instrument and amp that we owned:

“How was that?” finishing the song.

Jonathon clicked in on my headphones.

“Do you wanna come in and hear it?” He asked.

Feeling the creative urge, I said, “No, I trust you. I have an idea for the song. I want to add a hum track.”

Through the headphones, I heard them talking. Inaudible sounds.

“Foot, what’s a hum track?” Tom said in a mixture of curiosity and half laughing. His voice was distant. I pictured him sitting in an armchair behind Jonathan, who was in an office chair in front of the mixing console.

“I want to add an ambient hum throughout the song. When we mix, we can pick and choose where we want it.”

There was a long silence. My headphones clicked in and once again there were inaudible sounds of them talking.

“Greg, you’re rolling, count it off.” We were paying Jonathan $3k for this record. Rough Trade gave us $1800 for the first record and $3000 for this record. We gave it all to Jonathan, so he was ok with adding a hum track, despite it being a horrible idea. He was paid to endure bad ideas.

For 3 minutes, I hummed. A very long 3 minutes. Regardless of how I thought it was going - it was pretty obvious that it sucked, but I was gonna finish the excruciating 3 minutes.

The headphones clicked in. Unlike the other times of distant chatting and ambient noise, I was met with wild laughter.

“Fuck off.” I said, shaking my head and smiling. I kinda enjoyed the abuse. More laughter. “Fuck off.”

Doing his best to appear professional, Jonathan said, “Greg, do you wanna come it and listen to it.?”

“Fuck off, Jonathan”

More laughter.

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