High Tidings from Beset.
Beset. has released our first DOUBLE SINGLE and you can hear it now on Bandcamp!
http://besetbesetbeset.bandcamp.com/album/psychic-loan-where-is-your-ocean-double-single or (stream at bottom of post)
I am mean to be doing other things--namely re-enchanting the Spell Saga website to stand up straight on it's own, but since we released this yesterday I think it merits a small post, if only to remind myself and future "bad-music" scholars of how we got here.
Beset. was a project I started by myself after writing notes down while driving away from one bad fourth of July party to another ("why are you on your phone?" Meagen will always ask, which means "why are you endangering my life, much less your own?" These are valid questions.
But as we drove an hour back into Nashville in a car threatening to give up the ghost at any moment (seriously, this was a hot Summer day in 2017, the year white apparitional clouds began coughing up every time I started the thing) I wrote down the word Beset, and the words Where is Your Ocean?
And I can't remember if it was the next day, or the one after that, or even the NEXT one, but I remember being at work, serving in a restaurant for my last day, and scribbling ideas for an album cover down on a napkin in between a sparse amount of tables and money. I also remember trying to get ahold of Giovanni, this guy I did not know well at all--because I heard he had a small home studio. I texted him to meet me and I ended up driving to the middle of this very small downtown area of this little town. He was dressed in a full suit and standing in the dark by himself. That night he played guitar for me in the middle of The Most Derelict Room I Have Ever Been In. And then I asked him to join this band with me, and I played him a little lo-fi audio file I had for an opening of an LP.
We spent that Summer and Fall writing music together, pushing out demos as I screamed in his closet or sang on the stairs, wires pulled all over the house and the heat of the night creeping in through his open window. I started calling Giovannni The Weapon. Our plan was to make music that sounded like wizards who had shipwrecked on a tropical island. I started telling everyone we were making this thing that defied logic, and that anyone could come and join...I said we would play shows wearing robes and have a projector play old vacation footage of islands over us.
In January Noah appeared out of nowhere, a sort of imaginary friend of a person who everyone sort of knew. We had talked about him joining the project before he ever heard the music, but he had left to live in Colorado forever and The Weapon and I went back to our indie-rock EDM ideas of percussion. But at the start of 2018 Noah was back, after one of his roommates had performed a blood ritual over his synthesizers without permission. Noah brought another roommate along with him, a girl we will call "redacted". She was an incredible violinist, and suddenly the band had a sound.
Noah and The Weapon both have similarities to their playing. There is this young man's ADHD drug haze that gets in front of them when we talk, like sheets of raw wool and funhouse mirrors. Conversations can border between funny to infuriating--but when they play enough and hit their zone it's sort of like this emotional rhythm god takes over, like their both One With Their Emotional States. I think it comes through.
We practiced everywhere. From The Weapon's apocalyptic living room (until his neighbor broke through the front door once-- I wasn't there for that) to the coldest public park I've ever been in, to a storage unit filled with garden lights that created an accidental strobe effect (it was hard to keep our eyes open).
In the end The Weapon used his resources to secure us free time at a multi-million dollar recording studio way out in the middle of Fuck Knows Where.
We tried recording Where is Your Ocean and failed so spectacularly that one member walked out of the studio never to be seen again (redacted), and it nearly avalanched the whole project. Then we regrouped two months later and brought more people int he room to record with us.
Listen. It is not a normal thing to record the whole band at once. And it is CERTAINLY not a good idea to do this with three people who have never heard the songs before, much less played them. But we did it.
And fuck me, if it didn't sound like wizard's who had shipwrecked on a tropical island.
We brought in my buddy Zach from EFFORTS to sit in and muck the bass up all pretty-like. And both Noah & The Weapon pulled in a violinist--I couldn't remember the guy on violin's name, so I just started (respectfully) calling him Whistle Boy, and that sort of stuck--and another guitar guy named Trey, who looked rightfully nervous. he kept glancing at me after every take like we might execute him. Which is funny, because listening back he was incredible. None of us have seen him since, he's sort of a transient who used burner phones. But I'm glad we could have him when we did.
Look I have a video of us recording it!
When we finished the rough tracks everything got much, much harder.
It took two months of mixing, redoing vocals, redoing guitars, awkward phone calls and patience for us to get you the Double Single you now have before you. At one point I drove to The Weapon's House and brought my dog AND air conditioner so we could sit in the living room and start mixing together.
Luckily we had this guy named Gavin the Great. His real name is Gavin Mellberg, and he's now our official engineer/absolute band member. Eventually I had to drop everything and drive down to the studio to pull together our final mix for "Oceans" (as Noah calls it). That was a good day. My car doens't like to ummm work or "not-shut-off" so driving an hour through traffic and a torrential storm is a big deal. But Gavin and I sat there and got that song done. It took six hours of him and I being as careful and yet ballsy as possible.
The general rule for mixing songs for me is really simple (because I don't know what I'm doing) as my general input is to pay attention to my body, and the bodies of everyone else in the room. You're hands and feet react quicker than your brain when it comes to a groove (god I hate that word); so that's hat Gavin and I did. made big changes and little changes, always trying to keep it to where our bodies were moving of their own volition.
A week later we were back in the studio, all of us, and finishing up Psychic Loan. Gavin and I were even able to pull pieces form the original demo (I had stolen The Weapon's files for just such an occasion).
On July Fourth, a year to the day that I cam up with Beset., I drove Meagen's car to Geoffrey Maybe's house and sat with him while he mastered the tracks, both our buddies tapping along as we finalized everything. And then I released that shit, because why wait?
And that's the story of how you are no listening to the songs you probably listened to if you're reading this. I would also like to say this: the melted-cassette-tape song at the end of "Oceans" is one of my Dad's demoes from about 1986. Having this EP end with his earnest attempt at forging a record deal is very special to me.
Beset. will return with "We Brought Weapons" this November.