Session #3 Collaborating with Brain (Bryan Mantia) and Melissa Reese on Song Structure, Valence Records Project




Brain is an incredible drummer.  He’s worked with everyone from Primus to Tom Waits, Buckethead to Guns N’ Roses latest incarnations.  What people don’t know about him is his creativity as a composer.  As a collaborator in the studio, he is my top choice of musicians to work with. 


Why?  He leaves his ego at the door.  Brain gives 200% for every project no matter how oblique or where someone is on the ‘fame’ scale.  He can be serious and focused, then turn around and say something completely outrageous to lighten the mood. At the same time, he’s truly one of the best drummers I know.  From soft to loud, fast to slow, groove behind or ontop… his sense of composition is amazing behind the kit or computer.  He is the ultimate professional, which takes more than heavy chops.


One of Brain’s collaborator’s is a young woman, Melissa Reese.  I didn’t think it could get better in the studio with collaboration, but with Brain and Melissa, it’s like winning the Super Bowl every time.  We let each other explore ideas, easily change gears, and stay encouraging and positive throughout the session.  Key words are — Listen, Suggest, Let go, Move on.  I can’t emphasize how important positive vibes are when being creative.

Session #3 takes Session #2 and fills it out with chords, melodies and structure.  We pulled more parts from Kai Eckhardt’s original tracks, resampled and replayed them.  Melissa improvised on a keyboard to trigger some of the bass samples. On a whim, I pulled out the accordion, which we resampled.  The accordion was recorded in the control room using a set of headphones as the microphone (a neat trick if you’re desperate to experiment). We also grabbed a few of Brain’s efx from Logic.  At this point, we were still cutting things up in Logic.  Once the song was cut up, we put it back to analog tape.  More on that in Session #4.

We’ve got both 44.1/24 bit wav files and 256 kbps mp3 this time.  Again, we want to thank Gregory James and Valence Records for allowing us to create a new song for The Valence Project.  I’d also like to thank Mike “Rudie” Howles for his help getting all the files up.

Back soon for Session #4



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