My Night with ‘Head Like a Kite’

Head Like a Kite, a local electronica / alt rock band, wanted to record one of their favorite tracks in front of a live studio audience, so they invited friends and members of the media to pretend to be a bunch of rowdy concertgoers. They fed us Rainiers and pretzels, gave us hats and boas to wear and told us to stand by the stage and cheer.

“This is the most awesome space for a drum player ever,” announced Trent Moorman (one half of the band). At the London Bridge live room (where Pearl Jam and Soundgarden once recorded) no walls are parallel to each other, and suede-like cushions absorb the echos created by the hardwood floors and brick walls. The owner calls it “an even and musical ambient decay.”

“It’s so weird to drive up to Shoreline, and to feel like you’re in the middle of suburbia, and then walk into this space,” one woman said with wide eyes. There was a wall filled with platinum CDs from all the bands that had played at London Bridge (including ‘Three Doors Down’), another wall filled with found art objects and head shots, a pool table, an Atari game system, a few leather couches, and a cozy, well-appointed bathroom.

In the live room, there were drum mics and guitar mics and audience mics and back-of-the-auditorium mics. “It’s going to pick up on that,” Dave Einmo, the guitarist, joked as I chomped down on some mini Crunch bars near a side mic. “Sorry,” I mumbled.

“Do you think my hat will absorb too much sound?” a man in a cartoonishly large hat asked.

Trent and Dave walked on stage and the crowd cheered. As the two of them stepped on pedals and danced their fingertips all over their keyboards, the crowd used different tactics to create ambient noise. Some drank beer, others ate the catered food, and one woman danced with her eyes closed (perhaps trying to generate the sound of wind).

After Head Like a Kite was done performing, the crowd packed into the control room to listen. Trent and Dave didn’t plan on altering the tracks, since they wanted the piece to feel improvisational and unrehearsed (beer-guzzling¬† included). The crowd nodded their heads as the 12 channel recording streamed in through half a dozen different speakers. “It’s such an incredibly rich sound,” the man next to me whispered, staring at the neat rows of metallic buttons and nobs on the 1970’s-era recording equipment.

“You just can’t get this kind of sound from digital,” Trent said, shaking his head and beaming like some kind of recording studio groupie. Then he announced the band would play the song again, and the audience shuffled back into the studio to re-create, once again, the kinds of sounds a listener expects on a “live recorded” album.

2 Comments so far

  1. divinityq on June 29th, 2009 @ 11:51 am

    Wish I could have been there. Head Like a Kite are a really good band. The way they mix the electronics with the live elements. Always a fun show. It’s dancy, but there’s also stuff there for the music heads to nod to. Big beats! London Bridge is epic. Cool post.

  2. Head Like A Kite « London Bridge Studio (pingback) on June 30th, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

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