DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FOUR
Jonny Greenwood. You are sick. Sick and gross and wonderful.
Oh geez… here we go. I was given the chance to record a radio station ID for Pearl and the Beard (I am borrowing PatB’s recording equipment and have it all with me on tour) for the radio station WRLR 98.3. We have only done two other spots like this in our life-time as a band, I think. These people must get a million of these things, and I felt like it was the perfect opportunity for a 365. I worked on it all afternoon, trying to figure out exactly how to put it together.
Writing: I didn’t have a perfect plan, though I know the music had to house the speaking (I thought about singing the whole thing, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it…) I had in my mind a plan for some kind of harmony first. I did the back ground vocals first, then midi bass (like a previous entry sometime last week). I then added the “main vocal”- the “Subterranean”. After adding all these parts, I basically took a listen to it to fill in where harmonic holes were… where did it need a sound, a fill? Did it need a higher register? A lower register? Which is when I decided on adding the bells. I put a lot of work into getting the tin-y sound of the bells out (removing treble, adding echo and reverb). I added snare and floor tom somewhere in the middle of all that, and since I’m no percussionist, this took the longest.
I knew that regular station IDs are very short. They play these things in between songs and people want to hear music, not musician’s voices saying a bunch of call numbers… so I felt pressure to keep it really short, but it didn’t stop me from letting the whole thing play out. I was careful and sent two versions: one plain one and one for the 365.
I realise, after listening to it a few hours later, I sound quite sad in the station ID… there really is something about smiling while you’re talking, even if you’re alone in a room with a mic… radio people have perfected this art. It really is an art, man.
I sent it to Subterranean Radio when I finished it this afternoon. This is our correspondence:
Hello, Pearl and the Beard.
I host a weekly three-hour underground rock show called Subterranean, and I love your album God Bless Your Weary Soul, Amanda Richardson. Two songs from the album (“Oh, Death!” and “Slow Motion Machine Gun”) placed in our year-end countdown of the top 75 underground songs of the year (#52 and #38 respectively). I was wondering if I could get any of you to record a short message saying, “Hello, this is ______ from Pearl & the Beard, and you’re listening to Subterranean with Mick Cullen and Carl Cutler on WRLR, 98.3 FM.” I would use it as an occasional intro to playing your songs in the future. If you have the time to do it, great! If not, don’t worry about it…I will continue playing your songs in the future anyway!
Take care and enjoy your spring!
Mick Cullen, Host/Musical Director
To whom will read this email:
This is Emily Hope Price from Pearl and the Beard (cello!). I have been given the task of recording the station ID you requested because I have all the recording equipment with me on my solo tour. I am sending you two versions: the plain old regular station ID, and a version I did for you for one reason:
I am doing a 365 Project: 365 Songs. 365 Days. It started on Jan. 4 and your station ID is day 124. It will be up on my blog tomorrow. I hope you don’t mind, but I found your station ID request to be a proper excuse to do a quick song for today. You can use it or not, and I know how radio time goes: station IDs are supposed to be short, which is why I am including both versions. Either way, I hope you have a good time listening, as station IDs can be, well… station IDs.
Hope you are well! Thank you very much for playing our music!
Emily Hope Price
We are honored and thrilled to be part of your epic project! I’m going to have to go listen to the first 123 songs. Quite a project!!
I love the IDs. I will definitely use the embellished one. You’re so right. Station IDs get old…I always hope when I ask an artist to record one that he/she/they will add something unique, some personal flair. You’ve done that in spades!
Thank you so much. Of course we don’t mind you posting this on your blog. If you can post our show’s website (http://subterraneanradio.podbean.com) or a link to it, just in case anyone is wondering why you’d be recording such an odd song, we’d also be mighty appreciative.
Again, thank you. 🙂
Subterranean on WRLR, 98.3 FM
Anna Vogelzang, Guy Capecelatro III and I have a show tonight (May 7) at Hog Farm Annex in Biddeford, Maine! I’m so excited as Gil and Coco, the owners, are some of the best people out there… hope you can come if you’re in the area!
Subterranean Radio (WRLR 98.3 Station ID – no speaking)
(With speaking – ha!)