Recording with Kramer
Each last Sunday of the month a group of composers I know (attempt to) get together after writing all day and share what they worked on over some snacks and copious bottles of wine and/or beer. One of those composers--Matt Menovcik, who works with KRAMER (yes, he prefers capital letters) —heard the song cycle in the making during the course of these Sunday meetings, and then after in a solo live performance he suggested that KRAMER should hear the music. He put us in touch. I sent KRAMER some home demos. He and I began an email conversation and we immediately hit if off. We both have a dry sense of humor. We got on the phone and it was that conversation that confirmed we would work together. One of us had to get on a plane, as he lives in Florida now. We planned on recording in the winter. I thought I should travel toward the warm weather (not knowing St. Augustine would be colder than in Seattle). My brother and his wife had just bought a house in St. Augustine, but they hadn't furnished it yet, and they live in Alaska. I have a long held dream to hole myself up in a recording studio for days or weeks and live the music with no distractions. I asked my brother and his wife (whose last name is coincidentally 'Kramer'—no relation) if I could use the house to record the record. KRAMER was game. So the two of us began to plot our blind expedition toward this recording project.
From Gretta's recording journal:
Recording in St. Augustine—our humble abode for two weeks. Amidst a few personal items belonging to the soon-to-be dwellers, we made ourselves at home (with permission) by borrowing a rug and the few chairs available. We purchased kitchen utensils and plates and stuff to cook with/eat on, and used the packing boxes as tables. We brought the rest (music gear, clothes and necessities) with us. It was a blast to make a record this way. We improvised all the way through it. When you forget to bring certain things you have to make due or get creative. "What shall we use for a wind screen?" for example.
I flew into south Florida and picked up KRAMER in a rented mini-van. We loaded the vehicle up with KRAMER's recording gear and instruments—including the famed Hofner, a beautiful Martin acoustic, a cheap guitar amp, some hand percussion, a keyboard, and I, of course brought my Strat. And the custom microphones. Oh yes. We drove north for about four hours. Neither of us had been to the house before. KRAMER spent our first hour clapping and making noise in each room to determine which room would be our studio, and then setting up shop. We worked about 12 hours a day on average. Sometimes more. Sometimes less. We didn't leave the house for the first five days. Eventually we made our way into town and visited rare bookstores and had a meal at a fancy restaurant.