A couple days later Derek sent a text. He had a new recording studio in the basement of Warpaint, and wanted Casey to check it out. Casey responded, “How about we just record something?”
Warpaint is where Derek designs and prints his edgy artwork. It’s the place the Flaming Lips go to get their far-out rainbow uniforms and marijuana leaf logos screen-printed. We were led down a dark subterranean stairway. We crept slowly down the unfamiliar steps, crouching to avoid a low head-splitting beam. The inner-sanctum recording studio was tidy and carpeted. Many instruments and black cases surrounded us. All well organized and dust free. Gently trickling water flowed constantly through a cast-iron pipe in one corner.
Once a rehearsal space and raucous concert venue for Derek’s bands, now it was a hushed vault straight out of the subconscious. The tranquility broken only by Derek’s cat wailing miserably from time to time at the door to the outside world. Soft sounds of the Plaza street life filtered down.
We decided to record a Cajun murder ballad by the Red Stick Ramblers called “Les Oiseaux Vont Chanter” which translated means “The Birds Will Sing.” We didn’t know that translation at the time and called it “The Singer.” We recorded the guitar and fiddle live with three microphones. Then we over dubbed more fiddle. While layering in the percussion, the recording session became a mystic ceremony. Mixing and layering, hours passed into the mist. After Casey recorded the bass line the trance broke, and we knew it was time to stop. We emerged into the clean dark night.
A couple weeks later Derek sent us the file. We liked the way it sounded through the stereo. That night Casey made a slapdash photomontage video for the song, our first year in pictures. While listening to the song over and over, and creating the video, Casey shed a single tear because he was so happy his friend had made a recording for him, and it was good.