Big, Huge and Exciting!

Hey All!

I’ve been waiting what feels like forever for this.  The record is released…  You can find it at your quality local record store today.  If not, let us know and we’ll try to entice them to stock it.  Also you can buy directly from our label here…

CD & LP:

A Friendly Appeal:

Please, buy a copy.  We have literally put our life savings into the production of this record.  I’ll go into detail about how our finances actually break down later, but I think you’re all familiar with the situation.  We’re fully independent.  We’ve got no net, we both have kids.  Please!  I would say it’s fine to download to see if you like the music, but if you find yourself listening to it more than a couple times, give us a nod.  The CD’s and LP’s are beautiful objects, you’ll be happy to have one.  Also!  Other people love to receive gifts from you.  Imagine handing a loved one the real thing, the hearts that will be warmed!   If there is to be another record, we need your help.  To buy the music is a vote for more.  It’s not that expensive.

A Short Term Blogging Plan:

Over the next couple weeks I’ll be doing a daily blog post about the making of ‘The Way Out’.  Each day I’ll focus on a different track, and try to shine some light on our process, for those of you who are curious about it.  I’ll start at the beginning and work my way through…tomorrow I’ll write about Group Auto I.

For today I want to take a few paragraphs to thank people and tell some stories:

We met Jerrod Wilkins, our manager, through his protege Luke Eriksen.  Luke contacted us just as we were coming out of our hiatus, and like most great things, it felt like synchronicity.  As you can imagine, trying to balance touring, record making and general finances on top of having small children is a bit much.  It was clear that we needed someone who had a mind for organization, timing and strategy, so that we could focus 100% on the creative aspects of the books.  Jerrod and Luke made the long journey up from their home base in Charleston, SC and they took us out for dinner at one of our favorite places… the Gramercy Bistro in North Adams.  I immediately liked them.  The simple fact that they made the effort to come to us in North Adams meant a lot to me, and our initial conversation went very well.  Jerrod’s a very smooth and generous fellow, none of the high strung pushiness one might expect from a manager, just consistent tone and clear objectives.  Jerrod and Luke split the job until the end of 2009 when Luke moved to focus on his burgeoning music and acting career.  Since then Jerrod has solved countless problems for us, some of them quite daunting, and he has become a great and trusted friend.  

Telling this story reminds me of the first time we met Tom Windish, as well.  He also went out of his way to come to North Adams, in order to convince us to start touring.  In 2004 (i think) when the Windish Agency was still young,  Tom kept emailing us, telling us we needed to tour.  We were extremely skeptical of touring, since we loved our studio work so much, and couldn’t imagine how it would translate on stage.  I was particularly freaked out, never having performed at all, really.  He showed up at my ramshackle apartment in North Adams in a rented convertible.  It was a sight to behold.  He sat us down and extolled the financial virtues of touring, versus the flagging returns on recorded music etc., and despite myself, he seemed to have a good point.  Sam Hunt has since taken over our bookings at the Windish Agency, and he’s done a great job getting us in the venues that work best for our show.  This fall will be amazing.

We first met Brendon Downey, our tour manager and live sound engineer, at our shows at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  He mixed our shows with Keith Whitman and Greg Davis in 2005 and with Death Vessel and Jose Gonzalez in 2006.  Jerrod rightfully insisted that we hire a sound technician/tour manager for our tours in 2009 and we racked our brains thinking of house technicians we had met on our tours that would be a good match.  Brendon was at the top of my list and thankfully he agreed to tour with us.  When he’s not on the road, you might know him from The Middle East in Boston, where he mixes most nights.  Brendon is an incredible communicator.  It’s remarkable… within five minutes of meeting a total stranger, he’s gotten them to divulge their entire life story.  He’s also got great ears.  He’s figured out on the fly work-arounds in places where others would just scratch their heads.  He’s particulary attuned to phasing issues, which are the bane of a lot of shows.  Over the many miles we’ve traveled he’s become one of my best and most trusted friends.

I’ve written about meeting Jeremy deVine of Temporary Residence in my blog post from April 5th.  He’s done an impeccable job on the record, and getting to know him better has been strangely revealing.  It turns out that we seem to have lived parallel lives; For instance, as kids we would both get up at 5:30 am and watch Thundercats and Mask while eating ego waffles. 

 Finally, I need to mention Drew Brown, who was essential to making this record.  Drew invited us to spend a few days recording in London with him, pro bono, at the ‘Hospital’ in Covent Garden, in the studio of famed producer Nigel Godrich.  Drew is an accomlished musician and producer himself, but his day-job is split working half-time as recording engineer for Beck and half-time with Nigel on Radiohead etc.  He said that Nigel wouldn’t be using the studio for a few days and if we could make it over we could get a lot done.  We we’re floored by the generosity of his offer and booked a show at Saint Giles Church last July to help pay for the flights over.  Both Drew and Nigel came to the show, so needless to say I was shitting bricks, but the show went well, and meeting Nigel was a great honor.  I think I’ve learned more from Radiohead’s Kid A than any other record.  We spent the next four days (and nights) recording as much raw material as we could through the amazing array of microphones, instruments and rare analog synths laying around.  Nigel came into visit at some point, and said “Yeah, it’s like paradise syndrome in here.  Sometimes I don’t know where to begin.”  I’m not really at liberty to divulge many details, but the sounds we recorded will be useful for all our future productions.  Drew has the hallmark of a great engineer; he can look at you and see the wheels turning, and before you say anything he’ll be setting up the mics.  He was able to bring out some very adventurous performances, and record everything with warmth and clarity.  We can’t thank him enough.

And a big thanks to everyone who has written about the record so far.  I don’t read reviews much anymore, since they either confuse me in the studio or go straight to my head, and i find it’s best to rely on my own internal compass.  But it’s great to see the range and volume of response so far, it’s very heartwarming.  Sometimes i think of what we do as making mirrors, and it’s nice to see how the music reflects such different things from different people.  That’s what we’re after.

until tomorrow,



About zammuto

of the band 'The Books' and 'Zammuto'
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