Studio Diaries – Part 3
We managed to track our songs pretty quickly and after 2 weeks we had all our songs pretty much down including a new song that was written while we were up there. This included all parts like vocals, backing, extra guitars, etc. In total we had done 15 songs and now had the tough job of cutting it down to 11. After much deliberation and back and forth between ourselves, Dave and Mathias we settled on our strongest 11 that sat well together on an album.
The next step was for Mathias to begin the finer mixing of the album before we could step in and start adding our 2 cents. For this to happen he needs his full concentration, so a few times he had to shoo us out from the air-conditioned Rancho into the high desert heat. So we had to find ways of keeping ourselves busy. This wasn’t difficult because while we had been working in studio we had been compiling a list of things we were keen to see and do.
For our first mission out the house we rented a car and set off to the Saltan Sea and it’s surrounding areas. The Saltan Sea is the largest lake in California and has become so salty from agriculture run off that it is seriously poisonous. The edge of the lake is covered in dead fish and as the salinity slowly increases, only the hardiest fish are able to survive. It’s kind of like being in a ghost town because you can see that it once was a popular tourist spot for boaters and swimmers and has now subsequently been abandoned. Before the 46°C heat and the smell of dead fish claimed one of us we decided to move on.
We headed towards Salvation Mountain, not too sure what to expect. We had heard that someone had painted a mountain as a symbol for his love for God. From afar you can see the mountain, as it stands out bright against a dull surrounding. It isn’t so much of a mountain – more a hill that looks like the set of a child’s play. For years a guy named Leonard Knight has created this art installation using gallons of paint, adobe, and straw. Not only the mountain is painted; cars, tractors, and caravans on the foot of the mountain have also been covered in paint.
If you take a walk along the proclaimed ‘yellow brick road’ to the top of the hill you have a perfect view over Slab City, a campsite so called because of the slabs that where left over after it was a WW2 military base. Squatters flock here during the cooler winter months to avoid the summer heats around the country but it does have a few permanent residents who live out the now 48 degree heat. We went down and took a trip around to check it out and even braved the heat to check out the Range, which is a large stage that features in the book and movie ‘Into The Wild’. We were pretty keen to join them one night and play an acoustic show but after speaking to a local in her art shop/caravan, we found out that it only happens on a Saturday night and we had a gig that night.
We took a trip back through the Joshua Tree National Park, which is an awesome park to drive through. The animal life only comes out at night when the temperatures are much lower but the awesome rock structures and fast scenery changes were really cool to look at. All in all it was a good day of adventuring and we ended with a braai on the rancho patio.
To be continued…
Love and hugs