Behind the scenes – the making of the Turn The Tide album

A year ago our latest album Turn The Tide was released. Now we have released a behind the scenes-video on YouTube, with clips from the making of the album.

Turn The Tide was recorded during a week in October–November 2010. We had travelled from Stockholm, Sweden to Ludwigsburg in South Germany to record with Chris Cacavas as producer. A partnership that dates back to 2006 when I (Hawk) and Chris met via MySpace, Chris had a tagline that read “Will produce for beer”. It was a joke, of course, but I “took his word for it” and asked him. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship and collaborations. Chris played keys on our first album Good Karma Café. And when it was time for us to record what would become Turn The Tide we were offered to do it in Ludwigsburg at Rainer Lolk´s studio The White Lodge.

This was an amazing experience for all of us Plastic Pals. Lolk´s studio is located on the ground floor in the house where he lives. We all stayed there, Chris too, which meant that we were living the record 24/7. Every morning I would go down to the studio to warm my voice up with some vocal exercises. Then I went upstairs, made coffee, had a shower and woke up the rest of the gang. After breakfast we went down for a morning session, followed by a lunch break (lunch prepared by Chris), an afternoon session, followed by dinner (prepared by Chris) and most days an evening session before we all went upstairs for a drink or too. I was the last one to go to bed and the first one up in the morning.

We learned so much from Chris during this week, as you can see glimpses of in this video. Where our first album was very much on the edge this album was more cool and relaxed – without losing the energy and essence that intrinsically is The Plastic Pals. He took great care to see to it that we all felt good, that we were relaxed – almost as if we were in our own rehearsal room.

I recall one specific moment where I got fantastic vocal production cues from Chris in my song A Couple Of Minutes. After my first vocal take Chris said “That could be a keeper but…” Chris reckoned the song was very edgy in itself and that it called for me to back off a bit on my vocal parts: “I want you to croon it. Could you do that for me, Hawk?” He lit candles in the studio and took out a hand held michrophone, looking a bit like a harp mike, tested it and handed it over to me. Chris. You can see this in the video. And of course he was right, Chris. What he heard, that was the kind of vocals the song needed.

What Chris heard, that was what these songs and this record needed. He had listened to the tunes on beforehand from recordings we´d done in our rehearsal room. What he then wanted to accomplish was to get the sounds the songs called for – get good sounds, good takes. Then he added elements – a sound, a keyboard, a harp, a vocal part – he thought the songs needed. Elements drawing from glam, doo-wop and from the American popular folk music legacy popularly referred to as americana. But he had no intention of doing a kind of retro thing of it all. Rather his ambition was to take these elements and bring them into the 21st century. Kinda like “dragging the ghost of Tom Joad all the way into the present”, as one reviewer wrote about our first EP 2006.

Personally I believe, Chris succeeded in his intentions with The Plastic Pals. This is the best record we have made. You are most welcome to see (and listen) for yourself on Spotify or on our SoundCloud. Or why not treat yourself to a plastic pal of your own, buying the record via our European distributor Record Heaven or our US distributor Kool Kat Musik.

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