While these songs had been kicked around for a long time, we were searching for a cohesive theme to gel them together. When we decided on a space opera-esque direction, “Sleeping with the Devil” bared the most creative and interesting fruits.
The track was written on piano and eventually had guitar added in it’s entirety. This is a pattern you’ll hear through the album where the acoustic guitar reference tracks are popped into the songs in verses, choruses, bridges, maybe the end. Those guitar tracks, especially in this song add some delicacy that our busted old piano just can’t muster in its achey wood frame.
After the main tune was laid down, we decided it needed some more grandeur. I can’t remember how/why the organ came into play, but the song was produced and worked on close to “Hey Boy” which has a stutter organ. Since the song was moving in a Space Odyssey direction, a church organ made sense. IIRC, it was the standard organ setting from our EP-7 II. Please don’t be jealous of our amazing equipment.
Continuing the space theme, we wanted to start working more samples into the music. What started as a few moon landing samples as ideas, turned into nice little vignettes to underscore not just the loneliness of deep space, but the character singing the song and the comic book. The samples were taken from a 60’s documentary on the moon landing, selected, and then bounced to a wav file. That file was then transferred to a reel-to-reel (Fostex B-16) where the selects were marked on the machines counter. The pieces were then recorded to Pro-Tools with all the fast forwards and rewinds you hear on the album and the sped up tape was edited to fit the song. The B-16 tape machine’s sounds were mostly recorded on a separate mic track to sync with the audio and then edited while some wild button clicks and tape head actions were added for a beefier sound.
Probably one of our favorite parts of the song is the dreamy guitar during the bridge after the organ settles in. It has such a beautiful sense of flying you can visualize the shadow of the Eagle lunar craft rolling over the moon surface on it’s approach. That was all Tracy Shaun and is probably one of the most beautiful moments on the album. It contrasted so beautifully with the type-writer rhythm sample and acoustic guitar strums creating something that we will probably never be able to create again. And that’s totally cool.
Lastly, for the vocals, Elspeth again did an amazing job venturing into her more Jazzy comfort zone capturing that later-era Billy Holiday vibe of smoke, well-worn arm rests, and dandelion seeds drifting in a vacuum. We’re really happy with how the backing vocals came out in their sound and arrangement, particularly the chanting (which Tracy layered into) that drifts with the organ into deep space at the song’s end.