Three of the songs on The Will To Death were recorded and mixed in two days in December 2003. The other nine songs were completed in three days in January 2004. All the instruments were played by my friend Josh and myself. In terms of recording, it was recorded as if it were 1971, on 16-track tape and mixed to 1/4 inch at 15 ips. We did things the way that my young engineer and myself had heard that people used to do them. No computers were used at any point in the recording or mastering.
Josh and I knew the songs well and always did the basic tracks (guitar and drums) in one or two takes. The vocals were all done in the sapce of a few hours. We felt that recorded performances in the 50’s and 60’s had an exciting energy to them because in many cases one or two takes were the only chances the artists got. For me, recording quickly is when music comes alive. When one doesn’t force a preconceived notion on the music, but lets the music go where it pleases. And when mistakes come along, you welcome them and let them mold your image of the song. This record was a celebration of flaws, and in the course of approaching things this way I was reminded of the Laurie Anderson story about the family who had a yearly ritual which at one point started getting invaded by tigers, who would make a mess of it. Then after a few years of this they decided to make the tigers a part of the ritual and then the tigers never came back. In the same way once I welcomed my flaws into my recordings, I ended up unable to find anything undesirable in the finished piece.
It was also very important to me for the recording to follow a flow of energy from beginning to end. This meant it was always about capturing the moment. No reconsideration or backtracking took place and the mixing immediately followed the recording. The music carried us along rather than us forcing music to conform.