The Making of “Our Refining Days”
Recording for the album started in February of 2008, with a target of being completed by June. This was the first time I’ve gotten to use a real studio and I was duly excited. Gregory Butler kindly let us use his studio – Tiger Mountain Studio in Van Nuys, CA – during hours it wasn’t already booked. Thomas Bolton, our trusty bass player, was engineering.
We got sidetracked by the opportunity to open for Alt Rock legend Peter Murphy in June of 2008, so by July we had only completed six songs – not quite on target. However, cashing in on another favor, Grammy Award-winning producer Greg Ladanyi agreed to mix a song and share some of his techniques. This was great news and we gave him the song “Hang On,” which was the first completed. After working on it a couple weeks, he told us that he would just go ahead and mix the whole album for us.
This was a total coup for us – a band with a budget of zero had now gotten free studio time and a world class producer to mix the results. We couldn’t have been happier. By November we had mostly finished another six songs. Then Mary and Ryan, voice and drums, respectively, announced they were moving out of state in February of 2009. What with the holidays and everything, we just barely squeaked out recording all the drum tracks by February. We had a few pre-mix sessions and everything was finished – the 12 tracks on this album, plus one cover song that had been in our live set for a couple years – after more than 200 hours of studio time.
The completed tracks were handed over to Greg Ladanyi in the spring of 2009. Unfortunately, due to musical commitments in Greece, Ladanyi was unavailable for much of the spring and into summer. Then I got a wild opportunity to go do some work in India for an unknown amount of time. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. By the time I was leaving for India, in August of 2009, Ladanyi had started work on our album and the hope was that I would return to Los Angeles for the holidays and the album would be completed. We were aiming for a January release date.
Sadly, this was not to be. Greg Ladanyi passed away after a freak stage accident in September 2009. With me on the other side of the globe and the rest of the band spread to the winds, everything went on hold.
I returned from India in March 2010 and after weighing several different options for getting our album mixed, I decided to do it myself. This involved delving into a world of computer recording that I had long avoided. With an ace system set up by Tom Bolton at PC Audiolabs, I set to work. Luckily, through all of this, our recordings remained intact. So here it is finally completed, almost July of 2010 – nearly 2 ½ years after we began. Needless to say, it was a work of blood, sweat, tears, and sheer determination. I’d like to thank everyone who played on it and worked on it, and hopefully you, the listener, will enjoy it.
David M. Cross,
Strange Rebel Frequency