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- Posted on Mar 12th 2010 4:30PM by Jenny Charlesworth
"The last time we were out on the road we were getting mixes back for 'Mount Chimaera,' which is something we shouldn't have done," he tells Spinner. "Our producer Will Howie, who was working on the record in Vancouver while we were on the road, said that it's the last time he tries to do mixes with remote input from a band."
From the way Van Breemen describes the experience, he makes it sound as though it was a near-disaster, and maybe it was, but for those listening to the polished soundscapes featured on the disc, it's hard to imagine anything beyond a few hiccups plaguing the talented sextet. According to Brasstronaut's frontman though, the album, which is a whimsical meld of dramatic melodies and lush symphonic arrangements, was very much a series of starts and stops.
The first kink in their plans came during the group's creative residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, which Brasstronaut had hoped to walk away from with the makings of a finished album. After recording for seven days straight during their last week of the three-month program, the band had plenty of material to work with but nothing cohesive enough to show to a producer.
"We didn't achieve a very clear vision of what record we wanted to produce at the end of the stay because I think we were focusing more on the incredible experience of working with musicians from all over the place," says Van Breemen. "I think that experience ended up being a lot more instrumental in terms of helping us develop as a working band in terms of communicating with each other and figuring out how we develop music with each other."
It might have taken Brasstronaut more time than they'd like to get 'Mount Chimaera' fully dialed -- ultimately the group would re-record certain sections and remix others in studios in Vancouver, New York and Oberlin, Ohio -- but the end result is magnificent nonetheless.
Currently on the road in support of the disc -- including Canadian Music Fest and SXSW -- one can only assume Brasstronaut is celebrating the fact they don't have to have daily conference calls with their producer from the tour van. It's also a safe bet that Van Breemen is making good use of his time during those long drives. This is a guy, after all, who took it upon himself to screen print the band's merch just days before they left for their first major North American tour.
"A friend of mine has a shirt screening press and was like, 'You can just come over and screen your own shirts and you'll save $1,000,'" says Van Breemen. "I was basically screening until 5AM and I only got 70 shirts done."