In the player: "Lights On For Safety", Track 03 out of 04 Tracks from the EP
This is a document of the short lived collaboration of Jason and I and R Mason, a grindcore/metal bassist whom was a regular at Record Convergence and an all around great guy. He joined us for this release and for a tour of Europe which had some great moments such as a festival in VÃ€nersborg, Sweden that was with The Misfits and Refused. We had great responses on the tour and it was my first time in Europe ever. R Mason quit at a show we had with Ink & Dagger in Philadelphia feeling that he wasn't a good fit for the band but he urged us to keep on going as he really believed in the music we were creating. I am glad he said that as we were very frustrated by the rotating bassist game at that point.
Artwork by Jason Gnewikow of The Promise Ring.
And now I'll use Jonathan's studio diary for this release as well:
So we left Frodus with a new bass player Mason, a new label, the Christian-trying-not-to-be Tooth and Nail, and their first 7" for them: a split with Roadside Monument. Frodus elisted my services to record 2 songs for a split single with a band called Roadside Monument. It was to be an odd beginning in their relationship with TandN, considering prior to this release the label had only put out Christian bands, and Frodus, though comprised of young Christian men (though I can't tell you how this applied to new bassist R.Mason), sang mostly of science, conspiracy, and some sort of Frodian proto-humanism. Ahem... So Jason Hamacher booked a couple of days at WGNS studios and we got crackin'.
We were only going to record 2 songs: Lights on for Safety and 45 Revolutions. Since Roadside had recorded with Bob Weston, I wanted Frodus to be the total antithesis of what I thought to be his approach: make a very live, ambient, austere and modest recorded document. I wanted Frodus to sound gnarley, produced, manufactured, abrasive...we all thought it should be more like Guns-n-Roses, but I think we missed that and kept going into raining nails studio sound.
It was a very crash-n-burn recording, on August 5th 1997. I think it was my third time on my own at WGNS, which at this point had its new larger control room on the other side of the building, with high ceilings and API mic pre's and some other neat hi-end stuff. We did the two songs in about a half day, and mixed the three days later.
WGNS had a really big cement and brick room. That's good for flying-around-all-over-the-place ambience, but as far as loading the room with sound and getting back that resounding woompf, it wasn't happening. Drums and bass cabinet were in the big room, Shelby's amp was in the dead room. We tried to employ the same techniques for these songs as we did for Explosions, but it wasn't really possible to get the same results. Different studio, different, better mic pre amps, just different everything.
I think mic-wise I was getting into Geoff's collection of stuff rescued from a radio station which included Neumann SM69, Telefunken Tube mics, Gefell who-knows-what, and KM84's and of course the wonderful API's. I remember everything being pretty straightforward as far as the drums and guitar were concerned. Jason and Shelby had been doing this enough as Frodus to get their sounds and equipment together easily. I think Mason was still trying to settle in, although I think he'd already gone to Europe with them. At any rate, the bass kinda sucked sound-wise. I don't think any of us really knew what it was supposed to be doing and at that time I was pretty adamant about not using a DI on the bass. My how things have changed...
We went for a big room sound on the drums, but I remember supplimenting or even replacing that with fake reverb from the SPX90. The ubiquitous quick delay on the vocals is there from the Effectron, or something else if that wasn't there. I think there may have been some flange effect applied to some guitars, but I really don't remember. Unfortunately I don't remember much else about this session just because it all happened so fast. The biggest thing I remember is how everything looked all set up in the big room and that I used API eq's on the buss when we mixed to make it all even brighter. And that Shelby played the bass on one of the songs. There. Maybe they remember it better than I do.
The end result is a bright, rock recording with some pretty aggro guitar and vocals, an illdefined, but maybe menacing bass sound, and some really bright drums featuring the click of the kick drum. There are simultaneously aweful and kick-ass qualities about this recording. I really wish I gotteb a better bass sound, and made the drums a little less edgy. No...that's how everything turned out that day. It's perfect.
(Jonathan Kreinik, 1997)