The Making of The Severe Angels

Over the last couple years I have been very prolific in my songwriting, recording a horde of demos in my basement studio on a digital 4 track.  I gave a copy of about 25 of these demos to fellow artist Trevor Naud, from the excellent Detroit-area band, Zoos of Berlin.  If you haven't listened to that band, you should.  He listened to all of them, and then arranged a sequencing of 2 entirely different candidate albums for me to work further on.  I chose one of the 2 albums to work on, and this album became The Severe Angels.   (Yes, that means there are many other songs that I will continue to work on from these basement sessions for future releases).   I took the demos to Dave Mallen, an Arlington VA-based producer, and he agreed to get involved.  I wanted to preserve the fresh, raw energy of the demo tracks themselves.  I like low-fi demos in that they contain an element of discovery to them.  You can feel that the song feels fresh to the artist.  So our approach was to work together in his studio to mix the songs and to think of ways to expand the intention that was already surfacing in the demo tracks, but also to actually use the demo tracks as the basic tracks of the songs.  Dave Mallen and I worked for most of 2015 on these mixing sessions, and we quickly developed a rapport.  He brought incredible ideas to the table that make the album what it is.  Along the way we added new parts where it felt like sonic space needed filling, or ideas needed to be developed or better connected.  As we proceeded through this process I enlisted a few other musicians to contribute what would become signature additions to the songs.  Trevor Naud added synthesizer parts to several songs and transformed High-Voltage Touch, Walk Out, and I'm Not Not Tryin'.  Celeste Starchild sang harmony and an unforgettable lead at the end of Rubber Mask, and sang with me on the duet, Sulamith, which evolved to possibly become the centerpiece of the album.  Todd Baker added violin on Rubber Mask, I Am The Moon, and Wires.  Listen to his oceanic tones on I Am The Moon.   That's Dave Mallen playing the off-kilter electric guitar solos on Otto, and pianist Jeff Ermold playing the solo on Sulamith.   Dave Mallen also created the funky "pocket" for a few songs, most notably Prince Eugene, by adding electric bass in various songs to augment my existing synth bass.  The album title was inspired by an illustration by the artist, Sulamith Wulfing, and her presence is channeled through the song, Sulamith.   Sulamith is also Celeste's middle name, and so it is a love song to both.  Trevor added the final touch by creating the art concept for the album, using photography, squiggle drawings on translucent paper, and colored pencils, to create the imaginative cover.  I hope you enjoy digging into this album!