Umphrey’s McGee Sectional Workshop
Kris Myers: Lastly, we brought an oldie but goodie from the ancient Umphrey’s archive and rerecorded it with a chamber string ensemble. It is entitled “Hajimemashite,” and it’s a feel-good rock/pop tune with some folkier elements to the vocals. I wanted more of a direct mike sound on the drums with clear and focused overheads to pick up clear cymbals. In the second verse, I felt that the instruments needed to add some kind of rhythmic motif or cadence underneath the vocals, so I wrote this rhythmic cadence right then and there in the studio before we did a few takes. To my surprise, the string players who added parts later picked up on the hits, and they played it as well, adding a whole other dimension to the verse. I was thrilled that it worked out!
The ending of this was similar to “Search 4” in that it ended with Jake burning a solo to the end, so I was able to have some room for reaching out with the soloist. This can be a great thing, but it can also be a risky thing if what you’re going for doesn’t match with the soloist’s direction. This is why it is extremely important to listen to the soloist’s direction by playing similar dynamics and rhythmic phrases on the kit, all the while still pushing the soloist with confidence and taste.
I have to give a ton of credit to our producer, Manny Sanchez, for making each and every drum sound on this album come to life — or I should say larger than life! Even though Andy and I played rather simple, straight-ahead grooves on most of this album, we have a great producer and engineer to work well with our direction, and I couldn’t think of a better guy to work with than Manny. He takes the time to learn your style, and embraces it, but still takes you even further into sonic bliss by bringing a variety of room mikes into the mix. Using various mike techniques gives you so many options to choose from, whether it’s an open, Bonhamesque sound with a few 57’s a few feet from the kit, or direct miking for a super dry, focused sound like a Boz Scaggs album. It all depends on what you’re going for, and I got a lot of support and inspiration from my bandmates as well as Manny and Kevin Browning, our long-time engineer and producer of past albums. I really had a great time recording this album, and I hope you enjoy it as well.