In Summer 2010, I interned at a studio in Philadelphia called Third Story Recording. It was run by Scott Herzog, a punk and hip-hop engineer who had recorded the early records by The Dead Kennedys. The studio basically recorded anyone who was willing to pay, so I ended up having to work on quite a few deeply unfortunate projects. As a result, the highlight of my day usually ended up being my work with Saving Thomas, a Korean Contemporary Christian group who combined folk rock and rapping. The group’s main songwriter was Dave Bak, a rapper, body percussionist, singer and rhythm guitarist. His songs were extremely religious in nature, but they were also very earnest and had a conviction to them which I found compelling – when Dave sang something, you could really tell he meant it. The band was being produced by their bassist, Bernard Chae, an incredibly talented individual who came up with some tasty bass lines and beautifully textured arrangements in addition to writing some music for the album. I ended up engineering quite a few of their sessions. Late one night when we were working on a song called ‘The Anatomy of Joy’, I told them I had some vocal layering ideas for the song (only minutes before I had to catch the train home). They hurriedly tracked me in the vocal booth – I threw a harmony idea at them which they rejected, then sang a contrasting line which they absolutely loved. Bernie ended up singing that part live, and every time he did it he looked like he was having the time of his life.
Soon after these sessions, Bernie quit his job as a lawyer and went to study music at Berklee. I originally asked him to perform the bass on Interior City, but he didn’t have time due to his studies.
I really enjoy the fact that my first two guest spots appeared on a Christian album and an Atheistic album (Being‘s upcoming debut, ‘Anthropocene’). This diversity of experiences has kept life rich!