The Cymbals Eat Guitars session was a particularly special session for me personally. It renewed the spirit of what Epitonic is all about. There are so many bands, records, and MP3’s flying around the Internet, and a virtually endless supply of free music everywhere at this point, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or overlook a band that might potentially be important to you. Epitonic narrows the field down to exactly what music new and old one should pay attention to, myself included.
I walked into the live session with New York City’s Cymbals Eat Guitars excited to record a band that I had heard so much about, but had secretly never listened to. Usually I do my homework prior, but we were recording a lot of artists that week, so I was flying blind. The band leisurely set up in tandem with us getting our recording gear up and running. As we continued to assemble gear and chat, singer Joseph D’Agostino offered me guest list spots their show later in the evening. He went on to graciously point out that I’d need to be on the list if I wanted to go, because it was sold out. I was noticeably surprised because they were playing a pretty sizeable venue, and it was a Sunday. As the session was starting, I noticed some fans of theirs that were really thrilled to be seeing them in such an intimate setting.
The first of every session is a bit of a scramble to get everything sounding good, but once we got everything sounding the way it should during the first song, I settled back with headphones on mixing the recordings, properly taking in the performance. By the second song “Shore Points” off of their second album Lenses Alien (2011, Barsuk) I realized how special this band is and why their show was sold out. Cymbals Eat Guitars effortlessly navigated their way through a six song set. The tracks from Lenses Alien particularly stood out as being complex, hooky, noisy, inventive, and simply awesome. The band as a whole delivered virtually flawless live versions of their music, making the audience super happy, and delivering a great recording. It would be almost impossible for four people to recreate all of the layers of instruments on the studio recordings, but they came remarkably close. D’Agostino’s performance was particularly impressive as he traded his collection of Fender Jazzmasters back and forth as he switched tunings, juggling challenging parts on both guitar and vocals.
Lenses Alien is still in heavy rotation at the office, and I pretty frequently wake up with a line or two from “Definite Darkness” stuck in my head. All from a band that I inadvertently ignored for a couple of years… thank you once again Epitonic!
Live Sound: Adam Hirzel
Recording Engineer: Justin Sinkovich
Recording Mix: Justin Sinkovich
Recording Mastering: Hawon Jung