From The Desk Of Holsapple & Stamey: Recording In Oblivion

hp100bThere are many people who consider the first two albums by the dB’s to be just as influential as those revered early Velvet Underground releases. The singing/songwriting backbone of the dB’s was the tandem of Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, whose simpatico musical attraction was strong enough to fuel Mavericks, an excellent 1991 album by the duo. Eighteen years later, the longtime friends have released the equally stirring Here And Now. The pair has also begun recording again with the dB’s, including original bassist Gene Holder and drummer Will Rigby. Holsapple and Stamey are guest editing all this week. Read our Q&A with them.

livinginoblivionb550cChris: When people ask me what it’s like to produce records, I’m always glad I can point to 1995’s Living In Oblivion, written and directed by Tom DiCillo and starring Steve Buscemi as a director trying to make an independent film on a very low budget. Ostensibly a film about filmmaking, it applies so well to record-making at times that it’s hard to believe this wasn’t their secret agenda. Not to give the whole thing away, but at one point, they are trying to film a few lines, two characters on a couch, and although they try it from every angle and with every tack, it just isn’t working. Then comes the one brief moment, for no particular reason, where lead actress catches fire and the scene is fully realized: It all comes alive, it’s a wow, the hair stands up on the back of your neck. However, the cream for the coffee had been left out too long, the cinematographer had had too much of it, and he’s off throwing up in the bathroom; the on-fire moment is not actually filmed! By the time he’s back behind the camera and they are rolling again, the magic is gone and they settle for a standard reading of the lines. Understanding this is key to producing, the sense behind the phrase “sound capture”: You do your best to make sure that the cream hasn’t been left out to sour; you are in “record” when the good stuff, unpredictably, happens. You try to do good, solid work, but this is just in order to clear a space for magic to happen. Living In Oblivion trailer after the jump.