We’ve had quite an evening! The crowdfunding campaign is now over, and we exceeded our goal by almost one third. The thousandth fan just liked us on Facebook. We’ve got the album artwork ready and the album mastered tomorrow. I’ve kind of let the last studio diary entry slide. Let’s fix that, now that we can rest relatively easy with the album ready to be sent to the people of Jakebox in Sweden, who’ll be taking care of the pressing and printing.
Ilari is an amazing guy. He has some serious musical know-how, and he thinks quick. Real quick. He also doesn’t really rule anything out without trying. Hence the crowbar. And the steel plate (see below). It also turns out he’s very good at whistling, finger snaps and rhythmic clapping, which are all very difficult things to do well. We love Ilari.
We found this steel plate lying around…
…and Ilari turned it into kettle drums and thunder.
We also love Saara, our wonderful cellist. One of the things she contributed on the album was the almost impromptu arrangement for Zaza, including the “car horn” sound and the smoky, sordinoed jazz passage, all written out and rehearsed in a few, measley hours. For this I’m ever greatful, because the song turned out to be, for once, exactly as it should be. Saara’s also wonderful at being awesome.
Saara in the studio, rehearsing a Christmas special.
We must also not forget our Muse. During the recordings we performed with her a few times live, and she’s just a magnificent, funny, energetic person to be around. She also did some screaming, yelling, giggling and whispering (trés demure!) on a track, which is our vision of how an old dancehall band might’ve sounded if they’ve just suddenly invented heavy metal in the middle of playing a set. The inspiration for the song and Noora’s voice on the song come from Louis Feuillade‘s 1915 movie, Les Vampires. It’s actually not a single movie, but one of the first crime series in the world. A part of the album artwork also gives a not-so-subtle nod to Les Vampires.
Virgina Woolf and rum go well together, apparently.
Some inspiration – and solace – was provided by Brecht’s Threepenny Novel, Life of Galileo and The Good Person of Szechwan.
I think I mentioned in a previous post that we’ve been busy outside the studio as well. We’ve of course played gigs, private and public, and also been on stage for a fahsion show, where Laura was being pretty, I was being a roadie for Saara who was playing a solo piece on stage. We also played at a party in a hotel, where we were involved in a mystery crime! And somehow we managed to take some photos for the album cover, too (well, mostly in the middle of the night!).
Laura some hours before the fashion show, trying on a reindeer leather dress by Jukka Rintala.
Must be the first time the backstage was accessed with a keycard, and the catering included poached eggs.
Ilari and Laura looking through frames during an all nighter.
Then we got this lovely fellow called Joel Kupiainen play some clarinet on the album. The song he plays on has an outro pinched from another song we did for a radio drama, which was broadcasted on the Finnish Broadcasting Company’s Radio 1 in the summer. I think Joel actually came up with the melody for the outro, so we wanted him to play it on the album as well. This is, by the way, a Café de Abejas song with three distorted guitar tracks. And other stuff.
Trying out different approaches. We went with the ‘over the top discordant’ one.
And finally, we’ve got all the songs ready and we can sit down with Janne at E-Studio for a 9 to 5 mixing session.
Checklist, with designated days for each detail.
Feeling that the songs are in good hands. Gold and platinum records, from the 80’s until 00’s.
Laura and some serious hardware.
We lasted from 9 a.m. until lunch with a single cup of coffee. After lunch we downed a pot, each.
There are many people we wish to thank for making this album happen, but probably none so much as our grand patrons, Harri & Terttu, who’ve given us their full support from the very beginning, and let us rehearse at their city apartment, and record at their cottage, and have just been all round encouraging and most helpful.
Getting the final ‘go ahead’.
We’ve decided to call the album “Is this Casablanca?”. It’s also a track on the album, and a song we played, according to the setlist, on the very first full-lenght Café de Abejas gig ever. That was before the first album came out. So the songs been in the making for quite some time, but like Laura put it, “We just weren’t ready for the song before”. It makes a good title, and certainly conjures up images. For the title’s sake, and for other reasons, I’d like to acknowledge the influencers and inspirators for this album: John Donne, Pierre Berton and Charles Simon, Louis Feuillade, Bertolt Brecht, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dorothy Parker, Concha Piquer, Serge, Charles, Bogie, Bergman and Bacall, Raymond Chandler, John Keats and Danny Elfman. There might well be others, others we’re not even aware of. But you might find it fun to return to this list once you have the album in your hands, and hunt down details – I think you might enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed writing these songs.