Echoplexed was begun almost as soon as Flinty Loam was complete. In fact, tracks were being laid down before Flinty’s album release party. Intended to be a Superstatic record, it became, in reality, my first solo record. The Gladhouse was released first, although it was started after Echoplexed was completed.
11 songs, from ethereal to the pounding and stretching all modern technologies and bi-coastal express mail services.
Powerful and dramatic. I wanted to combine ethereal with power. I was listening to some live Zep and some Nusrat Ali Kahn and was struck by the time they took to let the song unfold. Not just a self-indulgent jam but a journey. I love tight powerful pop songs so somehow, I tried to make the two fit together. I wanted it to be dramatic in the sense that it has light against dark, movement and depth. This was a deeply personal record in more ways than I’ve known before. Revealing; sometimes intentional and at other times I was forced kicking and screaming into it by the music. It was about growth and possibility. I wanted to grow as a writer – kinda of a trite thing to say but I mean it in that I wanted to be clearer in my lyrics and fess up to what is in my heart musically. The possibility is to stretch that further and further. Stagnation is death. You find out what you are every day – your core may stay true but that meaning will expand as you explore and open your eyes. I love power, groove, teetering on out of control, raw emotion and at the same time I love intimacy, beauty, hooks, and new sounds. There are many themes but one main theme, kinda heavy, but it seems to boil down to this: hope in the face of hopelessness. It’s about grit and majesty.
This record was vastly different to make than Flinty Loam. It was really a record that incorporated all the technology available to us. I started making the record by having very loose song structures, just the emotion of 4 guys in a room playing their asses off. We hadn’t rehearsed the songs much before, sometimes as you rehearse a song the more precise it becomes but loses its energy and edge. I wanted it raw on tape, even if we didn’t quite know what we were doing or what the song would finally become. Not a jam, but certainly looser than we’d been before in the studio. We counted on our tightness as a band and knowing each other so well as musicians almost in a way of showing that off. We were on no schedule. I had the time to focus and at the same time explore with a very indulgent band at my side.
One strange difference was Steve Durkee was never in the room with us. Steve Durkee, long
time engineer for Prince and producer of Superstatic’s former record Flinty Loam. Steve’s had an incredibly busy schedule and we simply didn’t want to finish the record without him. So, we waited for brief rests in Steve’s schedule from mixing many, many acts – including work with the Backstreet Boys, Buckcherry, Rage Against the Machine, and Paul McCartney – just to name a few. We used the technology at hand. I would send rough mixes to him in LA and he would make suggestions. When the songs were more complete, I sent the master tapes to him and he began editing the best takes together and adding the extra’s.
To say it was written or recorded in a haphazard way would be the opposite of the truth. We used the studio like an instrument. With the emerging technology you are no longer limited to what you record on tape in one take. You incorporate the studio into the songwriting process just like it’s a guitar or instrument. We could play with new bridge ideas until I wrote one that was exactly what I wanted to express while not losing the power of the band or interest in the song.
Sketches became picture and the view sharpened as we went along – sometimes revealing
itself to us rather than us forcing it. Demos turned into songs – all still with the raw power intact.
The downside was to make all of this work the studio had to push the boundaries of what was available or sonically acceptable. It took a while to get it there and much tech hell was spent but eventually, we worked out a way to make the record work with its bi-coastal production. A couple of years to make and every second at full throttle. Our close friends would say “you’re still making that record”, as if it should have been finished ages ago and implying we’re slackers. I’d assure them we were working hard, nothing was wrong, and to shut up because they were going to like it (I hoped).
I sent Steve the masters and Steve would assemble and rough mix the songs as I completed
tracking newer ones. Eventually Steve and I got together and putting the finishing touches on the mixes together in LA.
This is what I wanted to do: make a record which had great songs, powerful feel, its own distinct vibe. I wanted to say fuck you to the flavor of the day. To write a great pop song is a noble thing and to attempt to push the genre ahead is what it’s all about. To try, whether I succeeded or not, to make a classic record. Fuck it, why do it if you don’t have that ambition? To reflect it’s time and transcend it. Here goes!
Produced and Engineered by Steve Durkee and Derek
Mixed by Steve Durkee
Recorded at the BarnSound, Media, PA
Mixed at Studio 316 Burbank, CA and the Barn Studio
Mastered by Peter Humphreys at Masterworks, Philadelphia PA
CD design by Derek, Joey McLaughlin and Jerry Steinbrink
Photography by Joey McLaughlin
Music by Derek (except Straight On, Forever and Sweet That Runs Through
by Derek and Dave Lenat)
Lyrics by Derek
Derek Chafin: vocal, guitar, mellotron, bass, drums, programming and various
David Lenat: guitar
Tim Reeder: drums
Kevin Jacoby: bass
Chad Gustafson: B3, Piano, Rhoads
Kenny Markford: bass on Give You Love
Steve Durkee: piano on Oh Mary and additional programming throughout.
Peggy and Don DeSantis, Steve Durkee, Joey McLaughlin, Dave Potts, Jerry Steinbrink
and Liz Smutko, Shane, Jon Cooper, Kenny Markford, Chad Gustafson, Fred Goldwater,
Nancy and Ethan, Peter Humphreys, Dan Cohen, Brian McLaughlin, Karolyn and
Bob Jordan, Nuria, Bonnie Harper, Jay and Diane French, Tom McCaffrey, Cyndy
Drue, Keirsten Watson, Andrew and Elivi, Rodney, John and Mia, and Mia Chafin.