The Ateliers: Moon: Teacher Wolf
Hello, today’s entry is on the making of “Teacher Wolf”, our ninth track on our “Moon” album.
I don’t remember when this song was written but my first voice memo of it was May 18th, 2016. Recording this song was a “love adventure” to quote the movie “Light of my Life” and if you haven’t seen that movie, you should check it out! We recorded the guitar in a closet of our old space before it was demolished. We didn’t have a space for the first 2 weeks of the month so I recorded vocals with a laptop in my moms house. it was the only quiet place I could find. It is close to the beach so I found myself doing vocals, swimming in the ocean, and then doing more vocals. I spent 15 days resting and singing until I was happy with the vocals and then was able to move on to instruments. I also recorded the cajon there, which took about 10 passes through to get the feel right.
I recently reconnected with my friend Jason Scribner at the showcase we put on to say goodbye to our previous studio space. We used to play in a band called Silent Planet. He connected me to another space, and has since started playing percussion with us. I had access to that space around the 18th of the month so I started scheduling sessions every day. We had Torin play cello, Laura play violin, Sam play clarinet, Sam sing, Branden sing, Daniel play bass, and Jason play drums. It was a crazy transition moving all our stuff but we went straight to work and had some of the best sessions I’ve ever been apart of. Honestly, each session was really creative and solid and it made the space feel like home.
Torin and I wrote the foundation for the string parts and then spent another day fine tuning everything. Laura and I went through the violin part using the cello as a reference. She laid down 5 layers in one session. We added to the parts Torin and I had thought up and harmonized everything.
It was tough without a space to record or to play music for 2 weeks, so once we got access to the new spot, Sam took advantage of it. She spent over 10 hours doing vocals until they felt great. She also spent a lot of time with the clarinet. I had an idea for a fast electric guitar part and after I sung it to her, she agreed it would be on electric. I hit record for her and then she began playing a variation of that part I had sung.
Daniel and I’s uke bass session was one of a kind. I thought he was just going to add bass at the end but I played the track from the top just in case. He played a lick at the top and it sounded so great that we have uke bass throughout the whole song. This is a long song so this was a long session. We spent more time mixing it the whole next week.
It was a wild month for Branden as well because he went to teach music in Sri Lanka. It was tough finding time for him to record but he was able to come in and do vocals a few days before he left so I’m happy to have his voice on the choruses.
A few days before sending it off to be mastered, I had an idea for some busy drums in the background at the end part. I didn’t think it would work, but wanted to try it with Jason anyway. We had a ton of fun spending all day with 2 mic inputs trying to record a whole kit. We tried a bunch of things and then focused on writing the part and mixing it with the song.
I put some reverb on it to wash it out and make it more of a texture to add to the intensity of the end section. Honestly I thought we would have been lucky to get vocals and guitar this month but so much came together and we are so thankful for everyone supporting us and this music.
Teacher wolf refers to learning from taking risks and from pain. We certainly risked a lot this month to finish this track and it wasn’t easy. It enabled us to do things we’ve never done before and grow in unexpected ways. I hope as you listen you are encouraged to face those things in your life that need facing and grow into a more powerful you, equipped and ready to make life better. Stay the course loved ones.