Saturday Night Girl
What a fun story this release is! It all starts in San Diego...
I wrote "Saturday Night Girl" after coming home from a date. Not just any date, a real date that started when I walked down my front stairs, and into my date's car, where I was taken to a nice restaurant. I was dating someone. Actually dating. Not "hanging out," not "talking," but "dating" in the sense that I was regularly going out on these things called "dates."
After the years I'd spent in a relationship where most of our "quality time" was spent working on musical projects, and where our "dates" consisted of going to shows or playing shows together, this was a most welcome change. It was just so nice to go out on dates. It was so nice to look forward to my weekends.
Dave Menchaca and I joined Red Pony Clock around the same time, and I've played with him for a long time. There's something special about playing with a drummer for while, especially when you're also a percussionist (I play marimba in Red Pony Clock). We were rehearsing together from time to time and he had played some shows with me. I brought the song to him and I said I wanted it to be a harder kind of jam. He listened to me playing it and was like, "No, no, no... this song needs to be smooth." We played it together for a few times, and smooth it became.
My dear friend Roy Silverstein and I have been musically connected for several years. He's recorded a lot of Red Pony Clock's material, and he used to run a great house venue in San Diego that was called The Habitat. It was a house venue and recording studio in Golden Hill.
A few years ago, Roy bought a house and began making plans for the studio that he has now (Rarefied Recording). While he was hatching the plans for the studio, he had his equipment set up in his living room in a new space. We had tossed around the idea of doing an analog-only project on a borrowed Tascam tape recorder he had laying around at the time.
I asked Menchaca if he'd be down to play drums with me on this project. He said yes. So we had me on the keys, and Menchaca on the drums. Next step: finding a bassist. I knew my friend David Feldman played the bass, and I'd seen him rock out with our friend Martin's band, The Yiffs, quite a bit. It took me a long while to ask him if he'd join us on the bass. For some reason, I thought he'd say no. I was pretty surprised when he said yes! I knew I wanted a horn player, but I don't think my friend Chicken was available, or I didn't think to ask him. I posted a Craigslist ad a few days before the recording session and found an 18-year-old trumpet player named Matt to pop in. I've tried to be in touch with him since and I can't find him!
Dave Menchaca and I recorded live together; me on the Rhodes piped into his headphones, and laid out the groove. After that, I put down the keys to avoid bleeding, since we had no way to isolate the piano. Feldman jammed out on the bass for a few takes until he came up with a part on the spot, and recorded it directly in, I believe. That part was pretty sick, because we got to cheer him on without it going on the recording. I did vocals another day and Roy helped me fill out some of the parts for the harmony vocals.
"Paper & Pencil," the B side, is about waiting for answers that you don't receive. It's a sad song, but I wrote it more to process than for the express purpose of being sad. I thought it would work really well on tape, and especially as a B side for "Saturday Night Girl" for lots of reasons. I don't remember who came up with the idea of the flute, me or Roy (I'll have to ask him), but we decided on that, and so I asked Lauren Plumlee if she'd be willing to play some flute for me. At the time, I don't think she had joined Red Pony Clock yet, but she's now our flautist.
I think the recording was all finished in a few sessions over the course of a few months. Roy mixed it down for me and Nate Clarke mastered it. I don't know when I decided to go for the 7", but I went analog all the way and got it pressed to vinyl. At SXSW in 2010, I met the guys from Magnificent Beard, a design firm in Dallas, TX. Their booth at Flatstock blew me away, and we started talking about a mutual friend's band from Indianapolis, only to discover that we knew a lot of the same people. They designed the cover and did all the hand screenprinting for the covers.
It was so fun doing a project like this from start to finish, and it's also great to have something that's such a physical work of art in the hands of the listener. I'd definitely love to do vinyl again someday. The recording session in particular stands as one of the most fun days I've ever had in the studio. Here's to many more!
The video was done by Kris Montgomery, who does a lot of videos around San Diego. We shot the entire thing in a day, and he had it edited and on YouTube I think four days later? This guy doesn't mess around! The entire concept, as most of my videos are, is an homage to my favorite places. This time, my favorite places in San Diego. It was a high point in my life when Jay Porter (formerly of The Linkery and El Take It Easy, both two of my favorite San Diego eateries before he moved to SF) tweeted the "Saturday Night Girl" video to send off El Take It Easy at its closing in July 2013.
Two singles for you to enjoy. Recorded April - June 2011, in North Park, San Diego.
All songs & lyrics by Normandie Wilson
Normandie Wilson - piano, vocals, tambourine
David Feldman - bass
Matthew Lara - trumpet
David Menchaca - drums
Lauren Plumlee - flute
Recorded & mixed by Roy Silverstein in North Park, San Diego
Produced by Roy Silverstein & Normandie Wilson