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Saint Motel: Expert Reintroductions

Recording saintmotelevision

When he was living on one of the city’s busiest downtown intersections, A/J Jackson managed to capture all the noise of the area onto Saint Motel’s major-label debut, saintmotelevision, which adds to the bright, modern rock character of the album.

The songs went through a number of iterations before reaching what’s heard on saintmotelevision. This is partially due to the producers with whom Saint Motel worked. “Move,” for example, started with a chopped-up guitar, in the box, on headphones, on tour. Upon returning to the studio, Jackson swapped the bridge for the intro and adjusted the chord structure to match, with the chopped guitar played again in a slightly more minor version. After all that, producer Lars Stalfors tackled “Move.”

“[Stalfors] took that guitar part and ran it through a Looperator, which is like a meat grinder, spitting out artifacts and glitches, but it sounds great, almost like how Fatboy Slim would mangle things,” says Jackson, whose recording platform is Logic.

By contrast, “Destroyer,” which was produced by Tim Pagnotta, went through his signature process of making things sound massive. This involves spatial EQ, as well as overdriving and use of an Empirical Labs Distressor on vocals; the song went through 20 different versions.

“We took out layers of overdrive and distortion and gave it a nice subtlety and funky bounce,” says Jackson. “We put the bass as the main riff and up an octave to give it a double sound, so it has a thump to it.

“I’m a sucker for re-intros, coming back to something very minimal,” he continues. “You have all these elements that on their own are really fun to listen to. Throwing them all in there and having a giant mess, you miss a lot. With a re-intro, you introduce this mini-riff and by the time you hit the last chorus, it’s the last thing you care about.”