Engineering, Photography and Graphic Design

In my buisiness as a guitar maker, I've had to learn to do as much as possible myself. I do my own photography, web design and ad design, and I've picked up a little bit of audio experience over the years working as a professional musician as well. So, I had most of what I needed to produce this project "in house", so to speak.

As a photographer, I really only know how to do one thing: "product" shots of guitars. Happily for this project that was almost all that was needed. David brought all the guitars he used on the project over and we shot them all individually, thinking in advance of this web site. Then I used Photoshop to composite all of them and our amps into the group shot on the back cover and disc, flattening the image into the two-color graphic you see there.

For the cover shot, Nancy, David and I went to a local bar in the middle of the day when the band for the evening was setting up. It was a big dark room with a very high ceiling, and I set up a single spot light shining straight down on us to hopefully give the impression of an after hours jam. Nancy clicked the shutter. Then later David suggested that there should be a bass and drums in the shot somehow, so people wouldn't think it was just a duo album. It happened that I was playing with Soul Vaccination that night, so I brought my camera along and took a shot of Edwin Coleman's drums and Leah Hinchcliff's bass on stage. I dropped that into the background and used Photoshop's "rough pastels" filter on the whole image to imply a "Reflection" effect. I did the layout in Illustrator. My camera is a Nikon D70s with a Nikor 50mm fixed lens, and my softbox light is a Photoflex.

Oh, and about that guitar I'm playing on the cover... I built it during the recording of "Reflection" and finished it after all the tracks were recorded, so it didn't get recorded on this project. But it's so pretty, I just had to put it on the cover!

As a recording engineer, my experience is even more limited than that as a photographer. I'd really never recorded a drum kit before, and certainly never recorded anything nearly as complex as some of these tunes (there were over 40 tracks on Sumb Thumb). Frankly, I just Googled "recording acoustic guitar" and the like, tried to get the levels up into the green and short of the red, and generally recorded everything flat and dry. Then when Jeff Knudson came in to work his magic, he at least had clean, quiet source material to work with. And after all, we weren't going for an extremely "produced" sound, we wanted a reasonably honest representation of a band playing the tunes, even if there were usually only three of us there!