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Singled Out: Six O'Clock Saints' Cancer Girl

05/05/2010
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Welcome to Singled Out! where we ask artists to tell us the inside story of their latest single. Today Six O'Clock Saints guitarist Andrew John Jackson tells us about "Cancer Girl" from their debut new album "Exculpation," which hit stores this week. Before we get to the story, it's noteworthy to point out that Andrew is one of the triplet brothers who front the band. Now here is the story:

For the most part, the songs on Exculpation were recorded in small rooms, closets, and basements, but for the song "Cancer Girl", we wanted to do something different. We wanted to get this big, dark sound, so we recorded it on the top floor of the warehouse we practice in. When you're up there, you hear the traffic noises below, (most of the windows are busted out), and it is littered with 100 year old dirt and grime and bird feces. Actually, the traffic noises and bird tweets you hear in the beginning of the track were the natural sounds the mics picked up when we started the the drum track. It sounded so cool we decided to leave them in there.

The area has tons of old metal and broken glass lying around, so we hit record and started banging things together. That loud pop you hear in the beginning that sounds like a gunshot is just DeeJay's snare echoing around and pounding a 2x4 off of an enormous steel heater that hasn't been used in decades. The loud hiss and following water sploosh at the end of the song is an old pressurized water hose that was sitting in the middle of the floor. The high pitched squeel happened when we turned it on.

We played with so many tracks for every instrument, sometimes going direct into the board, sometimes through each others amps. Whenever we recorded the amped tracks, we set up different types of mics at various locations to pick up the natural acoustics, then in post listened to each individual mic's track to see which sounded the best layered over top of each other. For Tony's vocals, sometimes he would be right on top of the mic, other times he'd be a 1/2 block away, (that's how big this area is), screaming the vocals and letting them bounce all over the room into the mics.

The song itself started as an acoustic folk song, (really)! Andy and Allen wrote it in Allen's bedroom in about 5 minutes. When they brought it to practice, Tony said, "I like it, but could you slow it down to 1/4 of that speed and add some crunch to your guitar". Cancer Girl was born.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album - right here!

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