Dishwalla Singled Out Week: Miles Away


Dishwalla released "Juniper Road," their first new album in over a decade today (7/14) and to celebrate we asked Jim Wood to tell us about some of the tracks. Today he talks about "Miles Away". Here is the story:

I had been sitting on the music and melodies for Miles Away for quite some time, but never had the right story to match up with it. The breakthrough came when a close friend had a series of events in their life that caused them to freak out and literally blow up their entire life as they knew it. They had come to believe that everything that they had been working so hard for was not compatible with what they believed that they should be doing. Their solution was to try to erase everything and start over with the hope that they could get onto the right track. The big problem with that idea was that aside from the collateral damage, what they believed that they needed to do in life didn't actually line up with what they felt and ultimately knew was right for them. Finally they came back to their senses but it was a long and hard process. The lyrics are inspired by that story of questioning what true belief really is.

By the time the lyrics came together we were well into the final stages of putting together the new record. We had a running list of 18 songs and no brain space for yet another one so it sat on the back burner like so many others in the Dishwalla song pipeline.

One night during the Joshua Tree Recording Sessions we were watching one of the last Presidential debates. Everyone started getting super depressed with the ridiculous spectacle and the mood started going downhill fast. Thankfully our drummer George looked over and said: 'Hey let's go play some music'. We bailed out and went to the patio and started jamming. After a while I remembered that song idea and we started to play though it.

Over the next hours different band members came out and started playing along as we worked though the different parts. Our producer Sylvia Massy stealthily set up mics to capture the patio jam and all the ideas that were flying around.

By the next evening we had recorded the entire song and added it to the track list. We used an Echoplex Tape Delay that belonged to our friend Eric Burdon that we had found sitting in a closet for the Rodney's electric and Scot's lap steel parts. Justin sang with a blanket over his head at one point as a quick-fire vocal booth, and did some other takes while doing pushups with the mic on the floor which gave the takes a really different feel. Later we added a string arrangement and a melody part recorded with my 8-year old son's Melodica, which is a toy harmonica with keys that can make some really lonely and haunting sounds.

Justin and I had completely different ideas of how to mix the song. He had done a really up-front and personal mix, which I couldn't really wrap my head around since I had been running the song in my head one way for so long. I then did a version that was wetter and more driving, which I really liked but didn't have the in-your face intimacy of his approach. The end product is a combination of both of our mixes that actually crossfades from one to the other seamlessly under the vocal, and creates a whole sonic journey along the way.

Learn more about the album right here!

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