It’s been a while since Toxitolerant has released a demo. We released our first one back in September 2020 with the assumption that the pandemic would be over soon-ish and we could use it to promote ourselves a bit. Well, the pandemic kept going, and we decided that it was a good of a time as any to record another one. I mean, shows are starting up again, so why not?
Also we sound so much better now.
I wanted to somewhat document the process of creating the demo here, because again, why not? This won’t be a technical post. I’m not going to list how I set up the mics or what equipment I use. Just like with our first demo, I had/have no idea what I’m doing. I’m much less of a Steve Albini and more of a Nardwuar. Just doing what I do, everyone else be damned.
We did all the meta-ish stuff first. Decided on a name (creatively, Demo 2022), a track-listing, and what the artwork should look like. The latter two would continue to fluctuate as we hit snags and all, but the name. The name remained solid.
Julian’s preferences don’t align with my own; his favorite part about making music is playing shows, while I’d have to say mine is actually putting together a release. It’s not like I dislike playing shows but to me, there’s something special about recording your music and planning out a release because at the end of all of that work you have something tangible. Something that you can hold in your hands. Something permanent.
Well, mostly permanent, I guess.
I still had most of the equipment from the first demo we recorded. I say most, because somewhere between my move in late 2020 and recording the guitars and bass for that first demo, my instrument mics had gone missing. I’ve searched every box in every closet for them, so they’re probably in a very obvious place that I am totally overlooking. At least I still have my mixing board.
Just like with my gaming PC, tax refunds came in handy for purchasing replacements for these mics, additional cables, etc. We had originally wanted to record it prior to the roadtrip to Ohio that Julian and I took, and leave a few copies at venues and record stores, but things got in the way; life moves on and so must we. So we just started the recording after we got back.
We did quite a few grueling takes of the 5 songs we initially intended to include on the demo, and finally had… something. Again, I know next to nothing about audio engineering, so what came out was an awful, low quality, mess. Live tracking is fun, ain’t it?
Much to the annoyance of everyone else, I insisted we do an overdub of each of the instruments (vocals included) to salvage the work we had done.
Or maybe just re-record.
Sage said we were all idiots and should have done multi-tracking from the beginning. Hindsight is 20/20, but it’s 2022. Who’s the idiot now, Sage?
I guess still us.
The live tracks weren’t bad (I may eventually post them somewhere as “demo outtakes”), but as mentioned, they were super clippy. That, and:
- Sage’s drums didn’t stand out enough
- My bass can’t be heard at all
- Giselle’s vocals are too mixed up with Julian’s guitar.
In fact, the guitar was probably the only thing that sounded good. ROCK AND ROLL, amirite?
Overdubbing or re-recording. Both options seemed a bit much for what was in the end supposed to be a lo-fi demo, and eventually it was decided that we would just record like 3 tracks on an iPhone and call it a day. I mean, it worked once in Skumboyz, and those weren’t even intended to be demos. Just rehearsal recordings for us to listen back to later. So how would they sound if we set out with the goal of making them “demo” tracks in mind?
Julian and Sage set up their iPhones (they want me to be very specific that it was their iPhones, because something something android audio bad I guess) near the drums and amps respectively, and hit record. We would have had a third one, but I guess Giselle needed to read the lyrics or something.
“Why lyric so importance?”Jake Skum
I took those two tracks and combined them in Audacity. After that, and adding some reverb and echo to cover any mistakes, we had three demo tracks ready.
And after weeks of texting “hey is this good enough?” we finally put it out.
Just in time for our first show.