I have had the extreme pleasure of knowing Eric Lichter for a few years now. In that time we have throw the idea back and forth of me coming to Dirt Floor to record an album. Well, this past weekend I did and brought my good friend Ian Fitzgerald along for the ride with me. Then my buddies Zach Schmidt and James Maple showed up. Also, Josh Bressum came with his camera. Before I tell you too much…here’s another edition of 7 Good Things.
1) I don’t care where you record, at home, in a full fledged LA studio, in a loft, a bungalo, or inside a giant comfy padded room…there is no place as comfortable to record as Dirt Floor. The atmosphere here is unparallelled from the second you walk in the door you just feel good. I’m not a spiritual or a religious type, but there is just an energy around what Eric does that is special. It opens up something in people and allows the creativity to flow. I felt like i was playing in my living room with friends I trust…except I had some really great microphones in front of, thanks Telefunken!
2) Which brings us to the gear. In a day and age where you can set up a demo studio in your own house and get some ‘ok’ sounds for $500 bucks, people might beg the question “well I could just do it myself, right?”. Looking around Dirt Floor there is a collection of vintage amps, guitars, stringed things, drums, pianos, organs, and the rack gear is absolutely mind boggling. I could sit in the live room for days just playing the different instruments that Eric has collected at the studio. Luckily, he plays all of them and plays all of them particularly well…and isn’t shy to make a suggestion about where to add one of them.
3) Eric Lichter’s ability as a musician and producer. His ear. He just hears things differently. I went into this session thinking “Milk Carton Kids”…two guitars, two voices, all live. Eric heard other instrumentation, and then played it, and then I heard it to. It was amazing to hear my songs unfold and take on an entirely different life that I wasn’t able to give them on my own.
4) The family feeling. This is the absolute most significant thing I feel about recording with Eric at Dirt Floor during my session. I dragged Ian Fitzgerald along with me to sing harmonies and play guitar and basically for support in decision making, he basically because a co-producer (credit that). With Eric, you feel immediately at peace and at home. Like you are in good hands and he genuinely cares about your project. This isn’t just another recording to make money for him, its another project that he wants to give the utmost care for. I feel as though I have made a family around the Dirt Floor artists and team. Zach and James texted us at the beginning of the session because they just wanted to come and hang as we recorded, which of course led to them playing and singing on the project too. I think the free-flowing nature of the location, the vibe, and the energy within this family helps you create something you just cannot create anywhere else.
5) Flexibility. When you book a day at Dirt Floor you aren’t counting the minutes as dollars peel off of your billfold. Everything is very relaxed. A day in the studio could be 5 hours, it could be 10. But it is flexible and adds to that relaxed feeling. I think that is especially important when you are trying to be creative. You need to feel as though you can move around, record, or mix, or just go out for a quick coffee without feeling overwhelmed.
6) Eric’s attitude. Hands down, one of the most positive, but real, people I know. The best. I love this guy like a brother and his positivity is contagious.
7) The quality of the end product you will get. Part of what makes it also special is that Eric wants to send you home with something to listen to. At least one track that is complete enough to send you home with to listen to and think on.
So, do you NEED to record your next record at Dirt Floor? No, of course not, but the benefits and the feeling that making a record here will give you make me question why you would choose otherwise. This place is absolute magic. There is something extremely rewarding knowing what your demos sounded like, the potential that a good song has and that there is a place and an engineer that can make them great songs. Whether thousands of people hear these songs and fall in love with them doesn’t matter to me. I love what we created in that studio in the woods. I am proud of what these songs are and what they became because of the people involved. That couldn’t have happened anywhere else, in my opinion.