Every dream has to start somewhere. For Katie Rox, it began when she recorded her first solo album at home, on Garageband. Since that time she’s released 2 other solo albums, gotten song placements on several TV shows including Degrassi, Instant Star, and Lost Girl, in addition to being nominated for a BCMA, MMVA and Juno. Previously a lead singer of the industrial-rock band Jakalope, Katie has transitioned into writing more personal songs with a country sensibility. On her most recent release, “Pony Up,” Katie endeavoured to maintain the intimacy of home recording while bringing in established players for a polished sound. Here is her take on the reasons and process behind her newest professional home recording.
In Katie’s Words…
When I recorded my first solo album, High Standards, in 2008 it was recorded at home, on Garageband. It was my first time recording without being in a professional studio. I liked the idea and the challenge of doing it on my own. I did what I could with what I had (a closet, my mac and a 58 mic) and I think it turned out great. However, it did lack the “professional” sound quality that you get when recording in a studio. It sounded like a home recording – which it was. Still, I’d love the vibe that was created.
For this record, Pony Up, I wanted to keep the natural, cozy vibe that recording at home gives you both in your comfort/ease while recording and also the “sound” in creates, but increase the quality of how it would sound to others, not to mention the caliber of most records out there. A home, garage band recording can’t be played on the radio or in a TV show…at least, not the way I initially did it. A friend of mine, engineer and producer Paul Forgues, travels the world recording live shows for bands such as The Barenaked Ladies and The Odds. I asked him, “If that gear can be brought anywhere and set up anywhere…could you set it up in my apartment?”. He said yes – and that’s exactly what we did. No sound proofing or altering the room (apart from getting the bed out of the way!) as we felt the room was also what we wanted to capture. I had friends come in and record their parts, including drummer Pat Steward (Bryan Adams, Matthew Goode, The Odds). The drums were what made me the most nervous because of how loud they can be. And LOUD they were, but with a guy like Pat Steward behind the kit, I knew he was a “one-take” kind of talent, and it was only loud for a few hours…and no complaints from the neighbors.
It was challenging when sirens would go by, my cat meowing, and a cement driller (or something) down below that made a horrible hum…but we made it work. And I love how this record turned out. And what’s even better is the amount of compliments I get about how professional it sounds. That’s what you get when you’ve got a vision in your head and hire great people to help you make it happen!
Hear some more of Katie’s songs, click here.
Here is Katie’s music video for the song, “Airplane” from her latest album.