John Eye : vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, percussion, drum kit
Gene Dante : spoken word, bass guitar [on cannonicus sun dance]
The Amazing Baz : keyboard & programming [on ra dub-step and rivetburn mix]
DJ Osheen : keyboard & programming [on DJ Osheen house mix]
Bill T. Miller : bass guitar, circuit bent toys, percussion [on BTM noise mix]
Steve Genovese : bass guitar [on song of cannonicus]
Keith Martinelli : drum kit [on song of cannonicus]
Words and music by John Eye. Released in 2010.
This collection of songs was recorded at Necessary Blackout Studios in Boston MA. Produced and engineered by John Eye. Additional engineering on ‘song of cannonicus’ by Roland Adams, and on ‘cannonicus sun dance by The Amazing Baz. Lead production and engineering on ‘cannonicus ra dub-step mix’ and ‘cannonicus rivetburn mix’ by The Amazing Baz. ‘cannonicus BTM noise mix’ produced and engineered by Bill T. Miller at Headroom Studios in Boston MA. Lead production and engineering on ‘cannonicus DJ Osheen house mix’ by DJ Osheen.
The Recording of Cannonicus 3.14
I had decided to finish up a number of tracks that had been in the vaults for a while, and started by dusting off ‘Song of Cannonicus’. Originally recorded on the ‘sky clad’ album, I had always been dissatisfied with that version of the song because the mix just didn’t seem to live up to the power of the live song. Keith Martinelli and Steve Genovese had tracked the drums and bass with me previously, so all that was left was to finish the guitar, keys, and vocals. It actually went down much faster than I expected with a warm up vocal take turning out to be the final lead that was kept.
With the speed at which the final tracking and mixing went down I decided I had better run the results by another pair of ears that I trusted to be discriminating. My friend Gene Dantewas available so we sat in my car and he gave it a listen. His immediate reaction was “We could make a remix of this”. Having lived with the song in its original arrangement since the mid 1990’s it was really hard for me to picture it in any other form, but this idea sounded interesting.
Gene and I started getting together on Sunday mornings to tear apart the original version and build a new arrangement. He was pretty clear on what sections he wanted to use and quickly cut up the vocal sections and guitar parts to the bare elements. It was really interesting to me to watch another songwriter that I respect deconstruct my work, and build something completely new out of it.
We quickly came up with a new simple bass line that helped give more authority to the kick, and I stripped out all the old drums and began brainstorming new beats for the song. I actually tracked three separate styles of drums for the song before I arrived at the final drum arrangement inspired by reggaeton beats from latin hip hop.
The rest of it went pretty fast with Gene and I layering in the “HEY” vocals together with much laughter and hiding a few other words in the layers. I polished up the mix, but still wanted another pair of ears to check the mix and bring some more clarity out of it.
I happened to be out at a local club talking about the project to a couple of DJ friends of mine Alan (DJ Black/Mail) and Russell (ArcRunner) and they introduced me to Basil Simon. Basil came right out to the car and gave the track a listen. I could tell right away that he had an amazingly developed set of ears, and we scheduled time for him to come to the studio and add some of his production/engineering skills.
During the process of Basil working in the studio with me, he expressed an interest of doing his own remixes of the song, (Cannonicus Ra Dub-Step, and Cannonicus Rivetburn Mix) and this sparked the idea for the entire remix E.P. ‘Cannonicus 3.14’.
Shooting the Videos
At the same time I had been putting the word out that I was looking for a director to shoot a video for the ‘Cannonicus Sun Dance’ version that Gene and I had completed. Out of the blue Herschel Smith Jr. contacted me and mentioned that he would be interested in discussing the project. We quickly arrived at the format of shooting the video as if it were a trailer for a Guy Ritchie style action film, and began shooting in November 2009. Because of the large cast, and scheduling the multiple shoots at several different locations out of state, our shoot dates ended up being spread across four months. This meant that our last two scenes were shot in February 2010 in brutal cold weather, and we had to be wearing the same clothes that were appropriate for November. The burial scene, the envelope scene, and the end trio walking scene were all shot in these less than ideal conditions. We were jumping into heated cars to warm up between takes. We were freezing, but we were still laughing. Herschel then took all the footage and began working on editing and possible color treatments, while I got back to finishing all the mixes.
During the video shoot I met Dj Osheen Emdjian who Herschel had cast as the doorman at the pool hall. Osheen already a well known Dj, agreed to try his hand at creating a house version of the song. (Cannonicus Dj Osheen House Mix) My good friend Bill T Miller who had taught me the basics of recording engineering, also agreed to do a noise mix using his arsenal of circuit-bent toys, and other noise making gear. He and I had always discussed working on something together, or him doing a remix of one of my tracks, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
New Mix Room
While all the producers were working on their remixes I set about building a new mixing room for Necessary Blackout Studios. Finally, I would have a room with sonic treatment, and properly eq’ed speakers to do my final mixes in. As soon as the room was finished the advantages over the old mix room were obvious. New mixes sounded worlds better, and progressed faster.
I recorded the song ‘Ride’ in my new room tracking all the instruments myself, and cutting the vocals in a new folding isolation booth that my friend Peter helped me design and build.
Once ‘Ride’ was done, all the remixes started to come in from the other producers. With some final polish put on those in the new mix room I sent them off to my new favorite mastering engineer Wim Bult (Inline Mastering) in the Netherlands, to perform his magic.
Herschel Smith Jr. came up with the CD cover design from screen stills from the ‘Cannonicus Sun Dance’ video shoot. He gave it a very “grindhouse” look to match our gangster video feel, and that is basically the CD as you see and hear it today.