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2005-06-17


Doug and Christoffer in the studio.

We've now been here a week. So much has happened since my luggage was lost and then found again.

It feels like we're gaining a lot of ground on Doug's record. We've restructured and put down basic tracks on six of the nine songs, leaving only three more. The string players and drummer come in next week, though. That means we have a lot to get in order before they arrive.

It's amazing that I manage to get so much done since, for the most part, my days are all the same here. I wake up at ten minutes before noon to the sound of Doug knocking on my bedroom door. I brush my teeth and put on the same clothes as yesterday. In the USA people practically discard their clothes after wearing them for a few minutes. Here it's not unusual to see people wear the same thing a few days in a row. So, I'm just going with it. It saves me a few minutes of deciding what to wear each morning, and, I don't have to do laundry.

Then we drive a mile to the studio. Christoffer's already unlocked it for us, but he's still next door in his house. We come in, take off shoes (no shoes inside in Sweden), and immediately make coffee. I hate coffee, and I never drink it at home. The last time I drank coffee was 2004 when I was here making my last album. Unless you have an endless budget and can afford to work only eight hours in a day, you really need the caffeine in order to pull twelve hour days, seven days in a row. We don't have a huge budget. We never get enough sleep or breaks—coffee is a necessity.

After coffee we eat the same lunch as we do each day—open faced sandwiches (smörgås) with cheese or cold smoked salmon. This is one of the repetitive things that I like the most. Smoked salmon is so expensive at home, so I never get to eat it as much as I'd like to. Here it's cheap enough to line birdcages with it.

After that we restructure songs, record tracks, plunk out ideas on any number of instruments—cembalo, guitar, toy piano, slide whistle, Wurlitzer organs.


Old analog, monophonic synthesizers line the walls of the control room here at Christoffer's studio, the Aerosol Grey Machine.

I sneak in little breaks in between takes to call record labels, club bookers, promoters, journalists, and other industry people. But, the conversations are always cut short. It's quite a juggling act to be working as a manager, a co–producer, an artistic director, my own booking agent, and a solo recording artist all at the same time.

The recording is non–stop. Doug stops to smoke every once in a while. Christoffer tells wild stories with a voice so enthusiastic that it fills the room and pours out through the windows. "Then there was the time the band members put the chewing tobacco into their foreskins!" or "I woke up and the keyboard player was sleepwalking, and he was sleep–pissing onto the night stand right next to my head—right onto my new Genesis box set!" He's an endless font of stories, and they make the recording process more like a sitcom than a job.

Sometime around two in the morning we decide we're done. Of course we're not done, but our bodies and minds are starting to fail at this point. Christoffer walks seven meters to his house. We drive two minutes. Pee. Brush teeth. Sleep.

And then the whole thing repeats again.

I never thought I could be so fulfilled with such a repetitive life.


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