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2005-12-11 9:26 p.m.

This is where we make art.

Today has sort of been the epitome of wasted days. When I arrived at noon Christoffer was busy mixing a song for another client's project. This other band called him frantically the night before and begged him to please prepare just one quick rough mix. They were renegotiating their contract with their label, and the meeting was tomorrow. They had to have the song by then. So, he agreed to do it—a quick rough mix—even though we were in the middle of my project.

This is a bad, bad way to start a day. I knew right away that a quarter of the work day would disappear into this rough mix thing. He saw the worry on my face. His voice is always so boomy and chipper, like a young, enthusiastic Santa Claus caricature. He boomed out with a smile, "Don't worry. This won't take more than a half an hour at the most."

Now, Christoffer is an extremely talented person at so many things. It's almost unfair. Really, the only thing he's notoriously bad at is estimating how long it takes him to do all these things he's so good at. But, after working with him for a few years, I've learned. I take whatever he says and multiply it by two to be realistic. I multiply it by four to be truly safe.

I knew I'd better find something to do for two hours.

When there's not so much to do, I retire to what Christoffer calls my 'office'. It's surprising how much time in the studio is actually spent sitting here typing. Recording—much like most of the entertainment industry—is a game of constant "hurry up and wait."

I was dead on. Half an hour turned into two hours. Nothing got done, well, except for the band's rough mix. The band is actually quite boring and the song is boring, too. I remember thinking that maybe it might be better if they don't get another record deal. But, I guess a lot of people like boring music. I mean, it sounded great. But, so boring.

Recording guitar overdubs.

After the mix was finally done, we spent the next two hours redoing the backing guitar tracks for There You Are. Redoing tracks is a pain. But, I have to admit the results were brilliant. Christoffer beamed when we were done, "You didn't want to redo them! But look! These tracks are no less than a thousand times better than the horrible, boring previous one! See!"

Christoffer plays 12–string on There You Are.

He was right. It sounded so much better than the last ones we played with the stifling click track. The end result will be far superior. I just don't like when the time disappears—doing something we've already done all over again. I guess I must be the most impatient person in the world. It's so time consuming and so expensive to even get here. I can't get on his schedule again until March. So, every moment seems that much more precious.

This is what a broken 24 track tape machine looks like. Note the oscilloscopes in the foreground.

Adding to the day's overall uselessness, the old Otari 24 track tape machine broke. This is bad. We can't really work for more than about another half day without this totally shutting down the project entirely. Until now we could use the old 16 track machine and bounce tracks into the computer. But, at this point we need the newer tape machine so we can start dealing with all of the tracks we have.

Luckily, the gear repair guy arrived.

He was probably 50 years old, but his browned sweater and thinning greyish hair and lined face made him look a decade older. Unless he was 65 but looked ten years younger. It was one or the other—I couldn't quite figure it out. I guess strange things can happen when you work in smoky recording studios for 35 or 40 years.

He talked fast and with a southern accent, so I didn't understand any of his Swedish. Whatever. His English was perfect. But, I could tell all the most interesting information was getting told in Swedish. The English version was abridged to say the least. Christoffer got a long description with lots of long words. He simply told me, "It's broken."

I was curious—but I didn't really need to know what was going on. I just wanted to start working again.

Soldering irons. Many of them. This is not the sign of a good, happy, working studio. This is an omen that the day will disappear without anything getting done. Then monkeys break in with giant magnets and erase all our takes.

The gear fixing old forest elf guy waved a wand and all his specialized equipment magically appeared—or at least it seemed that way. The studio was suddenly populated with oscilloscopes, soldering irons of various sorts, cases full of tools, briefcases full of measurement devices, and the smoky smell of what may be the last living person that still knows the secret inner workings of these dinosaur tape machines.

He says it will probably be able to be fixed. That's the good news. The bad news is that the studio is torn apart. We can't do any work at all while we wait for the repair guy to fix it.

I asked him what was wrong with it—to try to gauge how long it might take to fix. Standing amidst piles of parts and cables and oscilloscopes he replied, "Don't know."

He smiled, "When it's fixed, then I might know. Maybe."

I guess this is how life is. We do our best to figure things out and do everything on time. But, sometimes life has other plans for that moment. I wonder what it is life intends for me to be doing right now, if I'm not supposed to be working on my record?