Seven days. Ten songs. Acoustic rawness. That's at the heart of One Week Records, the recording studio started by Joey Cape of California punk rockers Lagwagon.
He calls it "more or less a sessions label," and he says this way of making music will become more common in the future.
"When you make a 'normal' record it takes a long time," he says. "I really love the idea of a well-produced but raw record without all the editing. I don't tune vocals; we try to get a live performance feel."
Cape launched One Week in May this year. He has recorded albums with five artists so far: Chris Cresswell from The Flatliners, Brian Wahlstrom from Scorpios, Montana-Oregon folksters Betty and the Boy, Quebecer Jo Bergeron, and Australian singer Laura Mardon.
Each stayed in his home, ate their meals with the family and worked in Cape's basement studio.
The albums sell for $5 each on One Week's website www.oneweekrecords.com.
Cape is bringing Cresswell, Wahlstrom and Betty and the Boy to the Garibaldi Lift Company in Whistler on Monday, Oct. 6, as part of his first One Week Records North American tour. Tickets are $15 in advance from ticketzone.com/ciaconcerts.
Cape played in Whistler for the first time about a year ago and is happy to return so soon with this new venture.
"It's nice that when you're playing in Van(couver) you're passing through those mountains. It's beautiful in Whistler. And that's reason enough to come, I think," he says.
"And we had a pretty fun show there, too, so we thought may as well come back."
For Cape, the whole One Week experience has allowed him to work with friends.
"I get to bring a little of my music life home with me to my family and share it with my wife and daughter," he says.
"A lot of these people are people I've known for a long time and toured with or met over the years, and my family doesn't know them. They stay at our house for a week and have coffee and breakfast in the morning. It feels really good."
Was bringing his work home and mixing those two worlds together creatively different from what he was used to?
"It is a very relaxed situation. I know where the restaurants are in walking distance; anything we need is readily available. It's having a guest but in the day we're being creative. I love it," he says. "And because it's acoustic, we can record into the wee hours."
As for what lay behind the start of the label Cape says, "I had been producing records for a long time, probably 20 years ago or something. But because of my tour schedule and the bands that I play with, I was never able to make it an actual fulltime job."
"I've always enjoyed receiving a demo tape from somebody, like a songwriter writing songs for his band, and they give you a really stripped down acoustic version of the song and you kind of fall in love with it. Later, you hear the big produced record and it feels like it sometimes loses something."
Cape likes the unmanipulated sound of the acoustic style they try for in his studio, but he knows his way around a mixer desk, too.
"I think I can make almost anybody sound good because there are so many tricks, but this is different. People come in and they are great players," he says. "Because we sell it only on our website and we don't chop up the songs and put them on iTunes or other Internet stores, we're able to keep it as an event."
When a piece is more organic, Cape says it is more intimate.
And he adds: "It's important to mention that I believe that human beings have these small, tiny imperfections that they create and those imperfections are their characters and style.
"When you record somebody, my job as producer is to try and find the things that they do that are unique and interesting, and push for those things. Because that's the character of the artist you're recording, and that's what makes them unique."
Lagwagon is releasing their first full-length album in nine years. Called Hang, it comes out on Oct. 28, and Cape says his acoustic solo work will slow down while the band tours.
"Usually when we release a record, that's it," he laughs. "Then I'm just on the road for years. But there's a lot of downtime when you play in a band and I like to tour and I like to play music, so I try to find other creative outlets.
"When I realized it was (nine years) I thought it was ridiculous. I made many records in the interim, and we did a lot of touring with the band. We never stopped playing music.
"I've been in that band for 25 years and we've always been one of those bands with long breaks between records. We don't force it. It's not surprising, but when we started developing songs for this album over a year ago, and I realized when it would be actually coming out, just about nine years since the last full-length release. That surprised me. Time really does fly."
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