Wait Love – recording during a pandemic

Singer-Songwriter Shawna Caspi has released Wait Love the latest single from her forthcoming album Hurricane Coming.

I worked on Shawna’s previous records as a session player, and I was excited to be brought onboard Hurricane Coming as producer.

With the release of Wait Love, I thought it would be interesting to write a bit about the journey of the song, from initial concept to release.

Wait Love artwork by Shawna Caspi


SKETCH

Wait Love started as an instrumental sketch (titled Idea 2). The track had a melodic theme and chord changes in place, but had no lyrics, meaningful title, and was otherwise in a raw state.

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  • WAIT LOVE (INSTRUMENTAL IDEA) 00:00

Shawna ran with the idea. She wrote lyrics and made the melody her own in a way that totally floored me.

PRE-PRODUCTION

Once we had the form and arrangement sketched out, we solidified our ideas into a working demo to send to the band.

By March 2020, we were all set to record live in studio, however the emergence of COVID 19 pushed back our recording plans. By summer 2020 there was a reprieve in COVID numbers, so we felt it was to safe to head into the studio to record.

PRODUCTION

The bed tracks were recorded at Canterbury Music in Toronto, a large studio facility with isolation rooms, big live floor, and strict COVID protocols. Masks and social distancing is normal now, but back then it felt incredibly foreign. We did our best (and I think succeeded) in making the sessions feel really fun and a super special experience.

R to L: Shawna Caspi (artist/loungewear), Jeremy Darby (engineer), Devon Henderson (bass), Mark Mariash (drums/percussion), Joel Schwartz

 

After the bed tracks were complete, I took the files to my studio for editing and overdubbing. I re-recorded the acoustic guitar part and layered several electric guitars and some Rhodes.

Mark Mariash (drums), who has an incredible home studio setup, elected to replace his drum and percussion elements. So in the end, the only element we kept from that original session on this song, was Devon Henderson’s bass!

Once all the tracks were complete and we were happy with how the recording was sounding, Shawna recorded her final vocals before we sent the tracks to Sarah Hiltz and Peter Stone (100 mile house) for background vocals.

James Bunton beautifully mixed the album and Sage Kim mastered it.

INNOVATION

Every individual and industry has had to find ways to adapt to COVID. It put immense pressure on musicians in particular who depend on sharing space with other artists and audiences to make art and share their art. Adapting and innovating was necessary in so many ways.

Shawna was one of the first artists I worked with to create a remote recording so it really felt like we were blazing a new path on how these things could be done. It took a lot of organization and thoughtful conversation to make sure that not only would everyone feel comfortable sharing a space, but also that we could accomplish the vision that Shawna and I set out to do. 

The innovation also required embracing and experimenting with a bunch of new tools for remote collaboration. Most obviously using Zoom (and similar) for video chat, but we also used tools for project management, streaming studio quality sound, communicating revisions, sharing and organizing large files, sending short videos privately, and much more.

Initially, figuring out how to make a record during a pandemic was a challenge, but we found the workflow and tools to make the art thrive. 

For me, it has become a great way to make records and to collaborate with artists around the world.

I’m really proud to see Wait Love out there and Shawna releasing her beautiful full length record, Hurricane Coming. 

Wait Love and Hurricane Coming can be purchased from Shawna directly on via her website.

Wait, love
Show me what you’re made of
Tell me that we tried it all
And came to this retreat

Say, love
Maybe what we gave up
Wasn’t ours to spin around
Wasn’t ours to keep

But every time you say my name
I lose my bearings
And I wouldn’t dare to ask

Sometimes
Bargains turn to hard lines
Words go off like land mines
And tear the earth apart

So we paid up
Bet the rest to break us
What a way to wake up
Reeling from the start

Every time I see your face
I lose my bearings
And I wouldn’t dare to ask
So tell me if it’s all too late
And I won’t come back
No, I won’t come back

Slow down
Here’s what I know now
If we really came to do our best
Then I can’t be second-guessing
If you go now
Go with everything I’m missing
I won’t pull you in
No, I won’t call again

If I’m gonna walk away and lose my bearings
I won’t have to ask
I’ll know that it’s all too late
And I won’t come back
No, I won’t come back

 

Wait Love
Written by Shawna Caspi and Joel Schwartz
Shawna Caspi: vocals
Joel Schwartz: acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, Rhodes
Devon Henderson: bass
Mark Mariash: drums, percussion
Sarah Hiltz: background vocals
Peter Stone: background vocals
Produced by Joel Schwartz
Engineered by Jeremy Darby and Julian Decorte at The Canterbury Music Company, Toronto
Additional engineering by Joel Schwartz
Mixed by James Bunton at Union Sound Company – Studio B
Mastered by Sage Kim at Lacquer Channel Mastering

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