First Watch: John Vanderslice, 'How The West Was Won'
"This is just an awesome, inspiring place to make music." Those are the words of Jake Wachtel, who directed this music video for John Vanderslice. And the place he's talking about, well, it's John's heart and soul really: It's a recording studio called Tiny Telephone located in San Francisco's Mission District.
John Vanderslice, who started the analog-only recording studio in 1997, wanted to bring viewers into the world of recording his new album, Dagger Beach."I love the musicians and engineers who work at the studio and just wanted show them at work, doing the heavy lifting on records, obsessing about their craft, eating delicious tacos and having a blast doing it," Vanderslice says.
Jake Wachtel understood the spirit of this all analog studio well — he even mixed his own music there. So capturing the magic of Tiny Telephone and the album Dagger Beach, the fairly brilliant creation of John Vanderslice, was easy. Wachtel calls the video "a little glimpse into all the crazy behind the scenes work that goes into making a record — hooking innumerable cables into the patch bay, fixing the synth right before the session started, swabbing the tape machine with a q-tip, trekking out into the Mission District to refuel with abundant burritos, hanging out in the control room and dissecting the philosophical underpinnings of Karate Kid (see if you can catch drummer Jason Slota's wax-on moment)."
The track, "How The West Was Won," pounds forward like a well written pop song should, but like any true piece of art there are things hidden underneath and behind the scenes: the song's beautifully odd noises, such as tape hiss, pair with video of Tiny Telephone's engineers cutting real tape. It makes the video — basically a documentary on recording an album — just enjoyable as a great performance video.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.