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Roi and the Secret People / Blog

interview with Mike Roi

on the NYC music blog THE JOY OF VIOLENT MOVEMENT -by William Helms

the whole interview below-


how the CD Phoenix was recorded-

the CD Phoenix. - How was the recording and writing process? What makes this record different to your past record? How you came out with the title?

Serious and fast. My last CD called Dog St., by Roi and the Secret People, was very classic rock sounding, which was what I was going for at the time with those songs. This time I wanted to go somewhere different. My buddy Mishal Zeera and I were sharing a cab one day and I started talking about my next recording and how I wanted it to sound, the type of songs I was going to write etc. and he told me something to the effect of: Mike, I want to be the one to produce it but you'll have to trust me on some of the unconventional ways we will go about it and not worry about the short time frame it will be done in… Mishal is a great songwriter/producer/musician in his own right, and even played guitar for a bit in one of my lineups with Roi and the Secret People, so knowing this and his plan to get the record done at warp speed, I agreed to let him take the project. At the time, I was getting packed and ready to move Easton so I only had a couple of months to complete the project. I got together with my bass player and good friend, David Leatherwood, to help flesh out some of my ideas. David is one of the few people I've collaborated with in the past who has a great sense of throwing an idea, just a simple melody or phrase into the mix whenever I get stuck in my songwriting. So we holed up in my guest bedroom in Brooklyn for a week with a crappy little tape recorder, two acoustic guitars and set about narrowing and organizing my ideas into songs to be considered for the record. Then I took the ideas into a rehearsal space for 3 days with Mishal on bass, Kevin McAdams on drums and myself on guitar and we commenced with the pre-production process by hammering out all the rhythm parts. We took everything right over to Mod Alien Studios where Mod recorded all the basic drum and bass tracks with Kevin and Mishal in 3 days. Then we set up the guitar amps in my downstairs hallway, amid all the moving boxes, and ran the microphone from the guest bedroom upstairs over the railing to record all the electric guitar parts. Shortly after, Mishal then had a quick trip overseas and recorded all the piano/organ parts while he was in Bahrain. While he was gone I finalized all the lyrics for the tunes. It took a day to record the main vocal tracks at Galuminum Foil studios with Jeff Berner and the all the back-up vocals and harmonies were recorded back in my guest bedroom with me holding an sm58 mic under a heavy blanket. (With the exception of going over to Caressa Leatherwood apartment to record her backs up vocals.) Everything was handed back over to Mod and he set to the task of mixing it all to be mastered.

The title of the whole album/project is called Phoenix. A new beginning, sound, and direction for me at a time I was thinking about moving and leaving everything behind.