The newest release from Baltimore’s Minimus the Poet is an EP entitled Empathy. It was recorded at Mobtown Studios during a late-Winter snowstorm and was released digitally on May 26th during a late-Spring heat wave. Changing seasons is a fitting analogy for two reasons: this album showcases tremendous growth and development from previous releases (featuring some different band members), but the album itself also transitions and shifts in mood, tone, and perspective from song to song.
Full disclosure: I’m pretty biased. Minimus the Poet started as a pen name for my solo recordings, but now we’ve grown into a six-piece band. My opinions about the music are in no way objective, but making this record was a lot of fun on BOTH sides of the studio glass.
Tracking this EP was mostly easy, because of how well I knew the material (having written most of it) so it was clear when we “had it” or when something needed another take. We tracked drums for all five songs first. I was having a really difficult time mic’ing the top of the snare, nothing sounded good at all (or in phase.) I gave up on the top mic and instead mic’d the side (and bottom) of the snare. That was what yielded the best results, so I ran with it despite being unconventional. A favorite trick I got to employ: using a large diaphragm condenser as a room mic, in the adjacent front room with the door left open. Super cool sound when blended with the close mics. John played all five songs incredibly well, so magic was all in the performance.
Tracking the rest of the instruments was mostly standard practice. One other trick that worked out surprisingly well: Melissa played her piano parts on the studio’s vintage 52″ Young Chang upright, and then again on her digital keyboard. I never planned on using them both, but I accidentally soloed them together and it produced an amazing chorus effect. I left it that way on the entire EP.
Anyone who knows me, or has seen Minimus live, knows that the theremin is a big part of our songs and performance. I always have fun tracking theremin, and this session was no exception. You can hear the theremin on the last three songs of the EP: “Empathy,” “Lightning Rod,” and “Another Host.”
Deirdre, Melissa, and I tracked our vocals using the studio’s AKG C12 tube mic clone. That thing is KILLER (I also used it on mandolin.)
I don’t usually get good results when I am mixing my own music. I typically have a difficult time knowing when something is “finished.” That wasn’t the case with this EP. Things fell into place, played nicely together in the mix. There were very minimal mix revisions on all five songs.
As a songwriter and performer, I’m proud of this EP and I think it does justice to our sound and energy. As a producer/engineer/mixer, this is one of the better albums I’ve ever created.
Minimus the Poet’s Empathy is available online at minimusthepoet.bandcamp.com
Produced, mixed and engineered by Aaron Wold