Hotter: Sneak preview

The second EP by Lisa's Hotcakes, which we are calling Hotter, is recorded and mastered. But it doesn't have any artwork yet. CDs have not been manufactured. But we have these songs! So it was time to let one slip part way out the door.

"Hotcakes Army" is available on SoundCloud. You can't download it. We're not selling anything until the CDs are ready. But you can listen! You can listen right here:

The song began life on an airplane. I had been detained in secondary security at Vancouver International Airport. You don't want to be detained in secondary security. It is a Kafkaesque nightmare. They take you aside and make you go into a room. There are people at wickets who move very slowly and seem to do little other than move papers hither and yon. No one speaks to you after the receptionist tells you to sit and wait. And you wait. You have no idea what is going on, but you do know that you are in danger of missing your flight. Finally, they let you go, often as mysteriously as they pulled you aside. With luck, you can still make it to your gate.

I've been in secondary security twice. Once was a random baggage check, prompted by who knows what. This time it was because I was travelling on business to the US (where my office is) but using my Canadian passport. All patriotic and stuff, but a bad idea. I know better now. I always use my US passport now when I travel to the US for any reason.

Once on my flight, I started to scribble in my notebook. I wrote the first verse about being stuck in secondary security, the raised fist chorus, the second verse that continued the theme, and then I got stuck. I put it away. It wasn't until another flight much later that I looked at the notebook again and got inspired to write a third verse (with a feminist angle) and a bridge and thus finish the song. The music grew out of the repeating riff that leads off the song.

It's kind of serious and kind of tongue-in-cheek at the same time. I felt like making a serious or at least semi-serious point with a bit of humour. The bridge is definitely a parody of a military recruitment ad. I was thinking of the Clash when I wrote it. An Us against the System kind of thing.

We recorded the bed tracks in the middle of the session. I didn't keep a diary, but I think we probably did two takes. This was not a difficult song for any of us. T gave it a good strong beat, which fit very well for a surf-ish song. C pulsed along and matched the recurring guitar riff.

I can't remember if I replaced that rhythm track or not. I do remember that I played it on my Mustang through my Marshall DC15S. The second guitar, however, is my Stratocaster, with whammy bar. This song is why I bought that guitar! But I'm also in love with the guitar, so I'm very glad I bought it (and got a good deal). I put the non-vintage (1992, but American-made) Strat through my vintage Fender Deluxe Reverb amplifier. I pretty much never use that amp because it's very powerful and doesn't distort until it gets too loud for most situations. But in the studio I could play as loud as I wanted. I didn't put that Hawaii-5-0 quote in the solo on purpose. It just happened.

G nailed the vocal pretty quickly. I love how she buys into the words even when they're very tongue in cheek. I think that makes the song more effective. I had not realized until I heard her sing in the studio that she elongates the end of the word "enemies" in the chorus. I love it! I kept my harmony vocals simple. They are most important in the second half of the bridge, and that's where they are strongest.

There's a little slap-back echo on the vocal to give it that 1960s feel. The lead guitar reverb is the spring reverb built into the Fender amp. I record using reverb from the amp and an occasional effects pedal (mine are antique analogue Boss pedals, still going strong), though none on this song. Just the whammy bar at the end of the repeating guitar riff.

 Hotter has six songs on it designed to work as a whole. Two of the songs have not yet been performed on stage! Some songs might surprise you. At least we hope so. Can't wait until you can hear the rest of it!


Nikki Shannon said...

Great tune! Rock on \m/

MFA Mama said...

You realize that my husband will be COMPLETELY insufferable now, yes?

Véronique said...

Sweetie did bring that up when I suggested the title. ^.^