Bio (by David Johnson/Andrew Goodwin)
We got off to a promising start...more promising than maybe we even realized. I think we underestimated ourselves. It seemed preposterous that people would actually want to hear our art. Near the end of 2007, we released our first record We’ve Been Strangers. It was recorded entirely independently in the upstairs bonus room of a college home in Murfreesboro, TN. The whole process was a blast! Everyone had tons of ideas and the energy was fantastic. The positive feedback we kept getting was both a tremendous shock and encouragement to us. It was a phenomenal atmosphere for a developing band.
But it’s been a whirlwind of time and circumstances since we released that first record. Being a part of this band has been one of the most fun and rewarding experiences of our lives...but it hasn’t always been easy. There were times when we were frantic and stressing, learning-on-the-go how to get our first set of songs out there, then re-assessing our hopes after band mates and close friends decided to move in different directions...even on the best of terms. In these last few years, we’ve experienced doubt, uncertainty, and the loss of both relationships and opportunities. We’ve also experienced countless new possibilities, new birth, and a re-invention of ourselves and our sound. We hope we’re better for it all. And we hope the proof is in the songs.
This is the story of Bittersweet Horizon...
Recording the new album:
It was 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and while most people were sleeping off the night before, we were hauling in our gear to Bonhoeffer’s, a local gathering for music and coffee. The air crisp, our eyes blurred, we were there to take advantage of the peace the early hours bring. I arrived with a freshly brewed quart of black as I often did. With our thoughts clear and filled with nothing but creative expectancy, we began to write. It’s what we’ve always done, just not like this.
Several more early morning sessions passed, and we began to sense our disjointed ideas starting to take shape into something more solid. We weren’t finished yet, but we knew we had to start before the songs waned. Combining efforts with some great friends, we managed to capture drums for twelve songs in a weekend. I remember us laughing at Bono’s dancing skills in the video for “I Will Follow” before rushing off to fourteen-hour sessions in the basement studio. We mixed and matched equipment, rented a snare for $25, and tested the patience of the pregnant woman upstairs. On the last song, Blake’s crash cymbal buckled under the weekend of beatings and cracked. We don’t know where in the track it happened, just that it became part of our sound. With the long hours past us, we celebrated on the deck with a Fat Tire. Drums were quite an effort, but exciting, because they marked the dawn of Bittersweet Horizon’s physical arrival.
In the days to follow, I began carefully weaving music in between the beats. Our philosophy was “try everything” and we did. Countless tracks were recorded, only to be discarded. It’s much like a sculptor carving definition out of a block. Thought must go into his work before it’s attempted. Our busy schedules of day jobs and families allowed just that. It was decided early on that our sound would take a modern approach on the New Wave era of the 80’s. Synth would play a large role in the communication of our emotions and we would strive to make it just as genuine as the folk singers with their loosely tuned acoustics. June brought the bass booming and wrapped the songs in warmth. It was a grateful effort, a favor from a friend. Words began filling in the final holes in early July. Writing was still occurring, because we and our sound had grown quite a bit by this point. September flew in and we all had an unmixed version of our new album. Mixing began in the last of September in the same apartment room that most of the tracking was completed in. Among lots of belongings and a baby’s crib, I carved large spaces for the songs to breathe. This was an indie project. We borrowed, asked favors and worked long, late hours to complete it. We didn’t let our surroundings defeat our music…we just allowed them to shape it.