“Those guys really helped us out,” says Field. “They made us think about songwriting more than production. They would say things like: ‘Why do you have this bridge here? It doesn’t really tie the song together the way that you think it does.’ I also learned how important harmonies are, and how they must come in and out at the right time.”
Field typically demos ideas on his own before taking them to the rest of the band (drummer Howie Diamond, keyboardist Tad Moore, guitarist Anthony Polcino, and bassist Jon Pancoast), at which point the material is expanded by recording new arrangements in a rehearsal space. The group usually makes sure that whatever it does in the studio can also be done live, and, sometimes, parts from the rehearsal sessions appear on the final album.
“I pride myself that my guitar setup is really simple,” explains Polcino about Low vs Diamond’s livevibe- in-the-studio approach. “My guitars are plugged straight in an amp, and then doubled up. I have about four standard tones that I use—clean, gritty, distorted or overdriven, and effected with a tremolo pedal or a delay pedal.”
As the songs became tighter during the recording process, the band also took control of the studio itself— even to the point of setting up microphones and tracking their own overdubs and touchups.
“It’s essential that whatever technology we use to make our records that it doesn’t get in the way of us just being ourselves,” says Polcino.