Some bands record their demos at home. Some pay for studio time.
Aaron Denton and Ben Lumsdaine recorded their demo in a closet.
Denton and Lumsdaine are the creative force behind Spissy, a local lo-fi indie pop-rock band that released its debut LP via Jurassic Pop on March 18.
The closet was actually a room at Switchyard Studios they had rented as a rehearsal space, Denton said.
“‘Room’ is generous,” Lumsdaine said.
After removing some shelves, Denton said the band members packed all their equipment, including a drum set, into the closet. He used a four-track tape recorder to capture the demo.
When the time came to record the album professionally, the two landed at Russian Recording by happenstance, Denton said.
Lumsdaine’s friend Kyle Houpt had just begun working at Russian and needed to cut his teeth in the new studio, Denton said, so he invited Spissy in to record.
“We would be in there for like 12 hours at a time, and then we did the whole record like that,” Denton said.
Still, the pair didn’t completely abandon its four-track roots. For one song on the album, “Origami,” they played in a stairwell near the Village Deli and used Denton’s tape recorder to capture the song.
“We did it in the studio, but it felt really canned,” he said.
They had tried to add reverb in the studio, but Denton said he preferred the natural reverb he knew he could harness in the stairwell.
“I had played music in there sometimes, and I knew it sounded good, so we just recorded it there,” he said.
Not every part of “Origami” came from the stairwell. Diederik van Wassenaer of Dietrich Jon recorded the violin part on the track and the record as a whole in studio.
Dietrich Jon’s drummer, Mark Edlin, also drums for Spissy live.
Denton said he and Lumsdaine practiced playing together in Mike Adams at His Honest Weight before ever forming Spissy. Lumsdaine also plays with Diane Coffee, and Denton plays in Wet Blankets.
“That’s Bloomington, dude,” Lumsdaine said. “Everyone’s just doing each other’s bands.”
Spissy has a few different lineups, Denton said. There’s an eight- or nine-piece band, which is most representative of the album’s sound.
There’s a five-piece version, which looks like a more traditional rock band, and there’s a three-piece version, which the band mostly uses for tours, Denton said.
The two said they’ve both enjoyed the non-cliquey nature of the Bloomington music scene. Most musicians are always willing to help their contemporaries.
“It doesn’t feel like people are climbing ladders,” Denton said. “It just kind of feels like they’re doing what they want to do.”
Lumsdaine also said he’s been impressed with the quality of bands coming out of Bloomington as of late.
“I got kind of mad at my friend ‘cause he was like, ‘There just aren’t any good bands in Bloomington,’” he said. “I was like, ‘Dude, sit your ass down and let me tell you about these bands.’”
Denton said he agreed.
“There’s a genre of band for anyone, but they’re all good,” he said.