At this point, I thought it might be nice for me to share our process for transforming "Goodbye Smile Mile" from a mere idea to an actual album. To those who have never made an album before, it might seem as simple as just showing up in the studio and cranking out the hits, but we're working a lot more methodically to ensure that our end result will be top notch. Here's what we're up to:
The other day, I was thinking about the musical catalog of The Benja Men, and I've definitely written more than my share of songs about arthropods, pirates, or other absurd topics. This is probably because writing song lyrics is hard and it's often easiest just to be kind of silly. Or, when more earnestness is called for, that's when I tend to reach to the bookshelf. I'm not alone in this practice; a lot of great songs have been written about books, short stories, or poems.
Translation is not easy and requires great patience, talent, and persistence. Translating song presents an even greater challenge, as it drastically increases the importance of preserving rhyme and meter/syllable count. Working within such confines often necessitates some adjustments in content, presenting the translator with a dilemma of priorities. Fortunately, our translator, Katja Schädlich, is extremely talented and funny.
At this point, we've really been working hard, but there isn't much to show off yet. The whole album has been loosely outlined and demo-ed in Ben's living-room "studio" (in case anybody's wondering, I use Logic Pro). We are now in the process of really listening to each and every song in order to figure out the best instrumentation and arrangement for each piece. Also, I have been recording German-language versions of the vocals to ensure that the translations all fit melodically and rhythmically, and also to make sure that the album is just as silly and fun in German as it is in English.