I saw Spirits play at Canadian Music Week last year and it was one of the most inspiring things I'd seen on stage in a long time. I became a major fan immediately and we ended up opening for them a few months later, which was when I found out that in addition to being a brilliant performer, Ian Smith is also an accomplished songwriter and producer.
We started planning to go into the studio with him right away.
Ian has been on all sides of the equation in the recording process, and because of that he really knew how to create an environment that was comfortable, welcoming, and creative; we could all just be ourselves and focus on the task at hand. I've never been able to sing so freely and openly.
As well, I could bring out the most obscure musical reference to describe the tone or mood we were trying to achieve for a song or a specific part, and not only would Ian be familiar with the record I was referring to, he would know what microphones, amps, instruments, and effects they used to capture sounds. Whether it was Suede, Ryan Adams, Kraftwerk, Editors, Pearl Jam, The Smiths, Joy Division, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Idlewild, U2, Neil Young, or a slew of bands no one but Ian and I seemed to have ever heard of, we were always on the same page with where we were heading.
I honestly believe that by the end Ian and I had melded into one brain. We were clearly in the hands of a fan of music and someone so technically wise that we left all technical discussions aside and just dove into focusing on the spirit of the songs, the subject matter, and what we were trying to communicate musically with this record.