I was fairly happy with how the 2011 version of “So Far” turned out. The 2017 version ended up being closer to what I had in mind in some ways, but the solo and second guitar fell short of what I was hoping to capture during the recording process. I was looking forward to trying to recreate the rotary effect I used in 2011, but the TC Nova System I used back then was gone and my Eventide H9 was the only option I had for rotary.
Early in 2018, I began the process of reworking some of the parts I played on Low-Fi, Nice Try’s Waiting Drove Us Mad EP. The Laird Brothers write similar music to me, but not being tied to the writing of a song’s foundation frees me up in a way that building upon my own music does not. Working on that album helped me stretch myself a little and it influenced how I approached writing the second guitar for this song.
The second guitar line for “So Far” has always fallen short of the expectations I had of it, but, similar to “One & Three” that I’ll talk about at another time, I simply didn’t hear another part in my head for the longest time. I ended up using an EHX Micro POG to record that second guitar line. I can’t remember the specifics, but there’s something about a polyphonic octave pedal that makes single note parts sound really cool. It doesn’t always work within the context of a song, but I thought it did for this one.
During the recording process, I intended to have that octave second guitar part play the moving part during the bridge and then go straight to root notes during the solo. It was a part I’d always played an upper octave on, but I thought having the sub-octave would add some fullness to that part of the song. However, autopilot kicked in and I just played the root notes of E-G-A through the bridge AND the solo. Once I listened back, I thought it sounded good and kept it instead of redoing it.
For a long time, I’d envisioned an acoustic guitar driving the song in the middle channel, a guitar with light overdrive in the right channel, and the lead guitar in the left. After trying a couple of lazy mic setups for my acoustic, I couldn’t get something I was happy with, so I abandoned recording acoustic guitar for this EP. Instead, I opted to start with my Gibson Midtown and the Sweet Tea’s Moonshine side for the rhythm. I used my Telecaster for both the second guitar and lead parts using the Angry Charlie side of the Sweet Tea.
When I asked the Laird Brothers to sing on this EP, Matt shouldered the responsibility for this song. He and I both song brief harmonies during the choruses, with his harmony part being in the left channel and my lower part being in the right. I have an idea for additional lower harmonies for the bridge vocals, but they mostly consist of singing the different parts of the main vocal melody when it is singing something else.
The one interesting thing is that I think Matt took risks with his vocals in this song that he doesn’t when he does his own songs. If you listen to the Low-Fi, Nice Try stuff on Soundcloud, he sings on “Juilliard”, “Doing it Right”, and “Ghost”. All of those tracks are solid, but he did something at the end of the bridge of my song he didn’t on those…he pushed his voice and it sounded great!