Word on the Street is the Chicos are making another album. I am talking on the phone with Thomas Shields from Run Chico Run. He is at the home of his fellow bandmate Matt Skillings who is currently on tour with Carolyn Mark. This will be the fifth album from the Victoria-based Run Chico Run, and the follow-up to their 2004 Boompa Records release, Shashbo.
A couple of weeks ago while chit-chatting with Matt on the phone, I asked what the band’s plans for the summer consist of and he replied simply, “quantizing the magic.” Thomas explained that this was a term for recording – turning sound into ones and zeros.
The band is recording in Matt’s basement studio with gear they borrowed and rented for the total sum of $400. “Last time we had semi decent microphones and a bunch of simple on/offs. Last time we never had a preamp. We played through a four-track for some distortion but this time we have a lot of hot gear.” The budget is targeted to be a 60/50 ratio of liquor to instrument rentals to make for “110 percent awesomeness” as Thomas put it.
The tracking for the albums is about half way done. The musicians both recorded the bed tracks and now are doing their individual over dubbing. When asked how the recording process was progressing Shields jested, “Matt’s songs sound really good and my songs could go either way.”
This is the first time the band is recording on a deadline; the process usually takes them about a year — they have a month and a half. “I guess it is just kind of different than in the past. I was used to just doing it (recording) when I was in the mood. But now when I am not in the mood I still have to do it. Those are the days I do tambourine or triangle. I still get excited to record. After playing for a while I get into it then the hours fly by.”
“We never really shoot for a feeling with our records we just lay it down then take a step back and see where it is. We are trying to make sound more like our live show. We played all the drums one handed so the recorded version is closer to the live version.”
Seeing Run Chico Run in concert can best be described as being tag teamed by music ninjas. Between the two of them Matt Skillings and Thomas Shields play drums, keyboard, guitar and sing.
The band’s live show set up is something that evolved as they made do after losing members. The Chicos started as a four piece and went through three different line-ups. “I had to teach all the new guitar players their stuff so I got sick of it. So we played without it and it seemed all right as a three-piece band. After we went down to two members we went on tour and tried it with just the two of us then we decided that we could work it. So yes we evolved out of necessity but the theatrical aspect of it is a bonus,” explains Thomas.