After Tommy Boy's success with the "Running" single,
they signed us for an album. We began making it in Minneapolis with Joey Gardner
producing in 01/87. After almost finishing 2 or three songs, (including
a version of "What's On Your Mind" that no one has ever heard) Tommy Boy managed to
get their new owner, Warner Brothers records to "option" us, meaning we were then
signed to Warner Brothers records. Warner gave us to their Reprise Records division
and found us a new producer: Fred Maher. We got a sublet apartment
in SoHo in Manhattan and began work on the album in 07/87. We recorded at Platinum
Island studios, where they had a Centipede game. I HATE Centipede! I ended up playing
it all the time anyway, of course.
Paul and I had never before imagined the level of work that could be done with vocals.
I'm not a great singer, (the value of my vocals to the band was always more about
personality and delivery than technical vocal skill) and recordings previous to this
one had always had somewhat weak vocals, in my opinion. Fred knew what to do: We
recorded as many as 16 different tracks of vocals. In "What's On Your Mind", for
example, in the chorus, We have three tracks of low octave, three tracks of lead,
three tracks of harmony, and two tracks of Amanda's harmony, making a total of 14
tracks. Not only that, but we went meticulously over each line, one at a time, or
even just one part of a line at a time, and kept re-doing it until it was PERFECT.
It was grueling, but worth it. This is now a farily common practice, because it's a
lot easier to do it now. It was really a hassle back then, before digital recording
devices were available.
We mixed the album at
on Times Square in New York. Our Mix engineer, Roey Shamir, deserves a good chunk of the
credit for the success of "Information Society". It was only during the mix sessions for
this album that I really understood how much a song could change in the final mix. Roey
seemed to know how to bring out that powerful booming sound we were going for. It was in
these mix sessions, in fact, where we first came upon that signature "Information
Society Sound"; Big bass boom with a LOT of syncopated synth echoes. It was the echoes
on the bass synth that really gave the track the proper feel, IMHO.
The big boom in "Running" was just a TR-808 kick drum married to a Moog Progidy bass
synth sound. The big boom in "What's On Your Mind", "Walking Away" and others was an
SP-12 kick, a bass synth, and a way-tuned-down SP-12 tom.
Our use of Star Trek samples was not a big obsession with us... those were just the
samples that I had most recently made and Paul and I thought they were entertaining and
This album made use of the then-interesting new technology called "CD+G", which stood for "CD plus graphics".
Even though our CD+G is one of the most entertaining CD=G's ever done, it's still not that great. The bandwidth is so low
that you really can't do too much. Our manager drew some cartoons of us and included bits of our joke-bio. I think there
are some song lyrics, too. They can be viewed in a SeGa CD game machine, and I think the SeGa Saturn will play them too.
Luckily for the rest of us, Ricochet was kind enough to do
screen captures of them.