The sound of Terry Drysdale’s hi-hat is the first thing heard on “Dirty Love,” the opening song on the debut album by the soul/hip-hop band Dirty Revival.
Isolation of an instrument as part of an arrangement suits the Portland, Oregon-based band just fine, but isolation of the musicians during the recording of a given tune is not preferred. Many of the sounds on Dirty Revival’s 11-song self-titled album were tracked together during what he calls a “crazy week” of work in the city at Flora Recording & Playback and The Map Room.
“We recorded the rhythm section with Sarah [Clarke] singing in the vocal booth live, and most of her vocal takes are true to what happened in the studio,” Drysale explains. “We really only layered in backup vocals and random punch-ins, and then the horns were added later.”
Drysdale, a Portland native and former Berklee College of Music student, recently spoke about album-related firsts and others.
First album he purchased with his own money:
Terry Drysdale: “The first CD that I got was Mariah Carey’s Music Box (laughs). She was hot, and that album was killer. I went to the CD store and picked one up [when it was released in 1993]. I’ve always had really eclectic tastes in music — me and most of the people in the band. We span a lot of genres.”
First concert he attended:
Drysdale: “That was The Flaming Lips at La Luna, which is an old venue in Portland that’s now closed. That was when they were touring behind ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’ and the album Transmissions From the Satellite Heart. That show was awesome. I had to beg my parents to let me go, and they said OK. It was a standing-room show, and I was with a good buddy of mine from middle school, about a good 20 to 30 people back, on the right side.
“They put on a show in tandem with the music. A lot of bands can just go and sit down with their instruments and play, and it’s still really great, but the Lips really do a full-on show. My jaw was open the whole time.”
His first drum kit:
Drysdale: “It was actually a loaner from the guy who was teaching me how to play. It was a Pearl Export series. And then, for Christmas one year, I got my own drum kit. That was a Pearl Export, too; it was a green five-piece, kind of an entry-level drum kit. I loved it. I had it all the way through high school.”
The first words that come to mind when asked to describe the music scene in Portland, Oregon:
Drysdale: “Eclectic — that would be the first word. On any given night, you could pick what kind of music you want to see: ‘Oh, I’m in the mood for funk.’ Well, you can go see some funk. It’s kinda happening here. There are shows almost every night in this town for any kind of music you’d want to see, all the way up to symphony or jazz.”
First song or band that all of Dirty Revival’s members bonded over:
Drysdale: “A lot of us in the band went to high school together, and some of us even played in high-school band together, so it would be tough to point to any one song or artist. We all really love Snarky Puppy; they’re an instrumental funk group. They release these epic videos where they perform a tune live in a studio with a small audience. They did one for ‘Lingus,’ and we watch that all the time.”
Memories of the first Dirty Revival gig:
Drysdale: “We were doing this Tuesday jam. At the time, I was living in a house with guitarist Evan Simko and then-bassist Ken Drysdale, my younger brother. We had this really awesome house with a big backyard, and we thought, ‘Let’s just throw a house party and do a show,’ basically where we practiced. We got kegs of beer, and a bunch of people showed up. This was May 4th, 2013. We only had four originals and a bunch of covers.”
First song recorded for Dirty Revival’s debut album:
Drysdale: “The first track that we did was ‘Make It.’ We had sketched out a schedule for the studio because we knew we only had five days. The producer we worked with, Paul Laxer, is super-organized. On the first day, he said, ‘We’re going to spend most of time setting everything up, then we can jam for a little bit and maybe try and do just one tune that you’re really comfortable with.’ And ‘Make It’ was just so locked in, we could do it. I think our best day was the following day, when we tracked six songs in one day — the bulk of the album.”
Number of songs on the album that are full-band first takes:
Drysdale: “The majority of them. Some of my favorites on the album — ‘She Can’t Wait,’ ‘Make It,’ ‘Lay Me Down’ and ‘Dirty Love’ — happened right there [all at once].”
— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior
Dirty Revival on tour (schedule subject to change):
• Nov. 21: Infusion Bar and Grill — Snoqualmie, Washington
• Nov. 27: Doug Fir Lounge — Portland, Oregon