The Apple iPhone is good for many things, and in a pinch, it can serve as a pretty good recording device for demos — especially when a wave of inspiration hits while on tour.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Kevin Seconds can relate, and then some: His iPhone actually played an important role in the birth and completion of his latest solo album, Off Stockton (Rise Records).
“These songs all came together really quickly,” recalls Seconds, who is also the frontman for the hardcore band 7 Seconds. “I think I was really inspired by travel and sorta bummed about being away from home, but also happy about being away from home.”
He recorded two or three new tunes on his iPhone and believed they sounded just fine as is.
“I sent one to my wife, and she loved it,” he says. “So I thought it would be really fun to record an album of one-minute to two-minute songs on my iPhone. Thankfully, I fell in love with all of the songs enough to where I wanted to give them a better treatment and record them in a decent place.”
That place turned out to be friend David Houston’s studio — which, like Seconds’ residence, is off Stockton Boulevard in his hometown of Sacramento.
“My big fear was that going into the studio was just gonna take the initial charm out of it,” Seconds says. “With this record, it was mostly just me singing and playing live, and then we added harmonies and keyboards and cello and that kind of stuff later. I wanted to keep it as live as I could, and David was totally all for that.”
Sessions with Houston took place over the course of about two months, and aside from adding a bridge here and there, Seconds says the structure of the songs “stayed as they started out” on his iPhone recordings.
For the Off Stockton vocal tracks at Houston’s studio, Seconds used “a really crazy-expensive” Neumann microphone: “You can just talk into it, and it sounds so good.” Needing a Moog synthesizer sound for a break in the song “Truth Be Told,” Seconds didn’t seek out a crazy-expensive vintage version of the instrument from the 1960s or 1970s: He turned to his iPhone instead and used the Moog synthesizer app.
Seconds will be back at Houston’s studio to finish up a new 7 Seconds album that he expects to be released by the summer. Meanwhile, his calendar into the spring will be filled with solo shows.
“I want to be on the road as much as I can without killing myself or my wife hating me too much,” he says. “I want to hit the East Coast and Canada. If it’s up to me, between the solo stuff and the 7 Seconds stuff, I’ll be out on the road as much as I can.
“I love being home and spending as much time as I can with my wife and our dogs and cats and friends. But I also get really antsy.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Kevin Seconds on tour (schedule subject to change):
* March 1: Trunk Space — Phoenix
* March 3: Trainyard — Las Cruces, N.M.
* March 4: Mohawk — Austin, Texas
* March 5: Rudyards — Houston
* March 6: Three Links — Dallas
* March 7: Maxine’s Live — Hot Springs, Ark.
* March 8: The Conservatory — Oklahoma City, Okla.
* March 9: Korova — San Antonio
* March 12: Warehouse 21 — Santa Fe, N.M.
* March 13: The Museum Club — Flagstaff, Ariz.
* March 14: Hard Rock Café — Las Vegas
* March 16: Strummer’s — Fresno, Calif.
* March 24: Press Club — Sacramento