Apple’s suite of products has been finding itself more and more entrenched in modern music — Bjork incorporated the iPad when recording her most recent record, Biophilia, and The Gorillaz famously recorded the entirety of The Fall on the tablet device. Still, few bands have ventured into the territory of iPhone recording — and even fewer still have done so in order to bust out an entire old-school rock record.
Enter One Like Son, a Montgomery, Alabama, band who recorded their newly released album, Start The Show, entirely on the iPhone. Frontman Stephen Poff first got the idea to go the full iPhone after recording a cover of “Holiday” by the Get Up Kids using his iPhone in 2009.
“Instead of doing resolutions every year, [I try to] do something creative that will take me an entire year to do,” Poff says. “One year, I wrote and directed a feature film. Another year I started this 365 days project on Flickr and did that for a couple years. Another year I did a podcast. So this year was the record.”
He started working on the digital-spun disc on January 1, 2011, with bandmates Bill Rester (bass), Perry Brown (backing vocals), and Bryan Segraves (piano), and wrapped on December 31, 2011.
“The biggest challenge was that we couldn’t play it all together,” Poff says. “We would have to transfer files back and forth to each other using DropBox. I would play along to a click track and we do guitar and vocal and then I would make a file of that and send that on to one of the other guys.”
In a sense, the band was doing what Walk Off The Earth did when they decided to play a guitar using five pairs of hands: Taking a well-worn process and adding a complicating element that somehow makes the whole thing surprising again. And, bonus, Poff says the laboriousness of the whole deal made the music better.
“We really produced this in the same way we would do in the studio, but we felt like we were pushed by the fact that we really wanted to make this sound as best it could,” he says. “In the studio, when you’re working with high-end equipment, you already sort of have a little more latitude that you don’t have on an iPhone.”
Despite the learning process that was making the album, Poff says he probably wouldn’t repeat the process. “But would I use it to get usable tracks to add to the record? I think I would,” he says. “It’s been a great tool and, at the very least, a very, very strong songwriting tool.”
By Brenna Ehrlich