You can see the anxiety on Matt Hovanec's face.
Trenton Albers has decided to play the pitchfork on The Big Deep's new record. In the trailer for Echoes on the Little Blue, you can see Hovanec watching his laptop, presumably witnessing the sound waves of the rattling forks come across the audio engineer's screen for the first time.
"We had absolutely no idea how it would sound," laughs Nate Gasaway singer for The Big Deep and the steady hands that held the pitchfork while Albers tapped away. Once mixed with the sounds of "Stay Strange," the opening track of Echoes on the Little Blue, the auxillary, farm-themed percussion became resonant, almost plucky.
For the locale, Gasaway and bassist Jared Bakewell say they were inspired, in part, by the rich Americana history of on-site album recordings, looking to notable examples such as Music from Big Pink by The Band and the first album by Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band.
Moreover, pitchfork isn't the only bit of the rural insulation that's audible on the band's second album, much of which was tracked at a farm in Possum Valley near Endicott, Neb., a spot Bakewell calls a second chilhood home to him.
Cricket chirps open and close the the record, an unintentional athmospheric byproduct of the barn sessions. Bakewell and Gasaway note that while they were pleased with what the open-air recording space did for warm capture of drums, bass and acoustic guitar, they were amazed by how loud and constant the crickets could be, leaving them no choice but to keep these unsolicited singers in the background.
Still, the microphones, often positioned on top of hay bales, were just doing their job. The ultimate effect created is one that suits what listeners already know about The Big Deep: that their folk rock thrives on layering. Crickets and metallic pitchfork crinkles simply drape on top.
"When people hear the love and care that went into this album … that's what I'm waiting for," Gasaway says.
Watch the first in The Big Deep's short series of album trailers for Echoes: