For Phish fans during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, we’ve had a dearth of new music come our way from the confines of Phish HQ. Not only did we get a brand new LP in Sigma Oasis, we’ve also been getting tons of shows to watch via the band’s weekly Dinner And A Movie livestream events. Today, their principal songwriter and guitarist Trey Anastasio decided to give us a bit more.
Over the past few months via his social media channels, Anastasio has been releasing songs that he’s recorded by himself (with help of friends in post production) while in quarantine. And now those songs have made their way onto an official Rubber Jungle release called Lonely Trip, which Trey explains in great detail over at his website.
Lonely Trip was conceived and recorded in isolation at my home studio (aka Rubber Jungle) during the peak of New York City’s COVID-19 crisis, March – July, 2020. When the lockdown began, I had by chance just completed a weekend songwriting session with my friends and longtime collaborators Tom Marshall and Scott Herman. That session took place March 13th and 14th just as the crisis was beginning in New York, so the themes of fear and isolation were already finding their way into those first songs. By the time I arrived home, the situation in NYC had gotten much worse.
Some of the notes feel similar to what Trey was conveying as he was releasing the songs, most notably that he had the songwriting credit help of Tom Marshall and Scott Herman. And it was undeniable that Jon Fishman was contributing the beats, as the songs had a swing and a creativity in the rhythm section that is trademark at this point.
Everything hits streaming platforms tomorrow, and I’m quite excited to hear how all of this sounds once professionally mixed and mastered, which Trey said came from Bryce Goggin. PhishRadio will be airing the full album early as well.
Tune in tonight at 8PM ET to hear the first listen of @treyanastasio's new quarantine album Lonely Trip. Here's what else is on deck today on Phish Radio:
— PhishRadio (@PhishRadioSXM) July 30, 2020
Knowing I wasn’t going to be leaving my apartment for a while, I started working. It felt therapeutic to write. I wanted to connect with our community in some way. The unplanned nature of the recording meant I didn’t have a lot of gear during this process. I had an electric and an acoustic guitar, a small amp, two microphones, some percussion, and two keyboards, including an old Kurzweil with very realistic drum sounds on it. Everything was recorded through a Spire 8-track. Lonely Trip is truly a raw, low-fi recording.
The process of writing songs became a reflective and healing experience. Being able to share these songs instantly with our community via Instagram felt equally profound. It harkened back to my youth, before there was a Phish, when I would write songs and home-record them specifically with the intention of sharing them with my circle of friends via cassette four-track recordings.
As the weeks went by, I worked on improving my recording techniques. I called recording engineers including Ben Collette and Vance Powell to get tips on microphone placement, and I purchased a bass guitar online. I also started tapping into a Dropbox folder with about 30 four-minute drum sequences that I had recorded with Jon Fishman over the last year.
For the previous few Phish albums (including Kasvot Vaxt and Sigma Oasis), I had been experimenting with writing songs, starting with drum beats that I had sung into my phone. Fish and I would go into the studio and record the beats exactly as I had sung them, with Fish launching off in his unique way after a minute or two. I used these beats as building blocks to many of the songs on Lonely Trip, and it explains how I could do a whole album in Rubber Jungle with such good sounding drums. Thank you Fish!
The album was ultimately mixed by my friend Bryce Goggin, and as always, Bryce’s mixes sound incredible. Thank you Bryce!
Lonely Trip was my message in a bottle during this time, and I wish I knew how to properly thank all of you in our community for listening and responding. It meant so much to me. Thank you. Wishing all of you much love and safety during this turbulent time.
This album is dedicated to the heroism of our healthcare and essential workers.