I’m SO EXCITED today to share my first over of anything off the 1994 self-titled album.
I chose CHACHI!
LET’S. GET. INTO. IT!
Check out the original recording by Jimmy Eat World:
Now check out the cover:
I may have been the last Jimmy Eat World fan alive to hear this record but I am INTO it. Wasn’t wholly sure the best way to tackle this one since part of me really wanted to copy it verbatim cause it’s such a fun track, but we held off that and made a couple alterations (a lot of alterations). But first… them lyrics.
So apparently this is the chorus, but does Chachi really have a chorus? I don’t think so. I’d argue the breakdown acts more of a chorus than any verse in this track as it’s the part I’m always anticipating.
I love the aggressiveness of this lyric right off the jump, it really appeals to my teenage-self (who is very much alive and well, thank you) and I feel like if you don’t immediately relate to this feeling, then you’ve probably never been into punk rock anyways so this song isn’t for you. It brings out the carnal essence of, “if there were no consequences, what would I do to get out of this situation” for me and I love that.
Admittedly I don’t really know what Tom’s trying to say here (maybe it’s a boy thing) but in just reading it I take it to mean, “I always behave so well, do the right thing, but I see nothing from that” and that’s where the frustration we jumped into off the top of the track stems from.
I’m obsessed with the sporadic yelling that goes on through this whole track if you can’t tell. I had too much fun replicating it in my bedroom. TOO MUCH. There are a stupid amount of vocal tracks on my cover of this song.
Once again I find myself with no idea what’s going on here which again really speaks to my teenage self. I don’t have much to say about this verse and you know what? I don’t even care.
TAAAAAAKEEE MEEEE CLEAR UP! I always want Tom to actually say “Clear Off” here and not “Clear Up” and honestly, I think that works better lyrically, but this is 1994 we’re talking about so we’re not about the judge the lyrical content that deeply.
I always say I think overall that Jim is my favourite songwriter in this band, but if I’m not mistaken this was written by Tom (?) I don’t know, but I like to imagine all of these types of songs are Tom’s songs and I’m really into the aggressive jfc just kill me vibe they’ve got going on. I feel you, man, I feel you.
Does anyone actually know what Chachi’s about? Inquiring minds are waiting by the phone for your call. Goodbye!
Let’s get into some of the production process now.
When I was putting together the drums for “Delivery” and a lot of the previous releases, I usually would just throw them on a single stereo instrument track and then build all the parts there, but I hate the lack of flexibility that leaves me in the mix with EQ and panning and I’ve been saying for weeks I’ve gotta start splitting them out.
When I tracked Crooked Forest’s “AQP2S” that’s how I built my drum parts, first programming them into a stereo track and then splitting them all out mono. With “Chachi” I built them out this way instead.
Admittedly it took a bit more time, or so it’d seem. But all the extra time I spent on the front end of programming meant less time finessing on the back end, which meant less frustrations for me as I was tracking the guitars and bass over top.
It also meant I had a bit more flexibility in the mix and I really think this is the way I’ll go about the rest of the covers. When you’re working with a very limited set of drum kit sounds as I am in Battery-4, making minor alterations to the tonality of the instruments and being able to fling them around the mix at will is not something to be taken for granted.
I threw in a reverse crash just ahead of what I’ve labelled here as “PC” for Pre-Chorus, but half the time my markers are pure nonsense for me to just remember some key element change about the song so I wouldn’t pay much mind to those.
Hell, half the time I just write the first couple words of the lyric when I do these so I don’t get all confused.
The crash fades out just about when the first chord gets struck there. You almost wouldn’t even hear it if I didn’t point it out to you right now. I’m gonna be doing a lot more of fun production tricks like this in future covers – I’ve stayed away from them til this point because I was running with more of a “live” feel thing, but that went out the window when I decided to throw 8 vocals tracks on this one.
As I’ve mentioned, I think, I don’t have a bass amp at my disposal here so my bass is always run D.I direct into Pro Tools (with hitting an Neve 1073 first) and then I typically jump over to the SansAmp to modify it, and then I run it through a 7-band EQ when I’m trying to settle it into the mix. This is what we went with this go around.
With the rhythm guitars on this track, I sort of cheated my way through the strumming pattern and omitted some of the quick chord changes you hear in the original recording, which left me ample room to play around with some alternate bass lines. They’re not very complicated by any stretch but they poke through just enough at key transition periods that I really felt they elevated the track.
Here’s part of that recording with the volume of the bass jacked up so you can hear what’s really going on there:
Those low E’s hit pretty heavy in that next part but, to be fair, there are like 6 guitars on top of it doing the same thing. Speaking of guitars…
In total we tracked 9 layers of guitars on this one.
There’s the main rhythm guitars (left & right) running through the whole thing from top to bottom, then a second set of rhythm’s coming in at the first riff and verse, which is the one you might’ve heard me tease over on my Instagram channel during the tracking stage.
I also layered a combo of single strum clean guitars on the pre-chorus, and layered a combo of dirty down strums over that low E to beef it up some more, because you can never have too much beef.
The last guitar is the quirky lead guitar line that runs amuck the track which is the one I’ve highlighted for ya here:
Here’s a snip of what we’re doing in the second verse leading into the second PC/breakdown section.
Honestly when I first tracked the intro line to this song I was sure I was going to cut it entirely because it sounded ridiculous, but it’s a little infectious once you get midway, isn’t it? I was going to keep the scale up during the breakdown though, cause that really added a new character to that section that you don’t hear in the original.
And then I went wildin’ out on the outro here and I knew I’d have to keep the entire thing:
I’ve been experimenting a bit more with layering and harmonizing with myself over the last couple releases and I’m starting to get a little more comfortable with it.
That said I still have a ways to go as far as learning to blend them all nicely. There isn’t much post-processing going on in this track, just some light EQ-ing on choice tracks and there’s a second reverb for some of those backing vocals to give them more depth.
In all honesty, I probably would’ve been fine to keep it more minimal in the layers for this one, but I was having way too much fun singing along and experimenting with different vocal tones.
Don’t ask why.
If I’ve said it once before I’ve said it 30 times a day – I don’t master or get any of these covers mastered, don’t be ridiculous, I barely mix them.
Ran this one through Maxim though under their “CD Mastering” preset for shits though, so it’s like, faux-mastered, which is to say it’s not mastered at all. Adding a little bit of a different colour to the final mix that I didn’t hate so we ran with it. Might use again, who knows!
Well, I just went on a bit of a heavy duty Jaimee Eat World release blitz this weekend, so I’m gonna take a second but it’s looking like we’re due for something off of “Chase This Light” next.