Mistress Distress

This past weekend kicked all ass. Not only was Nelly, my friend from Sweden, with me, but we also teamed up with my boyfriend and my cousin to record some awesome riot grrrl songs that Nelly and I wrote.

In a project we jokingly dubbed “the 24-Hour CD,” we recorded the three songs that I wrote and composed (see this post) and two of the ones that Nelly wrote and composed, plus our own cover version of Hole’s Celebrity Skin.

This project started out as an idea for one of the things that Nelly and I should do when she’s in Israel. We never thought it would turn out so good.

Earlier on, when I started writing my music, I though of simply recording it on a tape recorder, just me and the guitar. Then, when Nelly told me she was coming, I thought it would be better if she did the vocals, because I hate the sound of my voice on tape. And since my boyfriend plays bass and we play together a lot, I thought it would be great to add him to the mix. Then, I figured since all we’re missing is drums, why not have my cousin join in, too. And since he studies music production and recording, why not create something with decent sound quality?

I thought this is starting to look more and more like an actual band, so I came up with a logo and a name: Badass Dolly – a combination of my nickname and Nelly’s former one. But Nelly didn’t like it. So I tried another one: Barbed Barbie. Nelly didn’t like that one either and suggested that we come up with a name together once we hear each other’s songs. We toyed around with it for several hours on Thursday, combining elements of femininity and violence, but not really digging any of the potential names too much.

When my boyfriend came to pick us up and headed for Be’er Sheva to meet up with my cousin, I quietly brainstormed. Then it hit me. I turned around to Nelly who was chilling with Diamond the dog in the back seat, smiled a huge smile and said: “Mistress Distress.”

Nelly reciprocated with an approving smile: “I like it!”

“Should we close on it?” I stretched out my hand, and she shook it.

Nelly was the vocalist on all the songs and proved to be even better than any of us expected. Her voice was poignant and powerful, and her screams rattled the windows in my cousin’s home studio. On Friday evening, the sounds blaring from the studio got to a point where the other people in the house forced us to stop recording and call it a night. The next morning, we got up bright and early to finish it up with screams that only got more and more powerful.

But the vocals came last. Before that, on Thursday, we arrived at my cousin’s home studio at around 9:00 p.m. Since we estimated it was already too late to be recording the drums, since the neighbors might complain, we decided to settle for bass lines. It took my boyfriend kinda long to nail the bass lines he was aiming for and we ended at around 3:00 a.m.

The next day, my cousin was out of town until the afternoon, so we got a chance to recuperate before diving into the project again. Since we started recording again at 3:00 p.m., we decided it was a decent time to get the drums down before it gets too late. The drums went by much faster, and we started adding the guitar riffs soon thereafter.

I was the guitarist. I played both the riffs and the solos for all the songs, and I was actually quite impressed with myself when I heard the playback. I’m not used to playing for hours, so my fingers hurt quite a bit. It got especially painful when my cousin asked me to hold the final chord in every song until the guitar buzz fades completely. But I managed to pull through and the result was beyond amazing.

Nelly and I divided our roles according to our respective songs. She told my cousin what kind of drum lines she was looking for in the songs that she wrote, and told my boyfriend the same regarding bass. I took charge of the songs I wrote, and found my boyfriend and cousin nailed the parts pretty well. I also gave Nelly some directions with the way I want the vocals to sound on my songs, but she didn’t need too much help as she was nailing the part just as well. Especially the screaming part. At some point, it sounded as if she had natural distortion in her vocal chords. Diamond, who was with us most of the time, looked up at Nelly as she was screaming and ran towards me in fear.

“It’s ok, baby,” I petted her head. “It’s just a song.”

Now that we actually managed to complete all the recording part, my cousin is currently working on the mix. Once finished, the songs will be posted on YouTube, and also recorded on a CD we plan to trade with other willing riot grrrl musicians and zinesters.



2 thoughts on “Mistress Distress

  1. Pingback: Make Art Not Sand Castles | ♀ Riot Grrrl ♀ בישראל

  2. Pingback: Let There Be Religion | ♀ Riot Grrrl ♀ בישראל

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