Hog Heaven (1997-1998)

hog heaven's humble and pornographic beginnings: two minature stuffed pigs doin' the nastyThe beginnings of the Hog Heaven franchise

The darkest, most psychologically messed up thing I've recorded.

Me: All sounds

The bulk of this project was recorded starting in the last week of 1996, literally the day after I got back from Mike Keneally's tour, and was primarily recorded in early 1997. At one point, it was a cassette release but in late 1997, I had just gotten my VS880. At the time, I was into editing all my mixed tracks together to make a seamless album, but the first version of Hog Heaven was edited by a guy who didn't really hit what I was trying to achieve. (Yes, I used to have to pay $40-$60 an hour for that kind of work.) When I got the VS later in 1997, I had a lot more time to work stuff over and get things right, and I went and redid most of the mixes, and was able to massage my crossfades a lot more to my satisfaction. 

I played everything on the entire Hog Heaven CD but for a tiny bit that happened to surface in recordings I borrowed from an earlier period of recording. My studio, such as it was, was a 4 track, some mixer and outboard stuff, a few cassette decks, and a box of earlier tapes which I used for fodder to make drum tracks, effects, and other textures. I had no bass and no drums available during the time, so substituted pitch shifted guitar and keyboards for bass, and scrounged up whatever I could for percussion.

Hog Heaven was a very personal project, falling on the heels of a year of huge change for me, with a lot of failures in life. Some things came out as real honest diary entry stuff (I'm too filled with guile to do such a thing now in music), and some, like the title track, is masked in metaphoric imagery of farm animals. Since it was recorded entirely (except for maybe audio scraps) after leaving my childhood home, you might say it was my first adult recording. It certainly did deal with the pain of being exiled into adulthood. A lot of grief and angst to deal with.