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“This is a good period for me. Unlike some of the records that were marred with personal tragedies left and right, this one was smooth sailing until… well, we’ll get to that.
“I had a ton of material. I was very excited about recording with Jeff on the drums and Stu on bass, the three of us, because it was something that had just happened by accident – we really crystallized as a trio. We were feeling like we were in new territory, and I had these songs that once again celebrated, like all the other records, my idea about clustering harmonies and grooves and things like that.
“I did crazy things. I arranged every song so that each key was ascending – each new song in the CD’s sequence would come in at an ascending key. We were able to finally figure out how to get the song Time – the remix from Eric Valentine and myself – back into the record, so that was great. And the original title Crystal Planet finally made it, too. The album covers tons of ground.
“A lot of great new things were happening. I had written the entire album without making any audio demos. It was a weird: I got a metronome, a piece of paper and a pencil, and I would sit there and write all the songs. The first time we heard them was when we rehearsed for about four or five days.
“I didn't want any ‘demo-itis,’ and I didn’t want Jeff to be going, ‘That damn drum machine!’ This was really great for us because we got to experiment in the studio. It was the first time getting [keyboardist] Eric Caudieux involved in being sort of a catalyst in the studio.
“For a lot of the songs, Eric would create a mini techno band behind us. When we were out in the studio doing these live performances, we were hearing in our headphones the addition of maybe 20 handmade loops from Eric that would give us this feeling like we're really moving forward. It changed the way that we performed. Then, of course, when we mixed, we used maybe five percent of what Eric had put together, but you could tell that it had an effect on the way that we performed. It was so interesting.
“Pieces of music like Trundrumbalind were basically like a trio, but when we were tracking it we heard a ton of stuff from Eric. I think it helped us play in time and in tune in a different way than if we were listening to a click. It was really exciting.
“OK, so the album comes out, we go on tour, and we get hit with two big things. Number one, society decides that video games are the coolest thing ever, and number two, file sharing. It's a year before Napster really goes public, but file sharing in the subculture was huge. I just remember the record company going, ‘Oh, my God!’ Suddenly, 60 percent of all sales – new records, catalog sales, you name it – it was just gone. Our record came out, and you know, it’s supposed to hang out there a while. To see it die off so quickly was devastating.”