Album Auto-nalysis is a regular COUNTERZINE feature where we ask some of our favorite artists to breakdown their albums track-by-track and provide further insight into the thoughts, feelings, and artistic processes that went into making them. For this edition, we asked our Ryne Clarke of UTC’s own The Ryne Experience to detail their 2018 debut album ‘Hokey’.
Ryne Clarke: This is my debut as a solo/collaborative artist and surely has made the biggest impact on how I record and make music today. This whole album sort of started with a big push of songs I had written in high school while still being apart of The Preservers. At that time, there just didn’t seem to be a good way to make what I wanted to be a solo record. So I sat on the songs and come fall of 2017, Jeremy Kargl (guitarist of the Preservers) and Corrina Wenger (bassist of the Preservers) went off for their first year of college, leaving me and Patrick Kargl (drummer of the Preservers) still at home.
Things started a bit slow but early November of 2017 I released my first single “Indie Rock Pop Star”. This song was sort of a joke about the genre of indie rock and was made with a handheld recorder and a laptop and is the only song to feature my friend Bill Baughn singing back up.
Right around the same time, the first formation of the band came together with Patrick on drums, myself on lead guitars and vocals, my friend Devin Falk on rhythm guitar, and Corrina’s brother Jerry Wenger on bass. We formed to make a music session video and got stuck with a terrible name, but hey, I guess that’s how it goes. Only now does the name seem to make more sense as a solo project.
In January of 2018, I put out another single called “Alone” and recorded it all by myself with a keyboard click and Pro Tools. This was the start of me getting creative in the studio to make a certain sound, and come April of 2018, everything would start.
1. “Space O”
RC: Sometime during the process of April to November of 2018 that I spent at Kargl Studios (Jeremy and Patrick’s house) to make Hokey, I acquired a fairly large tape collection and tape recorder from my buddy Mitch Petersen of the Alien Dogs, a punk band I was in for a few years. One of the tapes in the collection appeared to be a home made tape with the title “Space O”.
I popped the tape into my mini van player and thought it was horrible. Only later did I discover the Tascam 238 tape multi tracker recorded at double speed, so I popped the tape in there and ripped this 90 second synth part off it. It appeared to be in a relative key so I sent it out to a bunch of friends to try and play along with it. Whoever played the original piece, much thanks to you for the tapes and synth.
The end results of the piece were pretty atmospheric with my two friends Harley Kline and Devon Siciliano to talk over top, Dean Chittenden of Bedroom Ceilings played a key riff, my former radio co-host Sleeping Timmy added some acoustic guitars and vocals, and Corrina and Jerry added some bass. Surely made for a unique opening for the album.
2. “Weird Blues”
This is a song about depression and not being able to do really anything except lay in bed. I remember this being the first song that really pushed the idea for me to make a solo record with it being written in junior year. I made a demo previous for the original Hokey record that was going to be called “Oven Sky”.
The music was pretty straight forward for this one with a classic line up of myself on guitar and vocals, Jerry on Bass, and Pat on drums. Jeremy played a lead part I wrote for the song, Pat added piano and vibes, something he took more a liking to with this album, and I added a stylophone at the break. Recording the vocals was a day long process with a mushroom trip, making vocals a very weird thing to do. The vocals on this album were done in the bathroom at Kargl Studios.
3. “In Line”
I don’t exactly know what I wrote “In Line” about, but the only things that come to mind would be staying over at my ex’s house in the summertime and being confused. You know, teen stuff.
The music has the first formation of the EXP with Devin, Jerry, Pat, and me. You can hear Patrick grunt with the drum clicks in the beginning. This was a lead part I was actually proud of.
4. “Frosting “
Alright, first things first, this is about Pop Tarts. No sexual messages are hidden here. I wrote this one junior year as well and started playing it at high-school parties to much praise.
I knew I wanted to make the studio version ridiculous, so I brought in a bunch of goons to make the soundscape of the song. Mitch Petersen played the drums and rapped the main portion in the intro, Jeremy played bass, acoustic lead, and sang with me, and I sang and played guitar.
Then my pals Noah Houghtaling and Kevin Williams rapped in the background of the intro, Dylan White started the track, and Brendan Mane rapped in the middle, he can be seen at most of our shows performing this track with us live. You can hear Jeremy rambling at the end and he says “get the towels out of the house”: this refers to when Jeremy had a party and our friend Aiden got so drunk he puked all over himself and Jeremy’s sister’s bed, went to the bathroom to clean up, decided to take a bath, and flooded the upstairs bathroom by falling asleep in the tub and locking the door. Classic.
“Observations” was written about the stars and my day to day life of watching and observering. This was suppose to be a song with Bill Baughn with one of his songs and “Indie Rock Pop Star” to make a three song EP called Star Songs. This never ended up happening, so to Hokey it went.
This song marks my start of collaboration with my friend Mitchell Evink who approached me about being on the record to add some cello. I truly believe without Mitchell stopping by that this record and the future of the band would be ultimately different. We started tracking the song as a funk jam with Mitchell on bass, me and Jeremy on guitars, and Patrick on drums. We eventually settled down and got the backing track.
I played my grandpa’s acoustic that he gave me that I tuned to c# standard to stop the bridge from breaking off, overdubbed Mitchell’s bass (he was just starting off), and added banjo and organ. Jeremy added lead with a turd ball Fender strat that sat outside for years and played the organ at the verses. Mitchell added his cello and Patrick his drums. The finish piece was Jeremy’s mom’s boyfriend Pat Ball drilling in a guitar holder onto the wall, which I sampled for the track.
This track was also important because Jeremy had helped me with the vocals by encouraging me to add more harmonies to make the sound of the song bigger, a trick I ended up using henceforth.
6. “Gather Up Your Socks”
“Socks” is another junior year song and is about, well, laundry.
The music was pretty fun to put together with a triple micing system on my acoustic with a pedal board and amp ran outside the room to make a textured sound. I used the Kargl’s house organ to compose my first real organ piece, and played bass as well. Mitchell added cello which deepened the dynamics of the song, and Patrick added a güiro, shaker, bongos, and tambourine to make a textured but quiet backbeat to the track.
7. “Slow Recession”
This is a track that I think doesn’t get enough attention on Hokey, probably my favorite on the record. The lyrics are about finding confidence in oneself.
The music was made pretty epic with Jerry playing bass and lead guitars, Patrick playing drums, myself on vocals and guitars, Mitchell playing cello, and our friend Sam Kenny playing trumpet on the track.
This track probably had the best engineering with Jerry taking oversight of the song. The trumpet parts Sam sent us were probably 12 different pieces we put together and you can hear him moving his fingers on the trumpet before the third chorus starts in a wisp sound.
I attempted to sing for this song the same day as the “Weird Blues” vocals tracking but found the song to be too much to handle at the time, I did notice the shrooms added a built in reverb/delay that I was hallucinating.
“Blue” is about being sad, sad boi high-school Ryne. This song ultimately was about the inevitable end of my high school relationship with Katie.
This was one of three songs to be started in my room prior to April of 2018, and finished at Kargl Studios later on. We used a mini club set on these three tracks which had a smaller kick that’s closer to the size of a floor tom with normal drum add-ons. I originally wrote a whole lead part for the song, but the solo was the only thing we kept for it. Jeremy added 12-string acoustic for the rest of the lead. Patrick added drums, piano, and a glockenspiel he got from school from being in band: a great sound for almost any track. Jerry played the bass per usual. This is the song I spent the longest on to get the vocals right doing countless overdubs to get the harmonies just right.
9. “Tiny Man”
This song was written by Corrina Wenger as a folk song about insanity (from what I can gather). I took her lyrics and made a new song out of it with more of a punk approach with a indie break, the only lyrics I wrote for this song.
The music is a Preservers reunion with all four of us on the song doing our thing with the addition of the electric kazoo solo at the end.
This song started as a joke Jerry and I started while doing the music session series we did at Kargl Studios in the winter of 2017. We would both play the organ and start singing nonsense and ideas of “Fishin'” came out one day. I took it home and finished it there. This is a poem-esque song about love.
The music turned out real folksy. My friend Adam Anderson dropped by the studio and I had him say all the stereotypical fishing things he could think of, then I spliced them together to put over my muted guitar chords in the beginning. I played acoustic, uke, harmonica, and sang. Patrick played drums and a rad key part, Jerry played bass, Jeremy played lead guitar and 12-string slide, and my friend Lindsey Garcia sang harmonies with me to make a standalone track.
11. “The Morning”
This track is written about my first vehicle, my 1998 Chevy Venture minivan I had for two years. The verses are me singing to the van and the chorus is the van singing back. This was the first song I started for Hokey in early 2018 as a complete solo demo I released on a CD me and Mitch Petersen did called Demo Swan, featuring a beat-boxing song we did together.
While tracking “Blue”, I showed this track to Patrick and he added the mini club set over top of my demo, this being the reason why the timing is weird at the end of the song. Not much was changed bringing it back to Kargl Studios: I still played acoustic, bass, lead, and synth. The big difference was redoing all the verse vocals with Jeremy.
12. “Upstairs, Man”
This track is about my room in a broad sense of the song. This would later go on to be the name of my bedroom studio.
This would technically be the first song for Hokey, although I didn’t know it at the time. I wrote the song close to our first session we did as the EXP in November of 2017 and we worked it out just in time. We used the audio from the video and overdubbed vocals, and keys from Patrick. A very sporadic lead guitar from myself, but made the signature sound nonetheless.
You can hear Gabe Tower from the Alien Dogs in the background at the end of the track as he tells us the camera stopped working during the video.
13. “Eazy to Peel”
I always thought this was one of my goofiest songs with an opening line of “Bigfoot’s not real” but yet this track turned out very powerful. The lyrics aren’t about much except feeling like you are on the right path despite others who might think otherwise.
The music on this one has Mitchell playing cello, Jeremy playing lead for half the song (he tracked the song with me and Patrick and was still working out the verse parts), Patrick playing drums and epic piano part, Jerry playing bass and making pedal noises, and myself playing guitar with the shitty Fender, lead with my Gibson, vocals, and a theremin my neighbor cliff gave me for the noise section. I want to say the breakdown and end chord progression was worked out in the studio with a preamble to the next song in mind. The noise was a natural ending to the original take we had of the song, just adding to it.
14. “Your Sweet Love”
This song was definitely about my ex Katie, written in high school. Make it about whatever person you love if you so desire.
This song is special because it marked the official start of the Hokey sessions. It was April 1st, 2018 at Upstairs, Man and me, Devin Falk, and Mitch Petersen tracked the drums, acoustic, and lead all together in a single take. A perfect coming together of ideas. I later added synth, accordion, and vocals to the take to finish it up. The only part of the song recorded at Kargl Studios was Jerry’s bass part. On the album version, you can hear Jerry and Justin messing around with a bottle and some talking that’s disguised with reverb and delay. We would later take “Blue” and “Your Sweet Love” and put out our first CD single to promote Hokey which came out a month later in November of 2018.
And the rest is history!
The Ryne Experience’s ‘Hokey’ is available digitally and on CD directly from the band and on cassette via UTC. The band’s most recent album ‘Funky Town’ is also out now on digital, vinyl, CD, and cassette. You can read about ‘Funky Town’ via publications such as Yeah I Know It Sucks, Speak Into My Good Eye, Even the Stars, The Lowell Ledger, Local Spins, Houdini Mansions, SOMETHINGGOOD, WhiteLight//WhiteHeat, and START-TRACK. You can keep up-to-date with The Ryne Experience by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as their website ryneshyne.club. A music video for the album’s title track, as well as a full visual album, are coming soon.