The Watchmen - In The Trees

I produced, engineered and mixed.

I’m not sure what I was working on at the time, but I was in the middle of a session at Smart Studios one cold winter night in 1994 when the doorbell rang. I opened it and two shadowy figures were standing there. “Is Doug Olson here?” they asked. “That’s me” I said. I think they were a little surprised. I invited them in - Joey Serlin and Sammy Kohn -and they gave me a cassette of some of their new songs. They were looking for someone to work with on their upcoming record, and I was on their short list. Usually, when you get a demo out of the blue like that, it isn’t very good, so I didn’t want to listen while they were still around. I was on a break from a session, so I had to go anyway, but after they left I popped the tape in. They had seemed like really nice guys, so I was hoping for the best. I knew I wanted to work with them about a minute into the first song. Within a month or so I was up in Winnipeg doing pre production. Not long after that, we all flew to Toronto and spent a month recording In The Trees at Metalworks studios. It was a great studio in the most boring location imaginable. That was probably a good thing, though - it allowed us to really focus on the record.

Probably the biggest highlight for me was the recording of the song Middle East. I seem to recall trying to get a good performance early in the basic tracking, but not being able to get something everyone one was happy with, so we put it off, and kept kept putting it off, until finally we were running out of time and had to just do it. We decided to set up in the studio’s huge live room as if it were a live show, and not worry about things like guitars bleeding into the drum mics. I can’t remember how many takes we did - it was quite a few - finally we got one where it all came together. Its a fairly long song, and it really opens up in the end - I remember listening to the first few minutes, thinking good… good… then the guys got to the big outro section and the song just kept lifting up, and getting more powerful, but never losing the groove. It’s such a great feeling, to work so hard at getting a really great performance and finally nailing it. I still get chills whenever I hear it.

The record did very well, going platinum in Canada.