Lonely Trip was conceived and recorded in isolation at my home studio (aka Rubber Jungle) during the peak of New York City’s COVID-19 crisis, March – July, 2020. When the lockdown began, I had by chance just completed a weekend songwriting session with my friends and longtime collaborators Tom Marshall and Scott Herman. That session took place March 13th and 14th just as the crisis was beginning in New York, so the themes of fear and isolation were already finding their way into those first songs. By the time I arrived home, the situation in NYC had gotten much worse.
Knowing I wasn’t going to be leaving my apartment for a while, I started working. It felt therapeutic to write. I wanted to connect with our community in some way. The unplanned nature of the recording meant I didn’t have a lot of gear during this process. I had an electric and an acoustic guitar, a small amp, two microphones, some percussion, and two keyboards, including an old Kurzweil with very realistic drum sounds on it. Everything was recorded through a Spire 8-track. Lonely Trip is truly a raw, low-fi recording.
The process of writing songs became a reflective and healing experience. Being able to share these songs instantly with our community via Instagram felt equally profound. It harkened back to my youth, before there was a Phish, when I would write songs and home-record them specifically with the intention of sharing them with my circle of friends via cassette four-track recordings.
As the weeks went by, I worked on improving my recording techniques. I called recording engineers like Vance Powell to get tips on microphone placement, and I purchased a bass guitar online. I also tapped into a Dropbox folder with about 30 four-minute drum sequences that I had recorded with Jon Fishman over the last year.
For the previous few Phish albums (including Kasvot Vaxt and Sigma Oasis), I had been experimenting with writing songs, starting with drum beats that I had sung into my phone. Fish and I would go into the studio and record the beats exactly as I had sung them, with Fish launching off in his unique way after a minute or two. I used these beats as building blocks to many of the songs on Lonely Trip, and it explains how I could do a whole album in Rubber Jungle with such good sounding drums. Thank you Fish!
Throughout the months, I was also able to email my Spire multitrack recordings directly to Bryce Goggin and Ben Collette who masterfully edited and mixed from home and then sent the reworked pieces back to me to continue working. In the meantime, Tom and Scott continued to send more lyrics via email, in addition to the lyrics I was writing on my own.
The album was ultimately mixed by Bryce, and as always, Bryce’s mixes sound incredible.
Lonely Trip was my message in a bottle during this time, and I wish I knew how to properly thank all of you in our community for listening and responding. It meant so much to me. Thank you. Wishing all of you much love and safety during this turbulent time.
This album is dedicated to the heroism of our healthcare and essential workers.
Lonely Trip will be available tomorrow, July 31, on all digital platforms: linktr.ee/TreyAnastasio