Remix Project #2: Indirect Ways

Written and Performed by J.D. Reager

Recorded by J.D. Reager, Brendan Danley, and Justin Jordan in 2008, Remixed and MFI 2016

Fred Kelly:

An early project of ours was a real treat: our longtime friend and talented multi-instrumentalist J.D. Reager had finished recording his solo debut after years playing with several successful bands (including Pezz and Glossary), and he asked us to mix it. We did. I’m still happy with how that album (which J.D. named The Repechage) turned out.
One song that was radically different from its released form was the album’s final track, called “Indirect Ways”. We’d had trouble making the track work the way we wanted it to, and really struggled with it. It’s a strong rock track, with thick guitars and aggressive drums, and what we tend to do with tracks like that is to mute everything but a few elements (say, the vocals and a guitar) and see what works.
With this track, we liked how just the vocals, piano, tubular bells, and acoustic guitar sounded (with some horns at the end). And that version works! But this version is the full-on rock track, and we’re glad it’s finally seeing the light of day.

Jonathan Kelly:

In addition to playing with the bands Fred mentioned, J.D. was also a member of several of the FLRS House Projects.  These include the henrys, Bishop, and The Passport Again.  
The Repechage was our first big mixing project in Pro Tools, and "Indirect Ways" was just getting left behind the other tracks.  There were a lot of heavy rockers on the album, and this song was just looking worse in comparison.  Sometimes we'll look for an unconventional solution to a problem like that, and one solution is to just strip the arrangement down to its core.  Now the song had the distinction of being different from all the other songs on the album, and it took the listener to a different place.
Years later, with more know-how and more equipment, we thought we could make the original arrangement work better, and I absolutely think it does.  I still think we made a good decision at the time for the sake of the album, but I'm happy to be able to put this song out there with its original arrangement.  There's at least one other Remix Project song that went through a similar process.