The winners of the No Label Needed contest and series presented by Scion were Minnesota’s Iron Thrones. As the band receive insight and instruction on the music industry from music industry professionals while recording an EP at the Machine Shop, they’re blogging about it every step of the way. Stay tuned to No Label Needed and Metal Insider to get their side of the story.
Today we said goodbye to the wonderful Hampton Inn. This was easily one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in, mostly because of the little extras like free tea and fruit, and the totally laid-back staff that occasionally made some sort of soup for the guests. They clearly enjoy their jobs and wanted our stay to be as nice as possible, and it showed!
The drive to New Jersey wasn’t nearly as bad as it could’ve been, partially due to the time of day in which we drove, and partially due to the Liquid Metal station continuing to redeem itself with Opeth’s “Demon of the Fall”. We hit a bit of traffic close to New York City, but that quickly dissipated. Once we made it to the Sheraton (again, thanks to Jeebus, our GPS), we knew our time with the Dodge Grand Caravan was quickly coming to an end. We put our things in our rooms (which are on the top floor, apparently the “Club” floor (which means absolutely nothing as far as I can tell) and drove the car to the nearest Enterprise Rent-A-Car; around 15 minutes away. I ended up talking to my dad for a few minutes: he might stop by to check out the studio while on a business trip. Might be fun to show him what we’re up to and have him meet the band. After the phone call, the manager showed up and was nice enough to give us a ride back, with a quick tour of the various restaurants & bars in the area (which we’ll no doubt investigate for ourselves).
At this point, we started to investigate what this “Club Membership” meant as far as possible free food or other amenities, as we’re pretty much four broke dudes staying at a rather nice hotel. It turns out there are no free meals whatsoever, and the in-house bar/restaurant is understandably a bit steeper-priced than our usual fare (fast food & grocery store food). In addition, there’s no microwave anywhere to be seen, so I’m not entirely sure how we’ll survive, but there’s no way we’d let something like starvation get in the way of this impossible chance we’ve been given. It may turn out that the best advice the Shadows Fall guys gave us was that it’d be good to get used to ketchup soup.
Fortunately, we still have a little bit of cash left, and decided to look around for something cheap. What we found was a food court in a building across from the hotel, with multiple $5 meals and somewhat decent food. Unfortunately, the only thing open at the time was Subway, and they were temporarily out of bread. There was very nice dude working there who put some more dough in the oven for us, and we eventually got some decent subs out of the deal. It was a nice surprise to find Feta cheese and sweet peppers there, which made the somewhat SUB-standard food (ouch…) a lot more bearable.
To top off the day, we watched the sun set on the manhattan skyline (as seen from the hotel parking lot). It really is completely surreal to be here. It makes me wish I lived close enough to come here every once and a while, just to experience the overwhelming amount of humanity. I doubt there’s anywhere else like New York City.
Once the sun went down, we hung our in our room for a bit, then went to check out the bar/restaurant downstairs. Adam and I told ourselves we’d buy a beer regardless of price, and each ended up with a $7 Sam Adams. A good decision? Perhaps. I did end up with a beer and a good place to hang out and look at the night time skyline. Curt ended up grabbing a water (he’s throwing the idea of giving up drinking altogether. Possibly not a bad idea. Possibly the end of the band.
After the expensive cheap beers, Curt went upstairs to work on some bass lines, and Adam, Pete, and I went for a walk to check out the area a little bit and find a liquor store. We ended up finding a little overpriced, yet quaint hole-in-the-wall a few blocks from the hotel, and grabbed some coke and a little traveler of Jameson to split between us, just to help ease the travel tension that hadn’t fully worn off from the drive and previous flights. Pete grabbed a 6-pack of somethingorother as well.
Back at the hotel room, we poured a few and talked about working on the album. We still have a few lyrics and solos to write, as well as some potential singing parts. Not sure how that’ll go over, but we’re excited about it.
I’m not sure what I’ll have for Day 5, as it’s looking like a pretty empty day other than writing, but who knows? We’ll need to find somewhere other than Subway to eat. Also, we’re going to New York on Friday to meet up with Jamie, our PR person, which should be fun. We’ve talked with her on the phone and through email, so it’ll be nice to meet her in person. Last we talked, she was working on Dillinger Escape Plan stuff! I wonder if we’ll get lost in the subways?