Difficult to categorize, San Diego-based musician Veronica May dabbles in a wide variety of genres from folk to funk and RnB to rock ’n roll. She is one of the region’s most eclectic musicians, frequently collaborating with artists all across town, including the likes of Lindsay White and Jason Mraz.
With several more projects on the way, Veronica and her band, The To Do List, recently closed out 2017 by laying down some tracks at Studio West. While the journey to completing an album is rarely smooth sailing, Veronica was gracious enough to sit down with us and share some of the trials that she feels can test our patience, but ultimately help us grow in ways that we’d least expect.
Approached by producer Jeff Berkley during Veronica’s days with The Lovebirds, they hit it off working together on a couple of projects before releasing her first solo album entitled, Awakened. When collaborating in the studio, Veronica tends to be more methodical and orderly while Jeff takes on a more relaxed, ’go-with-the-flow’ approach. Though resistant at first, Veronica acknowledged the benefits of this dynamic, noting, “He pushes me in a good way, that way.” Having worked with Jeff for almost 8 years now, they have learned how to effectively communicate and compromise with each other. “Coming to a middle ground is important. We’ve always been able to do it,” concluded Veronica.
With a three-day lockout in Studio A on the books, the flexibility of having ample time in the studio quickly took a turn into surprise misfortune. Veronica recounted that their marathon session began with some bumps in the road, chief among them that three of the musicians got sick with a nasty winter bug that had been making the rounds in San Diego. This had the effect of bringing energy levels (and performances) down all around, and put them behind their targeted pace at the outset. Veronica ran into some frustrations getting through a few of her vocal parts early in day two, however the group slowly began to find their footing and ended the day on a really solid take, crescendoing into what she described as an extremely productive and powerful final day.
Along with the illness factor, troubleshooting took some time to sort through early in the proceedings as well, but the hard work of Assistant Engineer (and TRAC Alumnus), Alex Boehnlein, was a key component in the session’s eventual success. Veronica May relayed “[there were] little technical things here and there but Alex was on it— he didn’t stop.” His enthusiasm was apparent that, “not only would he walk over, but fast walk over to make sure everything was perfect. He’s so easy to work with,” related Veronica.
Listening back after the fact, Veronica exclaimed, “The drums sound fantastic, and the bass!” Despite a rough start, Veronica and the To Do List all reported having a great time at Studio West, and with the winter bug wild card, booking three consecutive days ended up being just what the doctor ordered for their physical recovery. Even the time taken to address technical difficulties allowed the group an opportunity to take a break and get some fresh air. To Veronica May, it’s all about state of mind, “When the lights are dimmed and I feel vibey, I know I’m gonna have a better take. If I’m in a good space, it’s a good day.” At Studio West, it’s always a privilege to not only record great music, but create a space that musicians like Veronica can enjoy and thrive in.
Be sure to catch Veronica May tonight (January 26th) at 7PM for her Double Music Video Release Party at the Alexan Rooftop in East Village!
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