Guest Column: Born of Osiris Guitarist Lee McKinney on the Things He Wishes He’d Known Ten Years Ago
On February 24th, Born of Osiris will release The Eternal Reign (pre-order here), a completely re-recorded and reimagined version of their debut EP The New Reign, which was first issued ten years ago. Listen to the new version of “Empires Erased” and a previously unreleased track called “Glorious Day.”
To celebrate the EP’s release, we asked guitarist Lee McKinney to talk about things he wishes he’d known the first time around. Lee had a lot to say about the recording process of both versions of the EP, the band’s career to date and, of course… MySpace! Here he is:
When we were 17 years old, Sumerian records came out to Chicago to see Born of Osiris play at a VFW hall. They were very friendly, knowledgable, and above all HUNGRY people that had a vision for us that far exceeded our own. They signed us as we turned 18, and during spring break of our Senior year in high school brought us out to LA to record our first record, The New Reign. Now here we are ten years later celebrating this release that certainly meant a lot to both of us and Sumerian.
I feel completely blessed that we started as early as we did. It’s a constant learning process and I’d hate to have to think “I learned this lesson too late.” We’re celebrating our ten year anniversary right now and we’re still very young. We have done A LOT in the time period we’ve been given. That said, being young and under the spotlight isn’t easy. We grew up in front of anyone that wanted to watch, especially with the age of social media that we are in. I think everyone has some things they look back on in their late teens and early twenties that they would have changed.
Back then, MySpace was everything. So was the MYSPACE TOP 8! At the time you could search the most popular signed and unsigned bands in each genre, allowing you to find so much music so easily. From there you could look at that band’s “top 8” and find even more awesome music. It’s crazy to see that gone; Facebook can’t do nearly as much for music as MySpace did, and they’re making bands pay to boost posts to reach their own audience. You’ll see a band with a million followers posting important information, and without a monetary boost they aren’t reaching a quarter of them. It’s getting harder and harder to make it financially in a band.. so to be celebrating a ten year anniversary with the same five guys that started this thing right now means the world.
If I could go back and give my ten-years-ago self advice before recording The New Reign, I would go back and tell myself to relax. I remember my first few times in the studio I was a nervous wreck. What I didn’t realize is that wasn’t helping anything. You aren’t going to leave until you get the perfect take. A lot of people get nervous when they are tracking; you think, “what if I mess up too many times and everyone gets frustrated?” To that I would just say, “listen, it’s going to be what it’s going to be. You’re paying to track this record, and as long as you came in as prepared as possible to track your parts, you’ll never be the producer’s horror story.” Not to mention, there are so many ways to get a perfect take these days that you should never worry. RELAX!
We’ve learned a lot about recording over the past ten years. When we were re-recording The New Reign, I think how fast and efficient we now are at studio work was on display. We’ve learned each and every way to do things in the studio, things we like and dislike, what to avoid and what not to avoid. This allowed us to make things better, and to tweak things we might have always wanted to. We weren’t on a time crunch due to inexperience. We had an abundance of time and made the most of it.
This time we searched for guitar tones and experimented a lot more with key tones. We also tweaked fills and tiny runs on guitar/bass. Ronnie and Joe have evolved so much in the past ten years as vocalists, and I think that’s the biggest highlight this time around. They are on an entirely new level compared to where they used to be. It gives the listener an entirely new and fresh take on songs that may have gotten old with time!
Time absolutely FLIES.. Enjoy every moment and live in it. Next thing you know you’re doing a ten year tour and releasing a tricked out version of a ten year old album.