The Process returns with a new EP and a pair of events. The Saginaw News
By Sue White | For MLive.com
on July 13, 2014
The Saginaw News
SAGINAW, MI – A Vassar band called The Process may have a new album yet this year, but lead vocalist David Asher says "we're not making any promises."
It's a labor of love, he said, and it could prove one of the Vassar reggae-infused rock band's last efforts.
"If it is our swan song, we want to make it the best," Asher said. "We've been doing this since 1991, you know, the same guys together for the most part. You just never know."
The band's future hasn't stopped Asher and bandmates Garrick Owen, Bill Heffelfinger and Gabe Gonzalez, along with Seth Payton, from releasing a teaser EP featuring four international takes on the single "Fire is Burning."
Along with the release, now available on iTunes, comes a pair of performances, a Dub Fest celebrating the music process Friday, July 18, at White's Bar in Saginaw and a CD release party Saturday, Aug. 9, at Dockside in Bay City.
"At White's, we're going to have two PA systems going with DJs from around the Midwest and Canada," Asher said. "I'll open the outside show at 5 p.m. with Shaolin Sound and, if I still have it in me, I'll close the indoor show at midnight."
In between are masters of reggae and dub, he said, including Derrick Davis, Seth Payton, Michael A, also known as the Duke of Downtown in Flint; DJ Lionheart; I-Sinto from Thick as Thieves; Chris Dellas and Rudeboy Reggae.
"The Process has really used the dub since 2006 but we actually started squeezing it into our music in 1991," Asher said. And fans will hear it in its full glory at the Aug. 9 show. Beginning at 7 p.m. with reggae selections, the party continues with a live performance by The Process at 9 p.m. There is a $3 cover.
"It's been exciting project," Asher said of the release, "and an international one. We've worked with Chris Lewis at the Fire Hyena studios here and with two studios in London and two in Los Angeles."
Sending the recorded cuts around the world for expert mastering, Asher's original song underwent transformations under each producer's watch. The Scientist, whom Asher calls the best known producer of reggae and dub, first stripped it down to the raw essentials, taking out all the layered elements of The Process' signature sound and creating a version heavy on guitars.
"Then he did a straight dub in the Jamaican style, heavy on bass and rhythm," Asher said. "The Scientist was a friend of King Tubby, who was murdered in Jamaica in 1989, and he has the style down."
The third cut, "Scientist Destroys the Conqueror Worm Dub," brings in the synthesizers, taking all of the same musical parts and reconstructing them into a recording reminiscent in places of Yes.
"In each cut, it's like a brand new song with a whole new crew on it," Asher said.
And he's especially in awe of David Harrow's "Dragonyouth-Oicho Remix," the fourth cut on the EP.
"We worked with David before, on 'The Process Meets Ghetto Priest,'" Asher said. "He totally deconstructed it and brought it back in a whole new way. It's amazing."
Adding still more texture to the single was Lord K.I.M.O. from the Asian Dub Foundation and Mikki Sound, who added her soaring vocals to the mix.
Hopefully, Asher said, the dubs will open doors for The Process and make possible its dream of performing live shows across Europe. But Asher and his bandmates aren't sitting idle. They recently went in the Saginaw studios to work with Dick Wagner on another cut for the album, "Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde."
Wagner in the 1960s was a Saginaw mainstay in the Bossmen and the Frost and later worked with the likes of Alice Cooper and Lou Reed. He returned to Saginaw, operating a studio into the 1990s before making his home in Arizona.
As for releasing "Fire is Burning" and other cuts as they come together, "it's a singles market now, instead of an album one," Asher said. "It's relevant, too, to have The Process put something out. It shows that we still exist, that we're still writing and recording.
"Some people might not even know we're here, even as we expand on an international level. Now they'll know."