DC: Yeah.
DJ: OK, it's on there.
DC: Yeah. I'm going for it right now.
DJ: Jason… I can't remember his last name. Anyway, he has won grammys for Stevie Winwood's "Back in the High Life" and Madonna's "Like a Virgin."
DC: Oh, yeah. Jason Corsaro. I recognize the name.
DJ: Corsaro, Corsaro. I'm such an idiot.
DC: Yeah, I couldn't pronounce the name of that city in New Jersey either, but it's Lake something [laughter]. Had the Tricksters or you worked in that studio before?
DJ: I think Dave Diamond has worked with Jason before, and that's how the mixing engineer came up. But Cloud 9, I think as well might have been a Dave Diamond find. We were just perusing studios there on Long Island, because that's where everybody lived except Mookie and me. Mookie lives in Baltimore and I live in Alabama. So we wanted to choose a studio that would be easy to get to, and Cloud 9 was a great little studio. They've been written up in Mix Magazine quite a lot and they're great engineers and it's a really cool studio. They have all these vintage guitars and vintage microphones. They're real collectors of the real stuff.
DC: That must be a pretty inspiring environment to work in.
DJ: Oh, yeah. So it was a lot of fun recording it. And I might say, it was one of the easiest and smoothest studio projects I've ever worked on. It just went very well; there were no squabbles or anything. We kind of knew what we wanted to go for, and we went for it and did it.
DC: Yeah, you must have been really poised for the moment, because as you mentioned, you recorded it fairly productively and quickly, but also the tracks don't sound overworked. They sound like you nailed them, with just a few takes, maybe no more than two of each song. That's only natural, but that's very unusual. It sounds like it's unusual in your experience, too.
DJ: Well, it just went smoother than I could have imagined. Everybody was up for it and everybody was on their game, and I think we did a really good job on this CD. I'm very very proud of it.
DC: You guys should be proud of yourselves. You must take it as a good omen for your work together in the future. Tell me what you've got planned.
DJ: Well, as you can see on the CD, Jeff Mattson and I cowrote two songs together, so that's a real precursor of things to come in this band, where we want to do more collaborative work right together and come up with some band songs, not just what each member brings to the table individually, but on a collaborative level. So this kind of is an open door to things that are to come for this band. I'm working on another song with Jeff Mattson and a song with Dave Diamond, so we're already moving on. That is our deal, you know? We just want to be more collaborative together in the songwriting department and play the best music we can for as long as we can. That would be, in a nut shell, our goal [laughs].
DC: There's a lot of excitement in your voice. You guys must be inspired on a collective level. Are you going to play any festivals this summer or do some live work? That would lend itself to even more collaboration I would think.
DJ: Oh, absolutely. We want to be at every festival that we can, and that's our plan. And we're doing an extensive tour starting in February. We will be touring a good deal of this year. So we're looking forward to making more music together. The more music that you play together live, the more you start to gel as a band. Right now, we have found ourselves in a situation different to when we first started. We were people who were professionals getting together musically and playing. And professionals can do that-they know how to do that-but now we have toured so much, and we've played together so much, and we're such good friends that we are starting to sound like a real new band. It's not just the Zen Tricksters anymore; it's not just me. We're Donna Jean and the Tricksters, and we're a new band.
DC: It's interesting that you say that, and again, I can hear the excitement in your voice, in talking about how the collaboration has turned into something wholly different, or markedly different anyway, than what it was when it started out. I've noticed that with bands that I've seen over the years. Even if the personnel remains the same, the chemistry changes and the collective personality changes, too. It's a great thing to see.
DJ: That should be the way that it is with a band. And we're really enjoying the fruits thereof [laughs].
DC: Do you guys record your shows when you're touring as a means of archiving the shows or listening back to them to see if there are ideas for new material or things along that line?
DJ: Yeah, we record every show. Our sound guy, Connor, comes with us to every show and everything is recorded as usual.
DC: I know from working and talking with bands that they often like to go back to those tapes to see if during the improvisations there are ideas for new material. Have you ever written along those lines, picked up ideas from activity onstage and turned it into a song?