"He was in L.A. for some reason. He said, 'Oh, I'm doing this thing for this movie.' That's what he said and it was Good Will Hunting... He downplayed it.
But anyway, so I just wanted to do something with him. I didn't wanna do something-- you know, a rock collaboration would always end up just somebody doing a backing vocal and you'd be like, 'Yeah, well, if you listen really closely, you can hear J Mascis.' Whereas in hip-hop music-- first of all, I have to say, we don't claim that we were running in hip-hop circles; it was just my obsession-- someone would come in and do a verse. They would have their own part of the song.
So I was trying to figure out how to do this and what we ended up doing was he just came down to the studio and sat in front of a binaural head.
A binaural head-- I don't know if they look different now, but in the late 90s they were grey foam sculptures of a human head with a bone structure and a brow and a nose on it for facial features, with two specialized microphones in each earhole, and when you would listen back to it, it would just be an incredibly realistic stereo effect. Really like if you record a street scene and if you close your eyes and have headphones on, you would seem submerged in the street scene. So we sat down in front of this ludicrous device and he sang two songs, which became other songs later—one was 'The record that plays over and over/ There's a kid in the story below' lines from Bottle Up and Explode! The other one ended up as Going Nowhere. I didn't have anything good to add to them, but I have these a cappella versions."
- MIKE DOUGHTY [frontman, Soul Coughing], on recording Elliot Smith on a binaural head in the 90s.