Sonic Youth's standard songwriting method involved Thurston Moore bringing in melody ideas and chord changes that the band would spend several months fashioning into full-length songs. Instead of paring the songs down as the group did with previous records, the months-long writing process for Daydream Nation resulted in long jams, some lasting over half an hour. Several friends of the band, including Henry Rollins, had praised the band's long live improvisations and told the group that its records never captured them. With Moore on a writing spree, the album ultimately had to be expanded to a double album.
Sonic Youth recorded Daydream Nation at New York's Greene Street basement studio. The studio's engineer, Nick Sansano, was accustomed to working with hip hop artists. Sansano did not know much about Sonic Youth, but he was aware the band had an aggressive sound, so he showed the band members his work on Public Enemy's "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" and Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two." The group embraced the sound of the records. Sonic Youth booked three weeks of recording time at Greene Street's Studio A, starting in mid-July 1988. The band paid $1,000 per day of studio time, which was the most the band had paid to record an album up to that point.
Due to the amount of preparation the band put into composing its music, the recording process was efficient. The session became rushed near the end, when Paul Smith, the head of the band's British label Blast First, had set a mastering date of August 18. As a result of the time pressure, Gordon was not happy with some of her resulting vocal takes. The band spent a whole night creating a final mix for the three-song "Trilogy" so it could be mastered the following morning. The record ultimately cost $30,000, which led Moore to refer to the album as "our first non-econo record." https://bit.ly/3bGFEbG
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