Infinity On High - Recording and Production

Recording and Production

The second you worry about other people’s expectations is the second you can expect failure. Not that we didn't have big hopes for this album—we wanted our fans to love it more than anything. But put it this way: We don’t sit around second-guessing everything. If you do that, you’re bound to make sterile music, and that’s when you can expect failure.

—-Patrick Stump, on the pressures of making a follow-up to Cork Tree.

While writing the album, Fall Out Boy began searching for potential producers. The band sought out R&B singer/producer Babyface, as they admired his work on the soundtrack to the 2001 film version of Josie and the Pussycats. Babyface saw one of the interviews in which the band discussed its desire to work with him and contacted the group. Babyface produced two of the songs, "I'm Like a Lawyer with the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)" and "Thnks fr th Mmrs". Neal Avron, who also produced the band's previous album, handled production for eleven of Infinity on High's fourteen tracks. Before recording, the band began with six weeks of pre-production, which was encouraged by Avron. This period included both rehearsals and writing, as well as working out all the sounds and arrangements. It began in Chicago before the group relocated to the Swing House studios in Los Angeles. Additionally, some rough recordings of songs were created to be used in the studio as a future reference.

Infinity on High was recorded from July to October 2006 at the Pass Studios in Los Angeles. Much of the writing process was done individually by the band members. Generally, Wentz would write his lyrics first and send them to Stump, who would create a melody by playing guitar along to the words to “find a groove”. Stump’s goal with his songs was to create his music while changing Wentz’s original lyrics as little as possible. After a melody was written, Stump would create a general rhythm for the song. Although Fall Out Boy has no specific rhythm or lead guitar roles, Stump viewed himself as more of a rhythm guitarist on the album due to his experience as a drummer in previous bands. Guitarist Joe Trohman often wrote his guitar parts after hearing Stump’s work, filling in the “empty spaces” in the songs with “tons of guitars and Johnny Marr-type atmospheric parts”. The group felt that this writing process helped create a more full sound.

Upon listening to the finished tracks, the members selected guest appearances they felt would work with the songs. The group "aim for the stars" on its choices of collaborators, with Wentz stating, "I want to bring in people who no one would expect...This year it's like, we made some new friends, like Lil Wayne. Or let's get Jay-Z on there." Wentz commented on working with Jay-Z, saying "It was insane. We called him up and thought we were gonna talk to his assistant. Then he answers the phone, like, 'Yo, this is Hov,' and we were like, 'Um ...' It just happened like that. And it was pretty crazy." Jay-Z recorded his introduction to the album's opening song "Thriller" while on tour in Australia and sent it to the band, who later put the vocal on the album. At a fashion show in Los Angeles, Wentz met rapper Kanye West, who invited Wentz and Stump to his home to share new music. West then agreed to create a remix of "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" three weeks before the scheduled release of the album. The band was unable to include the remix on the album due to time constraints, but a remix of West's version featuring Lil Wayne, Lupe Fiasco, Travis McCoy, Paul Wall and Tyga was released in July 2007.

During the recording of the album, the band members pursued other various activities. Stump, who co-produced "Don't You Know Who I Think I Am?" from Infinity on High, was also working on fellow Fueled By Ramen act The Hush Sound's album Like Vines. Wentz was conceiving a social networking website called FriendsOrEnemies.com as well as designing for his clothing line, Clandestine Industries. Wentz was often interviewed about the album at Clandestine fashion shows.

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