Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We're Still Recording

The deadline: we love it, we hate it.

It's still there, but somehow we've managed to leak in betweens its supposedly rigid borders, continuing to record parts even as the mixing process is already several days underway.

In theory, you record everything, then you mix it. But if you happen to be the band, the label, the production company, and studio owner all in one, then you have certain privileges. You can mess with the normal way of doing things.

It's not easy. Many of us have been staying up late, way past midnight, many nights, attempting to finish all the tasks that are involved with completing the songs we've committed to include on the album. These tasks run from the exciting (a hot guitar solo! or cool new vocal parts) to the mundane (adjusting the pitch of a vocal note by a hundredth of a step.)

Sometimes they're done at Dennis's studio, sometimes at several of our other home studios.

We're driving ourselves crazy.

But we're enjoying ourselves too.

Here's a shot of Nathan joyfully singing his chorus harmony on "We're Still Rockin'."

And here's a shot of our resident audio whiz Gary Dales sitting at the mixing board (bored?), doing his magic. We were all gathered at the studio on a day Gary had been mixing "In '63," and we were so impressed with how it sounded that we broke into spontaneous applause. Having him on our team brings an incalculable advantage to what we do.

                     Our resident Audio Whiz Gary Dales sitting at the console, doing his magic. (It may look like he's not doing anything, but, believe me, listening is work, and Gary does it well - and combines it with tremendous technical knowledge and musical sensibility.)

We've been going over fine details of our album cover, and finally settled on a design we like, with all the credits in place. We've been working with graphic designer Brian Cox, who also worked on our previous CD "Fab Fan Memories."

Oh, yes, as we've listened to our songs and wondered how to make them more beautiful, we couldn't resist one more idea, adding a gospel choir to David's song "If We Simply Love." Nathan contacted some singers from the church where he works, and found three who were available. Dennis, David and Nathan recorded them, while I left town for a family reunion.

                          Steve Hampton, Erin Booker and Britney Zandors in Dennis's studio

They sang together as a group, rather than separately as individuals. Our general approach is to record individual voices, to allow maximum control in the mixing process, but the advantage of recording a group, besides being faster - assuming the group sings well together - is that it captures the group sound, which brings a quality that can't be reproduced artificially. Three people singing harmony create a sound that is greater than the sum of its parts. Having three voices singing the notes on separate tracks is not the same experience as recording the three voices together on one track.

There was one part where David joined the choir, for a bit of four part harmony.

Naturally we want to credit Steve, Erin and Britney on the CD cover, but that involves going back to the cover designer, and to DiscMakers, and apologizing for adding one more request to our already swollen list of tasks to complete before the deadline.

But we're getting used to last minute bursts of creativity. As David says, we've been swimming across the Atlantic Ocean, and now we're only a hundred yards from shore. This is no time to give up.

We all feel great about this record, and really look forward to the rest of the world hearing it and seeing it too.

Bloggin' Bryan  27May13

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