(... best laid plans...)
… so it's the end of May already… what have I been up to? Well… where to start...
I should probably start with April… since maybe, according to my #DearBands tweets, all I do is take shots at bands all day… which does give me joy… seriously though… some of you are painful to watch function... but that's not to say I don't get what you're doing, where you're coming from, or why you're doing it. After all, we "play music" for fun... and some of us do have lofty goals.
So April… I ended up shuffling the schedule around to fit in tracking the new 20 Amp Soundchild EP.
Let me say something off the top about scheduling… when you're self employed, motivated, and love what you do for a living... since you'd be doing it in your spare time anyway… holidays mean nothing… and even less than nothing if they don't show up on your iCal.
The plan after Juno Weekend was to do some pre-pro and then track drums the following weekend. I like having the full band in for guides/bed tracks. I think it's important to have everyone playing together for vibe and comfort… plus, if it sounds decent as a full band off the floor, everything else we do should only improve the end result. You'd be surprised how much you can keep from initial guide tracks when the isolation is decent (which it is at my place) AND provided we've done some prepro so people know wtf they are doing.
… so it turned out the first weekend of April was Easter Weekend… and everyone had family stuff to do… well… frig.
Way she goes… I rarely stress about schedules these days, schedules being different from deadlines though.
We ended up having a great prepro session the following week and tracked drums that weekend. I had Parabelle scheduled to come in April 24th, so we were watching the calendar a little, but all good. We zipped through 90% of what we needed and got a good chunk of vocals done before I had to switch gears.
Again… being prepared makes a HUGE difference saving time while recording. When you're prepared, you play with confidence… I'm not after 99% accuracy… this is not RockBand… but you'll play it with "feel" since you know how it goes.
… and on a side note... if I know how your songs go better than you do after hearing them 5 times… that's not good… and these days I will tell you. :-)
So Parabelle arrived April 24th as planned… they brought a drummer this time but no bassist… and we still had a few tunes to sort out and they wanted to write a bit while they were here if time allowed.
… ok... I know what you're thinking…
(… but Langford, you just said you shouldn't go into the studio unprepared!?)
(Allow me to answer... BBQ style.)
This is not my first BBQ with Parabelle nor in general under these conditions. Being prepared is half of the equation, the other is experience.
This will be my 3rd album with Parabelle and 5th with Kevin (original singer of Evans Blue). I know how Kevin works and I know what everyone involved brings to the table. They could show up with some mumbled ideas on voice memos and I know in a few days we'd have the songs up and running. This time we had a great batch of demos to work from plus a handful of other ideas already a'brew.
This could be a headache (or a financial blessing) for someone if they just booked studio time and tried to work out ideas there… but working with a producer, it's not about being on the clock as much as being efficient with time. I know what we're after and I feel the guys trust me… and that trust is a two way street. Even when people get a bit pissy, I know we're still having fun and it's only because we care. At the end of the day listening back to a record you worked on is like looking back at pictures from summer camp... it's the little details that remind you of the good times.
... I never actually went to summer camp growing up, but I'm assuming that's what it'd be like… you know... if you… took pictures... and looked at them after.
(... probably would've looked like this.)
(... or maybe... more like this.)
(... present day it'd look like this... just minus the kids and the smile... then add some dry tears, imagine some beach boys tunes in the background... and it'd be 7am in a public park.)
So anyway… I'll leave all the juicy stuff out of recording the new Parabelle album since they brought in a videographer to grab some behind the scenes footage... curious to see what he uses first.
Upfront, I normally hate having extra people around the studio… especially film/photo folk since they get in the way.
(... so where can I set up my lights?)
The guy we had though, Mr. Mike Hough, he was great… almost invisible… near-ninja… or the ideal intern/studio assistant.
… so I'll wait a bit to post more on that… just like my Juno trip, it's 90% written… just not finished and posted.
That brings things to May 17th… bless you iCal. I spent the next week mainly getting the rest of the vocals for the 20 Amp Soundchild EP, editing, and mixing it… I've been back to Parabelle this past week working on the "singles" aka the first 3 they want to let roam the internet... definitely looking forward to getting this album in the can as well.
Historical Fact: Within 8 hours of releasing 'Reassembling The Icons', it was on many major torrent sites AND cracked the top 10 rock albums on US iTunes… and then The Beatles released their catalogue on iTunes the next day… and that was the end of that. Still awesome to see independent bands putting in the work and having it pay off… steady build… onwards and upwards.
(... u mad bro?)
This weekend I have the boys from Left Turn City coming in to start a couple tunes. I've seen them a half dozen times around town. Last year's Hallowe'en set was one of my favourites by a local in a while… picture Freddy, Jason, Michael, and I think Leatherface doing covers… that's how you should do Hallowe'en shows people… awesome covers.
Anyway, they have a few originals I thought always stood out so when they told me which ones they were thinking of doing, I was pretty stoked… and sonically, I think they're one of the fullest sounding rock bands in the city. It'll be good… it'll be loud.
… and I guess that brings things up to May 31st.
... happy summer. :-)
FAQ: "Hey Langford… what are you listening to these days?!"
- Turbo Von Bromeister III
Great question Turbo Von Bromeister III... people are always asking me what I'm listening to… generally I'm just listening to what I'm working on… or what's on the iTunes radio station I try for a couple weeks (currently Music Machine). I don't pick the playlist, just the genre… maybe I'm lazy, but I like having new bands catch my ear... and I think that's important to keep in mind… besides, do you mean listening for sonics or song?
"as you can imagine, s**t is just fkd up right now. but i wanna say thank you to all our friends and family (which are kinda one in the same) for all the love and support. i'm glad to know that all the love that Yauch has put out into the world is coming right back at him. thank you. (sic)"
- Ad-Rock (May 6th, 2012)
… I'm pretty even keel as a person… but this is the first musician passing that actually threw me off a little. I knew he was battling cancer, but when I'd heard the news online last Friday… I was shocked… shocked and sad… enough that I indirectly told the band we're going to take it easy that evening… feel free to make a trip to the LCBO… we're watching the hockey game tonight.
"To The 5 Boroughs" was on repeat while I initially cleaned and set up The Pawnshop… late nights and early mornings, for several weeks. Passive listening, but the album created a vibe and put me in a great mood. We all have soundtracks to our lives… Beastie Boys definitely have at least one song on mine.
They weren't just 3 dudes rapping… or Sabotage… or the Intergalactic video… or Fight For Your Right (… to party). They were a lifestyle and a band… a fucking band.
(... ok for a lot of us... it was all about the Sabotage bass line.)
Once you hit a certain age (usually early 20s), you make a choice to put down your axe, pack up your kit, or sell your decks. In my eyes, that's the line in the sand.
Musicians are lifers.
Musicians never think of stopping… why would we? That doesn't mean you can't finish school, get a day job, and have a family. It means you can't imagine living a life without making a sound.
Musicians and artists in general create, in their head, everyday, all the time. Once they discover their weapon of choice, it comes out… and the rest is history.
(... as long as we're loud enough, we'll enough have time to figure out what we're doing.)
What's wrong with most bands? In short… they aren't a fucking band. If only people could see how bands operate off stage, in private… then they'd understand where that chemistry comes from on stage.
You can't fake it… it comes from countless disagreements, pushing each others buttons, hearing about either others personal lives (in great detail), knowing and understanding each others joys, fears, goals, etc. I've always thought people loosen up (get weird) after midnight. Bands spend a lot of time together after midnight… in the tour van, hotel rooms, 24 hour diners, you name it.
When people open up, real relationships are built.
Imagine how well you know your band after 25+ years of late night. That's beyond a fucking band… that's family.
(... you can't make this stuff up.)
(... but they did.)
Next to that… nothing about musicians pisses me off more than ones who understand they have a platform to speak out about change, but choose not to. What a waste.
During recent mentoring sessions, I've been encouraging artists to consider 2-3 things in life they wish they could do more to share and educate. Everything is fair game… we know music is a big part of our lives but what else defines you? What else do you read up on and love talking about. If a 1-dimensional object could ever exist in the real world, it's an artist with nothing to say.
"I know, we should have tweeted and instagrammed every sad, happy and inspired thought, smile or tear by now. But honestly the last few days have just been a blur of deep emotions
for our closest friend, band mate and really brother."
- Mike D (May 6th, 2012)
After reading several articles about Adam's passing… I thought about what I knew of his life and band from a fan perspective… it'd be a better world if all people could live a life surrounded by friends, family, driven by passion, love, and positive change.
(Hey!? ... sharing is caring.)
Success in life isn't about climbing mountains littered with dropped packs and frozen corpses from failed attempts… where reaching the top makes you a member of an exclusive club, granting a great view, and a moment of clarity… "I made it... now what." They say it's lonely at the top... and I think this what they mean.
Success in real life is an array of rooftops and balconies. They come in all shapes and sizes… their usage, decor, and vibe as diverse as life itself. They're places to share with friends and family, or to be alone. They all have one thing in common though… to enjoy them, you have to find them… and to find them, you have to find your way up.
How you reach them is your choice… and once you reach them, you'll see others enjoying the same views as you do. True happiness is a shared sense of accomplishment. All goals are attainable when you see the big picture and find your place within it.
(1964 - 2012)
"Well I got to keep it going keep it going full steam,
Too sweet to be sour too nice to be mean,
On the tough guy style I'm not too keen,
To try to change the world I will plot and scheme."
- Adam Yauch
Mike Langford - Official Blog
Being on both sides of the glass, I get the chance to wear many hats in the music industry. This is a place to share my thoughts, views, predictions, rants, stories and news!