May 15, 2016 - 4:06pm
... I always forget to finish these... probably because I get home and I'm super tired... and the last travel day usually isn't very exciting... figured now is a good time... taking a quick break from editing to watch the Raptor's game... game 7... big game!
... anyway... where were we... oh yes... 3 hours after my last post, I was up and off to the airport.
... randomly selected for a pat down going through security (post body scanner)... obviously still trying to find the balance between "embarrassingly unthreatening" and "sane but barely clothed"... still less stressful than the way there though... no line ups really.
Kevin and I (same flight) played on our iPads until it was time to board...
... he was siting in the row in front of me... the woman beside me cracked a joke she was glad to be sitting beside someone skinny... I smiled... it's not the first time I've heard that one on a plane... but this was the first time she's said it... we got chatting... this was her first time flying.
This caught me a little off guard... there was an awkward pause after that like she was waiting for me to say something... wasn't sure if I should say something like "flying's great!" or "it's not big deal" or "yeah I don't like flying much either"... I went with "yeah I don't like flying much either".
... in hindsight I should've gone with something more fear neutral.
We chatted briefly about it... told her with flying, it's just the take off and landing that probably make people nervous... just forces on the body you aren't used to. You feel it on take off, and then usually a bank/turn soon after so people feel like they're getting their money's worth.
She mentioned she isn't a big fan of rollercoasters.
I said the difference is rollercoasters are designed to scare you, planes are designed to keep you safe 30,000ft in the air... again... not doing well on the fear neutral responses... but she understood what I was saying.
She closed the window and then apologized in case I wanted to see out (I had the aisle seat). I told her I'd probably be asleep most of the flight and not to worry if it made her feel better having it closed... I kept looking out though so she caught on.
... I put my headphones in and closed my eyes while we waited to taxi over for take off.
... she got nervous. I could tell.
... she pulled the shutter down across the window again... we waited on the runway a bit longer... just to bring the shutter back up again and look out. She's probably wondering what's taking so long... in case she's missing something.
(... I peeked over a few times to see how she was doing... in case you're wondering.)
... and then we heard the engines rev up.
... anybody who's flown knowns the feeling... that weight on your chest.
I sat back calmly in my seat, accepting that if I'm going die in a plane crash (after reassuring a stranger that flying is safe), it's probably happening in the next 5-10 mins... meanwhile my new neighbour is completely mesmerized on the view out the window.
She turned and caught me with one eye open.
... the smile on her face.
"It's not that bad, eh?" I said, again, still failing the fear neutral stance on the "flying thing". We never did the early bank/turn... so I sorta felt like she wasn't getting the full experience.
We continued upwards, monopoly houses below, clouds above.
I was curious how she'd react going through the clouds... I always found it kinda neat... it's clouds... it's made of cloud... cloud is a thing.
... until we made it above them.
She quickly turned her head towards me... I wish I could not only describe the open mouth smile on her wide-eyed face... but share it... it was infectious.
"Oh my god... it's so beautiful."
"... and it's always sunny up here." :-)
... granted it's day time... she knows what I meant.
... I thought of it during the move back in December... sometimes you don't get to choose how you feel... and it sunk in... Tamara, 53 years old (we never exchanged names but I saw on her declaration card)... really has never flown before.
This is a completely brand new experience for her.
... even though we're adults, and most adults eventually lock the door and walk away from new experiences... this was brand new... like how kids experience the world... this was friggin' exciting for her and it's hard to find people to share that kinda stuff with when they can't see it through your eyes... much like my experience passing another plane in the sky on the way to Dallas.
I nodded off several times during the flight... sort of trying to ignore the mixed emotions of my own bed and the mountain of editing awaiting me at home... and the juggling of projects waiting to confirm over the summer.
... we made the big bank turn on our approach to Pearson.
"... whoa... that's trippy."
Landing was good... use of data on my iPhone again was better... I asked how her first flight was...
"Not that bad!"
... Facebook official.
She was en route to Istanbul... apparently staying for 6 weeks... not a quick trip for a first time flyer or a short trip for a first time traveller.
I wished Tamara all the best with her trip and grabbed my backpack from the overhead storage... she looked the type to wait for the plane to empty out. Kev was in a hurry to get out of there so I figured I'd try and keep up.
It was nice getting home early in the afternoon... it took me a couple days to feel "normal" again. I felt basically drunk the next day(s) from so many late nights the last couple weeks.
... it was a quick week though with editing, finishing vocals on The Sole Pursuit album, life, then then CMW conference.
... I might share my notes from the conference... I love hearing smart people talk about things they're passionate about... it's energizing!
... I'll post this later tonight... Raptor's are looking good right now... but too early to call because "Toronto".
- Mike :-)
P.S. I'm calling it now with just over 3 mins left... Lowry's 3 is the dagger in the Heat's hope... good job Raps! Bring it LeBron!!!
P.P.S. Almost forgot... just remembered looking at the pics... I thought I missed it on the Friday, but you can only lean on a guy so much to hit up Niagara Falls for a bachelor party a few hours after getting in from a 2 week business trip... it's pretty rockstar on paper.
Good times. :-)
April 30, 2016 - 1:13am
The movie is called Avalanche Sharks... and it's about sharks that live within a ski hill.
Just think about that for a minute... there are sharks in the friggin' snow! Nobody is safe!?
My question is how did they get there... and how do they swim through the snow?
My other question is... how do they cast people for films like these?
Does Steve McBland's agent call him up and tell him he's got a script he's gotta read? It's called Avalanche Sharks. I guess you're either into it or not... or just really looking for work... I don't think this is going to give anyone their big break though... there's a lot of "acting" in these kinda movies but not a lot of places to really shine... if you know what I mean.
... I'll admit it was a toss up between this and "The Coed Zombie Stoner"... I watched 5 minutes of it and it was so bad I had to bail... I'll give it another chance sometime though I'm sure.... it's on Netflix incase you're wondering... but not sure if it's on Canadian or just American Netflix.
... it's ridiculous that's a thing.
So enough stalling... it's getting late and it's been a long day. My flight is at 11:30am and flight math means I should get up at 6:30am... which is painfully early and painfully close... and it's shitty because I feel like a lot happened today but I really shouldn't be up all night talking about it... but who are we kidding...
I woke up around 7:30am and laid in bed listening to YouTube videos/talks... I try and do that when I wake up or go to bed... or can't sleep... spend an hour or two learning something every day.
I was thinking last night I should repack my bag so it's done and ready to go... I overpacked so 75% of it I haven't even touched... just a "piece of mind" thing going to the airport... again... I get randomly selected often for searches.
I also thought last night I should grab a pic of my bedroom...
A friend told me they were jealous I was out doing "cool stuff like traveling to work with bands!"... meanwhile I'm watching B-Horror films alone at 2am and writing a blog before going to sleep on an inflatable mattress that barely fits in Kyle's office... topped off with a Dallas Cowboys blanket... that isn't even big enough to cover my feet... and I'm not even that tall.
... "grass is greener" sorta thing... but I know what he meant... but I also know he doesn't really want this... and if you're reading this, you know I'm right... a lot of people won't give up comfort past a certain age in the music industry... and that's where the dream can die.
... at 17 years old we'll sleep anywhere... same with 21... and 25 you might lose the smile... 27 we start looking for better options if we can... 30 we want our own bed... and it's all downhill from there.
... but how long will you roll with it until things work out? ... knowing they might not?
... people want to be sold the story... which is fine... I'm guilty of it too... when I hear about my teammates (hockey) travelling so often for work I think it must be awesome... but I imagine the stress that puts on their wives and children... personal lives in general.
This isn't a vacation... I might be working with friends, but I'm here to work.
... so Kev calls at 9:55am (need to be out the door by 10am) to suggest a plan to stay at a hotel near the airport. Apparently it's a thing trying to figure out how Kevin and I are getting there tomorrow morning.
... my brain is all "just take Uber"... yes it's a couple $'s but it's simple.
... but now the plan has changed and I need to quickly pack my suitcase too.
... I'm also mad I didn't grab that bedroom picture yesterday. I wanted it for my blog. Mike (Hough)'s flight is later so he was going to stay at Kyle's another night. I grumbled about my missing blog pic and asked him if he could take it for me...
(... yeah... I'm a big loser... I know!)
We ended up being super late to the studio... long short story shorter... had to run some errands... and find Kevin. I asked Kyle if he knew where Kevin was when we got off the phone and he said "yeah"... when I really should've said "You know Kevin is at Walmart right?"
... lesson learned.
So today we needed to get through the rest of the main vocals and as many guitar leads as we could.
Alex asked (begged) us to work on some ideas last night/this morning. We got back kinda late but we listened through 3-4 tunes in the truck to come up with some ideas.
... I love this game... the "be good now" game.
I stocked a few ideas away so at least I'd have a starting point.... I'm pretty good at thinking up parts on the fly in studio... but this gave everyone at least a heads up.
(... I'm getting super tired... so much I want to mention though!?)
We started with doing some guitar leads and it went pretty well... I got to play/track a few things. I don't consider myself a guitarist but I can be good enough, long enough to lay stuff down... that's my approach to recording... "just need to be good enough, long enough".
Side note... we've been using Jericho guitars on the album... they're long scale/baritones (tuning from drop A# to drop C) and they've been holding great! Look awesome and play well. Highly recommend people checking into them if they need a baritone.
... I still love my Carparelli Diesel though. ;-)
We still took an hour or so each song... which is normal for writing and refining ideas. I think we got good stuff but yeah... took a bit longer than I'm sure Alex had hoped.
Started vocals around 5pm (I think). We've been going until 8ish so the day is pretty much over in my mind... studio brain side... but my musician brain is thinking we'll be working til 10pm.
Kev finished his last lead vocal and touched up a few songs... and by touched up, I mean filled in some screams and the odd line that needed lyrics.
Kyle and I played a few games of NBA JAM... I think we went 2-1... should've been 3-0 but Kyle couldn't kill the clock.
So... I'll get to it... as much as we needed to record stuff today... there were 2 things on the agenda.
#1. Hough needed interviews from everyone about the album.
#2. We all had tickets for flavour tripping. #mberry
... just look it up.
... but in short, there are these pills that block the sour receptors in your taste buds (or something), so everything tastes super sweet... like lemons, limes, sour cream, etc... hence Kev's trip to Walmart this morning.
After Aaron's interview, it was time.
... time for flava trippin'.
I wish it was on camera... 7 dudes (Kev, Kyle, Aaron, Alex, intern, Hough, and myself) all standing around in a back room... with tiny purply-red pills... wondering who was going to go first.
... Alex wasn't sure at all about this... Hough dove right in... I was impressed.
Note to self... either go to rave with Hough... or don't go to a rave with Hough.
We all dropped the tiny pill on our tongue after Hough did and then waited... waited... waited some more... mine started tasting like mustard.
... again, the pills block your sour receptors on your taste buds... and it's "natural"... we aren't getting high on drugs.. just making our taste buds wonky for a bit...
....so I guess we can eat lemons...???
Finally moment of truth... Kev was first out the gate to try the lemon.
Then we all started going after the cut up fruit on tray.
... it's wild. It tastes like candy.
... I like the taste of lemons... like... i can eat them like orange. slices... but it definitely tastes like a lemon... but with this pill... it tastes like candy.
... same with limes.
Sour cream was different... sort of cheesecake-ish.
Hough tried ketchup.
"... don't try ketchup."
- Mike Hough
The novelty wore off pretty quick and we all went back to doing other things... like playing pinball and NBA Jam.
... still highly recommend trying it if you've got the right group of friends... it's wholesome fun.
My interview was next...
... all things considered... I was slightly nervous about what I was going to be asked, and what I was going to say.
... the first day was interesting to say the least.
I was invited/asked to help finish writing, do preproduction, and fill in some gaps in the studio.
... but that first day with Alex, it really could've gone either way depending on how each of us approached the situation.
It's best to tell the truth... and the truth in my mind was to help him get this record done... I've done a few of them and I know what goes into making them. Yes, there's still work to do, but we're in good shape.
Alex and I had a couple chats off to the side... he's either a fantastic actor or he warmed up to me after a few days. He's got a great ear and a passion for the technical side... the tracks/tracking sounds great! Tons of toys at his fingertips in the studio and he knows how to pull tones out of them.
I'm not about to try and force myself between of him and the band... that'd be incredibly selfish and a wasted opportunity to learn... I'd be taking away instead of adding.
... another theory I have in recording is "if it's not adding, it's probably taking away from something else."
Alex emerged from his interview with a huge grin... "you guys are so screwed! I told the truth!!" ... something along those lines.
... and that's a wrap.
We were waiting for Hough to finish packing up his camera gear... I was playing NBA Jam and asked Alex if he wanted to grab a production shot for online.
"Yeah sure." ... without breaking stride as he walked past.
... we're buds.
One incredibly packed truck cab (forecast said it was going to rain) and 90 minutes later, I'm back at Kyle's.... bringing my luggage back in the house.
... oh yeah... about that hotel.
I guess Kev said he was going to book it... but then didn't... and then when he looked later, it wasn't available any more.... so I had all my luggage with me, as did Hough... and jammed a wet towel and a bunch of damp clothes from laundry last night (which I hung to dry at the studio) for nothing... what's the saying ... "always be prepared"...?
I love the guys... but I know how to prepare for working with Parabelle... and when it comes to having a plan... make a list... then once you leave the house, cross the first thing off the list, then crumple up that list up, toss it in the recycling bin... and just roll with it.
... you either want to do this or you don't... and when I said I did... I knew what I was getting into.
Bed time for me... 2:40am... bed by 3:30am after I finish this... hopefully I sleep on the plane and hopefully I don't talk in my sleep.
Today was a good day.
- Mike :-)
P.S. I was still f****ing with that stupid MIDI today.
P.P.S. I feel like I've been on tour the past 2 weeks... hopefully that's the case soon.
April 29, 2016 - 12:19am
I'm watching Age Of Ice... it is awful... and long... and I have no idea wtf is going on.
Maybe I should've watched it with the sound up and been paying attention (doing emails... and playing Hearthstone)... but usually I can follow along.
This is just like... a bunch of stuff happens... and it's like the main character wrote and directed the movie... one of those "heroes".
... and he can't grow a beard.
I think they're supposed to be stranded for weeks or months... but if you're going to make a movie about survival... and you're going to cast a male lead... you gotta cast someone who can grow a beard... beards = survival. + time.
... just sayin'.
Today was what I'd consider the day of truth. This week as been dubbed "Hell Week", but I've told the guys several times, let's just keep our heads down, work as much as we can, then have a sit down early Thursday to figure out where we are, what big pieces still need to go in the bucket, what's urgent, and what can wait.
Kev has most of his lead vocals in, but we're still missing a lot of guitar leads which we wanted to try and do together in the room.
... and there was still an entire song we needed to do.
... it's not as bad as it seems though... it's pretty common for a tune to get put off to the side for one reason or another... this was mainly because we weren't hearing the typical drum kit set up on it.
We dug in finishing the guitars from the day before, then started working on "Aaron's Song". I'm calling it that because that's what it was originally tilted in the demos.
... side note:
I've said it before but just a reminder. There's no excuse for everyone to not be submitting song ideas for their band these days.
Aaron joked about the rig he was using to record the original demo. No matter how crap you think it is... it's still a way to get an idea down and the internet allows you to send it anywhere in the world... well... anywhere they have internet... and/or it isn't banned.
Aaron had an idea how how he wanted it to sound so I thought it was important to make sure he had a large part in steering the ship from port.
... no typical drums.
... got it.
We referenced a few songs and Alex had some great ideas in getting those drum sounds... one of which was setting up 3 "tom" stations in the live room and bangin' it out.
... too many jokes.
... it was fun though... very Blue Man Group-ish.
... I should probably add, while most of Aaron's Song is coming together, I'm off to the side trying to dig out synth and string parts from the original demo.
We'd made some arrangement changes, so, in PrO tOoLs it's a bit of a headache editing MIDI. It should be simple... but it isn't... and then add on top of that, the... "organizational habits" of the typical band demo.
You're lucky if half the tracks are labeled, any markers are in place for the arrangement.. and it's properly on a grid... without haphazard edits/punches.
There's always plug-ins all over the place though. I love seeing compressor plug-ins on band demos... with setting that are either a) presets that aren't doing anything or b) settings that are doing more harm than good.
Compressors are not EQ's (although can arguably used as EQ's...)... you can't just run in there twistin' knobs!
If you want to use a compressor "like and EQ", just use a limiter. Smash it until it stops moving, then adjust the fader. Done!
Anyway... I spent a around 2.5 hrs digging what was basically 3 tracks. Editing them to fit the new arrangement... and then adjusting the MIDI... so it made sense... even when I was done, I'd probably still finesse the sounds and performances a bit once it's in the actual master session.
... fun times.
... one more thing on that topic... just a reminder that bands sometimes don't see how long that kinda production work can take. Whether a producer is doing it or someone else in the band... it can be a thankless job.
Easy math, if it was a full record's worth... 2.5 X 10 songs... that can be a couple days of exporting stuff... again... fun times.
... tacos for lunch... no time today for NBA JAM.
... oh yeah... the one man camera crew showed up today!
I was curious how Mike (Hough - filmed the last Parabelle DVD at Pawnshop, 2013 I think) would affect the vibe... sometimes (*cough*often*cough*) people change when the camera is on... it was pretty normal though. Some jokes were pulled from the script, but we got most of that out of our system before hand.
I stayed off to the side (again, editing the MIDI) but it was kinda interesting being a fly on the wall for some discussions, mean while there's another fly on the wall filming it.
(... double fly on the wall!)
... I'm curious how Hough will portray me in the DVD. He won't have a ton of footage so my guess is he'll just kill me off... or make me the hero! ... or both... or neither... probably neither. I'm a season 2 character and we're on season 6 I think.
... maybe he'll blow me up in After Effects....
We ended the day trying some guitar leads.
... I'm sure Alex loves to hear the.... experimentation of ideas (possibly mistaken for unpreparedness), but it's how some of our (I can say that now) best work gets done.
We're filling gaps at this point on the tunes and Parabelle isn't the kinda band that gets in a rehearsal space and writes the songs, plays them for 4-6 months, then goes into the studio. A lot is refined (and possibly written) in the studio... and it's nice to throw ideas around in an environment we can actually hear it. When it's good, it fits... when it's not good, it doesn't.
We ended up trying to put a part over a bridge... tried some ideas, Kev suggested a slide guitar part... first try wasn't great but it already sounded like it was going to fit... sounded "right".
... had another meeting around 8:30pm and put a plan together for tomorrow. Last day of Hell Week.
Vocals and guitars... guitars and vocals.
We'll get done what we need... rollin' stop is what I aim for.
Went to Chicken Express for dinner. I'm going to miss the food around here but I miss my kitchen more.
I just started watching "AE: Apocalypse Earth"... it's awful.
What's the deal with CGI looking like a high school project??? There are aliens.
I'm sure they tried hard... but I wish I could've been a fly on the wall the first time people saw the CGI
... do the best with what you have to work with sometimes... most of the time... that's not necessarily a bad thing.
- Mike :-)
.. P.S. I totally forgot about mberry. If you don't know what it is... look it up.
... to be continued.
P.P.S Too tired to re-read all this again... probably more mistakes than usual... way she goes! lol.
P.P.P.S. I just noticed the day/date is wrong on the link... but I need to sleep... and it's a pain to change that. Weebly is Weebly... so I'll learn to live with it.
April 26, 2016 - 11:37pm
Currently watching Zombie Hunter on Crackle.
Today went by fast... I'm glad I didn't end up editing that 2nd song last night... or else I would've been up til 4-5am... then back out the door by 10am.
... one night like that and you're playing catch up... not to mention possibly useless for the day.
... I'm not a coffee drinker.
The plan for today, guitars, vocals, then another drum track.
I set up my laptop in the kitchen to edit those drums... not a bad setup actually.
I could faintly hear the guitars through the wall. I sorta wish I could've been in the control room while Kyle was tracking since the tune was one of my favs on the record (riffs!!!) but way she goes. I'm here to work... "work".
... I really rarely feel like I'm at "work"... I do work a lot though.
We had awesome Chinese food for lunch. I'm trying hard to not eat "fast food" fast food... so I'm open to other options. It was super tasty... spicy chicken. Where was this stuff last week???
Kyle and I played NBA Jam after lunch... epic 61-60 win for the Where There Is No Jazz over... I don't even remember who we played. Came down to Johnny Stockton shooting a 3 at the buzzer to win the game.
We played a 2nd game vs Washington but the computer cheated and they ran away with it in OT. We'll get our revenge tomorrow... Where There Is No Jazz will rise again!
... 3-1 record thus far.
Kev's vocals are sounding great. I'm always impressed with the layers / interweaving vocal lines he thinks of. Sometimes what's in the demos isn't all that'll be there so I think it's best to leave space... as much as you can. Once the vocals are in, you know how much room you have to work with for guitar leads, keyboards / synths, and other "wiz bang" stuff.
So the weather took a turn for the worse around 5pm... Alex showed me on his phone the incoming weather pattern.
... I've learned "don't worry unless the locals worry"... and perhaps "worry" is too strong a word, but the giant red band of weather approaching the studio seemed to be cause for concern. He figured we'd have a few more hours until we should head out... "or we'll just work until we lose power."
... sounds good to me.
The staff and interns disappeared... apparently their families were making sure they were heading home asap.
... ok... maybe this is serious. Kyle has mentioned I might get to see a tornado... sorta want to... sorta good to not. They rip off roofs... throw cars... level subdivisions and stuff. I'm good.
We left around 8:30pm and it was getting pretty dark... you could feel the electricity in the air. It's definitely going to rain... but who knows how bad.
... stopped off at Chick-Fil-a on the way home... chicken sandwich basically... it's good... my mind wasn't blown... much like the Deadpool movie... but it was good.
It started raining here around 10pm. The thunder was loud... loud enough to shake the house.
... Kyle stopped by my room to ask if I wanted a candle or something incase the power cut out.
... I guess we're expecting it to cut out.
... I'm good... I was planning on heading to bed as early as I can tonight... before 1am at least.
... "oh by the way... safest place is the bathroom in case there's a tornado."
... really... that's an "oh by the way"...???
I guess this could be a thing. Again... locals don't seem too worried... I told Kyle to just yell over if it's time for me to go to the bathroom.
Seems to be just a heavy thunderstorm tonight... busy day tomorrow but we're making progress. Yesterday was the important day to set the tone for the rest of the week... it's going by fast though. We finish up Friday then I fly out Saturday afternoon... rest Sunday... then back to work Monday.
P.S. Alex asked if the guys have been posting / linking the studio. Kyle mentioned my blog but really bands need to be on top of taking pics and posting these days... keeping things current and alive on their social media.
I'll admit I've been slacking, but I've been trying... mainly because my 16GB iPhone is terrible... I'm constantly getting messages I'm out of space... and I hate deleting things... I have a lot of pics from tour.
Do not get a low storage smartphone!
That being said, if you're a studio or in a studio and you have staff, interns, assistants available, encourage them to take pics and post/tag. This is a win/win for everyone.
Again, it's great if someone is more apt to taking pics, but it sucks when one person is taking all the pics... since they're ironically in no pics.
I don't know if I'm using the word ironically correctly here, but I'm allowed to... because I'm Canadian.
... thanks Alanis.
April 26, 2016 - 2:19am
... so it turns out the spiders were aliens... and some research/weapons corporation wanted to use their web makin' stuff to develop battle armour or something. What an awful movie. I just spoiled it but I'm sure you could guess after a while... and I'm sure my spoiling it wouldn't stop someone from watching it who wanted to watch it.
Anyway... busy but productive day!
We got back to Kyle's around 11:45pm and I just finished editing some drums for tomorrow. For some reason the 2nd song I wanted to edit didn't copy over properly so for the time being, I'm done for the night. I'm not complaining... I'm super tired... and I probably would've been up til 4:30am finishing it too... then later with this/the blog post.
Started at 11am today... I think Alex was surprised we were on time... not just on time for musicians.
Guitars, then vocals, then finished up with drums in the evening.
Howard went into tracking drums a little blind again... but considering we finished up the prepro demos around 9pm last night... all good though... there was time for him to run them solo in the live room for a bit... which made time for Kyle and Kevin to play Blades Of Steel... and Kyle and I to play NBA Jam... Utah Where There Is No Jazz remains undefeated at 2-0, W 60-58 vs Dallas. It was a pretty epic OT finish.
Dinner was awesome... Mexican... can't remember what it was called or where it was from... and I thought about halfway through destroying it I should've got a pic of it... but I'll push to order it again. It reminded me of my burrito place in Kensington... tasted homemade. *tear*
I'm actually really glad that 2nd song didn't load. I can edit it tomorrow... much rather get some sleep now. It's been a long day but we're in good shape... good start for a Monday!
I'm currently Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark... it's as bad as it sounds.
- Mike :-)
April 24, 2016 - 1:03am
I woke up at 11am today... to my face burning... the sun is strong here... I'm glad I brought sunscreen.
Kevin arrived today. It was good to see him... I don't think we've actually seen each other since tracking the "Air" album a few years ago. He seems to be in good spirits... hopefully he keeps that energy since there's a boatload of work to do this week! lol.
There's so much to do... I started making a production checklist and... there's just a lot that needs to get done. We've been doing 8 hour days (which I prefer) but we'll probably need to go 10-12hr days... and be prepared.
The goal is to have the rest of the album tracking done by the end of the week... so that's my mindset on scheduling... "no backup plan".
We've been working on prepro all day... and threw another song Kyle and I wrote last weekend into the mix. Kev reworked it quite a bit and it's different but cool. I was thinking the album could use another uptempo tune so that's what we were aiming for.
Busy day tomorrow... need to finish these prepro demos so everyone can learn them (for Monday)... I really wanted to have them done tonight so tomorrow is a bit more laid back but way she goes. I'll get up as early as I can and get back to it.
... I'm watching Cowboys VS Dinosaurs on Crackle... I don't know why I like awful movies. Some CGI is just unacceptable... and some cowboys just aren't believable.
P.S. Went to Chicken Express for lunch... pretty awesome.
April 23, 2016 - 1:23am
... we left the studio at 8:40pm and I jokingly told Kyle I'd be in bed around 4am... time flew by this evening.
Nothing too exciting today really... got to the studio around 11:45am. Weather was beautiful... I got a bit of sun while we waiting for Alex to arrive... I didn't mind the sun... although I feel like I could the top of my head beginning to burn... yes... already!
We tracked guitars the first half of the day and bass the last half.
Because of our scheduling, I ended up playing bass on 3 of the tunes today. I actually really enjoy playing bass... especially in studio. I feel it adds a lot (duh), but when you've been listening to music sans bass for a week, it's a much welcome addition.
I'm sure Alex was a huge fan of my having to learn the songs on the fly and get use to playing on his gear... but I think i'm pretty quick even under those circumstances... plus it's fun for me to go into situations like that... and a different experience since I'm not hitting record myself!
... it's such a minor detail but different people can have very different ways of working... and one of the things in life is to always remain teachable... and going into this project working with Alex, I wanted to keep that in mind.
So this week was the easy week. We got a lot done but Kevin (singer) gets in tomorrow... we have 2-3 more songs to do preproduction on, then start tracking on Monday.
... we have a shit ton of stuff left to do.
I'm not worried about not getting it done... it's just going to be a lot of work... and we're going to need to be super prepared to maximize our days.
I think I'm going to keep this short... it's Friday night... and if you aren't out partying, you're already in bed.... it's almost 2am... and I'm super tired.... and I get to sleep in tomorrow... and hopefully go to IHOP... craving.
Oh... I barely took any pics today... my iPhone is a POS.... always out of storage.
- Mike :-)
P.S. 60 Days In was a huge let down this week. If you don't know what that is... look it up... friggin' Robert.
P.P.S. Too much fast food this week. I do not feel any faster.
April 22, 2016 - 12:35am
I got back to the house around 10pm... I don't know why I couldn't get to bed before midnight... I was up way too late last night... almost 4am the last time I checked the clock... the time vampire that is the internet, facebook, chat, and youtube.
Ah well... my own fault.
Today was a good day... easy morning, made breakfast then Kyle and I headed to the studio for noon. We were going to be late... I knew we should've left earlier... and running a studio for several years, I know how annoying it is for bands to show up late all the time.
Ah well... my own fault.
The weather was really nice out for a change. It's been raining most of the time but today was a few clouds and blue sky. Sun was warm and hoped it wasn't too hot out for jeans and a button up shirt... I don't want be that sweaty guy in the studio all day... control rooms with consoles (SSL) can get pretty warm.
Ah well... I was fine... but it would've been my own fault since I know better.
We saw the aftermath of a nasty accident on the highway.
Kyle was quick enough to make a decision and get off the highway tro go around... I could see it from the off ramp though... the one car's front end was totalled and the front end and side of the other was crumpled.
The paramedics were working on one of the occupants as we went by.
... I had this urge to get my phone out to take a pic before we could see it.
... I felt really guilty after that was a thought that went through my head.
... the paramedics were working on someone as we passed... judging by the damage to the cars, my guess was they were in bad shape.
There's nothing you can really do at that point though... it's completely out of your hands as a passerby.
We saw a woman yesterday who'd most likely run out of gas had abandoned her car and was walking along the highway.
I kept looking at how far she needed to go for help... then thought about how her footwear was designed to sit at a desk... not walk along the highway
... then thought about how maybe it's karma she's in that position... or maybe there's a reason she needs to be late to her destination... maybe she'll meet someone.
Again... not much you can really do to help when you're going 70mph... and the way my brain works... I'm more curious what lead to her (possibly) running out of gas.
I don't even know if she actually ran out of gas...
I got a text from a friend asking if I regret not seeing Prince last month once we arrived at the studio.
"Did he die?
... of all the losses this year so far... Bowie topped my list but Prince moved him down to 3rd... I felt the need to leave a space.
... it felt very much out of nowhere.
... we didn't talk about it much at the studio, but it was on my mind all day.
... at least it wasn't an accident... or drugs... or suicide... or murder.
... maybe he had a heart attack or something... or that flu turned worse... even though he wasn't that old, he still wasn't that young either... and the body does what the body does as it ages.
(... I know now the word is it may have stemmed from a drug overdose... but I'm choosing to believe there's a logical explanation what happened.)
We're losing artists.
... like... really losing them lately.
I look at someone like Prince or Bowie... and in today's market, I don't think they're supposed to make it... it doesn't matter how good their music would've/could've been or how talented they are... or would've been. It doesn't matter... they probably wouldn't have gotten a chance in this market. I feel like large amount of exceptional musicians today get caught in a trap of playing for other musicians... when 20 years ago, they could've been nurtured and brought to the public.
Prince was Prince.
He didn't apologize, he didn't ask permission... unless it would've been the Prince thing to do so.
Part of me hopes this is fake... or part of a bigger campaign where he pops up at the Super Bowl or something... probably not but I'm saying it here first!
... sounds like that's not the case though.
My Facebook feed has been Prince all day... people sharing stories mostly... or quotes/clips.
... I think the scarier part as my age group grows older... is there's going to be a patch where our idols and icons stop dying... and 20 years later it's going to start being our turn.
Real talk for a minute... I've accepted that half my life very well could be over. This is a thing... and I can only imagine how my parents (Happy Birthday Mom! :-)) feel when the thought crosses their mind. It's one thing to discuss a will... it's another to see the age group... and the trend.
Prince will leave us with songs and stories... of all the things you can't take with you, it's ironically the best thing about.
I don't regret not seeing him live last much as much as I'm saddened we'll never cross paths in real life. In a weird way I thought I would... there were a few signs over the years were I thought it could be a thing... and I could tell my parents I saw him... or better yet, met him.
It's days like today though I'm glad I made the decision to go deeper into music... I've been both feet in for... let's say, 15 years now.
... like that car crash this morning reminded me... work towards meaningful work... everyday.
(Deja vu looking at my computer on the bed...)
"Leave it better than you found it" is another saying I repeat whenever I'm grumbling internally about something.
We tracked guitars all day... creating songs that really have no real purpose until it finds a home and meaning with the listeners... and with this album, Parabelle has raised quite a bit of funds from their fanbase before a single note was (really) recorded... they're anticipating it meaning something to them.
... that's pressure... but it doesn't feel like work.
... passing a guitar around showing everyone in the room what they heard in their head isn't work... somebody went to work today and pulled someone out of a wrecked car and tried to keep them alive.
... I've thought about that for years, having family and friends in medicine... the thing about my job is I don't go to work about worry about people dying. Nobody dies at my work if I don't do my job.
... days like today though I'm reminded that's not exactly the case.
... artists help people enjoy the good times and get through the bad... and I think helping people through the bad is the #1 job of any artist.
... so in theory, someone could die if I don't do my job... and what's worse is I'd never even know.
(Deja vu again... this time from a dream I'm pretty sure... such a weird day...)
Kyle and I played a serious game of NBA Jam while Alex was taking a break to help another band that dropped by. We beat Dallas 62-60. I was John Stockton, he was Karl Malone.
The day in the studio ended with Alex, Kyle, and myself passing a guitar around trying leads on a few songs... today was a good day.
"I used to have seizures when I was young. My mother and father didn't know what to do or how to handle it but they did the best they could with what they had."
April 21, 2016 - 2:41am
... I just can't get to bed at a decent hour! lol. Granted... I was editing drums tonight... but I was done at least a couple hours ago... then internet took over and now it's going to be 3:30am by the time I finish this... we're back in a bit earlier tomorrow so it should be fine... I can still sleep in!
My day started out pretty good... did some emails, made breakfast... then Kyle popped out of his room and asked me if I wanted to go for breakfast with him and his lady...
... 2nd breakfast!
Ended up at IHOP... sorta hope we can go again tomorrow because pancakes are awesome.. but that might just be getting greedy.
Ran some errands on the way to the studio... hit up a Walmart for some household supplies, some crazy electronics supplier called Mouser (...?)... Kyle needed some parts to fix his studio monitor... yeah, we've been doing all our demos using one speaker.... double tracking guitar and mixing with just one speaker... and my ear buds.... and my laptop. Good times.
It was a bit of a car ride for a while this afternoon... I wish I could've gotten pictures of so many things.
The highlight was a store called "Dino Fireworks".... they had a picture of a dinosaur riding a firework on the side of the building... at least that's what I think I remember... I'm pretty tired so it might not have been.. but it probably was.
So studio... tracked rhythm guitars in the afternoon. Alex had Kyle going through a VHT Deliverance and EVH 5150 though some kinda 4X12... not sure who makes it. The 5150 sounded good but that VHT sounded awesome! Alex also has one of those "robot mics" so you can remotely adjust where it's place on the speaker via your phone. It's pretty awesome... I want one.
... I gotta be honest too... gear wise... this place (Empire Sound) is fantastic! ... and I'm not even really a gear guy! It's fun to see all the amps, guitars, basses, pedals, etc ready to be used. Even the drum room/storage lots of toys.
Do you need all this stuff to make a great sounding record? Not really... but will you get a better performance if you feel inspired and have so many possible tones at your fingertips? No excuses, but it absolutely helps.
Highlights today... pinball. I've only played once since arriving, I could see it becoming addictive though... I shall play more again tomorrow... later today... whatever.
Second highlight... DINNER! I think it was called Babe's Chicken or something... I took a pic but it doestn't do it justice... sooooooo much gravy... soooo good. I could've eaten twice as much for taste... but I didn't want to be "that guy".
(... it's raining again... another thunderstorm!)
I should get to bed... I'll add some more details to the comments in the pics... sometimes that helps me remember...
Tracks are sounding great! It's still very early on in the process for most of the tunes, but we're definitely off to a good start. :-)
Alright... sleepy time.
P.S. Never assume your corn is ok.
April 20, 2016 - 2:09am
... I'm sorry everybody... I'm sorry... but recording just isn't that exciting. It's starting to become apparent that all the stuff that goes on in my day that I find somewhat interesting, happens outside the studio... and anything interesting that happens in the studio, should sorta stay in the studio... see previous blog post for reasons why... combined with it being just another day at the office for me.
... I'm super tired right now too... just finished uploading some drums for Alex (Gerst) in case he wants to bring them into the session early tomorrow. Figured it might save some time... it's a 45 min drive.
(... another huge thunderstorm just rolled in... the thunder just shook the house!)
... I have no idea where the time went this morning. I woke up, did some emails, skype meeting, checked facebook... ate breakfast, shaved/showered (day 1 at Empire Sound today!), then started transferring the sessions for the studio (guide tracks for drums).
... totally forgot Kev made some edits on his end that I hadn't yet done on mine... so something that should've taken 15 minutes ended up taking 45... to get one done... I'm glad the plan was to just do the one song today... since that's all that was ready!
So... Wing Stop... me likey!
Kyle took me there for lunch... I'd mentioned wings (aka when's wing night?) and he immediately said/suggested Wing Stop.
.... Wing Stop is good... and considering the price... it's going to be tough to not go there... everyday. It's dangerously close to the studio.
(... this thunder is MASSIVE!!!)
They have all these flavours... you get to pick two... I went with traditional hot and mango habanero... it was so good!
... I want more right now.
Only complaint... and I saw it happening in real time... the guy prepping my fries... his saltin' was a little too free spirited... a little too lax. The amount of salt that I saw go into that big ol' metal bowl... it was "end of shift" salty... it was "salt water" salty... he really should've just shook some fries into a bowl of salt... not the other way around.... so salty.
... I powered through most of it... they were so salty that I was using blue cheese dipping sauce to tone down the salt!
... think about that!
(... sweet fudge bars this storm isn't messing around... I'd heard about Houston but hopefully that doesn't happen here... I am curious to see how the flooding on the roads works around here though... there are signs all over the place.)
After lunch we headed to the studio... Empire Sound.
... it has vibe, cool staff, and tons of instruments.
... I love it!
I'll take more pics but today/this morning I thought I'd update my apps... but my POS 16GB iPhone 5s decided to max out the storage, somewhat bricking my phone for most of the day. I know deleting a couple videos would solve the problem... but I'm just not ready to (although they are backed up) remove Loaner Cat and tour videos... I like having them on hand in case of emergency.
(... if this storm finds my remaining fries... and washes them into any waterways... they will become undrinkable water supplies.)
The ESP (guitars) dealer dropped by soon after... they wanted to show Kyle a few guitars... he's PRS endorsed I think, and also reps or distributes a few companies... or something along those lines... I was too salted to hear details today.
... there's no TV in the control room... I found this interesting.
Howard got in around 5pm and we got to tracking the first (only... lol... *cough*) tune.
Despite not having much time at all, he threw down pretty well!
Side note... it's a pet peeve when people announce they haven't had much time to sit with a song or even practice. In the studio, you get several swings, and then you can comp or further examine what you're playing. Of course it's nice to have learned/practiced tunes... but the time necessary to track either preparedness level... it's not far apart.... seriously... if you have moderate ability.
Write the arrangement, add a few notes (make it a cheat sheet), run through the tune a few times, listen back, run through it a few more... should be good to go!
... even easier with guitars and bass since you can scrub through them.
Somehow it was like 9:30pm by the time we left... I wanted to stop by Walmart but Kyle was pretty set on grabbing dinner... dinner was Whataburger.
... I kept thinking everyone was saying "Water Burger"... was pretty curious what the water was all about.
... Americian accents, eh?
Burger was good... reminded me of a Whopper but better.
Side note... the drink sizes here... I'm at a loss for words... our medium cups could easy fit inside their medium... I'm convinced "Large" is just a hose.
Started editing around 11:30pm... surprised it took so long for me to get working... it's not like I've been doddling.
... alright... I should put MST3K on and get to sleep... I'm starting to do that thing where I rest my eyes while I'm tying to type and then I doze off... then read what I type and ot ;;pls like tjis.
Full day tomorrow... good times.
P.S. I need sleep.
P.P.S. I just woke up... I dreamt I'd already moved this from my gmail into my blog... not cool!
... and a bad use of dream!
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!