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 25, 2016 - 12:17am
... I don't remember how Cowboys Vs Dinosaurs ended... I passed out pretty quick after posting yesterday.
I just finished watching Earthquake 10.0 and have moved onto Spiders.
I love "bad movies"... although they aren't horrible... but there's some self aware bad writing in them... or maybe the writers realize they've kinda screwed themselves with the story or plot so they need to just brush over a few things... and just have the audience go along with them for a minute.
... for example in the last movie, they need to "remove" 2 of the side characters from the story... so the writers decided to have them "do it" in a cave... and then one the aftershocks of the earthquake caused the ceiling to collapse on them.
... like... seriously.
... or lesson learned.
... or maybe both.
... Spiders is about giant spiders living under New York City... I love the amount of stock footage they use in big city movies like this too... the city is always bumpin' until they go back to the scenes they shot for the movie... then the crowds, bystanders, traffic, etc... all disappear.
People = Money
Anyway... I don't know what these spiders are planning... but I'll probably be asleep before I find out.
So I woke up around 9am and was back working on demos soon after.
In short... we got a lot done today... as much as we could actually. Kyle, Kevin, and I finished up around 8pm and then went out for dinner to also have a quick prepro meeting... where we discussed nothing really about the album.
... I was kinda good to not think about the album for a bit... it's been non-stop... but then again, that's why I'm here.
I'm really liking the tunes we wrote/worked on this weekend... you know you're in good shape when a chorus is stuck in your head.
I had a chat with them about cool vs good songs. Everyone wants their songs to be cool... but good songs have a longer shelf life... and good falls on melody and lyrics... cool rests simply on "something cool happening", but not lyric or melody related.
There's a balance...
Make it good, then make it cool.
... if that makes sense.
Side note... I was going over some PrO tOoLs files tonight... from a large, pro studio, with a decent reputation... or at least a decent reputation for a long time.
... it's a friggin' mess.
I'm just going to assume it was jr engineers or worse... interns/new staff who did it... but it's a by-product of shrinking budgets and studios pulling back on staff.
You have all sorts of people thinking they can work in studios, or record in general, but they have no idea about even the basics... and when you ask them if they need a hand (or call them out on their lack of knowledge) they say they're fine... and then you're going back and forth 5 times trying to get basic things accomplished... and if you complain, then they see you as fussy or a pain in the butt.
Dude... there's 146 audio files missing!
... that's not a complaint! That's a $#&%ing problem!!
There isn't a ton you can do either if you're waiting on them to send files properly.
#DearBands - If you're working in a large studio (or any studio for that matter), at the end of your time there, bring your own hard drive, save a copy of the session to it, and make sure your copy opens. This way if it doesn't, someone screwed up and you're still there to make sure it works.
It's not rocket science.
Anyway... I have no idea what's going on in this Spiders movie...I think it's bed time for me. Last week was busy but next week is going to be a test for everybody.
If you're reading this, please send good vibes there are no studio gremlins that pop up and make life miserable. We need momentum tomorrow to carry us through the end of the week.
I'm here til Saturday... this needs to be done by then.
That's why I'm here.
- Mike :-)
P.S. Lunch was amazing today... went to a place called Penera Bread. It was healthy and tasty. I had a ham and swiss sandwich w/ chicken asian apple salad. The salad was exactly what I needed to combat all the fried foods last week. You might not make friends with salad, but sometimes you just wanna be alone... with salad.
P.P.S. This is one huge spider. :-/
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!