October 26, 2016 - 11:19am
... it crept up again... running a business is "spinning plates" most of the time... and when your schedule is steady... and then full... some things get put off... week after week.
... believe me, I've written a ton of blogs in my head the last few weeks!
... or I guess... months now.
... in short, things are good! :-)
I've been finishing up another children's album with Charlie Hope and keeping steady with several mix projects. The new Parabelle album came out yesterday as well... but while trying to keep on top of all of these... I started another business... using any nook and cranny of time I could find lately.
I produced a few songs for Reid Henry and Brendan McMillan (My Darkest Days) back in January that we've been sitting on the better part of the year now. Reid came out with Age Of Days (Disturbed tour) in February and we got along pretty well (you learn a lot about people on tour). We discussed doing some more tracks but didn't get a chance to "finish the EP" until June/July.
"Do you think we have time to do a full album?"
Reid's tone was half joking... which is fine... since I was thinking the same thing.
We launched the band 3 weeks ago... and I've also taken on the responsibility to manage the project for the time being.
It's been a real eye opener.
It's one thing to suggest bands/artists do things (from the sidelines), but it's (so far) been a lot of fun getting into the game to see what it's like!
Of course, touring gives me that sense as well... but on the business side of being a band/artist... the promotion end... I think back to the days of MySpace and ICQ... and the landscape these days... the ability for bands to reach out to potential fans directly... IT'S AMAZING!!!
Perhaps the initial luster will wear off after a few weeks or months... or years... but as of right now, it's energizing.
I still love the studio side, but I really, really, really miss touring too. I miss waking up in different cities, I miss the 24 hour workday (cycle), I miss meeting the locals, and I miss the adrenaline rush of hearing the intro hit the venue mains. I miss it.
I'm excited about getting back to the tour blog, but also to share some of the discoveries, successes, failures, results, and advice in general from playing in, managing, and producing a band.
The landscape has changed a lot the last few years... and it's not about wearing all the hats, all the time. I look forward to building the team but it's reassuring knowing the group currently in place have similar work ethic, experience, and goals.
...we have big plans for 2017... fingers and toes crossed at least 10% of the plans work out. If you're curious, I'll leave a link to the first single below.
If all goes well... I might need a bigger blog.
- Mike :-)
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 28, 2016 - 12:59am
I'm watching Airplane Vs Volcano... it's awful.
I'm pretty sure I missed something major... but this movie makes no sense. First off... you can't fight a volcano... it has no arms... second... why would a volcano need fighting? Especially a fight with planes... planes are expensive!
Today was very productive. I laid down a quick drum track as soon as we arrived (11am) and then went to edit while Kyle dug in on guitars.
... drum wise I'm super out of shape.
Since tour, I went straight into The Sole Pursuit album and we set up an acoustic guitar station where my kit would normally be. I think I got home February 26 (?) and I don't think I've played drums more than 5 minutes since then. I'm not proud of that but it happens.
Even when I was at my old studio, sometimes I'd have other drummers kits in for a week or two and I wouldn't get a chance to play.
I don't like playing other peoples set ups... it's really uncomfortable. Even this aft... I tried playing it like "normal" but things are just not where they should be... looks cool though!
... it's fine though... sounds like drums... and it was fun.
Kevin got through a ton of vocals today. That's always a huge piece of the puzzle so I'm glad we're in good shape there.
I know I'm zipping through the day here... I'll be honest... I'm tired... but it went by fast.
The evening ended with Kyle and I doing a few more guitar tracks.
On a slightly funny / studio humour tip... Alex left the room and I was running PrO tOoLs while he was gone... 2 minutes later I get a message his iLok authorization is missing..
For those of you don't know understand this... iLok keys (physical USB key) hold your licenses for the program. Without it, no authorization. No authorization, no running PrO tOoLs.
This is a big deal if you're working in PrO tOoLs 7 days a week... and it could take a week or two to get your licenses back.
Turns out, my plugging my trackball in probably caused a hiccup on the USB buss... but still... Kyle made a joke about it before it was confirmed "ok" but it was potentially NOT GOOD before we knew for sure.
The day ended with Kyle and I playing a game of NBA jam, head-to-head.
... Phoenix Vs Orlando.
I sent it into OT with a 3-point buzzer beater.
... short story shorter, we screwed up the buttons to confirm OT (arcade version) and it ended the game... 51-51... so we'll never know that I won.
I had momentum.
Steak 'n Shake is crossed off my list of places to try. It was good... the chocolate shake I got was the business though... I was half done it before we got our food.
Ok... I should get to bed... maybe the pics from today will reminded me of other stuff that happened but for the most part... I'm really noticing how I still haven't really seen anything, "tourist" wise.
It's sorta like being on tour... a bit of driving, but it's really just back and forth from the gig.
... not complaining... just hard for some people to understand I can be gone for 2 weeks and not have really seen anything. Empire Sound Studio is pretty awesome though... I'd sleep there if I could... they have video games.
... lots of'em.
Mike Hough arrives tomorrow. He filmed / produced the "making of" DVD for the Starry Eyes album I did with Parabelle. I look forward to hangin' with him a few days... I'll be honest, he's missed a lot of gold the last 2 weeks... but I'm sure there'll be enough the next few days to justify the trip.
Ok... I really need sleep!
... 2 days left.
- Mike :-)
P.S. Too tired to edit/re-read this tonight. Hopefully fine in the morning. lol.
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 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. :-/
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.
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!