January 23, 2017 - 10:01pm
It's 10pm!!! ... and I'm sitting down to write this on an uncomfortably high table in another hotel lobby.
Just got the the mastering back from The Sole Pursuit album I produced last year... so far I'm only 3 tracks in but it's soundin' pretty *boss.
Gonna get sidetracked for a second... but when I saw the email notification pop up this evening... it really sunk in I've changed gears.
I love making records... well I have a love/hate relationship with making records because as they say "art is never finished, only abandoned".
Early on, it was really difficult for me to finishing things... since I'd always go to bed thinking it could be better... which it very well could be... but if your intention is to always finish it tomorrow, it never gets finished... and eventually you pick at it so much it becomes infected.
Long story short, when it came time for mix, the guys in The Sole Pursuit brought up the idea of opening things up to some outside mixers... which I was totally cool with! The names they brought up... F&@% YEAH! I was curious what they might do with the tracking... since we all thought it was soundin' pretty *boss so far.
Some people might feel threatened but I was curious how my work would stack up against some decent names with awesome credits.
They made it clear they still wanted me to mix a draft of the album (which I still would've anyway just for peace of mind... and my sanity... since I had an idea of how I wanted the album to sound based on our pre-pro discussions and references.
I hustled to get the Pro Tool sessions prepped/cleaned up (something I typically do while I'm (pre)mixing... and then realized how close the deadline was for me... but I was determined to make sure the outside mixer and my mixes (draft of the album) would show up at the same time.
It was a lot of late nights getting things ready and the same thing getting the mixes together. You'd think a couple weeks is a long time to mix 12 songs but time flies once you start getting into the details... and chasing ideas you have in your head.
Right up until the end, I pulled a couple all-nighters to get things together... the very last day even, it just worked out (I mix at home) my housemate was away... and I mix pretty loud in the final stages, to make sure it "moves air".
... I love hearing great stuff LOUD!
... plus I hear different frequencies (or at least I think I do) when I have stuff at a comfortably loud volume.
So my deadline I think was June 1st... and I missed it by a couple hours... but I remember thinking... this is the best I can do... I uploaded it for the guys... and I went to bed.
... I knew I'd feel good about it in the morning... in the the creative industry... real talk for a moment... you know when you've tried your best because you know whatever it is you're sending out into the world contains a piece of you. You want to see it do well... you want other people to like it... but you love it and you hope other people love it too.
... and you know when you've phoned it in because you don't make the effort to hear how it's doing... it's just out in the world... it's just "there"... and you're onto the next one... often looking forward to one you REALLY want to do your best on.
... and I think this is why people new to creative industries are so sensitive about feedback and criticism... they try their best and feel it's good... and they become attached to it... and regardless if it's good or not they want other people to like it.... early on, it's typically not that great though... but they need feedback in order to get better.
... which is another reason I think the older you get, and the better you get, the more particular you want to be about the projects you take on. If you just get paid... you don't get that "thing" from it that brings joy... you want meaningful work... hell... I still get asked what I do for a living after telling people what I do for a living.
(... almost through this album... still sounding boss!)
... I think it was the next day I heard back from the guys about the album... they loved it... they loved it a lot.
I've said it before, you don't get to choose how you feel but I was ear-to-ear grinning on my back porch... I'd done my best AND they loved it.
It was painful waiting this long for it to go to mastering since (real talk) it's not done until it's in the packaging in my world... even then, sometimes people pry the lid back off and mess around with it further.
So all that... it sunk in this evening that I might not be making records for a while... in fact, the weeks leading up I decided to refer a few projects to other producer/mixers... knowing I won't be around... and even if it bites me in the ass when I get back, I didn't want to have studio gigs lined up when I get back because... my focus is on the band and our focus is to play a lot this year... sometimes it's best to build the wings on the way down... failure isn't an option.
(... I put phaser fx on the drums!!! Forgot... brings me joy. *tear*)
In business they call it a pivot when your model and priority changes... but it's still weird thinking I don't really plan on making any records in the near future... not that I don't want to... but if things work out on the band front....
... and things seem to be going pretty good right now.
It's fitting I'm listening to this right now... I dove right into making this record when I got home from the Disturbed tour last year... and it consumed me for a couple months. It's giving me some closure on what I sorta feel like is a chapter of my life... 10+ years of helping bands make records.
... almost done listening through and only a couple notes... awesome.
(... time delayed pitch shifted vocal throw!! ... sounds expensive. *tear*)
Sorry if this seems like I'm going nowhere which this... just sharing my thoughts as I listen through in real time... 2 songs left!
Even the last project I handed off.... it was difficult since in my head I knew where I could get it sonically... if I just had more time... but I made peace it was in good hands and made peace with the idea that I had to abandon it.
... the people I work with deserve my best.
(... 1 song left.)
I'm confident this album will finish strong... I guess I should talk about the day... well...
... woke up at 9am... went back to the "office" aka business center... finished off the YouTube uploads of [Destroy + Rebuild] and got them uploaded (meant to have them up on the 20th but... busy as F lately). We went to Denny's... I had oatmeal... drove to another hotel... did more work online/emails... did laundry with Dane while Reid and Brendan went to Manhattan for a couple meetings... went to the gym for an hour... got cleaned up and back to work.
... join a band they said... see the world they said... it'll be fun they said!
So far so good.
Up at 6am tomorrow to go do radio in... Harrisburg I think... Reid set it up... I'm just looking forward to hotel breakfast (no dinner) and making our way closer to the next show... feels like forever!
Ok... the album is done... I give it solid 9.7/10... mainly knocked off some points because I'm biased.
Bed time for me.
- Mike :-)
P.S *Boss = Good
P.P.S I devised a plan to take the pen.
P.P.P.S. We were added to Octane Accelerator... which sounds like "regular rotation".. from the sounds of it... fingers crossed we make it into their Big 'Uns Countdown... asking a lot but we'll see!
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!