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Monday, November 30, 2009

The FP Fish Have Returned!!!

OK...

After many reports and complaints of the FP Fish 'disappearing', I have gone to the trouble of restocking them in a slightly larger aquarium with cleaner water. I have also upgraded their food supply from the generic black stuff to a more fish-friendly greenish-grey variety. Hopefully their new environs will be more conducive to their delicate health. Also, I'd like to dispel any myths or rumors our readers may have heard regarding the feeding of the FP Fish. Being of the Koi/Goldfish variety, the FP Fish are in little (if any) danger of being overfed. You may feed them as often as you wish for as long as you wish. They won't eat themselves to death and disappear again. I suspect that the former fish coding picked up a virus, which in turn killed the former FP Fish. An underlying coding virus would also explain why those who encountered missing fish were all on Windows-based PC's, whereas I never had any problems seeing or feeding the FP Fish when using my Mac laptop (FYI, Macs don't get viruses). At any rate, $#!t Happens folks. But it's all good now and the new FP Fish are adjusting well to their new home.

Also, you may have noticed there are more fish in the FP Fish Tank. Previously we had eight fish in our care. Now there are ten. I figure since we moved up to a bigger tank, we could allow for more fish. Makes good sense. And the new fish now have names: the three orange ones are Ed, Tiger, and Jaws (female, male, and female respectively). The three black fish are Monique, Jamaica and Samson, two brothers and their sister. Then the two red ones are Tiny and Red, a boy and girl, although they are not of any birth relation. Then there is the yellow one we call Number Nine (we aren't sure if Nine is a boy or girl....kind of hard to tell with yellow goldfish....don't ask!). And lastly there is the strikingly beautiful albino named The Brain, although you may notice he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed (he is oftentimes the last fish to get to any food you may drop in the tank unless you put the food very close to him). We thought it best to give everyone in the FP Fish Tank proper names this time around so that we can keep tabs on all of them better. You never know what may happen in the fish tank....

So there you have it folks. That's the deal on the new FP Fish. If you notice any hanky-panky going on in the fish tank then just make sure it isn't between Monique and Samson, since they are siblings, and fish incest would be bad and might result in disadvantaged (i.e. 'fugly') goldfish babies with missing scales or fins and/or bulging eyes. Other than that, it's all fair game in the world of fish. Also, please post on this blog or email us immediately in the event that any of the FP Fish start disappearing again. I usually try to feed the FP Fish once a day but sometimes a couple of days might pass by before I can check in on them again. But in the words of Former First Lady Hillary Clinton, "Our lives are a mixture of different roles....Most of us are doing the best we can to find whatever the right balance is"....Or in layman's terms, if we all pool our efforts together to take care of our new finned friends, then the world will be a better place.

Hope you enjoy the new FP Fish Tank....

Regards,

Todd

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weekly Update 11-28-09

How time flies....

1) As many of you know, we posted a preview of 'Sycamore' on our blog by way of a YouTube video. Nothing fancy, but it should wet the appetite for what is to come. I really can't say this enough that 'Sycamore' is just the tip of the iceberg. We have a ton of material on the back-burners waiting for adequate time to finish writing and recording. As such, I keep coming up with more lyric ideas as well as basic riffs and arrangements. So we literally just try to capture a 'sketch' of those things on my iPhone or whatever else is handy at the moment. But if you could 'hear' the ideas as we 'hear' them....More and more, FP is becoming a well-oiled machine and the more we work on stuff the more fun it gets.

2) Matt and I have been tracking his drums this week for the second song 'Some Other Year' and all I can say is 'wow'. In 10-12 hours of sessions we have literally knocked out over half of the drum sections, including the editing. Amazing really. And to give everyone a better scope of how much work and data that is...we are currently have 7.49 GB of hard drive space taken up over the span of 992 individual files. Granted the bulk of those files are out-takes, but it takes a while to record that many pieces. We have been recording and editing as we go, and we are using 15 mics on his drum kit this time around: 3 mics on the snare drum, 1 mic/each on the three toms, 1 mic on the hi-hat, 1 mic on the ride cymbal, 4 mics on the kick drum, 2 overhead mics above the entire kit, and 1 omnidirectional mic in a air duct that is connected to the drum room. Fortunately, we are getting much more efficient at mic selection/placement, and so things are sounding pretty stellar.

3) I'll continue singing sections for the 'Sycamore' this next week. Also, FP is rehearsing this week to iron out a few kinks in the bridge/last chorus section of 'Some Other Year' before we actually continue recording Matt's drums. But the goal is to have the drums wrapped up in the next 7-10 days (depending on everyone's schedules of course). Then the bass tracks will get recorded along with a bunch of the guitar parts. I actually plan on using my Line6 Vetta amp head for a lot of the guitar tracks in this one, largely due to a nicely syncopated stereo 'tremolo' effect. We'll see how that goes. The Vetta has always done well in the past...

That's all for this week. Again, I am most likely overlooking something...

Peace....

~ Todd

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Official 'Sycamore' Preview Is now LIVE

Hello All...

We promised a song preview by Thanksgiving Day and we delivered. If you'll look directly below (and to the left of) the main FP Banner....

Here's the scoop...

1) The audio is merely a rough draft of the first verse and first chorus. Most of the essential elements are in place but the mix is not 'there'. Since we are still recording new elements/sections to the song, we won't be mixing anything properly until the tracking is complete. But the audio gets the point across and hopefully it will leave listeners anxious to hear more.

2) The video is a collage of various points in FP history where we have been working, eating, horsing around, whatever, and all of the filming was done by Jake and my son Tyler. All video editing/direction was courtesy of Tyler.

3) As of this point, Sycamore needs the remaining vocals recorded, the bridge section guitar solo parts tracked, various odds and ends (i.e. audio bling), and possibly some vocals elements from my sister Charlyn. But every day we are making progress....

4) We are also simultaneously working on recording the drums for the second song 'Some Other Year'. Busy. Busy. Busy....

Hope you enjoy the Preview! Be sure to post some comments! We'd love to hear from you!

~ Todd

Friday, November 20, 2009

Matt Awakens

Ok, ok...I know what you're all thinking. You all think that Todd is making all this up about a band since he's the only one that posts on this BAND blog. The truth is that we do exist, we just aren't as tech savvy as Mr. Todd. I did feel on the eve of this long week of recording that I, Matt Goodner, should sound off a bit.

Although I would much rather prefer playing live events, I do enjoy the recording process. The process of recording is a very tedious, in depth experience that really helps to discover the song. Sure, we have the main frame of the song all planned out, but when we review and record each section line by line, we often stumble on some really sweet ideas. Some ideas can be as basic as moving a few notes around, others can be so severe as to change the whole structure of the section. You just never know. Once we do figure out how we want to arrange each section, the real work begins. This task involves tens, even hundreds, of repetitions of the same section looking for that elusive perfect take. This rare moment is the mecca of recording, it's the tootsie roll in the middle of the tootsie pop, the oh, so rewarding final take. That may be a little hyped up, but it's a good moment and I hope to have many, many of those moments in the upcoming week.

Not to be forgotten, so much more hard work is done in preparation of the actual recording of the drums. We have to arrange, move, arrange, move, arrange, and then most likely move again, all of the mics and stands to make them all fit around the kit. Once we get the placement correct, we have to make sure the spacing is consistent with all of out previous recordings. After a few hours of that, we get to run cables from the recording room to the actual studio so we can plug EVERYTHING in. Phew....all this talk about work is making me tired. Hey Todd, why don't we just hold off on this for a while? Haha, I'm only kidding, I'm anxiously awaiting the recording of "Some Other Year." It's going to be an awesome song and I can't wait to get started so all ya'll can hear it and be a part of it. Hang in there with us....we've got some excellent material headed your way.


Thanks as always,
Matt

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Sycamore Preview

Just a quick public service announcement that our upcoming song 'Sycamore' will indeed 100% be officially featured in some sort of preview by this Thanksgiving. The Polls will open until Monday night at Midnight, and then we'll act accordingly. We can't wait to let people hear a quick demo mock-up of what we have been up to. It won't be a finished product, but you'll be able to catch some of the vibe we've been conjuring up.

Also, one positive byproduct of us promising an early preview of our first song is that it has placed a deadline on certain things, and honestly I work harder under a deadline. Even if it is self-imposed. It has never been my intent on taking months and months on our first song, but honestly there has been lots more to all-things-FP than just working on 'Sycamore'. First we tried to record (and later put-away-for-a-rainy-day) an instrumental piece called 'Saying Goodbye'. That was back in June. That started just before Jake came onboard. Then we stumbled upon the basic idea/lyrics to 'Sycamore' and so we started thinking more in that direction. At that point we were really finding out what we were shooting for as a band and things started evolving from there.

Then we recorded Matt's drums for 'Sycamore' back in late August (when it was still blazing hot outside), then Jake laid his bass parts down, and then I recorded most of the guitars (still have more to layer in....including a cool solo section). Then it was at that point that I realized my studio room in my house would be a roadblock when it came time to mix things down, so I then took some time away from recording in order to fix everything sonically. That process, which involved lumber, 70'ish feet of R30 pink insulation, almost 60 feet of wire fencing material, at least 5 rolls of duct tape, nearly 30 yards of some sweet looking orange fabric, and a million staples (give or take a few), finished early last week. Phew....

So now I am in the slow and methodical process of singing the vocal parts, which by the way is a fairly new hat for me to be wearing. Other than a song I had recorded a few years ago called 'I Don't Care', I've done hardly any singing at all in my life other than at church (in the pews) and way back in grade school. I would like to take vocal lessons at some point and learn how to do a better job of it, but for now there just isn't enough time in the schedule for that. Another day perhaps. But that is on my radar....

And in the meantime, while all of the 'Sycamore' and studio rebuild stuff was taking place, we wrote and arranged a second song called 'Some Other Year' and we will begin recording drums for that song this coming weekend and part of next week. Once we have that one rolling along enough for Jake and Matt to move on to the next thing, we'll most likely start working on song #3 called 'Marigolds'. And of course there are several other song/lyrical concepts in the chute at this point with working titles like 'Rabbit Hole', '451 Sandusky Drive', 'Careless', 'Aperture', '3:31 a.m.' and a few other works-in-progress. It is really just a matter of getting time to make them happen and to do the recordings as we are able.

Now to be clear (because most people just don't get this) the process to crafting each song is very similar to designing and building a house. Make plans, make a schedule, and then get ready to work for a good stretch before things start to take shape. Tons of pre-production goes into a song before we even consider trying to officially 'record' anything. We do capture a lot of ideas on my iPhone or with a single mic hanging in the room when we rehearse. So the ideas are definitely flowing. But it can just be a trick (and nearly impossible) just trying to keep up with recording stuff because of the amount of time and detail required to do things 'right'. But there's no sense in doing something if you aren't willing to go all the way with it. Otherwise we'd be just like everybody else....

So this is the last post I'll make before we hand out the 'Sycamore' demo. People are working hard behind the scenes to make things happen for us. A big thanks goes out to my son Tyler (for photo and video editing/design and for 'hearing' my ideas and making good creative suggestions), my son Anderson for being a good sounding-board for my ideas and for entertaining me with his personality....you keep me 'real'), Jake and Matt (obviously), Brittany (for feeding us all of the time and being the band-wife of sorts and for letting FP invade her home every week), my wife Julia (for making me who I am and for always looking me in the eyes and for always being the balance in my life....and for just being cool...and pretty....and....T.M.I.), to Gary and Chris Lockard (for encouraging Jake in every way and for encouraging the rest of us as well), my sister Charlyn (for signing up to help with some upcoming backing vocals and for spurring me on when I need it), and the rest of our friends and families for the ongoing interest and excitement. You'll all get mentions in the album liner someday....

FP for a Better Tomorrow.

~ Todd

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekly Update 11-15-09

Welcome race fans...

Here's the latest scuttlebutt for the week:

1) 'Sycamore' is still in the exact same place as the last post. This last week I have had other things on my FP 'To-Do List' and 'Sycamore' wasn't holding things up like some of the other things on the 'List'.

2) 'Some Other Year' is now organized and completely ready for Matt to lay down his drum parts. We will set up shop in the next few days and will be recording his drums parts for the new song during the week of Thanksgiving. Fingers crossed...

3) FP had a big family fish fry down at Jake's parent's place this last Friday. Jake's been catching a ton of Crappies (some of them just over 14" long) and his parents set up their 'serious' outdoor fish-fry station. And we ate a lot of fish. And homemade hush-puppies. Etc. Etc. And it was a lot of fun and gave everyone time to just hang out. And we played several rounds of Baggo/Cornhole (Jake is still the reining champion - although my son Anderson is determined to dethrone Jake someday soon). Heck...at times it almost felt like we were having a tailgate party. Especially with the pick-up truck that was parked near the campfire. Gotta love it. And to top it all off we even found out that my wife Julia likes Killian's Red Lager. Who'da thunk? A big thanks to Jake's family for having us all over!

4) My studio rebuild is nearly complete. All of my wall panels are mounted and now I am modifying my desk with a wider sound-treated shelf for my monitors. Then once I get that finished (tomorrow hopefully) I will put my equipment back in order and start cleaning things up. Then it's back to 'Sycamore' and then the real work begins....

5) I've been playing my V-neck Strat around the house a lot lately. Funny how certain tones ebb and flow in and out of our everyday lives (I'm speaking from a guitarist's point of view of course). These last several months I have played my Les Paul almost exclusively, but lately that Strat has been hitting the spot for me. Maybe it's the whammy bar?

So that pretty much sums things up for now. Will write again next week....

Too-da-loo....

~ Todd

Friday, November 6, 2009

Weekly Update 11-6-09

So here's the FP dealio for this week....

1) 'Sycamore' is still being constructed as we speak. I've been singing the vocal tracks like crazy and have lots of them done now. However I still need to sift through a bunch of them and I also need to attack the bridge section soon. But it is really starting to sound like a song now. Lots of tidying up on some of the details but it will be done very soon. Also, we had to postpone my sister's backing vocals this week on account of a mild stomach flu/fevering I had one day this week. Fortunately it passed quickly and I am happily back on my feet and going full steam again (I hate being sick...such a frustration!) Chances are strong that Charlyn will do her thing this coming week sometime. Fingers crossed....

2) Jake is in Chicago this weekend with his old college roommate and he mentioned going to some sort of professional cage fighting event. Maybe we'll get some Twitter updates from him....?

3) I nearly have all four of my massive studio bass trap panels finished and in place in my studio room. They have consumed a lot of my time (and a lot of sweat) but I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with these things. The third and fourth panels are constructed and one of them is already half-wrapped with its coverings. I have approximately two more hours of work on them and then they will be done. Ughh....why does that last home stretch always seems the most grueling? I just want them to be finished so I can move on and get down to business in my studio again. At any rate, I finally made the much needed purchase of a calibration/measurement microphone and will be tweaking things as needed to even out the frequency resonances in my little rectangle studio (rectangle/square rooms are a nightmare acoustically speaking). Can't wait to see how that fares. Hopefully my job as a mixer/engineer will be much easier from now on. But I digress...

4) "Some Other Year" is coming along in the pre-production stage by leaps and bounds. We are completely on schedule for recording Matt's drums during the week of Thanksgiving (he's taking the week off via some vacation days). Consequently, Jake and I have been slightly under the gun with getting our parts up to snuff in order to help figure out where Matt needs to place his accents and cadences. But just this week we were all able to figure out the actual song structure we thought best and it will all be pretty grand when it is finished. And I even have all of the lyrics finally ready (sans a variation in the first chorus) and things are looking up. Everything has its place, including the spots where any of us need to bail out to make room for the other parts, and I have to hand it to the guys for treating things like a blueprint and yet keeping things from feeling too rigid or stiff. It is a lot of work to keep things organized and on track but these guys are troopers in every way. And all of our families have been our biggest support which makes all of the difference in the world. And best of all we are all loving the process of just hanging out and working together.

Now regarding SOY's song structure....Imagine if you will, a vocal melody line in the verse sections, then different vocal lines during the choruses (in a different key no less), and of course those sections have their respective drum, guitar, and bass parts underneath it all. With me so far? Then imagine a bridge section coming along where we all veer off in slightly different directions and all of our instrumental parts swap roles. The kick drum pattern now mimics the accents from one of the vocal lines, the bass pushes things along in a steamroller-esque fashion, and the lead guitar introduces a new melody line that points forward to an upcoming vocal round melody line, all the while everything keeps building, and then we all switch once more and our instrumental parts interchange yet again. Oh and Matt's cymbal crash accents are weaving in and out of his kick drum accents by following the accent patterns from a completely different vocal line. And it just keeps getting bigger and bigger as we truck along. That is what we are organizing at the moment. And remarkably it all makes sense to us and it all sounds pretty amazing to boot.

And that my friends is the very sort of chemistry and creativity that I am loving about FP....Everything just works and flows together and sounds like it was meant to be. And soon you'll get to hear what we've been up to....Are you anxious yet?

So that is a good place to wind this post up. Lots to do and keep track of. But we're doing just that. And it is the most fun ever....

Until next time....

~ Todd