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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

'Sycamore' Lyrics

1st Verse

The Sycamore is bare....
And all our friends are calling....
And nobody knows just when....
The leaves started falling down....


1st Chorus

If only you and I
Could wake up and realize
That our bed is still burning....

If only you and I
Could reach up for the sky
And know that we're still learning....
(....to love again)


Verse 2

I hear you breathing out....
I want to taste your morning skin....
I wonder what you're dreaming of....
Another day begins....


2nd Chorus

As we go round and round
The sun begins to climb
And nothing can compare....

And only you and I
Can know the reasons why
The Sycamore's still bare....
(But it's still there....)


Bridge

And you are the Only
One who has Known me....
And you are the Only
One who has Owned me....
But you aren't the Only
One who has been Lonely....
(And) you are the Only
One who has Shown me All


Verse 3

It's only been 'You and Me'....
I've Only had one Regret....
Never been enough time just to be alone with you....
Can we Forgive if we Forget?


Chorus 3

So can I ask you why
You're still staring
If you say there's nothing there?
And only you and I
Can know the reasons why
The Sycamore's still bare....
(....But it's still there)




(P) 2010 The FP Theory

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekly Update 12-14-09

Howdy Everyone! Here's the latest....

1) We are done recording (the tracking stage of) Matt's drums for 'Some Other Year' and Jake and I are prepping for our parts here in the not-so-distant future. We finished things up this week and are all elated to have those drums done. So now the lion's share of my mic locker will be set-up on guitar cabs again and I'll start whittling away at the 'SOY' guitars in between recording more vocals on 'Sycamore' and helping record Jake's bass tracks on the new song. So much to do! That all being said, Matt made a statement this last week about how long he has to wait until he gets to experience the fruits of his labor. We write and rehearse each song collectively and then we spend as much time as needed in pre-production for each song before trying to record anything, and then we record Matt doing his thing on the drums, and then he gets to sit back for (what probably seems like) forever until he gets to hear he finished product. He's the 'first man down the hole' so to speak and so he has to wait the longest before he can enjoy hearing his work. Bummer for the drummer. But he's a trooper....

2) 'Sycamore' is coming along. I wish I was a perfect singer. Admittedly I am my own worst critic and I am sure I have trashed a lot of 'so-so' vocal takes that I probably could have dressed up in the mix with some judicious editing. But I guess I keep holding out for the vocal takes that seem to jump out of the speakers and grab me on a deeper level. I had Jake and Matt listen in on what vocal tracks I had settled on so far, and they offered some very good suggestions and constructive criticisms about some specific things, but they were also quick to point out the positive things that they especially liked. And so it became likewise apparent that I sometimes suffer from creative 'tunnel vision' (big surprise eh?) and that when it comes to my vocals (which is fairly new territory for me and consequently an area of insecurity) I sometimes 'can't see the forest for the trees'. Jake and Matt were pretty fond of some vocal takes that I was otherwise doubting. And Jake even made the comment 'I don't know all of what you're hearing in your head, but it's amazing' and I really took that to heart. And I think I really needed to hear that. It pulled me away from some of my OCD fears and boosted my confidence a bit. So tomorrow I plan on hitting the mic again and will keep plodding away at things with hopefully a more open and relaxed frame of mind. Guitar playing is usually a cinch for me and I generally don't suffer from paranoia about my playing anymore. But singing is different. I just need to not be so OCD-ish about the quirks and unusual traits of my voice. Maybe I'll be a cool singer someday....

3) We made the decision not to start recording any new songs until after 'Sycamore' is buttoned up. Partly because 2 songs at once is plenty of work to keep on top of, but also because of hard drive space. I have a 320GB drive on my MacBook Pro but it keeps filling up as we go along. Audio data is immense....

So anyway, there's the short version of FP this week. Stay tuned....

~ Todd

Monday, December 7, 2009

Scenes From the Front Line...

Just an FP Quickie here. Thought I'd post a few pics of 'Sycamore' from my MacBook Pro's perspective (I'm such a geek)....

Scene #1:


Here is Logic 9's 'Arrange Window' that shows a lay of the land. ('Logic 9' is the computer software I use to do all of my recording projects.) Each horizontal section (shown in various colors) represents an individual track in the song. For example: one of the main vocal tracks, or maybe the bass track, or any of the various drum or guitar tracks, etc.. Worth noting here is that there are so many tracks in this song that my laptop's screen cannot show them all at once. I have to scroll around to see everything as needed. As such, the tracks you see in this picture comprise only of the vocals and some of the guitars. The bass and drum tracks are located farther down in my 'Arrange Window' and they essentially double the number of tracks you see here. I think 'Sycamore' is up to around 70-ish tracks so far. We'll probably hit around 100 or so by time everything else is recorded and in place. Lots going on....and lots to mix.

Scene #2:


This second scene is of Logic 9's mixer. Each track has a corresponding 'mixing channel'. 70 tracks = 70 mixing channels. Each 'mixing channel' is called a 'channel strip' and each channel strip has its own volume control/slider, a pan control (controls left-right placement of the track), a 'Record' button for arming a track for recording, a 'Mute' switch, a 'Solo' button (if you want to isolate a particular track to hear it sans any other tracks), an 'Input' button (for when you want to listen to say your guitar playing while it is being fed through Logic without actually recording anything), and a myriad of other useful settings for the esteemed mixing engineer to use at his or her discretion. One of the more important items on each 'channel strip' are the slots for 'Effects Plug-ins'....See below.

Scene #3:


This last scene is a shot of some of my favorite 'Effects Plug-ins'. Each Effects Plug-in is a unique software program that is hosted inside Logic 9. Each plug-in usually has a specific purpose in mind. Some plug-ins might be designed to distort a track in a cool way, or perhaps to add some echoes to a track, or maybe to make a track seem 'larger than life' by spreading it out more, etc.. Just like Apple always says 'There's an App for that' regarding their iPhone, there is a plug-in for just about every sort of sonic trick or effect you can imagine. I literally have hundreds of plug-ins on hand and it is always just a matter of knowing each plug-in's strengths and weaknesses and then choosing the 'right tool for the right job'. The plug-ins shown in this last picture (starting at the top left and going around clock-wise) are: 1) Stillwell Audio's 'Rocket Compressor', 2) Apple's 'Enverb' Reverb, 3) TC Electronics' 'M30 Studio Reverb', 4) Nomad Factory's 'Blue Tubes Tempo Delay', and 5) Apple's 'Ensemble' effect. I have spent more money on plug-ins than for any other sort of software. And while most people usually think of spending their extra money on new gadgets or toys, I usually think of what plug-ins I'd like to have next. Granted a plug-in only sounds as good as the person running it, but there is much to be said about getting what you pay for. In a way, plug-ins are the heart and soul of a modern studio's arsenal. Plug-ins have made life easy for many a recordist, and one can never have enough plug-ins....

So there's a quick tour of my world as I work on new recordings. Fortunately I am growing quite comfortable wearing multiple hats as a producer, engineer, guitarist, singer, songwriter, band correspondent and media guru, and whatever else needs to be done. FP is at the center of all of those facets of my creativity and I'm loving the journey along the way. And if a guy can enjoy his work, what could be better?

Still singing away....

~ Todd

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Weekly Update 12-6-09

And now for the FP Weekly News Report...

1) Drum tracks for song #2 ('Some Other Year') are 97% finished. (Incidentally, those drum tracks have currently consisted of 11.89 GB of hard drive space from 1,337 files....Good times!) We had an extremely smooth and successful round of recording sessions over the course of the last couple of weeks. All that remains to be recorded drum-wise is the very last outro verse where things finally start to wind down in the song. Matt really nailed his drum parts and I'm thrilled to say that there will be nearly zero editing needed for his drum tracks since we were able to edit-on-the-go (what little editing was required) during his tracking sessions because his performances were so spot-on. Wow. Ironically enough, some of the drum sections of this new song are very complex and tricky, and yet Matt made it all seem very nonchalant and easy. Even a good friend of ours, Todd Nardoni, who loaned us an extra set of ears during the last 'SOY' session, was blown away (and verbally said as much on several occasions) by how 'spot-on' Matt was with his drumming. At any rate, Matt has totally made my job as Engineer and Producer a lot easy than I am normally accustomed to. I could get used to that....

2) Jake begins tracking his bass parts this week. Since we have the bulk of his bass lines already mapped out and organized, I anticipate his sessions being fairly routine and non-difficult for him. Jake is keenly aware of his 'picking dynamics' which is essential for getting good, consistent bass tracks when recording. And like Matt, Jake makes my job much easier than I'm used to. Nothing like working with mature and naturally talented musicians....

3) 'Sycamore' is coming along and I've still been whittling away at the vocals these last couple of weeks. Of course, I'm pretty picky about what makes the final cut in the song, and so it is taking a while. I wish it could go quicker however a lot of the hold-up is me learning what works for my voice and what doesn't. Lots of trial and error going on when I'm recording those vocals. Plus some days I have just plain worn my voice out. It has proven to be much more difficult than I would prefer, but who knows? Maybe I'll make a decent vocalist someday.... :-) If nothing else, all of those failed attempts at singing make for excellent practice. If it was easy then what would be the point of that? When it is all said and done, I'll have the satisfaction of knowing how hard I worked on those vocal tracks every time I hear 'Sycamore' once it is all finished. That day is soon approaching...

4) With the Holidays quickly descending upon us, I do not anticipate starting rehearsals on song #3 ('Marigolds') until after the New Year. We've all got plenty on our plates, both in our personal lives plus as a band, so there's no sense in rushing to do the 'next thing' on our list. Hopefully the Holidays will prove to be time for each of us to recharge and regroup. The old adage 'Good things come to those who wait' comes to mind here. But I must say that after recording the drum tracks for 'Some Other Year' it is very apparent that FP is finding its ideal workflow and methods, and consequently I imagine that 'Marigolds' will go fairly quick once we do actually get started on it. 'Sycamore' has taken so long in part because it was our maiden voyage and we had lots of little kinks to work out of our system. Another old adage 'What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger' comes to mind here as well...

So anyway, I'm turning off the laptop now and going to sleep. Another busy day awaits me in the morning. That's all for this week. Signing out....

~ Todd