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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

And so the SOY Mixdown continues...

Hello World...

I have some good news and some bad news. Which would you like first? Hmmmm....

First the Bad News. The 'Some Other Year' mixdown has taken much longer than I originally anticipated. As such, it will sound really good once we unleash it to our fans and friends. As I mentioned in the previous update, the Chorus vocals needed much attention in context of the final mix. It is such a guessing game when we're first tracking vocals. We end up just shooting from the hip and going for it. 'Fix it in the mix' as they say. And I'd like to say that the next songs will be easier and will have fewer issues to remedy than 'SOY' or 'Sycamore' have each had, but I think that would just be a tad delusional on my part. But honestly it makes me chuckle when I think about it. At least I enjoy the process....

The Good News: I am somewhat confident that we'll have the initial test mix of 'SOY' ready for R&D this Friday. Jake, Matt, and myself will then listen to the test mix on every available system possible, take notes, make any necessary tweaks, lather, rinse, repeat. Which means we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel on this one. Yessss.....

So that's it for now. We're planning on resuming rehearsals and preproduction on 'Rabbit Hole' late next week. We're all very anxious to play and rehearse and write again. (And for my part I am anxious to start playing through my new amp rig with the guys.) Things are coming together nicely...

Until next time (and keep checking back for the new song to be released for free)....

~ Todd

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SOY Mixdown Update: 9-22-10

OK....so here's the deal on the new song that we're about to release. The mixdown is still in progress but going well. I ran into issues with dialing in my lead guitar tones to suit the new mix. That cost me a morning of tweaking. And then as I began to tackle the lead vocals, I ran into sibilance issues with the Chorus sections. In the context of the new mix, my S's and SH's were way too loud (uncomfortably so) and out of control (i.e. 'sibilance issues'). So I spent a couple of afternoons trying several different 'De-Essers' and a multitude of settings in the hopes of fixing the problems. That didn't work. So then I thought I'd try to re-sing the choruses with a less-sensitive microphone. That sort of worked but didn't seem like a complete fix. So tonight I heard a little voice in my head say 'Set up a Side-Chain De-Esser'. (And yes I really did hear that little voice in my head.) Mind you a 'Side-Chain De-esser' set-up is a lot more elaborate and was something that I have never previously tried. I'll spare you the technical details (you can read this link if you really must know how it all works), but I am having pretty good results so far and have learned something new in my craft that has hitherto been unknown territory. But as it is, I still feel the need to massage these vocal tracks to make them sound as good in the mix as possible. Not sure how long that will take. So to be fair, I need to push back the release date to perhaps next week or the week after(?) I'd rather not release sub-par material. Sorry for the delays....

Until next time (keep checking back for more updates!)....

~ Todd

Thursday, September 9, 2010

'Some Other Year' is Almost Here!!!

Just a quick status update on our second official song release, 'Some Other Year'. We now have everything recorded and tracked and awaiting mixdown (which should begin first thing Monday morning). This past week we added some more guitar textures (think interesting noises and cool ambiances), the last bit of Jake's bass parts on the final chorus (which proved trickier than anticipated), a few subtle synth textures (think more interesting noises and cool ambiances), and a couple spoken phrases by Matt and Brittany Goodner. There are a couple places in the song where I plan on adding a bit of synth texture if needed, but I can't make those sort of decisions until the bulk of the primary elements have been mixed properly (namely the drums, vocals, guitars, bass, etc). But I'd like to see this song out the door by the end of next week(?)

Until then....

~ Todd

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Weekly (sort of) Update: 9-2-10

How ya'll doing this evening? Here's the latest...

1) We're putting on the final touches on 'Some Other Year' before we start mixing her down. Forgive us for the crazy length of time since our last release ('Sycamore'). We've had more than a few hurdles to jump over to get this one to our liking, but we seriously are getting closer. (Yeah yeah...How many times have I said something along those same lines?...Ha Ha)

One such hurdle was my guitar solo. We had the perfect melody line worked out for it but I ran into several problems with string intonation (i.e. how 'in tune' the guitar sounds), especially on some of the higher notes that I was playing. So I took my Les Paul apart and made some fine adjustments to the bridge and voila I had better sounding notes! Only bad thing was after I heard things properly intonated I then realized that hated the way I delivered those notes. Everything felt stiff and lifeless. So one step forward, two steps back so to speak. However this problem turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I decided to restructure my approach in how I was playing the solo. So I kept the melody intact but I put in more string bends and such for landing my notes (which was harder to do but sounded way better and gave me more control over the intonation problems). And the resulting solo is one of my best ever. I am really happy with the end result and now I'm even glad those intonation problems 'forced my hand'. Necessity is the mother of invention!

Jake is 95% done with the bass parts on 'SOY' (which is funny because he is already finished on 'Marigolds' which is next in line for release). He amazes me with his consistency. Unreal.

2) I've started singing vocals on 'Marigolds' (although I haven't had any 'keepers' yet). But I'm upping the ante on this one vocally. I have a lot to learn about singing properly, and I'm also spending more time doing more traditional singing rudiments, not so much to change my style but rather to help me get the job done easier and more quickly. Admittedly I'm a hack as far as vocals go, but I intend to change that. Over time.

3) Tonight we talked about the possibility of playing a handful of gigs next summer/fall. We all want to get out there as soon as we have enough material and are able to get our live performance polished up. This coming fall/winter will be crucial for us to get things to our liking by next summer. Fortunately we have the equipment we need. Just need to practice and spend time honing our performances. But that is our hope at this point. Wish us luck!

4) One other tidbit of info. I have mentioned in previous posts that I took on some freelance work for a London-based band. They have now released their song 'Runaway Heart' as their first official 'single' along with a 'remix' version of the same song. They tracked/recorded their parts in London and then I took care of the mixdown and post-production of the 'original radio version'. Dubterminator (a dub producer from New Zealand) took care of the 'dub remix' version. Below is a link to their site. If you like what you hear you can purchase their song on iTunes, Amazon, etc..

z.electric

Go check them out and support the band!

And so I think that's all for now. Time to call it a day and watch some South Park.

Peace and Love and all that Jazz...

~ Todd