How do you write a tune about a Supernova?
A little like this. You play basketball with a bunch of guys who all work in the music industry. Guitar players, singers, bassists, drummers, mixers, etc. Jumping around pretending to be NBA type players. There’s a lot of shit talking and then saying hey, we should make some music. Such is the case for myself and Claude J Woods. We met playing basketball.
We started with a tune called Keep The Swagg Up – very Hip Hop. The second one we wrote was Whipped again more hip hop in nature. This time around it’s more of an urban pop R&B type thing called Supernova.
Step inside with me as I play you a clip of the song as I’m working on the mix.
Working on a song called: Supernova. And it
sounds a little something like this.
You’re more than a star
You’re beaming like a Supernova
That just blasted through my heart and took over
Have a great day!
A late night discussion last night with my co-producer led to a statement of more guitars! That is what is being called for in the final stages of American Mayhem production. As a guitar player I don’t really have a problem with recording more guitars. It’s what I do. Earlier today I thought I’d bring you in on part of my little journey of laying down more guitars. Layers baby. Layers.
Watch as I screw up. Ha ha ha.
Ah the life of a professional musician. Sometimes it takes more than one take. Or even more than one guitar. The true awesomeness is when it all comes together and sounds spectacular.
Enjoy the journey, can’t wait for you to hear the final product when it comes time to get it out to your ears.
That’s an understatement.
Stay tuned for more.
Thumping right along… That’s what I’ve been up to with getting these singles done and finished with my co-producing friend George Leger III. We put the final touches on yet another song called “Thump Thump Thump”.
That put’s the count at 3 songs completely finished.
The excitement is building as the impending release of single #1 draws nearer. Amazing and magical is how I describe it. The word that those few who have heard it is: Wow!!!
Pretty cool responses. Most of the time, music doesn’t make people say “Wow!!!” Now it does.
How do I contain the restraint to releasing it? Good question. This is by far the absolute longest I’ve had to sit on a finished product. Main reason is not for building hype. No, it’s more simple than that. I really want to make sure the song gets the best possible launch it can have. That unfortunately takes time. Time, that a lot of people don’t have the patience to control.
Heck, I’ve had moments where I’m like, Fuck It! Lets do this!
Then the moment passes and I remember that there’s a plan. It’s a good plan. A winning plan based on those who have been asking and talking with me about it.
At this point we’re on to single #4, it’s so close to finish I can practically taste it…
What are 5 things that happened during the recording sessions for Thump Thump Thump? Come watch a video clip that showcases 5 things that happened or were observed while we were in the studio recording. Huffington Post, eat your heart out! I only write that because they weren’t privy to the sessions, nor would I give them the exclusive that I’m giving you.
Share it with your friends.
Don’t. Then you can be like – I told you so. When the music, video and book come out.
5 Things That Happened
Where’s my dragon?
So I saw my first episode of Game of Thrones last night.
Oh, your first?
You’ve never seen it before?
No. And it was the latest episode.
What a great. Great show.
What kind of a mic is it again?
612 by Telefunken.
It is a Telefunken 612. Yes.
From the island of St. Croix.
it is funk. Like F, U, N, K. Funk.
C12. Thank you.
It is a low impedance microphone if anyone ever asks you again.
I will keep that tidbit of information locked away in my head.
I was about to give up Logic.
The reason why I was about to give up Logic.
They hadn’t put an update out in years.
And they didn’t seem to really be caring that much.
Well you know as long as Apple is serious about Logic, I love the program. I would never go anywhere else.
Nothing says amateur more than an jazzy guitar licks on a guitar out of tune.
That’s just the worst.
Sorry to all Jazz players.
Just. For all those out there in YouTube land.
If you haven’t seen my silly video with T.C. Electronics…
Examining the PolyTune for the first time…
Search for me, you’ll find it on T.C. Electronic’s website.
And I look like a complete clown.
What goes into the making of a hit song? This is a curious question. If there was one true answer, everyone would be doing it, and nothing would actually end up being a hit. Right? Conspiracy theorists like to believe that the major labels have some sort of computer algorithm that can predict if a song is a hit or not. As the British say: Bullocks. They don’t know any better than any one else, the different is, they’re in a position of power to sell something.
While recording Till We Meet Again, George, Jesse, and I get into a quick discussion about things that can help make a song a hit song. In this case, we’re talking about a little trick that Jesse and I did with a particular transition of a song from one part to another. We changed something about the song structure in such a way that it makes people take notice. Watch the video about making a hit song and find out what we did.
Making A Hit Song
Did you catch what we were talking about? Think you can go write a hit song now?
Not long ago I came across a new form of capos. In galaxy very close by. Actually it was this galaxy. More specifically it was in a town known as Anaheim. The Anaheim that sits in the California region of the planet earth. Capos are a funny business. Lots of musicians use the cheapest products they can find without thinking about how they affect the sound. I always look for the thing that will get the great sound. Oddly enough capos and the kind you use can make a difference. Which is why on such a faithful day where I found out about a company called G7th and their capos, I instantly made the switch. Why? Because they’re awesome. Actually it had a couple of better reasons. First their weight. They have a good solid weight to them. Second, their ease of use. They work on some kind of engineering magic where you can set the tension as simply as closing your fingers. That way it doesn’t clamp down too hard on the strings and push them out of tune. It’s a love thing.
Today I’d taking you into the studio for a little clip about my upcoming song “Till We Meet Again” wherein you see me making use of the G7th’s awesomeness. Click on that video and realize I too use capos to get the proper key and sound for a guitar and my voice.
So if you’re looking for badass capos, especially the one I use – then you need a G7th. You won’t regret it!
Capos And Recording
I think we’re ready. Let me double check my tuning real quick.
technically with the panning you don’t need to pan the microphones in my headphones
as we’re recording. That’s what I’m saying you can turn them back to center.
Alright. Let’s see if we’re
all set to go. That sounds beautiful my
There’s a little drum pattern that starts at what? Bar 3? You can set the record button to
the song position line to start there
‘Cause that’s a two bar count in for me and I start at 5. Do what? A one bar pre-roll? That’s fine. As long as I know it’s two bars.
We were in love…
and it was magic.
We all like to talk shop in the studio, especially if it involves name players. Talking about amazing musicians we’ve had the pleasure or displeasure of working with, playing with, or meeting. Come on inside Utopia Parkway as George Leger III, Jesse Stern and I talk about some people we’ve met. Ok, mostly George talking about some amazing players. But still step inside, walk this way, you and me…
It starts with talking about Barry Manilow’s guitarist knowing about guitar playing from over 100 years ago and then progresses into the more modern instrument of electric bass. It then quickly swings into a little chat about a very famous female bassist (big name players type) that both George and I have met, but Jesse had not.
Big Name Players In The Studio
Because the song was done in the 1800’s.
He wanted to play it, like they played guitar in the 1800’s. He knew enough about the history of music and guitar playing, to know what kind of chords they would have played. How they would have played the part. I was like. I talked to him after. I asked him, you know that stuff?
Yeah, I have to know that stuff.
How do you know.
I mean, do you?!?
Some. Yeah, I studied, I studied guitar for many years.
But I mean like…
And and classical and and history for different parts of the world.
That’s where I started too. So I could technically say the same thing, but I don’t go around spitting that kind of information out.
Well and I also…
He, but he, I mean this guy, I mean I couldn’t believe what he’s played. How complex it was and there’s no little fret “icks” or nothing. I mean the guy is just like a fucking machine, what he was playing was unbelievable.
The history of bass, of electric bass is a lot shorter.
Than history of guitars. So.
But boy is it ever cool.
The first guy that I studied, like that I really studied not just learning the notes, but learning how the notes were played and how the tone came and all that stuff was Roger Waters.
Oh, well there you go.
And so, and then, you know from there I kinda learned, I kinda went back.
Do you know who I met and talked to for about a half hour?
Yeah, at NAMM two or three years ago. She was sitting there all by herself.
Was she nice.
But was she nice?!?
She was awesome.
You know why we both ask that question?
Because she’s not known to be nice. She’s known to be very very mean.
She has a reputation for being very very bitter and having a chip on her shoulder.
Not with me. She was so cool.
I’m glad to hear that.
We talked about making records an’ shit and everything.
She’s a, I mean, obviously a phenomenal.
And I have pictures of her and me, from the NAMM show. She was so… Really?!? She’s like that?
Oh yeah yeah.
That’s what people say. I’ve never met her.
I’ve met her.
She wasn’t like that with me man. She was just like, be just like I’m talking to you. So tell me ya know, I know you played with so and so, can you tell me what was it like when you guys first started playing. I mean you’re a girl, you were playing. You know and she was like, yeah, you know I was there sometimes, just taking care of my family is really what I was doing. You know and I was really grateful to be doing that stuff. But yeah she was just like yeah I’d show up in a dresses and sessions and stuff like that and people would look at me and then I’d play my instrument and then they would look at me totally different.
Well, it could…
She was just such a sweetheart.
Well, it could very well be that maybe she’s mellowing a little bit now. Because when I met her…
It could also be me. Cause I’m pretty respectful of people like that. And I’m also really, respectful of their experience.
Nothing is more annoying than a noisy mouse in the headphones. Recently in the studio while getting ready to start knocking out vocals for American Mayhem and we had an issue with a hum type of noise going on in the headphones. This makes for unpleasant recording. Not to mention that it also can be an issue if it’s being recorded on to the track in question. Adding noise from an unknown source isn’t always a great idea.
Find out what was causing the noise to occur. A kind of noise that flares up when the mouse is being moved. Nothing like a bad noisy mouse, however, that was a result of the issue, not a root for the cure. We did find it!
Noisy Mouse In The Headphones
What are we up for George? What are we looking at?
I just hear some weird hum.
Yeah, it came and then it kinda went.
I can kinda hear your mouse moving.
Mouse noise is what I’m saying. Not like the actual physical noise. I’m hearing in the system.
Somethings tweaked in the system.
That seems a bit quieter.
Yeah, well the transformer was on the audio cable.
Sittin right on the cable? Yeah, that’s bad. Studio badness. Do not put your audio cables right on a transformer.
Oh yeah. Much better.
Ok. We’ll be recording now. Shhhh.
Red light ‘s going on.
No squeaky chairs. No nothing.
I’m usually a hermit in the studio, but I’ve opened up a little and had a little episode of backseat producing that led to a discussion that involved Manolo Blahnik shoes. In the past, I rarely let people in the studio while I’d be singing. Hence the reason why I’d produce them myself. I’m changing things around. Especially since I’ve been having George Leger III producing vocals for me.
Another first happened during the vocal recording session of American Mayhem. I allowed my buddy Greg Nicholson and his girlfriend to sit in while I was recording vocals with George at Utopia Parkway studio. Greg and I have written songs in the past. But he’s never sat in on recording with me as the artist. George has one rule – which quickly gets reminded to Greg as he offers up some advice.
While waiting for George we get into a discussion about the Apollo by Universal Audio and shoes by Manolo Blahnik. All of this prior to Greg and his girlfriend are about to go watch the World Cup football (soccer) between USA and Portugal. See, he’s for USA and she’s for Portugal. I’m sure that was an interesting match for the two of them. As we all now know, that was a moving match.
Backseat Producing And Manolo Blahnik
Are you’re P’s coming out okay?
Pah. I don’t know.
‘Cause you had a lot of P’s. So I was just wondering how.
Oh yeah, they’re not popping in the mic.
Ok. Cause sometimes I have to like turn my head just a little bit when I’m singing a P even with a pop filter.
Ha ha ha.
You’re a guest. Not a producer.
No side, no backseat driving.
Exactly. Please. We have work to do. Okay, here we go again. Ready?
Mumbo jumbo. It makes people go really?
In other words…
Why do you need this?
It’s like so when you start updating your studio and she’s living with you at some point in the future. I’m projecting here. And Greg’s like “I need to buy this.” and you’ll be like “Really? Really?”
Remember, that’s what George and Jody said.
This stuff does make a difference.
Do I get a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s?
I don’t know what that is.
Really nice shoes.
I don’t even know what the hell that is. But like, Okay.
A pair of nice shoes is that what that is?
Yeah. They cost quite a bit.
Alright. So, you get the toys in the audio gear. She gets the toys in the shoes.
That’s only fair.
I believe in this. I believe in being fair.
But here’s a question. How much are those shoes?
Between $300 and $500.
That’s totally fair.
Per pair. How much is what you want to get?
The Apollo? How much is that Apollo? About $2500?
That one? $2799 plus tax. No. $2500 plus tax.
I was thinking between somewhere between $2500 and $3000. Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.
I was like, we already shook, we already negotiated this deal.
I did not know how much that cost!
I don’t know how much your shoes are, but I’m thinking my thing is 10x of what we just negotiated.
ha ha ha ha.
Fair trade. Fair trade.
Well, now I have to get the most expensive pair of Manolo Blahnik’s now.
No I think it’s only fair that you would get at least a dress.
Ha ha ha.
To go with the shoes.
That’s only fair.
Come with me as we give the Universal Audio Apollo a shootout at Utopia Parkway studio. My Avalon 737 was at the factory so we decided to give George’s Apollo a shot at being the mic pre of choice. We set up a couple of different channel strips to see which input path would give us the best signal for my Telefunken C-12 and my voice on my song “Thump Thump Thump”. It was down to a Neve with an LA2A and a 610 with an 1176.
[sarcasm]It’s riveting. So riveting. Especially if you’ve never been in a recording studio.[/sarcasm] Recording isn’t always the fun and games that people think it is. We do actually spend time figuring out exactly what the best course of recording a sound is. Time consuming comes to mind. Office managers determining a project’s work path is probably the best analogy. After that the real work begins. Laying down the musical parts.
Universal Audio Apollo Mic Pre
Thump Thump Thump recording
Testing mic pre’s.
Testing the Apollo mic pre. Okay Universal Audio.
I lie awake in the middle of the night.
Channel strip two. Well it’s actually one, but I flipped them around.
Well… we’re. It’s the second take on the channel strip on the Apollo.
There’s a push and a pull.
I lie awake in the middle of the night
There’s a push and a pull. As the gears begin to grind.
You know what? That, the 610 sounds more… rock-and-roll. If I was to put a… it has more “ah! to it” more ah.
There’s more meat to it.
That how, that’s how I would describe it.
It’s got more protein, more girth to it. Okay whereas the neve LA2A has a bit more of a refined thin thing.
Yes it’s interesting, I guess there’s a difference in the models. Cause it’s basically the same mic going through 2 different model emulations and they do sound different. Yeah. They are so hard core. I mean really truly. More hard core than most companies are. They want their stuff to be right. and they just really won’t stop until they are.
It’s the 610 76 that wins.
Okay, to give us the meat.
To get the song to ether.