I’m holed up in the studio quite a bit lately. A lot of it is putting time into things that should enhance the music I’m creating. Most specifically with video. But there’s a learning curve.
You may not know that I originally graduated with a degree in film production. However, I never really went into the film production world after school. No, I went to more school and decided to go into music. Ouch.
The good thing about the film background is that it gave me a working knowledge on how to deal with aspects of film/video production. Though now, like music, film is constantly changing with tech. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it does mean there can be learning curves. Since I’m wanting to get a lot done with past releases of music to marry them with video ideas, it’s given me an incentive to get Final Cut and Motion in order to put these things together.
I’m starting to get a stockpile of lyric videos. But I had originally been having issues with the size of the output screens from Motion. Despite setting them for 1920 x 1080 output, they were coming out at 2880 x 1080. It was driving me nuts! I got on the phone with an Apple Motion customer care rep and they started walking me thru certain things. We eventually found out it was the pixel aspect ratio that was throwing things off. But the silly thing is, it’s off from the get go based on Apple’s Motion templates!! Now that I’ve figured that out, I’ve made my own templates and lyric videos will get done faster.
I promise to drip out the lyric videos as soon as I get VEVO to me control of my VEVO Channel (long story there where it’s controlled by a 3rd party company right now). Once I get that control back in my hands, I will have a lot of official videos to put out.
TLDR (a this point this is about another project, not musically related to my artist career);
Beyond the videos for my music, I’ve decided to create a podcast with a good friend of mine, Chris Hellstrom. The concept is to talk about recording and production from a musician standpoint and express it from a producing and engineering perspective. We’ve been discussing the idea for a month or two and as of yesterday we recorded our first episode. The plan is to get about 4 in the can and then launch it as a weekly thing. Maybe run about 13 episodes to a season. Or if we really get rolling then continue on weekly as long as possible.
Instead of just doing an audio podcast, which would be the easiest thing to do, I mentioned that we should combine it with video of us talking. Much like how Stern, or Rogan do their shows. Though Stern is primarily radio first, it is fun to watch them. I didn’t really realize the complexity it would add to the podcast show. That being typed, we dove in and did it anyway.
First thing I realized is, we recorded the audio portion at 48k/24bit. Which is my 2nd favorite audio rate after 96k/24bit. However, video tends to record at 48k. Or at least most broadcast video is output with a 48k/16bit soundtrack. I opted to use a GoPro for this first episode. Massive mistake!!!
As much as GoPro makes it easy to get video at 1920 x 1080, the audio quality and the actual 1920 x 1080 video quality both leave a lot to be desired. Mostly because the video is slightly fuzzy at full size, which it shouldn’t be. Then the audio is actually recorded at 32k. Like who the fuck at GoPro decided that was a wise choice?!? To make matters worse it only records files to about 15 minute lengths. Which means it requires a shit ton of work to make it work well in Final Cut to sync with studio audio done at 48k.
Step one: use QuickTime 7 pro, which won’t run after Mojave, to export the file to the right video format and upsample the audio to 48k. There’s a few hours of time wasted. This prompted me to say it’s time to use the iPhone with the Filmic app. This will allow me to use a better camera, with the right FPS and the right audio sample rate. Plus it can do 1920 x 1080 without issue and won’t segment a file in to 15 minute bits. Thus it can go from start to finish. Which will be nice.
While those files were getting converted to workable Final Cut files, I spent time learning how to do some fancy text splash videos for our opening and closing spots to the video portion of the podcast. Then I took it a step further and made an animated logo as well. This took about 4 hours of time, that had I’d been a full time video & motion graphics guy, may have only taken an hour.
The good thing is, they’re now made and all I need to do going forward is plant them in the video outputs. So no more hours of time creating them, they’re done. I expect episode two will take about 1/10th the time it took for this first episode. I look forward to that time reduction.
Once we’re ready to launch, I’ll announce the website here. Plus I’m pretty sure it will be available at all the normal podcast outlets, plus video on the website and youtube.
Its been a rough and tumble year. Things started off looking extremely promising then in a matter of months multiple projects and one bigger one all came to a crashing halt.
Rough and Tumble
The rough… A person I was working with for a nice boost on streaming media ended up stealing $14,000 from me. That might not sound like a ton of money, but as a non-signed artist that is paying for everything – that puts a serious dent in your operational cash flow. This is one of the primary reasons I’ve been so quiet here on my ‘dot com’. I’ve been out money to make things happen when I should have been seeing a return.
In turn, this slowed my process down on making the finishing touches on my website. (grrrr).
Its made it difficult for me to upgrade gear.
I’ve been unable to do any PR.
Not a fun position to be in.
Right now I have someone working on getting that money back from them, but after 3 months of trying, I’m beginning to lose hope.
Another element of fallout from this is losing the lovely lady I had been dating for nearly a year. That was a blow as well.
The tumble… They (whomever ‘they’ are) say “roll with the punches.” I’m feeling more like I’ve been tumbling. Whilst I’ve been recovering from the theft, I’ve been finishing music. Lots of music. Some with co-writers, some for TV placements, some for my future releasing. Writing and recording all this music is part of what keeps me sane in such a conniving business.
In other news. A device, that I developed for my own use a couple of years ago, is now generating interest from a couple of companies. I had a meeting with one company a week and a half ago at the end of July. The meeting was scheduled for 30 minutes. That 30 minute meeting ended up lasting an hour and 45 minutes. To me that’s a very good sign and sometime next week I will reach back out to them to follow and see where their thoughts are. In the meantime, I’ve started the patent process to make sure my idea is protected.
Some friends of mine have started developing a content platform for YouTube. As it turns out, my channel and website titled Inside The Recording Studio will get rebranded to be the umbrella for all the content. I’m looking forward to providing cool content about gear, recording and the process of creating music.
As I sit here recapping on several months of what feels like waiting in a holding pattern, I’m working on keeping a positive attitude going into my birthday. I’m taking yet another trip around that sun. Despite being beat down again in my career as a musician, I can be grateful for being alive and healthy!
As the song image for Spotify shows above – I will Rise Up!
I’ll work on being a bit more energetic with content here. In the meantime, thank you for reading.
BTW – if you haven’t joined my email list, please do!
Ready To Love 2017
Mere hours into the new year and I’m ready to love 2017 already. See, I got to spend time with my main squeeze at a really amazing party somewhere deep in wine country (a.k.a. Napa Valley, CA). Cool friends, cool place, great times. That’s an amazing way to get the new year started off right.
Happy New Year to you!
Ultimate New Music
My first thing I’m ready to love 2017 for is new music. My ultimate new music. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to new music from other artists, but I do have a lineup of some amazing tunes. Tunes that cover a gamut of lyrical ideas – plus they are all sonically different as well as being stylistically different too.
In a time of when so many songs and artists all start sounding the same, I’m still sticking to the catch 22 land of proven difference.
Deliver More Themes
My second reason to love 2017 is another juicy opening theme. It was easy to miss last year when I snagged the opening theme to Nightwatch on A&E. A clever show that follows the engaging stories of police, fire and EMT heroes working the night shift in New Orleans. The show has been a rousing success.
I’m looking forward to having the opening theme on yet another show. I get all tingly thinking about having two shows running concurrently with music I created as their opening salvos.
Not sure how many Alan Thicke had, but I’d definitely love to measure to the number he had. I envision hitting 10 in my future.
Increase Live Performances
The third damn good reason to love 2017 is for the work I plan on putting into performing more live shows. There’s something in the works that should lead to the initial explosion for a particular song released a few months back.
I’m excited to be talking to some managers and agents about taking the show on the road and bringing it to you!
Plus it means getting the share the music with you. Which is what I want my 2017 to be all about.
Cooking up a storm over the holidays. That is the modus of my Christmas vacation this year, which is extremely fitting based on the kind of year entertainment has had. Unless you’ve been under a rock its patently obvious to me that its been a horrendous year for legends and icons of music and film.
Hell within 48 hours of Christmas we lost George Michael and Carrie Fisher.
George a musical icon that created some amazing music and of course Carrie who was part of one of the biggest movie franchises in cinematic history.
Beyond the strange string of deaths that lined 2016, I spent a good portion of the year creating. There’s been a new design on the website. There’s been over 60 new songs in production for various co-writes and other things. I’ve been writing new music for release. But my favorite thing this Christmas is the cooking lesson I got as a gift from my sister.
She’s got some great connections in her little spot of the world and its led to us having a nice lesson in cooking last night with Chef Veronica.
Chopping & Cutting
The menu started with crab cakes – so very tasty. It was followed by the group of us chopping up all the ingredients for the main dish Duck L’Orange with ravioli.
The beauty of all the chopping is that I received a super amazing chef’s knife. So sharp that I barely had to drop the knife on the item I was cutting and it would cut itself. Like a hot knife thru warm butter. Drop.
Seriously, having the right tool in your hands makes doing something so much more enjoyable. Like in music, having a great instrument can help you sound better, having a better knife and help you cook better. I’m sure of that assessment. Its probably a lot like getting access to a top end compressor while recording.
One cooking technique I learned was called supreme. Supreme is the art of cutting out citrus so that you don’t have the membrane to deal with while cooking. Yet another reason to have an amazingly sharp knife.
Speaking of sharp knifes tends to remind me of a guitar teacher I had who refused to have any glass or knifes in his house. His reasoning had to do with having an incredible fear of severing his hands – which would mean an end to his ability to play guitar. Aside from rock climbing and bowling, I never shared that fear. For me, rock climbing is super rough on the muscles for my guitar playing. Thus I don’t have a problem with glass or knives, but I don’t do rock climbing and I bowl with my right hand (so I don’t waste my left hand for days on end). BTW – I suck terribly at bowling.
While I’ve made regular pasta, aka spaghetti, in the past, I’ve never made ravioli before. Its a slightly different ballgame in the pasta field.
We got the filling, a mushroom and ricotta filling, finished and chilled first. Then we turned to the pasta dough where we spent time running it thru a pasta roller, over and over. Nothing new there. But when it came time to make the ravioli, thats where things took a turn.
First you lay out the bottom and then get your top half together (hoping that you get them roughly the same size and shape.) Once you have the bottom you dab out the filling in uniform spots on the flattened dough. Once there’s a line of filling, you place the top over it and press down.
I learned a cooking tip that its wise to use an egg wash to help seal both sides of the ravioli together. Meaning I had to do this prior to putting the top on.
Then I had some fun with a couple of different ravioli cutters that were laying around. A heart shaped one, a round one, and also with a pasta cutting wheel to make square ones.
This was the first time I had cooked duck as well. Chef Veronica showed us how to score the skin prior to cooking. Duck is not like chicken. Much like a Les Paul is not Moog. It requires an entirely different method to cooking. So we scored the skin with crosshatches. Then set it into a hot pan to start searing and cooking the fat side down.
Once the duck was nearing completion…
Into The Water
That’s when the pasta took its turn dunking into a hot bath. What’s awesome about fresh made pasta is that it cooks in roughly 3 minutes.
Out of the water came the pasta. The ravioli got covered with a brown butter sage sauce. The fettuccini was topped with the duck and a tasty orange sauce (made from the supreme’d oranges).
What a tasty and fun way to learn to cook something new.
It gives me an idea of how I could bring the idea of producing music into someone’s home…
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone
Been a couple of months since I’ve been able to throw out an update. A whole lot has changed in the world since September, then again, so much has stayed exactly the same.
If you I can get you to recall, back in September I released a single called Thump Thump Thump. I followed it up shortly thereafter with a 2nd release of Thump Thump Thump [remixes]. There’s been some great buzz surrounding those releases and I’m really looking forward to making more cool announcements about that song and its remixes before too long. I’m very thankful that people have been taking to the song. Was definitely hoping to throw out some really cool news regarding Thump Thump Thump, alas I do need to wait until it confirmed.
Then in mid October I released another single titled American Mayhem. If you can’t tell by the title, it very much is a reflection upon the current environment of American politics. While I don’t fancy myself to be a political musician, this song does capture a vibe that resonates with the odd separation that was occurring during the election process. Not written about voting and yet it very much feels like something us 99% can relate to as compared to the 1% and those who are part of the upper 1% of the 1% (wrap your head around that one). This one is also starting to climb the streaming ladder. So I’m thankful people are listening.
New Website Design
If you’ve been a fan longer than the past two months, then you’ll likely notice that there’s a new look to the website. I did a quiet launch of the new website yesterday. This is probably the longest break I’ve had from making updates. Its also the first time where I decided to hire outside help to create a whole new look, feel, and functionality. So I have to say thanks to Dave Bloom of Ginger Soul who spent a lot of hours working on bringing this new design to life. There are still some cool tweaks to be coming, but at long last (because to me 2 months is a long time to spend on a website design) – the new look is here. The really great thing about it, it looks great on all devices. Plus more detailed information will be coming to the music section.
The next season of Nightwatch begins on December 1st. I’m thankful for that as the theme of Nightwatch – Midnight Romp, was crafted by yours truly. Its been awesome to see people react with such a positive vibe to the show and the music that opens it. Plus its allowing me to get some things done more easily. There’s more news to come about Nightwatch in the not so distant future, alas, have to wait on confirmation before I put it into permanent print on the internet and social medias. I will say that I’m excited.
The image to the right is a throwback Thursday image of my sister and I. My parents were avid skiers and this is them (in yellow) teaching my sister and I to ski at Snowbird Utah. Funny how I can recall that I hated it so much initially. Then years later went on to win multiple competitions in racing and freestyle. Now I get to enjoy it for the fun of it. I’m excited to be able to get to do a bit more skiing this year. Decided to purchase a season’s pass, aka an Epic Pass, to vail resorts.
What’s That Really Mean?
It means that while I’m working on booking shows for 2017, creating new music, and producing other artists, I’ll be taking some time out to hit the slopes and rip some pow. Or get out for some fresh air while carving some serious high speed turns. This will result in getting me amped up for new songs.
Lots To Be Thankful For
As we all start to reflect on 2016 and think about where we’re all headed next, there’s a lot to be thankful for. For me, its the amazing new music I’m churning out. The people I met earlier this year while working on a film that will release in 2017. The awesome woman I’m dating. And for the good things that are in the pipeline that I’ve created for you.
Hopefully we can all get beyond the bizarre election and move to a happier, healthier and safer world in the months and years to come. Happy thanksgiving and may it be filled with awesomeness.
Happy New Year to ya. Its already time to say goodbye to 2015. In one way I’m wishing 2015 could keep going as its been a pretty good year. However, I’m already looking at 2016 as the launch pad for several great things to come.
Via Twitter I was asked by Jodsters if I’ll be releasing more singles in 2016. The immediate answer is yes. I have several new singles lined up and in the can. So to speak. Currently working on the video ideas to get them fleshed out and ready to release along side each single.
Along with that will be a better media presence. Gotta start stepping up the streams and plays for the newer music.
There will be one more push with Touch. The next single coming for release is called “Thump Thump Thump”. A juicy rich groove of a song that as some Jodsters have said “Make you want to move your feet in a happy manner.” I’m sticking to that funky audio lap-dance for your ears type of thing.
I got a killer gift for Christmas of a GoPro Hero4. Thus I will do my best to shoot more video and get it up on my YouTube channels and other social media. Should make it a lot easier to shoot, that’s for sure. The bonus is, I’ve recently met a couple of people and reconnected with some friends who do a lot of things behind the scenes with creating film/video. As I team up with them, it should lead to some really cool video output.
Plus, I’ve been asked to put my greatest guitar lesson on video. In case you didn’t know, I used to teach guitar lessons. There’s one super important lesson that no other teacher on earth ever teaches. Though I’ve long wanted to start a guitar lessons website geared around great lessons on playing guitar – I haven’t yet gotten around to it. Thus I will make sure this highly valuable lesson gets shot, edited and put up on my YouTube channel for everyone to enjoy. Lucky you it won’t cost you $100/half-hour to get it.
Already on January 1 I had some fans asking about my dog Dorian. Telling me they’d like to see more pics and video of him. Thus if you’re down to see more of my dog, go follow his twitter account @dorianthedog. The more feedback he gets, the more video and pics he’ll deliver.
There are a few things that are happening with the older catalog. If things go right, it will mean a nice payoff that will help springboard the new singles and more. Unfortunately have to be like Apple on this and not say anything further.
Goodbye 2015. You’ve been really good to me with delivering a network TV theme. Nightwatch on A&E if you have not yet seen the show. Here’s to 2016 bringing me 3 more this year – that’s the goal.
That day or rather that night has finally come! Nightwatch on A&E has its season 2 premier tonight and yours truly composed the music that opens the show.
You read that correctly. I wrote the opening theme music for the show Nightwatch on A&E – airing at 10/9c. Set your DVR now, save the show! Watch each week. Tell your friends to watch. Hopefully you don’t end up on the show in the future – and I really do mean that.
Ever wonder how we musicians figure out how to describe a song to others so that they’ll understand what the song is before they get to hear it? It’s important to know how to describe the sound of a song to others before they hear it. The better the description, the more enticing it becomes to the uninitiated to hear it. Catch a glimpse of us working through one of the steps of understanding the song so we can approach knowing how to describe it to you, the listener. Follow George Leger III, Jesse Stern and I as we pull apart some fine points in the studio.
The debate get a little heated, or does it? There’s definitely some laughter due to the responses we give each other. It’s an awesome what to arrive at the best method to figure out a song. BTW – who do I diss in this video? Find out!
Describe A Song
I’m just trying to think. I’ve been trying to describe this song to people I’m really not sure what to tell them. You know what I mean? Touch is very easy to describe. It’s this, this, this, and this. And I’m trying to think, what is… what is Till We Meet Again? It’s like.
Exactly! It’s that kind of a song. It’s about… wanting to be with somebody.
Now, the question I have for you is this person a friend, or is this a girl?
Well Jesse and I wrote it together. So maybe it was about us. I don’t know.
Is it about friendship? Or is it about romance?
Both. I think really. The passion with somebody you have, then split.
I didn’t know he felt this way about me.
Well. You know…
I feel this way about a lot of people, I just don’t tell them.
We have bromances going on left, right and center around here. You know how it is.
So anyway. I don’t know. I was just trying to figure out what we would actually call it when I go to describe it. Of course the song is not really done. But I was kinda thinking it’s like Train meets an 80’s power ballad without the soaring vocals. And a little bit bouncy.
No no no no no. I see the more like uh, like what’s his face. The guy you mention all the time.
John Maher what’s that Your Body Is A Wonderland.
Yeah, there ya go.
I don’t want it to be that dated though.
Dude! Dated? Fuck that. It’s not dated or not dated. It’s the attitude that I’m talking about.
It’s the vibe…
No, I’m just trying to figure out what I would
[who’s David, ha ha ha]
denote it as.
So yeah. What is it? Is it a romantic thing or is it ah, not a romantic thing.
I think it’s a longing thing.
But for what?
For someone, one person.
Well. Ok. Yeah. Ok.
That’s how I’ve always… thought of it.
That’s how I’m thinking of it.
[Yearning for love]
You know maybe it’s it’s kind of like keeping the flame alive. Maybe one day…
Enjoy, please pass it along to your friends. If you’re not on my email list – JOIN NOW!
Back in the studio. This time some video was captured that pulls back the mystery of vocals. Where George Leger III, Jesse Stern and I were discussing the fine points of doing multiple takes of the same line, using different emotions. All in the name of creating the best vocal to tell the story. What comes out is a frank discussion between the three of us. I make fun of a movie. Then George really runs into an electric speech about vocals. Jesse (the white hat at the bottom left of the video window) provides a little comic relief along with giving George something cool. Followed by myself relating a story from a recording session with a large songwriter’s organization. Watch what we said and did. Why? Because we’re having a good time talking about what goes into a great vocal recording.
Studio Vocal Mystery
Sometimes it reminds me the movie La Bomba. Dude that sounded great twenty takes ago.
That’s you know. No I’m not arguing that I know you gotta do and every little bit and piece, I’m, I’m fully there. I just think it’s funny that the brother was like he had no concept of like, it sounded the same man. It’s like, no it didn’t.
I sometimes joke when I’m comping vocals and like go in between a few different takes, how about this one, and this one. and I just look at ’em and they’ll say, they all sound exactly the same to me. I don’t know.
We all comp different, right? Like I could give you the same data, you would come up probably… well maybe we will come up with the same. Cause it seems like we’re thinking the same way I can… sense that. But some people I mean I’ll give them a track, you comp it and I’ll comp it. I’ll come back and their comp will be totally different. You know either I go for one that has a lotta little bitty edges and stuff. Little character bits and I’ll fix, I’ll tune it if I have to. But, try to get the character stuff that makes, to me makes a vocal personable; have personality, right? And I have people that just absolutely like want the note to be perfect. That’s what they’re after. That’s all they look for. Yeah. It’s like, there’s no… Cause you can fix… today we have the technology it makes it really easy to fix the note. You can fix the pitch. But you want to get that, you know you just started to do it. Your voice broke up a couple times in the first two lines. Which is exactly what I wanted to get.
Okay. So, anyways. I go for the feel like whatever makes me feel something. Yes!
Or what makes me kinda feel like I, I don’t have words anymore. Yes. And you get that little buzz too, I get a buzz when it happens it’s like I can feel it.
Well, you’re a really good producer. It’s fun to watch you work. Oh, thank you. That’s why I like doing vocal with the man. Yeah, I wanna do vocals with him.
I, I love working. I just love producing. It’s great fun. One of the things I was actually gonna say back to the vocals n something and stuff from movies and TV shows. In Canada, when they did We Are The World here. We had a song in Canada that was produced by David Foster. You know who David Foster is right Okay, do you know who Anne Murray is? yes she’s like… She’s a Canadian superstar, right? Exactly! She’s the Canadian Stevie Nicks. Yea. Sorta. She’s an… This woman has been singing her whole fucking life. She’s a perfectionist. And she can usually do it on the first take. She’s just that good. Well he goes and the same thing kinda happened with him. She got in the first two, first or second take, but he missed it. And they had this on the video that they did of the making of the thing, right? And, in the end it was like he he basically turned to her after he went 20 takes in. Listened to the first two takes and went: I’m so sorry. You did it already, I’m didn’t even hear it. And he was embarrassed.
And it was just like… Wow. It happens. Yeah. Even to the best of the best. I mean Foster is…
You’ve heard heard of Harold Payne right? Do you know who Harold Payne is? He’s a big time songwriter. And he helped write a song for Just Plain Folks. Which is a songwriters organization. Cause they did like a We Are The World. They brought in a bunch of different artists to sing different lines. And they had Alan O’Day producing, in the studio. Who’s no slouch of a writer. He’s had a couple of #1 hits. And Harold was sitting right, standing right next to me in this vocal booth. You know, to go over my line, do all this stuff. I go in. I do the first take. And I do it kinda bluesy. That’s how I thought it came across. And Allan is just going take after take and I hear Harold pull my thing back and he goes. Dude, you nailed it on the first take. I’m sorry.
Stay tuned for more peeks on the inside.