Sunday, December 26, 2010

Production Update

Here are some things I’ve accomplished over the last few weeks.

1. Updated the operating system and firmware on my iMac and installed Pro Tools 8 (in the meantime, I’ve been running Pro Tools on my MacBook). I’ve been putting off this iMac update for nearly a year, fearing that it might interfere with the function of all my software instruments, effect plug-ins, and Logic Pro. Surprisingly, the updates have caused no trouble at all! Both Pro Tools and Logic (and all plug-ins) run seamlessly together on the same machine. There are many benefits to having Pro Tools installed on my iMac – (1) I am able to more easily export sounds out of Logic and then pull them directly into Pro Tools. (2) I plan to record background vocals and lead vocals using Pro Tools on the iMac, as the iMac is much quieter than my laptop and takes less time to get up and running. Before updating the iMac, I had to put the laptop in a closet when I was tracking to Pro Tools (3) the 21” iMac screen is much larger and is better on my eyes!

2. Consolidated most of the edited drum tracks (took the chopped up edited audio files and converted them to continuous files – ie. one kick drum audio file, one snare drum audio file, etc.)

3. Created “no drum” mixes of all the songs for drummer Jim Davis who will be playing in my live band. Jim and guitarist Matt Meyer are already getting together to work through some of the new songs. These no drum mixes will help them as they practice. I hope to start playing out with these guys (and a few others) this next spring or early summer.

4. Exported “no string” mixes for composer Rich Barrett who is working on tweaking the string arrangements for two songs.

I am gearing up to begin recording background vocals in January. As far as signal chain goes, I am using a Shure SM7 mic which runs into an API A2D pre-amp and then feeds via SPDIF (a digital connection) into Pro Tools. I’m looking at picking up a FMR RNC compressor for background vocals and an Emiperical Labs Distressor for lead vocals (both of which will be inserted into the API, separately of course depending on whether I am tracking background or lead vocals).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Catching the Bug

The last weeks have been slow as far as album progress goes. I’ve been a bit under the weather with what seems to be either the cold or the flu, accompanied by sinus and sometimes migraine headaches. Not the most fun thing in the world. Nevertheless, the album continues to move along. I met with composer Robert Nugent on Monday to go over the string arrangements for a couple songs, and am meeting with composer Rich Barrett on Thursday to go over the string arrangements for a couple more songs. I am also “consolidating” my drum edits, which basically means I am committing to the edits by converting sliced up files in single continuous files (one kick drum audio file, one snare drum file, etc.).

I’m getting close to having the money for the next Nashville trip. It now looks like we will be going to Nashville in early February to record real strings and electric guitar overdubs. Feels like I’ve been waiting forever for this next step!

I haven’t gotten around to recording new background vocals yet. I’ve already recorded some background vocals, but have more to record. It’s looking like January may be a good month for tracking BGVs. My good friend Matt Stepp may be singing some back up on a couple tunes!

These projects always take longer than expected. Nevertheless, it is rewarding to slowly see the finished product come together!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Demographically Speaking

Over the last couple months, I’ve been subscribing to, an online radio station. It’s been a very helpful service! I submitted “Hurricane” from my 2004 album Backstage Pass and so far it’s been played about 2000 times, and I’ve made 84 new fans (from all over the world)! Jango is really cool in that it shows stats about the demographic and listening habits of one’s fans. For example, many of my fans also listen to Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, Jeremy Camp, Nickelback, 3 Doors Down, Lifehouse, Linkin Park, Kutless, Newsboys, Daughtry, MercyMe, Jars of Clay, and the David Crowder Band. This list of artists is constantly changing as I make new fans. Nevertheless, it helps to narrow down who might listen to my music. I don’t think I sound exactly like any of these artists, but people who listen to these artists may also like my music. It also appears that the strongest listening audience (at least according to Jango) are female age 25-34.

So I’m curious if you think I sound similar to any artists/bands? (If you do comment, I ask that you use my album Backstage Pass as a reference, not Dishes or anything previous to Dishes).