Sunday, January 16, 2011

Making Final Preparations

This week, I hope to wrap up exporting stem mixes that will be used in the Pro Tools sessions we’ll use for recording in Nashville. Stem mixes are basically sub mixes of groups of instruments. I’m specifically creating stem mixes for bass, drums, rhythm guitars, keyboards, vocals, as well as fake lead guitars and fake strings (these will be used for reference when we are tracking the real lead guitars and strings). The purpose of stem files in this situation is to allow for some monitoring flexibility while recording. In other words, the studio musicians can adjust their headphone mix to their own tastes – more vocal, less bass, more drums, etc.

I am also working on getting some decent demo mixes in Pro Tools. Previously, all demo mixes were in Logic Pro, the program where all the songs were originally composed. My friend Dave Bechtel will eventually be mixing the songs in Pro Tools, but in the meantime, it helps me to hear what the songs might sound like.

I met with composer Rich Barrett last Monday, and plan to meet with him at least one more time before we go to Nashville Feb 3rd-5th. Rich is wrapping up string arrangements for two songs. He initially played all the string parts into Logic Pro, but is now completing the actual notation (for the string players) in Sibelius. Logic is a great program, but is a bit unintuitive when it comes to notation.

Here’s a quick recap of what we’ll be doing in Nashville – we’ll be recording a string quartet (which will be layered multiple times to create a large string sound) as well as guitar overdubs with Nashville studio musician Mike Payne. All of the “bread and butter” rhythm guitar parts have already been recorded. However, Mike will be adding the guitar “seasoning,” if you will – effect based guitar sounds and leads. The guitar sounds we’ve recorded so far fall into two categories – acoustic rhythm guitar and distortion/overdrive rhythm guitar. Mike will be adding guitar tones that make use of other effects – delay, chorus, tremolo, etc. These sounds will function to further set each song apart from each other, giving each tune a unique guitar color palate.

Today, I practiced for the first time with drummer Jim Davis and guitarist Matt Meyer. We hope to start playing out in the spring or summer to promote the new album. Eventually, the live band will consist of drums, bass, two guitars, 1-2 keyboards, and vocals. However, we plan to first nail down our parts as a three piece, and after doing that, we will start adding other players.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Nashville, Here We Come!

Looks like we will be tracking strings in Nashville on Thursday, February 3rd and electric guitar overdubs (in Franklin, TN) on Friday, February 4th. Can't wait!!!

In other news, I got a Korg nanoKONTROL from my sister for Christmas. It's been fun using this with Logic 8 and Pro Tools 8!

The album is coming along! I've basically been doing a lot of miscellaneous work - tightening up guitars, adding a few extra synth/loop parts here and there, as well as stream lining and backing up Pro Tool sessions to DVD. I also met with composer Rich Barrett before Christmas and am meeting with him again this week. We're trying to wrap up string arrangements for two songs. We need to hurry as we will be heading to Nashville in less than a month!