Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The process leading to "White Light" Pt.2

...After I had all the tracks recorded and picked out for the album (White Light) I needed someone who would Mix & Master them. My sister had gone to a music production school the year before and recommended one of her teachers named Kevin Kowal. When I met him at his studio (Leading Tone Productions) I knew right away that my songs were in good hands, and in the next few months I learned a few important things:
1. using a shitty cheap microphone gives you shitty cheap sounding recordings
2. it helps a lot if you know how to mic your instruments properly (evidently I didn't)
3. that Kevin Kowal is a musical genius and can fix almost anything.
It was always a weekly highlight going over there and hearing how he had interpreted the latest song, and mixed it into something way beyond my expectations.
When it was completed it was actually a little depressing, but satisfying as hell. I now had in my hands my first album. Next I had to figure out where to get it pressed, what to do for art work, and how to get people to hear it (still working on this bit).
Due to the fact that I was paying for all this crap on my own, and knowing that it was highly unlikely I would recoup much of what I spent on it, I had to do the rest on the cheaper side.
I decided to design my own album art, and new I wanted a moth on the cover to go with the "White Light" album title. I had taken a bunch of photos of these crazy moths on a blue wall while I was on a jungle trek in Peru and knew I had to use those.

I enhanced the moth wings with some city lights from the Vancouver skyline taken from my apartment window, threw my face on the little guy, made him glow, and the rest is history.
Next I found a place that would press the discs and print all the art including some posters and
3 weeks later I had a bunch of boxes of CD's for me to deal with. What next?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The process leading to "White Light" album

Lets go back a few years to 2004, to the point where I realized I had a collection of songs that I had recorded (about 40 or so) that I wasn't doing anything with, and if I just left them they would continue to go unheard and unappreciated. Did I care if they weren't heard or appreciated? Not really... but kind of.
When I started recording music back in 1994 I never really had the intention of anyone hearing it. I was just making music I wanted to hear, except I couldn't sing very well, or play any instrument very well, so I guess it wasn't "exactly" what I wanted to hear, but it was fun so what the hell right?
One thing led to another and my tape deck turned into a four track, and then that turned into a computer, and the songs got a little more bearable to listen to (or so I thought). My girlfriend at the time thought otherwise, and definitely wasn't holding back in her critique of each song I played for her. I remember once I wrote a song for her while she was away that I was very proud of, and felt it captured my feelings for her perfectly. I called it "Alone". I couldn't wait for her to get back so I could play it and have her gush over it. When she returned, I nervously played it for her and when it was done she said "That was too long and kind of boring." and then went and started to unpack. It turns out she must have been ahead of her time cause now when I listen back to that old song it is definitely kinda long and kinda boring. Plus I probably could have picked my timing a little better and let her at least take her jacket and shoes off upon her return.
OK, sidetracked a little there...
So in 2005 I figured if anyone other than my family and friends were going to hear my music I needed to release an album. The problem was my songs were all over the map style wise, and honestly I wasn't that excited by most of them, some actually sucked... a lot. I had maybe 8 that I thought were good enough to put onto my first CD, and for the first time in my musical career set aside a couple months strictly to write and record the remainder of the album.
In that 2 month period I spent everyday (well almost) writing and recording, and came up with another 6 songs that I felt were miles above the stuff I had done before, but how could I release the old stuff now that the new stuff was so awesome? I couldn't. I'd have to keep recording, but i also had bills to pay, so...
I went back to work at my real job doing Props for film or TV, this time on a TV show called Robson Arms, then after that some other show, I can't remember what. It kinda blends together after a while. Eventually I decided to take a trip to South America for 3 months, and while I was there I ended up writing a few more songs.

When I got back wouldn't you know it, I had no work lined up so I spent the next 2 months writing and recording a bunch more songs for the album. I would call this album "White Light" after a song that never made it on to the CD. Actually I never really finished that song come to think of it. In the end I only used 4 of the older songs (The Same, Number One Value, Funny Feeling, and Final Breath) on the final disk with the remainder being written while I was in South America and in the 2 months that followed when I returned.
So now I had the songs ready, what now? I guess find a place to Mix and Master it... More about that step later.