Over and Over Again
There is something people don’t really think about when you go into a situation where you want to record music you have written.
This stuff doesn’t magically just appear on acetate or hard drive or in the cloud or wherever it’s stored today with perfection and bliss. This is something taking preparation and arrangement.
I am lucky in that I have this group of amazing people who, even with little time on their hands, are willing and able to meet to settle those arrangements for music before we go into the studio on March 28th and 29th. This is a particularly interesting thing because, though I can read music, I cannot write out charts and give full transcripts of all the stuff I have written. I even have to look up some of the chords I’m playing because I honestly have no idea what it is I’m fingering, it just makes some sort of logical sense.
Then there are bass parts and keyboard parts and rhythm/lead guitar and what breaks we put in and what ones we ignore and . . . you begin to realize just how much more work there is than just “writing” your song.
Part of all this is playing sections of your song over and over again. Some of you may have been through this if you ever sang in choir or were in the high school band or marching band. You mess up a section . . . you do it over and over and over again until you no longer mess up that section. With the help of technology today we can get those arrangements going and suddenly . . . we have a recording from a cell phone. No, it’s not one you’d put on the record itself, but you can share it on a cloud-based drive, share that with everyone in the band, and suddenly you all have access to what the arrangements are.
Repetition might seem like it would get monotonous, but it actually is inspiring, particularly with talented people. We suddenly have breaks where I had put none. We suddenly have harmonized guitar lines and backup vocals . . . something I’m particularly poor at arranging, harmonies.
It’s been an amazing thing just to arrange two songs. You might think that sounds a bit strange, only two songs in two days. It’s not. First you set up everything, and drums are the biggest thing to set up. You mic up all those things, instruments, do a scratch vocal track while you play. You will put a backing track with everyone. Then you’ll do lead guitar. Maybe acoustic. Then vocals . . . then more backing vocals.
By the time we are finished I’ll be thrilled if we get these two songs completed. The next step will be learning a few more . . . then a few more . . . and so on.
In the midst of what in years past would be one of the hardest months of the year – March, when my wife passed away – this is turning out to be the most ambitious we been through yet.
And it’s not even the end of March yet!
More updates later in the week!