Studio Update #4

Sorry for the lack of updates. Things have been crazy lately.

So, on Friday Chris finished up his tracks. It was a long day, but he got them done. Jon came up that night and hung out for a bit while Chris tracked. Jon started on Saturday. There are two songs out of 11 that don't have vocals, so he only had nine to do. He was able to finish three songs his first day. After about 6 hours of yelling he was getting pretty tired, so we left a little early in order for him to rest up and be ready for the next day. On Sunday he tracked four more. He wasn't too familiar with three of the songs, so we kind of wrote most of the patterns and arranged the lyrics while recording. We got one of them down that night, but he took Sunday night to really arrange the other two and get a better idea for them before coming in Monday morning. We all pitched in and helped where we could. Monday we got the last two finished and began to kind of pack things up.

Mixing began Tuesday. Chris C. mixes on the console at the studio, not in Pro Tools. It sounds better because of some really expensive converters he has and he has a ton of really nice outboard gear that he just can't recreate in a computer. The only downside to this method is that once a song is mixed, it's mixed. He can't really go back and make changes to one song without having to completely remix it.
Mixing is a really cool process because the songs really take shape and become so much more than a bunch of random sounds. One of the best parts is you finally get to listen to the songs WITHOUT the click tracks! It gets really old, really fast. Anyway, mixing on Tuesday and we dropped in a little later after Chris C. started getting things the way he wanted them. From there on we gave our input and added all the flashy extras that make it that much cooler to listen to. Delays, weird effects, interesting reverbs, that sort of thing. Each day we'd come in and listen to songs over and over and critique them making tiny adjustments and bouncing the tracks in multiple versions - a vocal up mix, a vocal down mix, and an instrumental mix. If we go through and figure out find out vocals are just too quiet on a track, we can resort to the vocal up track without having to mix the song over again. The instrumental tracks are for possibilities of other things down the road. We mixed about three songs a day. It ended up going a lot faster than he expected because with our style all of the mixes are pretty consistent. In other genres you have to mix a song from the ground up each time because there are more dynamics and other things need to stick out more or less depending on the feel of the song. While that's also true for these songs, there's one pretty distinct sound we're going for so it's easy to start with the same mix each time and tweak very minor things along the way.

Today we finished mixing. It's pretty surreal right now. This huge project was not even conceived three months ago and now it's done. All the songs are mixed, all the songs have titles. I'm kind of at a loss of what to think. I'm extremely proud of it and really feel like it's my baby right now. Everyone put a lot of hard work into it and it has turned out even better than I imagined. Chris Common added some really incredible parts and effects that we wouldn't have come up with otherwise and I really feel like he made the album just that extra bit special. I couldn't have asked for a cooler dude to work with either. He's an awesome guy with some real talent. This has been quite a long two weeks and I'm actually pretty bummed it has come to an end. Only good things are in our future though. We will be back in the studio listening to the final mixes tomorrow before we pack up and leave.

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