Friday, August 28, 2009

Dave's Back!

I got a text message from Dave the other day that stated his interest to start back up on Tuesday, September 1st! So it looks as if we will be back on track next week, chiseling away even more at our to-do list and discussing how to finish up the 4th quarter of this project in time for an expected December release. I told Dave I'm REALLY excited to work on Circles and make it the biggest sounding song on the record. He agreed that we're going to make it huge.

Very excited :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

December '09 release?

I know I said we were going to shoot for a fall release but I think December could be very appropriate as come full circle from when we started a year ago in '08. The album art is, after all, a winter depiction.

So where does that leave us? Well below I have compiled a list of the tracks from the album along with what is completed or left to be worked on.

Horizons - Everything is done except for my vocals, back up vocals and additional mixing.

Passing Into August - Marcin and I have recorded our parts but Cullen needs to write some drum arrangements for this and lay them down. Then we need to follow the demo we created at Marcin's and put in the driving piano parts required as well as all the other bells and whistles.

Stand - Vocals are needed as well as drum parts. Chad completed his lead guitar sections recently and so we'll have to put this song together a little backwards. Cullen is confident he can drum over what we have already done.

City Lights - All complete except for my vocals, back ups and additional mixing.

Bicycle on the Ice - Completed. May be adding in some back up vocals.

Circles - Acoustic guitar and bass is done and Cullen needs to solidify his percussion parts though he has a good idea where he's going with it. I need to compose symphony sections that are in my head and work with Dave on making this song the biggest on the album. I'm currently training my vocals for this song.

Electric Candle - Completed except for some ambient sounds and fill ins to make the song feel a little more full.

Do What You Can - Marcin and I have run through this song a few times and added a little ending part but nothing has been recorded for this yet. Soon!

Hello, Amy - This is the only full live song on the album that will require all four of us to be in the studio at the same time. I'm hoping for a weekend day session where we can do a number of takes to get the right one. This is going to be our "anything goes, in the moment" type song....hopefully with a little control and structure to make it sound great. We have enough practice with it from playing it live so there should be no problem in that department.

In The End - Complete except for vocals, back ups and some additional mixing. Perhaps some light string arrangements.

Ask You - Complete but we will adding in an alternate ending from the single you have all heard. A final verse will be added at the end as well as some atmospheric vocals in the instrumental part.

Pretty sure that is where we're at right now. I'm excited to get back on track and have this all ready for you to hear. You have been very patient and supportive and I appreciate it so much!

"I'm changing both my headlights and hoping for a 'Brighton' life"

I'm heading out of Brighton in a few days and it's quite bitter sweet I must say. We found an apartment down in Randolph, MA which is closer to work and in a very peaceful area which I'm sure will be lacking of siren noises and MBTA bus sounds at 7 am. I can confidently say, however, that even though I grew up in a place where you could hear the buzzing in your ear because it's so quiet, I'm not sure how much I'll enjoy all the silence. I have grown to love noise.

Brighton to me was not only a place where things were "happenin" but also the breeding ground for What To Keep & Let Go. Since its first conceptions, the album evolved, grew and fell apart in towns like Chester, VT and MA cities like Revere, Marblehead and Stoughton. It wasn't until landing myself in Brighton that the album was ready to come to life, to really grow up.

It was funny how it started. I remember within the first week or two I was playing guitar in my new Brighton apartment room and working on a song (for what I presumed would be on a future album or possibly even this one) called "When You Wake Up In The Morning". I remember it had a very energetic tempo that required me to play loud and really get into. Not a week later did we receive a visit from the landlord saying that we've been too loud (rather, I've been too loud..haha) and that we needed to quiet things down. I was so discouraged. I had had hopes that I was going to use this new place as a recording station for the album, seeing as how both Marblehead and Revere proved unsuccessful in getting the tracks down solid. Little did I realize that my failures to launch the project in other towns and the inability to record in my room would pave the road to where the album was supposed to go.

I was walking with my roommate Scott back from CVS or a diner or some other new place we were checking out and I found myself complaining to him that there was no way I was going to be able to record the album in the room. I remember his response exactly: "Why don't you just talk to Marcin and see if he can help you out." Marcin had just moved to a town nearby Brighton and he had lots of different music connections and so there was bound to be something he could do.

So I talked to Marcin. And he talked to Fat Dave (Dave Eastman). And then I talked to Marcin again about helping with bass for the songs. And he talked to Cullen about coming down to play an open mic with us one night. And after we played we talked. And talking lead to me having a producer, bassist and drummer all in the span of a couple of months. The album was ready to start working on. Enough talking. It was time to act.

The following months were the seeds to this fast growing project. After initial meetings with Dave in Weston and some early practice sessions with Marcin and Cullen and bringing on Chad soon after, it was becoming clear to me that this was finally going to be a reality. I had spent so many years thinking I was going to get What To Keep & Let Go completed on my own using my computer station and some borrowed instruments; never did I anticipate the depth and involvement that has been put into it. It's truly amazing how everything lined up so perfectly.

So Brighton will always hold a special place in my heart for many contributing elements in my life including new friends, a great girlfriend and a bigger stomach from all the good food. (we won't mention the half dozen parking tickets...) haha But I think deep down it will always be the place that turned things around for me and my music. I can safely say that it was here that kick started the project and it seemed like all the pieces just came together as if it was supposed to take 6 years to start it. When I look back, I realize that all my attempts at getting this project started were futile because the songs and the elements involved were simply not ready to grow up. The conditions weren't strong enough to bring it to life. It felt ready here.

Leaving will be hard. But the future looks Bright.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August Shmaugust

August will most likely have the least amount of posts in the archives after this is all said and done. haha No worries though. With a move out of the apartment, some freelance projects to take care of and a missing-in-action music producer, it's no wonder that there won't be much accomplished on What To Keep & Let Go this month. Like I have said, however, it's a perfect opportunity to practice up on some of my vocals, get together with the guys to hash out some missing song elements and really gear up for a full on attack in September. I anticipate the project to be wrapped up sometime in the late fall, early winter. Definitely for a Christmas release. That'd be swell.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chad's My Hero

Chad put together a great Carnival Hero website the other day and it is up, live and kickin' today! Go check it out! It has a great comic book look to it and our character bios are a hoot! Very fun to look over and there will be more added, I assume, as time goes on!

Carnival Hero!

For some reason there seems to be a problem with it loading but this will be the address for when it starts working. Keep checking back!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Rethinking "Hello, Amy" Ending

As some of you know, I was given a 2nd outlook on life back in June when I learned that the Diflunisal medication that has been used as part of a trial in the possible cure for my disease Amyloidosis shows signs of actually working. It's an incredible feeling of hope to think that I, as well as my sister and many others could live a much long life now...

So with this new realization comes a possible new direction for my song Hello, Amy which basically talks of my discovery of the disease inside of me, my fight against it and ultimately my acceptance that it's with me forever and I cannot get rid of it.

But now things have changed.

Melissa and I were discussing the song yesterday and she came up with a great idea. She suggests that I throw in a 4th and final verse that will address my change of heart, a more positive spin on an otherwise dismal future and a "giving in" sort of attitude. Since things are looking good in this department, why not end the song on a better, more positive note?

And that is just what I'm going to do :)

Here is the new and final lyric added to the song. I am thinking that the structure will remain the same with perhaps some change in intensity here and there but after the song rings out a bit, I'm thinking a pretty and simple piano melody will come back in after a brief silence with the new verse sung over it.

Goodbye, Amy
I've had some time to think this through
I don't know what I was thinking when I said that I'd love you.
Perhaps out of desperation or a fear of losing time
All I know now is I don't want you, there's no way to change my mind. Goodbye.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Up Close & Personal with Fat Dave's Place

On August 4th, I hit the studio to work with Dave on chiseling down some of our items on the to-do list. The things we tackled were quite tedious but rather fun. Let's just say I know Chad's Horizons and City Lights parts by heart! haha In a little under two hours, we managed to pick the best takes from all of Chad's guitar parts he has done for these two songs. Good stuff, indeed.

On the other side of the evening, I decided to document the inner workings of Fat Dave's Place, getting right in the face of some of the tools, instruments, and console features we are using to make What To Keep & Let Go.

Here are some photos of Dave's set up.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

While Dave Chills in Chile...

....we'll be working on making the rest of the songs solid enough to take them to the studio at the end of August when he returns. Dave will be on vacation most of the month and so this is the perfect opportunity to get some things done in the practice space, namely crack down on the drums for Circles, Stand, Passing into August and Do What You Can. Marcin and I still have to work on Do What You Can but we may be able to get on this as a full arrangement with Cullen sometime while Dave is gone.

Lots to do but now it seems a good chunk of time has been freed up to practice and be ready to go again in a few weeks!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Passing Into August

So we didn't get Passing Into August done by today (August 1st) as planned due to the craziness of life and cut down on studio time. But no worries! I have kept my promise to deliver at least SOMETHING. Here is a rough demo that Marcin and I worked through back in April and you can expect the song to be close to if not exactly like this, minus the sloppy tempo issues and rough vocals/lyrics, of course. Additionally, the piano parts will continue throughout the song and my voice won't suck. haha. I have included the lyrics underneath the link to the song. Enjoy!


If you don't want to hear how Passing Into August sounds, do not listen.

Listen to the rough demo here!

Passing Into August

I'm passing into August and you're still on my mind
but I'm having trouble seeing you through the blurriness of time

I'm trying to be honest, tired of lying to myself
You used to tell me everything. Now there's no one here to help.

Oh, I'm left all alone, open for interpretation and I fear that I won't mean the same again.


and if you had the chance to rearrange the days
would you exchange tomorrow for today to stay here with me?

I'm passing into August, somehow it's easy to forget
all the tiny inconsistencies and all the pictures in my head

we're together one last time
so let's cancel all our plans and improvise