Friday, October 23, 2009

Please "Stand"by...

So I sent Stand to Chad yesterday to show him our concerns with the slide part and he agrees that it may need to be redone. He's also thinking that he might play around with using an ebow for the verse parts, a sound that would be somewhat similar to what he's going for with the slide. He's going to play around with it and see what he can come up with.

Additionally, it had been in my hopes to use hand percussion SOMEWHERE in the album (this effort failed in Electric Candle) and so our next target was Stand. Chad, having started to learn how to play the djembe, seems very interested in playing a hand drum part in Stand which I think would be great. He already has some ideas that he wants to introduce to me and I'm sure it'll sound great.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Where we Stand....

Last night Dave and I, with Melissa providing a third pair of ears, picked through Chad's Stand guitar parts and found the ones that worked best, throwing out the ones that seemed out of pitch in places due to Chad's use of the very difficult glass slide on his guitar. The different effects and delays he has for the song are great, providing a somewhat earthy atmosphere over the already twangy, dare-i-say, country-ish feel of the song. We have a lot to go with this tune, still needing Cullen's drum work over it as well as a second, more energetic acoustic guitar part, but it's looking really good! I like where we're at!

Being almost November, tho, I'm starting to wonder if this won't be a 2010 release...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

You "NO" Best!

The Electric Candle release poll has closed and it was pretty unanimous: the song will NOT be made available until the album is officially released.

I'm very happy with this as it shows you are all excited for the final but not to the point of ruining any surprises :)

Thank you to those who participated in the poll and sorry to those who wanted it released; you'll have to be patient for a few more months.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cam DeBarcho?

Who is this mysterious man behind Chad Macomber's new album project - "The Diary of Mr. Cam DeBarcho"?

Find out here.

How MUCH is that monster in the window....

....the one with the scary black tail?!

holy Sh*t! The beast can either FLY or has raided the garage for a ladder! I caught this image of the creature outside the studio window while Dave was setting up the wind chime mics!!! It seems to be getting closer to the house with every new sighting...I hope he doesn't find his way inside and cause all sorts of havoc!

I'm going to have to start figuring out ways to protect this project....and us.

Dave & Dylan

Been a great ten months so far... Here's to finishing this puppy up!

Though it's hard I try not to look at my wind chimes...

....Now and then a tear rolls off my cheek. Well said Brian Wilson, well said.

I don't cry over the beautiful sounds of my wind chimes like Mr. Wilson but I DO take great pride in having them outside our bedroom window to fall asleep to! They were left hanging on my Brighton porch from previous tenants I suspect and I grew to love them so much that I had to take them with me to Randolph. Who knew that they'd end up in one of the songs!




The Sun Sets on Electric Candle

As I drove to the studio, I filmed one of my "from the steering wheel" videos expressing my excitement for the completion of Electric Candle, the poll (which the "no!"s currently hold the lead, and what song is next (which I don't really know!)

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Electric Candle....

.....done! :) (minus mixing, of course)

In the words of Guster, "...on to the next one!"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ask You to benefit Amyloidosis Research

October 17th marks our third Search for a Cure event in Chester, VT and we're hoping for clear skies, beautiful foliage and lots of warm and caring people to come out and help us raise money for Amyloidosis research.
Search for a Cure
is an event that was created back in 2006 by my life long friend Meredith Johnson and it has been successful in raising close to $10,000 for research and The Diflunisal Trial, a clinical investigation on the effects of Diflunisal on the production of Amyloid proteins in FAP patients (my sister and self included). After completing the trial back in June, I am on a regular prescription of the drug and if things go according to plan, I, along with my sister and many other Familial patients, should be able to avoid this deadly disease and long, harsh treatments.

Along with the scavenger hunt, I plan on generating some fundraising dollars by selling copies of Ask You at the event. I'm handmaking 50 sleeves that will contain a CD of Ask You and a bonus acoustic track of May, a song that once appeared on an album I did with Chad Macomber back in college. Like the monies raised from the search, all the proceeds from Ask You sales will go directly to the Boston University Treatment and Research Program to benefit The Diflunisal Trial. There will also be order forms available in case the CD sells out and participants are interested in purchasing more.

If you don't have plans on Saturday and would like to come out to help our cause, please visit: http://www.themayfund.org/searchforacure for more information on the event and how to register. It's a great and hopeful time for all.

Poll: Should Electric Candle Be Released on October 20th

On the eve of its completion, it is in my thoughts to perhaps release Electric Candle next Tuesday as the 2nd completed song on the record. However, I am torn as I do not know if it'd be best to wait for the entire album to be completed before revealing any more songs. But I'm excited to share it and keep you all interested as well! What to do? What to do!?

So! I have put up a poll that will close next Monday night to see what you all think on this matter! After I see the results, I will make my decision and do what is in your interest.

The poll can be taken in the sidebar on the right.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus, Wild Rumpus, Internal Compass

What do these three things have in common? Well....they all hold a special place this week in October, today being of course Columbus Day; and at the end of the week the long awaited "Where the Wild Things Are" hits theaters! An internal compass?...well, this has more to do with finding yourself than it does a distant land. And why not take advantage of all this inspiration and start searching within?

Discovery. Columbus made a big find, this we all know ...although it can be argued a great deal that this is really a European "discovery"; that other explorers from different countries found the New World long before he did and that there were in fact people already settled here. Nevertheless, it's an important holiday and it's fun for some of us to get the day off and enjoy the crisp fall weather, eh? :) And while Columbus traveled across the Atlantic from Spain to the America's, Maurice Sendak's character Max makes a discovery of his own in the beloved children's book "Where the Wild Things Are" when he leaves his state of punishment to travel the seas of his imagination, sailing to the land of the Wild Things. There he conquers the great monsters, becomes King, does a little dance and returns home upon a wave of homesickness. He finds his dinner waiting for him when he arrives.

But not all quests and discoveries are to new worlds and distant lands filled with monsters. No...some epic journeys don't require you to even leave your country or your bedroom. Sometimes the greatest discoveries can be made within yourself by using your own internal compass...figuring out where you are and where you need to go.

I won't delve into details but it's no secret by now that this album project is, in a way, riding my emotional and psychological coat tails, existing as an entity that has much greater meaning due to the crazy unfolding of events in my own life to make it so. It's become apparent to me that my life and the album seem to be running parallel to each other, holding hands in this journey to figure ourselves out and for me.... to learn what is most important in life. Maybe then, it's not the album that is benefiting.....but perhaps myself. I really do feel that I'm figuring out where to go throughout this entire process.

However, I don't think my compass necessarily points anywhere special. Like many others, I'm in this constant push and pull of direction in life...one day being so entirely sure of what I want and where I'm going and the next not having the slightest clue on how to even open my eyes to see the options. It's a merry-go-round and roller coaster all in one with only a couple barf bags to get you through. But the insane ride is all part of it! The discovery of where you're going and how high you're willing to go, how fast you're willing to fall just to get back on with a weary smile across your face and a "wow, that was actually great!" shining from your soul.

So this week in October we celebrate Mr. Columbus, little Max and the compass inside us all...for they all three help remind us of grand discoveries, outside and in.

Dark Creature!

My biggest fear is that I'd run into that creature when it got dark! And of COURSE, that fear came true last week. I was driving up to Dave's a little later than usual (that and it's getting dark earlier) and I spotted it: the monster that seems to be stalking me on my studio visits! I stopped immediately in the road to take this picture and I am surprised I was able to muster up enough courage to continue down the road, get out of the car and head up to Dave's place. I just barely captured this picture seconds before the beast ran off into the woods.....
I hope that was the last I saw of it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Crazy Tea!

No, we don't have any special teas that keep us crazy and wired...that's just me being a moron.

haha We do love our tea though at
Fat Dave's Place and rely heavily on it to stay awake and alert as we plummet into the late night hours. Chai, English Breakfast....you name it and Dave has it sitting there on his stove ready for us to consume.

I just realized this is such a lame post.

A Fly on The Wall

Well, this is clearly isn't a fly. In fact we mistook it at first for a wasp and were wondering how we'd escape the night without getting stung! Turns out this friendly little guy landed himself on the chandelier above our console station to hang out for most of the night. I like to think that he was dropping in to see what was going on, enjoying the music and vibrations and serving as our unofficial studio mascot. I wonder if he'll bring friends next time.....
haha that might not be as cute.

Goodnight!

At the end of our session, we seemed to have a good grasp on Electric Candle and what final steps we need to take to finish it up. As I drove home, I decided to commentate on the evening and what we accomplished!

video

It's Shaker Time!

We needed a little bit of soft percussion to fill in the spots where the snare drops out in Electric Candle. Since Dave seems a bit more rehearsed in his egg-shaker rhythm, I took to the controls while he laid down a shaker track! At first it seemed strange having it in there but with some other bass drum stuff we're playing with, it sits in there quite nicely.

video

Subtlety is "keys"!

Upon maybe our tenth full listen of the song, Dave said he kept hearing some very soft and subtle piano chords in the 2nd verse after the cello comes in. He played it right where he felt it belonged and it sounded beautiful! So we figured out the chords and threw in that extra touch.

Here is Dave figuring out the chords. We suspected the keyboard of being digitally out of tune...which of course is impossible. Maybe our chai tea was wearing off...

video

You Are The Wind Beneath My Wings

er...at least beneath the song! Sorry, Bette.

So we needed something to kind of serve as the atmospheric glue for the song and support that idea of a wintery space in a cold and lonely attic. We attempted to do a scratchy record player sound but it turned out that high frequency pops made it sound like fire and this is in fact a song about an ELECTRIC candle...not a real one. haha So that didn't work. So the next thought was wind. And through some trial, error and a few cups of tea, we landed ourselves with a pretty neat fabricated wind effect that required some twists and turns of the knob to control the howls! I like howling so I was the on board for the task!

If you listen close....or have better headphones than a pair of earbuds, you can hear the wind blowing through the song :)

video

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We've Got A Handle on Electric Candle!

Dave and I went from my initial desired simple acoustic/voice composition of Electric Candle to adding cello, piano melodies, on and then off again bongos/congas, snare drum, a wintery wind sound effect, some shaker, a bellowing boom of a bass drum in some parts and some reverb for space....ALL without crowding the song and drifting too far away form that concept of being alone and distant from everyone (which is what the song suggests). With possibly only ONE more session to go before the song wraps, we have a solid direction of what we need to finish it up and fill in a few of the cracks. We plan on adding some small sound effects like wind chimes and some violin to harmonize the cello in some parts and add to the intensity of the chorus. Electric Candle will be the next finished song on What To Keep & Let Go.

Here are some photos of Dave playing with the piano parts. Approachin' it at ALL angles!



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A second part to Passing Into August?

Passing Into August is probably the one song on the record that has gone through as many changes as it has....and I still don't know where it's really going.

The version that Marcin and I put together is a driving bass and piano piece that fits well right after Horizons...yet it seems to lack the emotion that I was hoping for when I first came across the concept. What we have now is a very pop-melodic style that keeps the first part of the record upbeat and fun. Marcin has helped me with accents and down times to really build the intensity in parts but today I came across an older demo that has an ending that seems very different in feeling and emotion.

I'm not sure which direction to take with it. I'm considering combining both styles but that might not work out well. Perhaps a break in the song to lead into a different sounding piece...almost like a 2nd part? The older version has a very catchy guitar riff written by Chad but I wanted to steer clear of another song that has a prominent lead guitar part. For Passing Into August I want to rely on a piano melody and driving bass line, which I think we are on our way to achieving.

We'll see how it all "passes" through the processor.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Practice Postponed

Our practice was postponed until next Monday as we felt it best to get Cullen up to speed on the songs much closer to the day we can record, which isn't this week unfortunately. But alas, a full band practice is on the horizon.

Another Weston Monster Sighting!

The other day I happened to glance up at the trees while I was waiting for Dave to arrive and I saw that creature for the first time through my own eyes!! He was lurking in the trees high above the ground but he definitely had his sights on me. I seriously have to watch my back on recording nights...it's getting darker after all.....

Here's the shot I took with a Photoshop magnification. Creepy.

Monday, October 5, 2009

"On a Sunday I'll think it through."

Yesterday I sat down at my m-audio midi keyboard and hashed out some string arrangements for the outro section of Circles. I have always had a main melody in mind for this song and will put a lot of pressure on myself to get it exactly how I can hear it in my head. This is going to be by far the biggest song on the record, reflecting my most important themes and questions. During the climax of the song, I envision a heavy symphony section mixed in with the regular band, helping to reach the highest emotional level of all 11 songs. I'm so excited to hear this all completed.

Here is a video of me figuring out the parts in my head. I practiced hours more after this was taken and it has since been perfected...pending Dave's opinion of course.

SPOILER WARNING: This is the most important section of the album to me so if you don't want to even hear my progress in figuring it out, turn back now! :)

video

Thanks, Jimmy Eat World, for a very appropriate song lyric for my post title :)

One Big Nash Bash!

Tonight the guys and I are reuniting for a practice at Cullen's place in Weston! It's been a while but it will be good to get in a good band session and let out some of our musical frustrations!

Chad has a good chunk of new material I believe he's interested in introducing to us all which will be great! I had a chance to hear of his new songs this weekend and it's going to be a lot of fun playing full band. It's definitely in my interest, too, to get a good few runs in of Stand and Hello, Amy so Cullen will be more familiar with them for when it comes time to record. He was scheduled to head into the studio this coming Thursday (hence the reason I called the practice tonight) but Dave realized he can't do it that night and Cullen can't make it when he can. haha No worries though...we'll have a great time tonight regardless!

By the way, remember the green fish tank? It's not green anymore! I'll miss that color in the photos and video. Always added a little something ya know? ;)

"Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum, On my drum?"

Why yes, Aaron, you can! haha

I had a talk with Cullen the other day about the possibility of bringing on another drummer to help along with the process, as there are five songs left in need of drums and I think it'd be good to have the option to use a second percussionist. Cullen agreed that it'd be fine that I talk to Aaron about helping out with a couple of songs, as he had already come in to play on Electric Candle and seemed interested that night in helping out in more ways if we needed it. At that time I didn't ask Aaron if he would in fact be into the idea of playing on some more songs but after Cullen's support, I asked him and he said yes!

So it is my plan to have Aaron drum on Do What You Can and Passing Into August while Cullen continues work on Stand, Circles and Hello, Amy. It will be a great mix of style and convenient to boot: Aaron's drum set has a permanent home at Dave's studio as they are in The Royalty together and hold their practices there.

Here's to getting back on track!

So weird!

A lot of my friends know how strange I can be. Here is an example of some of my silly antics while Aaron was tuning his drum for Electric Candle. Oh, turns out that this little piano riff is going to be added to one of Chad's Muse-like song arrangements. I offered up the melody for his use on Saturday after thinking just how perfect it suited his new experimental style.

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Allergic to snare drum, Dave?

As you can hear from the clip below, Electric Candle is going to sound nice with Aaron's drum treatment. Apparently, Dave is allergic to it tho.... haha

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Finding the beat.

Aaron spent some time working on his beat for Electric Candle. After a while, he was ready to take a stab at it and finished up his session in a couple of hours. Originally the song was not planned for any sort of percussion and I so I went at the song more to my own beat and not to a click. So understandably there were some spots in the song that weren't exactly perfect and so I felt terrible for Aaron having to change up his tempo every now and again. He did a stand up job tho!

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Bring It, Pring!

And that's just what he did! Last week, Aaron Pring came in to the studio to work on our drum section for Electric Candle, quickly replacing our first attempt with bongos for the song. Upon listening to his marching band like snare style, we were convinced that our original vision was not right. Hand percussion simply did not do the song justice.

Here are some photos of Aaron practicing for the part and Dave setting him up for his debut appearance on What To Keep & Let Go.