Ugh. Since my last BBAF update, the real last one, Part 6, my time has been spent getting the movie sample stuff squared away and also listening to the songs over and over again. These two very different tasks are probably equally intensive for very different reasons. Let me explain.
Getting people to record lines for you is tough stuff. It reminded me of when I was in high school and had a band, or something like a band. I was ALWAYS in the mood to play, to record, to write, or whatever. Early on, my hunger to play music was pretty much matched by the others. We practiced just about every day. It was awesome. But once the people in my band discovered girls or whatever, that all changed. There’s probably a long story there, but the point is that once that happened, it was hard to get everyone or even anyone together to do anything. Looking back on it, I might have been TOO into it. Like, that’s all I wanted to do was play music and record it on a crappy karaoke machine.
Fast forward to now, and it took literally months to get a handful of lines of dialog recorded. Sure, there are reasons why, but man, I got close to getting fed up at some point. In the future, if I ever have to do it again, I’m going to look into hiring some kind of semi-professionals to do it. Maybe I’m weird, but I would have jumped at the chance of being able to record movie lines for an album. *sigh*
Anyway, then there’s me listening to all the songs over and over. I’ve always said Boobs, Butts, and Feets has to be my most accessible album. It’s probably the happiest, most danceable collection of songs I’ve ever done. So I want to make it sound as good as possible because if any of my albums are going to matter to anyone, it’s going to be this one. It’s slightly defeating that it’s almost 10 years old, and I’m basically saying I’m never going to do anything better than that, but…yeah, that’s probably how it is.
I couldn’t even estimate how many times I’ve listened to these 14 tracks over and over again. I did the same thing with Heat Stroke and Punk Rebel Renegade to some extent, but I’ve been taking it to the extreme. In my car, at work, while I’m playing video games, wherever…I’ve been listening to it.
The main difference this time around is that I’m utilizing Dropbox to keep track of the various mixes. For the last few months, every week or two, I’ll render out the latest versions of all the songs and upload them to my Dropbox space. Then, on my phone, I’ll listen to them like it’s going out of style. Before, I would do something similar, just not using Dropbox. And I would take notes on paper. Now, because I’m not that dumb, I’ve been making comments on the Dropbox files. I realized it was silly to have dozens of Post-It notes stuck all over the place with little notes to myself.
These notes are everything from an instrument being too loud, needing more or less reverb, guessing at some EQ adjustments that should be made, or just noting that I don’t like the sound of something so that I don’t forget. Before I was using Dropbox, I wasn’t able to keep track of all the versions very well, plus I lost a couple of the Post-It notes, so the Dropbox comments are awesome. I can’t lose them obviously, and there’s stuck to the exact file it’s referring to with a date stamp.
It’s a pretty cool setup, and I’ll probably stick with it for future projects. As much as I dislike this part of the process, I wish I would have done it for Heat Stroke and Punk Rebel Renegade. If for no other reason, it might be weird if these songs sound all good compared to the other 2 albums, which are newer. Like, you’d think my newer stuff would sound better. Oh well.
So what’s next after Boobs, Butts, and Feets is finally released? I don’t know. I know it’s not going to be remastering another old album yet. Maybe another shortish album like Heat Stroke. But instead of it being an album that I tried to get done with as soon as possible, it’ll be made up of songs that have been in the oven for a while. And since they have been more or less finished for so long, it shouldn’t take long to get the album done. Plus, since at least one song will likely be from 2013, some from 2016, and a few somewhere in between, there will be nice variations of sound. I think that’s what I liked the least about Heat Stroke. Even though I felt like there was a good variation there, the tone felt fairly consistent, in a not-so-good way. But maybe that’s only obvious to me because I know how I felt throughout the whole recording process.
“Eff It” is one of those songs that hasn’t been released, and I plan on putting it on whatever the next album is. I like it a lot. Musically, it was inspired by Static-X probably. Vocally, it sounds like…I don’t even know. It’s not monotone like some of my songs, but it’s not sing-songy either. And it’s probably the most decent sounding song I’ve recorded. Like, it doesn’t have awkward interludes or transitions. There are 4 distinct parts to the song: the verse, which is vocals-focused even though it features a cool bassline, a pre-chorus (or whatever), which is kind of catchy, the chorus, while catchy, isn’t as memorable as the pre-chorus, and then there’s the…other part. It’s this syncopated guitar chugging part which I like a lot. It doesn’t sound like anything I’ve done before. I don’t know how that song came together the way it did, but it would be cool if it would happen more often. And hopefully other people will think it’s at least half as good as I do. Or else I’m going to be embarrassed after talking it up so much. Hm.
Anyway, I imagine by the next time I post, the songs will be ready for mastering. It’s exciting!