Recording Heat Stroke, Pt. 14

rechs-14
It’s safe to say that recording for Heat Stroke is done. This STILL isn’t that post that I’ve been alluding to for months, talking about each song all in depth and whatever. But there’s still some meaty news to talk about, maybe, probably. I figured it was worth talking about the process of mastering and even the album art, since that’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks.

So…mastering. As of January 2nd, 8 out of the 10 tracks are 100% completely done. Why not all 10? Well, for whatever reason, I felt like I could master the last song, “When Heck Freezes Over” myself. I don’t know why I thought that. I guess it’s because it’s a short, relatively simple song; there’s no guitar and the tone doesn’t really change throughout the entire song. I did my best on mastering it, and it just sounded so bad compared to the rest of the songs. So that’s why that hasn’t been mastered yet. It’s in the queue to be mastered, and should be done next week. As for the intro, I’ll probably end up getting that mastered too, which will delay the album a little bit more.

Whatever happens, I can’t imagine it will be more than another 2 weeks for Heat Stroke to be done, audio-wise. It sounds good. It’s easily my best sounding set of songs. But I’m not sure how entertaining the songs are to listen to. I’m probably the worst person to ask about that though, since I’ve been messing with them for so long.

Oh, and for me, mastering wasn’t the simplest process. In short, the way I rendered my songs was horrible. I won’t even get into how poorly I did it. But to put it simply, I had to go back and tinker with my mixes to make them suitable for mastering. After I got the mastered versions back, the kicks and snares weren’t loud enough, so I had to go in and up the volume of the kicks and snares on all the songs. It seems like such a small thing, but hearing what difference that made was pretty enlightening actually. I submitted the songs to be mastered on December 19th, and they were done on the 27th. I think 2 songs needed a couple changes, but other than that, it was a smooth and easy process. Sage Audio did the mastering, and I don’t see why I would look elsewhere for mastering any other projects of mine. I won’t mention names, but I attempted to utilize other engineers to master Heat Stroke, and there weren’t very professional. Plus, they wanted more money for their services.

[tangent] I do plan on getting at least one older album of mine mastered before working on a new one. Punk Rebel Renegade was my last one, and I “released” that one in 2011. Other than the title track almost getting made available in Rock Band via the Rock Band Network, I don’t think any of the songs had any exposure.  I would be excited to officially release that album, but I know it would take some work getting those songs ready to master. Plus, there are more songs, so it would cost more to master than Heat Stroke, which is something to consider too. And all the albums I’ve done before Punk Rebel Renegade were done using more primitive software. So I would want to sort of convert those songs and get them set up as Cockos REAPER projects. [/tangent]

Even though the songs aren’t technically all done yet, I’ve been delving into figuring out how I’m going to release Heat Stroke. I’m pretty set on using CD Baby though. From what I can tell, it’s pretty painless to get an album out there available digitally as well as on physical CDs. Since I’m sort of a graphic designer (associates degree recipient, woo!), I know how to design stuff, but I certainly don’t get to make use of my skills. So even though I know I wouldn’t be able to sell more than a handful, it would be fun to design my own album. I don’t have a ton of disposable income, so I can’t make it as elaborate as I would like, but just being able to design the front and back cover art, the art on the CD itself, and any inside artwork, that would be fulfilling.

Speaking of that, I tweeted what may or may not be the final version of the album cover for the new album. How do you like it? You may have seen a version of the cover with blue and orange fire somewhere. I can’t go with that one because I can’t find out the source of the photo of the fire. I want to be all legit with all of this, so I’m not even going to go there. On top of that, I realized that it actually looks similar to what I’m pretty sure was my first album, Campfire Tales. It still has fire, but it’s basically monotone green, and it’s not obviously a flame. It’s kind of spacey and weird and abstract, so…I think it works.

Alright, so that’s an update. I’ll likely post some kind of mashup of quick samples of the songs for fun. Oh, and if I wasn’t clear before, Heat Stroke will be available everywhere. That’s the goal. iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Beats, etc. As far as a physical release, I want that to happen too, but if it happens, it will be after the digital release.

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