Alright, this should be the second to last entry in my Recording Heat Stroke blog series. Since last time I wrote in here, I touched up all of the previous songs, and more notably, I have started working on a new song, a sad one, If you’re not familiar with my catalog, then you might not know that I don’t do sad songs. I don’t even do slow songs really. So that’s why this is kind of a big deal. It’s kind of up in the air as to how good the song is going to be, but the fact that it’s sad sounding and basically against what I set out to do with these new songs is this week’s topic.
Why am I recording a sad song? I don’t know. At the time of its inception, last weekend, I wasn’t feeling especially sad or anything. This little sad note progression popped in my head. I started playing it, and it just sounded good. Like, for absolutely no reason, a tune started sounding inside my brain, I immediately picked up the nearest guitar, and played it exactly how I imagined it. And that’s something I’ve never done before. As a musicianish person, you might think I could easily do that and do it frequently, but…no. I usually have to noodle around until I hit the notes I was hearing in my head. Don’t get me wrong, this little riff I’m referring to isn’t some revolutionary opus obviously. Nor is is it particularly inventive or unique. But for me, it’s definitely something I’ve ever recorded before.
It’s cool that it’s different, but at the same time, I had set out for the songs on Heat Stroke to have the same sort of sound. That was my goal, and at that I have failed. I think I realized that when I was about halfway done recording “Countdown to a Breakdown.” That song sounds nothing like “Hotter Than a Mothereffer” or “Burn It Down.” And those two songs don’t sound anything like each other either, but played one right after another, they compliment each other in my opinion.
So yeah, Heat Stroke is going to be pretty eclectic. It’s not a bad thing, and it’s not really a departure for me, but again, my goal for this collection of songs was to have a handful of songs that didn’t sound like one big song, but had the same sort of sound, like most albums do. Maybe that concept is difficult to understand, but it’s something that has sort of plagued me since I began recording music. In the early days, I couldn’t figure out why some songs sounded better than others, not that I spent much time trying to figure it out, but regardless, that’s how it was. Nowadays, when a song sounds off, I don’t immediately know what the problem is, I’ll tweak stuff until it does sound right.
I threw around the idea of trying to make this new sad song have the same sound as the other songs, but I ended up not doing that. Once all the music was recorded and I was happy enough with it, I decided that it was cool that these songs are sounding different. Granted, the drum samples are all the same among all the songs (so far), but there’s differing amonts of reverb and EQ to fit the feel of each song. Yes, it’s cool that I did that, but it’s a bit of a bummer because I didn’t want to do that. Maybe the average listener won’t even notice the inconsistencies that are bothering the crap out of me.
I wish I could get a new set of ears and hear the songs for the first time instead of focusing on the latest changes I’ve made. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last 2 weeks. Right now, the biggest thing that’s bothering me is how different “Countdown to a Breakdown” sounds compared to the other songs. I’ve decided what is a little jarring to me is the lack of a bassline of any kind. The other day I programmed in a synth bassline and plopped that in there. It didn’t sound bad, but like I had feared, it forces the song to lose its country hoedownness. The guitar parts aren’t sloppy, but they’re loose enough that literally perfect bass notes underneath it kills the soul of the song.
The sad song has similar production values, and it too doesn’t currently have a bass part. I do plan on putting in some kind of ambient tone to make it sound generally fuller. I already have some atomospheric sound samples to emphasize certain parts, but even during the less interesting parts, there needs to be a little more pizzazz.
You know, I realize this is a fine time to question this, but do music type people vent their music-making issues in blogs like this normally? I guess if I was a big deal and there was a lot of money running on the success of these songs, it might. I mean, if someone read all of what I’ve been posting here, I doubt they’d be interested in listening to it. Heh. It’s kind of funny that way. The sole purpose of doing these blog posts (more or less) was to get people interested in what I’m doing.
Anyway, I’ll stop here. Like I said before, this should be the next to last blog post here about recording Heat Stroke. I tend to mix/master as I’m working on the songs, so I don’t foresee a span of time where I’m done recording, but I still need time to mix it or whatever. I’ve got four and a half songs done, and I’ll guess that by the time the month is over with, I’ll have six songs total. Definitely five, maybe seven. We’ll see. Whatever the case, next week’s post should be pretty cool. The plan is to have short samples of all the songs ready, and I’ll be pimping them a little bit probably.
And hey, really, if you’re reading this, post a comment below to let me know you’re reading.