So, five and a half years after finishing my first album and just in time for CDs to be obsolete, I finished a CD album called Give/Sell. It’s got 12 songs in about 34 minutes. Side A (1-6) is indie pop/folk and not a big departure from Iowa Anvil. Side B gets a bit more interesting, with some different structures and production choices, and songs flowing into each other (which is something I’ve always wanted to do).
I made this album by myself again, with a tiny cameo from Sam Jansons at the end of “Bet.” If I’ve given (or sold) you the demos I compiled in 06 and 07, most of these recordings will be familiar to you. But that’s why they’re called demos.. I changed lyrics, added instruments and harmonies, rerecorded things, edited, mixed, and did tons of remixing. It was a lot of work and I’ll admit, it’s not Kid A. It shouldn’t have taken four years, but I’ll address that in a minute. Here’s the track list:
- Cheap Wine
- Six Years
- Those People
- Tiger Nightmare
- Second Sight
Sooo… what took so long? That’s a long story, and this is a blog, so I’m going to tell it.
Firstly, I had technical difficulties. I record digitally and had a problem with something called “loopback latency” that messed me up for at least 2 years, made recording into a miserable experience, and screwed with my head. Eventually I got that sorted out. Then had to learn a lot about EQ and mixing, and that took forever. I also went down some paths that didn’t pan out, like external summing, and trying to build a plate reverb, and stuff like that. Fun things to do at the time, but not quick.
Secondly, I had some rules, such as “no autotune,” “nobody can play or record but me,” and “no drum editing.” These constraints were a personal challenge, partly since the bands I try to emulate recorded analog, and I don’t, I felt this was the least I could do to keep from “cheating,” as it were. But this meant I had to do tons of takes (my poor neighbors) until I had it right. And even then I had to break the drum editing rule. I edited. And comped vocals like crazy. Takes-recorded-years-apart crazy. Of course now I realize that wasting years is worse than breaking any of these rules, so I’ll probably abandon the solo thing and also cheat like hell next time.
Thirdly, I had distractions. I’ve played in four other bands since I released my first album. Not that I regret being in or having been in any of them, but they took/take time.
And finally, life stuff. The first time I thought the album was done was March 2008. I’d set a mastering date to give myself a deadline.. which was good in one sense as I got a lot done, but it was bad in that I wasted money having something mastered that wasn’t right. Then I got laid off, then married, then I got a new job, and a second job. I’ve been busy.
But regardless, it’s done, and I’m glad. I learned a lot making it, hopefully enough that I won’t have to spend as long making the next one. Oh and, I like this record. It sounds good and is fun to listen to, if I say so myself.
PS, I’ll put songs on myspace soon.