oops forgot to put a title here

This morning, on the train, I a guy sat down across from me. I looked up at his face, and instantly saw the Facebook page, and thought “Holy crap, Ben Kingsley’s body double is on MARTA.”

So I guess I haven’t washed the thought externalization out of my head completely yet.

Then again, it has quieted down up there a bit. In a good way. Not in the “man there’s a lot of fumes at this gas station” way.

It’s funny, this week has also probably been the most social I’ve had in a while. On Saturday Tree and the boys and I (still testing out how to say that kinda stuff) went to Grant Park for some art fair thing, and we met up with a former band mate of mine, Andrew Asher (of JATO fame) while he visiting from Tampa. Although if it weren’t for Teresa reading Andrew’s post on my Facebook wall, we wouldn’t have known he was in town. So it’s good to know I have a curator while I’m away.

Then last night I went to Kennesaw to practice with UVM for an upcoming show that I’m subbing in bass guitar for. Twas nice to see my friends again. Moreover, it was great to play live music with people again. It was awesome. I don’t know if any of the other guys picked up on it, but I was trying to hide a giddy smile the whole time. There’s nothing that beats the energy of individuals coming together to make a synchronous racket together. I could gush about it for 3 more paragraphs, but I’ll spare you.

I also found another way to avoid looking at my phone every 30 seconds. Just leave it at home. That’s VERY effective.

new grounds

Tomorrow night (technically tonight) I’ll be having my first meeting with Undead Viking Mafia, the band formed by my buddy Juan, and my old band mate Adam (from Never Ithaca). A long while ago they asked me to ‘help them out’ with some of their song writing, and from there it’s basically grown into a producing gig.

The layman, and even many in the recording industry, have a fuzzy idea of what a producer does. Considering many people do it in many different ways, the definition isn’t even all that solid, so I’ll spell it out from my perspective. My ultimate goal with UVM is to help them make the best album they can. That’s generally what any producer does. It’s all about having some outside perspective, and some managerial skills so the artists can be the artists and not worry about logistics. My initial focus will start on song structure and ironing out any so-so things so their songs are top-notch. I know from experience that some times a band would rather ignore a tricky transition or other part of a song for the sake of getting it finished. It works for a little while, but it’s just passed down the line until the listener has to suffer through it. It’ll be my job to pressure the band into facing those issues in the hopes of ultimately improving the song(s). It’s gonna be a lot of tough love.

I kinda feel like talking about how excited I am to do this sorta makes me seem less professional. I mean, after all, the producer is supposed to be the experienced guy helping out the band. They know I’m coming into this with a lack of experience, but hey, that’s one of the benefits of having friends. It’ll be interesting to see if we can all separate the job of producer from the friend, and avoid any personal squabbles throughout the process. The whole thing will be a learning experience for us all.

I just finished recording a group, Absence of Ocean with the intent to hone my recording and mixing skills. Of course, having two records under my belt is pretty much nothing, but with my scant free time, I’ve gotta take what i can get. I’m pretty happy with the way the AoO stuff came out, but for them I was simply acting as an engineer, just getting their songs down to tape, trying to make it sound as good as possible (for the time we had). In that case, I had no real input into their song structure or instrumentation. If I didn’t like the way they did something, I just kept my mouth shut. With UVM, it’s kind my job to go, “You guys really happy with that? Doing so without coming off as a smug a-hole is all part of the job. Like I said, it’ll be a learning experience.

I’m hoping this may be something I can continue to do. I’ve said before I don’t think I’m a very creative person, just skilled. I feel like this may be to my advantage in the case of producing. I may not be very confident in writing a song myself, but I do feel like I can help a songwriter hone a song into something really good. We’ll see if that’s all talk or if I actually have the goods over the next few months.

I’ve decided I want to try and follow the process here. Someone may find it interesting, some helpful, and for myself it’ll probably help me gather my thoughts on the whole process.

So tomorrow I’ll sit down with the band and I’ll go over my intentions and we’ll see where all the boundaries are. From there we’ll discuss scheduling and organization, and if that doesn’t end in yelling and fisticuffs, then maybe I’ll get onto some initial comments about songs.

Wish me luck.