Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Tao of Recording

Recording is a process I have been through countless times over my 15 year career. Hours have been spent professionally recording my music, helping others record their music, or working on demos and other unreleased projects.

I've hears what feels like hours of kick drums being mixed. Put up with way too much pizza and Chinese carry out, and poor light.

Yet, I learn so much each time. Even more about myself, than with the actual recording process.

We start with ideas about the songs, and they always end up in a different space. A song starts off mellow and becomes a rollicking tune. Some songs get mellowed down. You never really know how a song will end up.

It causes us to be flexible and not be attached to our preconceived notions for these songs.

Each recording also challenges us in unexpected ways.

This project has had its fill! First of all this was a very long project, and the time frame found me moving from joy to despair to boredom back to excitement. I found myself ready to give up on it. Found myself disliking the songs. And then I found redemption in the music, and new life in totally changing my vocal style.

We recorded a new, more soulful version of Surround Me for this project. In doing this, we decided to change my vocal approach to the song. It took me into some very tentative places, vulnerable places. Uncomfortable places. And yet, in the end, it pushed me through to a place where I now have a new skill in my belt.

I like working with my band, and enjoying their creative input. That's part of what helps a song to grow on its own and go to a place where I might not have taken it. A random mandolin part can suddenly take a song in such a random tangent - a tangent so far out of my ideas for the song, that it was physically uncomfortable. Until I stood back and realized the song wanted to go there.

It's all a process of letting go.

Of realizing the best take is usually right after the worst take. Once we stretch ourselves beyond our ability, we find a new comfort zone.

Of finding our antidotes.

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