Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Getting Back to Work

Hello faithful readers. Long time no write, which I apologize for, but I was very, very tired as Peyton Place was wrapping up. I realized the final show of that run was also the end of about 9 months of one-show-after-another, for me.

I was exhausted, and in a lot of ways I still am. I've not been sleeping well, at all. Waking up in the middle of the night, lost in some dream, freaking out. Not getting enough sleep. It'll get better, I know. It always does, but I have to work through it.

However, aside from a few small-ish projects, I am free from major commitments until mid-Summer or Fall. I had hoped to push that until September, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Which is certainly not a bad thing, at all. As I have always said, I prefer to be busy.

However, with some free time now, I have dedicated myself to pushing forward on the recording. My goal, at this point, is to have something out...maybe not a full 12-song "album," maybe an 6-or-7-song "EP" September. I feel this is do-able, and important for me to live up to.

Especially since I've upgraded the studio again.

Yes, I FINALLY, after much bitching, bought an electric drum kit. I am in the process of freeing myself from the drum machine. I chose the  Roland TD-4-KP, for a few reasons. One, it's collapsible, when it's "folded down" (not the quickest process), it doesn't take up much room at all. That was important with my apartment-living situation. Two, I liked the preset kits and tones, it sounds good to my ears. When I actually went into Guitar Center to try it out, I was a bit worried, it seemed so small. However, the pads are nicely adjustable, and while the best set-up for me is still a work in progress, it certainly doesn't feel too small.

I'm learning. No, I am not a trained percussionist, but, that said, I've never really had a guitar lesson, either.

Several musician friends are saying, "ah, this explains SO MUCH" right now.

I'm self-taught, and fairly proud of it. Yeah, there are times when I wish I had more training in theory, but I muddle through. I've also picked up this book, to try to aid my understanding. I figured it was time to start working toward an understanding of that stuff.

Anyway, drums. I messed around with the kit for a while, then thought, "what the hell, let's just try this theoretical recording process I've been thinking of." So, I decided to start from scratch on "Monkey Sex," which was one of the two tracks I worked on a bit with Paul and Morgan last year. It was exciting to play around with a full combo, but I did feel like I wanted more "space" in the arrangement. A little less "wall of sound" than what we got that day. (obviously, the very primitive recording setup we used that day did not help).

So, the plan is this....

I will start each song with a basic guitar track, recorded with a click track. With "Monkey Sex," I ended up speeding up the track from where it was, to about 130 bpm, and trimming off one of the riffs (I fully intend to make use of it elsewhere). The reasoning was twofold, the song has always been envisioned as a bit of a "tongue-in-cheek" number, so I think it's good that it's clocking in just under three minutes, at this point. Second, it makes me really work at it with the drums. With my vision for this "Hayoth project," I am feeling more of a slower, blusier vibe to things. If "Monkey" ends up being the fastest track, I throwing myself into the deep end. The rest should seem easier...LOL!

Playing guitar to just the click track has proved to be more challenging than expected, but not impossible. My old path was to program the drum machine based on what I thought the song should be (intro/verse/chorus/verse/chorus/solo/bridge/etc...or whatever), and then lay down the basic guitar over that. So, I've been used to playing to a drum track, rather than a click. It's different, but like I said, not impossible. Likely, I'll re-do some of these parts after the drums are set.

Ah, drumming...I've been surprised how much I'm enjoying the process of putting together a drum track. I was working on "Monkey Sex," picking through it, and figuring out what to play. I hit the chorus, and this beat just came to me...and I could play it fairly quickly...the feeling of laying that in, something just odd enough that a drum machine (as I was able to use it) couldn't do. It was intoxicating. Yeah, ultimately the drum parts will probably be simpler than what I'd really like to do, but they will have some life to them. A spark of humanity, and that's what I've wanted.

I'm excited.

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