Well first recording weekend was a success, we managed to record Feed Me, raw audio is sounding really good, mixing and mastering next, so you can expect content in the form of stories, pictures and of course the song over the next couple of weeks 🙂
So last year HBO ran a series called Sonic Highways which was a documentary of the Foo Fighters making an album of the same name. The premise was they traveled around the US to some pretty iconic studios and recorded a song at each. The last studio featured was a New York studio called The Magic Shop, I won’t get into rehashing the whole episode, but the gist was they didn’t think they could stay around much longer because of the costs involved, especially given New York real estate prices. Well the owner Steve Rosenthal was correct and despite Dave Grohl stepping up to try and back the studio by buying the building, the buildings co-op ownership turned down their offer and as a result The Magic Shop is closing.
OK, so what’s that got to do with us? Sonic Highways was for me the start of PSP, watching that series (I can’t recommend it highly enough) re-ignited my desire to play music with people. That last little “with people” part is the important part of that sentence, and I’ll get to that in a bit but, part of the reason places like The Magic Shop are closing down these days is because no one goes to them anymore because it’s way cheaper and easier to do it on your own. I/we are totally guilty of that, we’re getting ready to record one of our songs and start the process of getting a few more to that point, but as part of that process I’ve started assembling my own studio instead of going to a place like The Magic Shop, and seeing that article today made me more than a little sad, and thinking that we should go to a place like that instead.
Tnat leads me back the “with people” part. Years ago I had a friend that owned a studio named Musty Music, it wasn’t iconic, it wasn’t around for decades, it didn’t host the music elite like The Magic Shop did, but it was amazing place to visit and hang out at. Why? People. People would go there to record and practice, and interact with each other, which led to learning and becoming better, it was it’s own little community. Today we lock ourselves in our home studios, some of us write, play, record and produce completely by ourselves, with no one else to hear, listen and offer input on the process, and I can’t help but think to myself is the music worse off for it? Sure it makes it easier for anybody/everybody to make music, but do we lose something in that process?
In another Dave Grohl documentary Sound City (another must watch) made about the closing of a studio with that name, Josh Homme said something about music that really stuck with me, I’ll paraphrase a bit here, but what he was saying was there was a magic that happens when people create music together, it often goes unsaid, you hear a piece someone is playing and something in your mind finds a place for you to fit into there, a conversation begins, not with words but with notes and movements. It can really be magic, I’ve been part of that feeling, it’s a high better than any drug because you feel connected to the people you are creating with in a way that seems pure, honest and beautiful. Places like The Magic Shop were a part of that process, because they captured that moment through the ears of an engineer and a producer, and in their capturing and translating of that moment, they added that special something to the art which was created.
So today, I’m reflecting on the closing of The Magic Shop, a place I only visited through the eyes of Dave Grohl and his series, and to be honest it makes me a little sad because in my mind, today there’s one place less in this world for musicians to get together and create magic.
So four weeks from today our first real recording session as a band begins in the woods near Parry Sound, Ontario at the legendary Little Amsterdam Studios, (better known as Jeff’s cottage), but before that can begin we have to round up all the equipment, hook it all up, make sure it’s working well and that process began last night at our mixing/mastering studio Fine Audio Recording Technologies Sound (F.A.R.T Sound for short, better known as Rob’s house). I’m sure I’ll have lots more nonsense to say in the coming weeks, but for now a quick shot the setup right now.
I told you I’d be back with a video! So a while back we started a series called “Building A Song“, basically what we wanted to do was track the process of writing and recording a song for ourselves and for anyone else that may be interested. I had written a riff, brought to the guys, then one practice Scott (the sexy beast singing and playing guitar in this video) suggested we revisit it, we did and then the process of fleshing it out began. For me it’s been a real learning process, Dan (the guy tucked away in the corner that plays the solo) and I had written a couple of songs back in our teenage years, but they were very basic and that was a long time ago. So in the first video we were in the starting to flesh it out stage, in this video we are starting to put together all the parts.
A couple of notes, there’s a whole lot of learning going on here, not just in terms of some of the guys learning the music but also in terms of the technology involved. We are learning how to do a multi-camera video shoot, we’re learning how to mix and record live audio (Dear JamHub you rule! We’ll talk about you in a separate video!), how to sync them both together and then a million and one different pieces that make up those processes, so, it’s sooooooo far off from perfect it’s not funny (ok it’s a little funny 😉 ), but that’s the point, we’re learning, and having a great time doing it. So let’s get to the video:
-Rob (The Bald Avenger wearing the snazzy gray Parry Sound Project sweater from the video)
After what seems like an eternity, the six amigos were finally reunited last night for band practice. We spent some more time working on the song from out last post and of course catching up. I should have a video up some time over the next day or so, plus some news that for me (and I do believe the other fellas feel the same way) is really exciting, but that will be later. For now, here’s a pic from our practice space last night 🙂
OK, so this whole Parry Sound Project thing….. Basically it’s a group of guys that get together whenever they can to make music.. I know, I know, some middle aged dudes trying to relive their youth cheesy clichéd trope blah blah blah… Actually ya that’s kind of it, kind of not, we’re not really trying to relive anything. I think most people at this stage of their lives can relate to working crazy hours, rushing home to get the kids to whatever activity night it may, wait… crap is tonight soccer night??? Oh no I’m good.. wait where was I? Oh right, kids activities, then family and friend obligations and shit, where did my forties go? So we make a little time for ourselves in this life we lead just to get away to a darkened room with others of our life persuasion and try to do art. It’s a weird thing for a middle aged clichéd wanna be rocker geeky IT nerd Dad to say, but that’s what you try to do. You have no disillusions of grandeur, or real ambitions, or maybe you do, does it matter? It’s a great escape from reality doing something that’s good for your head.
So with all that being said we thought it would be fun to record the process of writing a song. Since we started last year we’ve been bringing in little riff ideas, working them out basically and moving on. This started as one I brought in, Dan was playing with us more so I wrote it out to three different guitar parts, Dan got busy in life and we put it on the back burner. So last Sunday Scott thought we should try it out again. We practiced/rewrote a basic arrangement, and then Scott added a new guitar part, solo and surprise surprise… a vocal line. I think the search for singer is over, but we’ll have to talk him into that. So this is where we are as of this past weekend. I like it, I think it’ll be fun to see where we go from here, we have ideas…. that can’t be good 😉
Do you know how hard it is to get a bunch of middle aged men together in the same room once a week…. err once every couple of weeks… errr once a month to make music?? Apparently pretty friggin hard because we haven’t been able to… Though it’s not from a lack of trying. Hopefully that will change this weekend, and we’re really looking forward to it because we have some new/funny ideas to try out on you fine people, but in the mean time I hate seeing this site unupdated (my spell checker tells me that’s not a word, but fuck it.. it is now) so I’m going to start doing something about that.
I stumbled upon a video this week which is called DEVIN TOWNSEND: The ULTIMATE Review-Trospective (apparently the author doesn’t care if he uses made up words either), while I might argue with some of the authors choices, his sentiments I completely agree with. At the same time Robin and I were sharing some prog metal band discoveries with each other and he commented about how great it was to have someone to talk about that stuff with. So I got to thinking it might be fun to share videos and music with you fine people that you may or may not have heard of.
So Devin Townsend. He is one of those guys I can still remember where and when I discovered him. I had heard his name mentioned in music blogs, and had looked him up on youtube, I found the video for a song called Deadhead, honestly I didn’t get it. But I found myself going back to that video and thinking, I know I’m missing something, but I just don’t get it. Eventually I tried another video called Gato, this time all I could think was, that was kinda weird, BUT there was a hook in that song that ate away at my brain, I continued onto Supercrush and the album Addicted and I was done… That album was the musical equivalent of heroin to me and all the parts that I didn’t get before fell into place and began an obsession.
The great thing about being late to the game with an artist is that you have all their work there for you to discover as quickly as you can consume it, and Devin has a TON of it. I became obsessed and shared that obsession with anyone/everyone that would listen. I won’t drone on, but if you love heavy music you owe it to yourself to listen to his work with Strapping Young Lad and his solo work with the Devin Townsend Band and The Devin Townsend Project (seeing where I ripped our name off from yet? 😉 ). If you’re not into heavy stuff, Ghost or even more so Casualties of Cool are absolutely amazing. I’ve watched a ton of him being interviewed and speaking, and he comes across as a really honest, humble, goofy individual that is extremely likeable as well, which just attracts you to the guys music even more. So check out this review-trospective, it’s fun and gives you a good introduction to the man and his music and hopefully a few of you will join me in my crazy obsession for all things Devin.
Ahhhh what do a bunch of middle aged boys do when their drummer comes down with the flu? Stay at home and mope? No sir, we get us a replacement drummer and some boobies and we soldier on writing new songs that you’ll probably never hear… All in the name of fun and games and boobies, cuz that’s how we role yo. Did that make me sound young and hip? Groovy baby….
So it was a long and busy summer for this group of middle aged men…. and 2/3’s of us managed to get back together last night to start making some noise and get this thing going again…. And of course we have some evidence to present in the form of the genesis of a cover song, any guesses as to what song and artist??
And some pictures, cuz why not?
Wow, I’ve totally been slacking on the updating front. It hasn’t been a case of us doing nothing, we actually have been practicing on a fairly regular basis, with the exception of the odd weekend interrupted by middle aged man obligations. As a matter of fact, we actually started the process of writing songs. For shits and giggles I thought I would capture what it’s like trying to communicate ideas while in the midst of that whole song writing process. Go ahead, laugh at us, that’s the only completely honest response available 😉