Man oh man what’s a music geek to do when his band mates are off having lives and stuff? Well last summer I started taking an audio engineering course at a local college to help try and fill the musical itch, and that REALLY solidified my love of the music making process. It was an intro class that basically covered the tracking part of the recording process. As a rather large gadget geek, being able to learn how to use a pretty sweet Avid S5 console was also pretty amazing. But really what did for me was being able to be there in the middle of a musical creative process. As cheesy as this may sound, there is something magical about being in a recording studio with a group of talented musicians and trying to capture a moment and distill that down to a piece of audio. So naturally when that wrapped up I decided to take the mixing class to continue down that road. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough students and that class was cancelled and I ended up in a digital audio for multimedia course. Anything that teaches me more about the history and how to apply that practically is fair game for me, so I’m doing that right now.
As part of that we started learning how to use Pro Tools, the one DAW I’ve actually never played around with and that I really should have because that’s what is the “industry standard”. I’ll be completely honest, I don’t love it. There’s a lot of reasons for that, and none of them really matter, because something my teacher has been drilling in our heads is, think of a DAW as a tool, like a hammer. Whether you use a Black and Decker hammer, or a Dewalt hammer, at the end of the day they’re both hammers and perform the same function. It’s starting to sink in, but on a reflective note, it’s interesting how much brands matter, in my head at least, I think it’s a testament to power of marketing and the hive mind mentality. There’s a big rant in there about gear as well, but we’ll save that for another day 😉
I started way back in the day with a product called Samplitude, moved on the Cakewalk, then Sonar, then I got a Mac and Garageband blew my mind, with Logic as a natural successor. Last year I built a rather ridiculous PC for the sole purpose of playing with VR gear. With that I thought I should grab some DAW software, and loving the ease of Garageband I looked for something similar for the PC. I was turned onto this product called Mixcraft by a company called Acoustica. Honestly that is the one for me, the layout, work flow, and functionality are exactly what I was looking for. It’s kind of funny because I was telling my wife yesterday I’m working on a couple of projects for school and rather than use Pro Tools I might sneak in a laptop with Mixcraft and use that instead 😉
As customer I got asked to try the Mixcraft 8 Beta they’re working on, and for shit’s and giggles I thought I would load up a couple of their loops, and then jam along and see what comes of it, and then thought to throw it up the site. I’m a mediocre rhythm guitar player at best, and I suck at lead guitar work, so naturally here’s me doing some lead guitar stuff.
Well enough dilly dallying…. And enough of using old fart words… Dilly dallying?? When did I start saying that? Where was I? Ohhhhh right, the song 🙂 So a little over a year ago we started this thing, some time in the summer we singled out a riff and built a song around it we later called Feed Me. Unfortunately being middle aged Dad’s spread across a big city finding time to practice is tough, but we did when we could and worked the song. Then at the beginning of March we went up to Jeff’s cottage with a lot of gear and recorded our parts, came back to town, realized there were some problems and re-recorded some parts. Mixed what we had and voila a song is done.
This was a really big learning process for us, especially for myself. I played around with analog multitracks way back in the day, and farted around with DAW software like Cakewalk, Cubase, Protools, etc, but this was the first time I had really sat down and tried to do the whole thing from scratch on my(our) own. It’s not perfect, pretty far from it actually, so we’re calling this a demo. We are going to continue to work on it, during the mixing/re-recording process we identified areas that we could do a lot better on, and we’re going to do that and re-record this one again, so the Building A Song series will continue for this song, which makes me happy because I’m having a ton of fun with it, and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about 🙂 So, here’s the Feed Me demo: