Thursday, March 24, 2011

We're Gonna Make It After All: Re-Mastering Today!

For those of you wondering why you haven't gotten your mail-order copies yet, the time table has shifted slightly.

It doesn't happen often, but once in a while, you can catch yourself in the middle of a mistake, as I did this time around. I was coming very close to putting out a version I didn't love of an album I love with all my heart -- and when the feedback from impartial sources started to match my nagging doubts, I stopped the manufacturers from pulling the trigger, and got the thing remixed.

Allen Farmelo took the job under his wing and took a take-no-prisoners approach to mixing, completing the 10 tracks of Here Goes Nothing in two days. We had two meetings about it: in one, his assistant, Nicole Pettigrew, and I pored over the tracks and made sure all of the elements were there, and that all of the start-stop points were correct. The second one was the absolute bomb, though.

Allen had asked me to give him some albums for reference of how I liked things to sound, and what we ended up really lighting on was the Cardigans' Long Gone Before Daylight, a bittersweet, dark delight of an album put out by the Swedish megastars after a long hiatus. Far from the sound that made them popular, this album had an almost total lack of synthy bleep-bloops, abandoning the computers for acoustic instruments and clean tones. It's one of my favorite albums by anyone, ever.

We talked about how the album reminds me of a candlelit dinner of comfort food and red wine, and he made it very clear that he understood how I wanted Here Goes Nothing to sound -- warm but full, an escape from even one's harshest surroundings (anyone who can't ride the subway without an iPod knows exactly what I mean here) that isn't jarringly loud, but has the sonic power to block out the outside. It was an amazing conversation.

We accomplished this 48-hour mixing in a very age-of-communication way -- he'd send me emails with mixes attached, I'd pop my headphones into my Droid and listen to them, then make fine adjustments through email, texts, and phone calls. We hit on some snags, but talked through them easily and without real conflict. I'd work with him any day of the week, although my Rockethub campaign would have to be for a LOT more money.

He's mastering it today, and I think in the end we'll have an album well worth every penny spent on it, and everybody will, well, win.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Rebecca Black.

It's out there, we've seen it, and now that she's appeared on the Tonight Show, it may be over. That's as high as it goes, right? You get on Jay Leno, the world gives you a round of applause, we all move on. Maybe.

Or maybe, the Arc Music Factory pumps all of their resources into making sure their first authentic success doesn't stop barreling forward. Maybe the album drops in June, to correspond with the top 5 episode of American Idol. Maybe we're all in this together, and we should all learn, like we always have, to buckle down and weather this, as a nation.

I wasn't at that show, but Martin sure seemed to actually have fun with it, and so did the roomful of Rockwood regulars, who were no doubt asking themselves the whole time whether they were enjoying it juuust a bit more than they ought to have.

For performers trying to make it, to hear Ms. Black's story as told to Leno is to experience the gnashing of one's own teeth to powder: she had, like, "always been interested in music for a long time," and had her mom call Arc, and nextthingyaknow. Her reason for choosing "Friday," however, was because it was the only song presented to her that didn't try to sell her as a sex object, which I can totally respect -- remember Mandy Moore at 15? No?

My best guess is that after being told that this song and that song were too this or too that, the writers at Arc threw her this banal tidbit as a joke: who on earth would sing a song about eating cereal and taking the bus to school? ....And Rebecca Black answered their question, and ran at it full boar. The fact is, it went viral, which any independent performer will tell you is the gold we pan for every time we click "upload."

If anything, we can learn from this. If you want this attention, you have to be willing to go where Ms. Black went, you have to be willing to work with the people she worked with, and you have to be willing to take, and maybe be in on the joke that you'll become. Otherwise, keep working the trains to get those 50 asses in those 50 seats, because those seem to be the options here.

Alternately, Simon Cowell may be fishing around for song submissions for the full-length, so if there were a song you wanted to write about taking a sun-dappled walk in the park, you might want to put down the haterade and pick up a guitar.

....I'm just saying.