I’m outside right now watching the clouds being pushed by the winds. That started me thinking about mortality (which I think about fairly regularly) and the impermanence of things and about how little time we have. That started me thinking about the importance of living life and not taking things for granted (except when taking them for granted actually makes life better) . And then I started thinking about how much time I spend on different things, whether it’s playing music, recording, spending time with friends, girls, playing handball, reading, drinking, watching clouds, etc. etc.
And then my train of thoughts landed on considering how to prioritise all of those things. I wasn’t actually prioritising them, but trying to figure out how to prioritise them, what values to use, etc etc.
And then I decided not to answer that question yet and just enjoy the possibilities of a good unanswered question. Now I’m going back to watching the clouds for a bit.
We’ve been recording tracks pretty rapidly for the next record. My method of recording changes from day to day. Sometimes I force myself into the studio to at least push through the menial tasks, and then other days I won’t step in the studio until I’m inspired and focused. It makes it impossible to set a date when the record will be done, but I think it’ll make it sound better.
Anyway, we’ll have some demo tracks up soon.
Dear Bands and all my friends who are Recording Artists,
I hope you’ve had a moment to come and listen to my new record ‘Mercy’. If you have, one of the main characteristics about the recording quality that you’ll notice is the warmth of the sound, especially on the vocals. That’s due largely to the microphone I was using for the recording of the whole album. My friend, Steve McCormick, makes these tube microphones by hand from components that he has personally picked for their high quality and assembles them in his own workshop. It’s based on a design that he has modified that is used on some of the best mics in the world.
I was previously using a Neumann TLM 103, which is a really great mic, but once I tried Steve’s handmade large-diaphragm tube mic I had to have one. It accentuated some very subtle characteristics of my voice and my guitar and it added a lot of warmth without becoming muddy at all. In fact, it was clearer than the TLM 103, which is no small task. I recently picked up a small-diaphragm mic from Steve to use on my new record and I’m already very pleased with how it picks up the nuances and tones of my acoustic guitars.
Anyway, yes this is a promotional bulletin for Steve’s mics, but I’ve had so many comments on how good the record sounds I figured I would share with my fellow recording artists a huge part of what made it sound good. I don’t promote anything I don’t personally believe in.
Here is Steve’s MySpace profile:
And his website:
Feel free to contact him, he’s a very easy-going guy and loves to talk about the gear he makes. He’ll make sure you are taken care of and that you’re getting exactly what you need.
Now back to your regular scheduled program.
Yesterday was a truly weird day. I had a great rehearsal with the band, we’re learning some new songs and getting the old ones sounding much tighter. Then I went to a local pub to watch the Super Bowl, made it through half-time and watched Springsteen perform. After that we were a little bored with all the commercials etc. and decided we would leave. And then the journey down the rabbit hole began.
A few of us left the pub and skateboarded and rode bikes back to my friend’s house at which point some beer, wine, and some funny devices with green smoke in them made their appearance. ‘Tsk tsk tsk’, I said. But then we went down do the basement recording studio (essentially under the beach) and got some instruments out. All the instruments had such a psychedelic tone to them, and we just sat around and played very random songs and in the haze and the darkness it was like we were transported back to 1967. The smell and the sound and the laughter and the randomness of it all will probably be imprinted on my brain for a long time. Too much fun.
I was watching a super cool special about early Caribbean pirates and they were talking about how they weren’t necessarily led by dictatorial captains. They might start out on a voyage with one captain, but if the crew didn’t agree with the captain or lost confidence in him, they could vote him out without a mutiny. And they also got a pretty good share of whatever loot they stole, a much better rate than regular crewmen received on merchant or military vessels.
Anyway, I just thought I would share that.
I wanted to post something very important in today’s blog, but unfortunately I am overcome by exhaustion and being too full. I had a very late night last night, and I had the largest Ethiopian lunch I’ve ever had in my life today. If you live in the area and have a chance to go to little Ethiopia on Fairfax, visit Merkato. It is entirely too delicious.
I have started working on the new record, and I just want to make sure that by the time it’s done everyone has their expectations set. ‘Mercy’ was a very dark and intimate album, and I won’t be making it again. This next album is going to be a bit more upbeat (in tempo, not necessarily tone, although there will be some of that too), have more instruments, more layers, and a fuller sound. I can hear it in my head, now I just need to get it all recorded so that you can hear it too.
Also, if you haven’t purchased ‘Mercy’ yet, now is definitely the time to do so. The money I earn from it goes directly into keeping me fed and working on the new record. Also on the next printing of ‘Mercy’ there will be an important graphic change on the cover so the current edition might one day be a collectors item. It might just be a fancy coaster for your coffee table, but at least it will be a rare coaster.
Happy Chinese New Year!
I’ll be celebrating with some Chinese food from our local favourite Chinese restaurant. And maybe I’ll play with some gunpowder.
Congratulations and be prosperous.
Researchers have just discovered that a single cell can hold on to memories, and that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a network of neurons that stores memory.
I wonder if memories are backed up on to multiple cells. If so, I had a really great song idea this morning in the shower, and I even told it to myself a few times so that I wouldn’t forget when I got out. Unfortunately, I forgot and I’m still trying to remember it. It would be really nice to know where that one brain cell with that memory went off to.