A One-Man-Band's DIY Production Journal.

Latest

Dusty Instruments

I’m back from my usual 100 year creative hiatus.

I’m working on remastering the first two releases face:the.music (2008) and King Friday (2010). Some songs will be re-done, while the others will be fine-tuned, and King Friday gets a brand new 11th song as a bonus track.

The new song is titled “Midnight Smile”, (a roadhouse-rock song I had partially written during the 2010 recordings, but never finished) and should fit stylistically and chronologically with the overall concept album as it continues with the 3rd upcoming record, “Destiny”.

20121210-152202.jpg

I feel a little weird ‘George-Lucasing’ my earlier works, but whatever… I feel like some songs could sound better, and that King Friday definitely needed one more sexy, party track.

So, the new record “Destiny” cleans up the mess from the story told in King Friday, and will be a book-end/story arc that started with face:the.music. Again, loosely based on personal accounts, and… yea. Overall, it’s a musical trilogy. I’m trying to not be the pop-punk version of Taylor Swift or Adele about this, writing about more break-ups and heartache, but instead looking those from another angle… The challenge now is telling that same break up story, but leaving the adolescent emo-style behind… been there, done that.

“Wake Up” Music Video shot on iPhone 4S

20120228-072616.jpg

Hello everyone! Check out the video to my newest song from the upcoming album Destiny coming this summer! This video was filmed completely on an iPhone 4S, using tools such as the Olloclip 3-Lens system, the Glif + tripod mount and the Manfrotto Modosteady!

“Wake Up” Music Video:

iTunes $.99
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/wake-up-single/id506458750?uo=4

“Wake Up” SoundCloud stream:

iPhone Video Gadgets Review:

You want fries with that?

20120106-133844.jpg

After an on and off schedule, I’m finally done working on my mini-project, Fast Food. It was originally slated to be a 6-song release, but for a couple of songs, I just wasn’t feeling the source material. It was way too teen-angsty for me.

Overall, I’m happy with the outcome, although I think it could sound a lot better. There were some limitations that I definitely take for granted when I’m producing on a full computer… There was no automated volume/EQ, no pitch correction, I was limited to 8 tracks of audio, limited vocal and guitar effects… On top of that, the vocals were recorded inside a closet with a heavy blanket over me… I was concerned over my neighbors hearing me sing take after take. And I was definitely not all there in terms of tuning. The vocals were pitchy at times and the guitars might be off.

I tried to setup one ground rule for this project: the music cannot be edited on a PC/Mac AT ALL. So, from conception to distribution, the entire album can only be produced on an iPad or iPhone without the aid of a computer.

So I recorded all of the music directly on my iPad using GarageBand, edited the final mix in an app called MultiTrack, directly uploaded to SoundCloud for streaming, and shared on Facebook for people to hear.

I like how it still sounds raw. These were some of the first songs I had written and recorded back in the 2000’s. It was back to recording on “a budget” and the source material reflects that.

Listen and download on SoundCloud:
soundcloud.com/richy923/sets/fastfood

Fast Food Back In Production

I spent the past two weeks putting together my latest project titled “Fast Food”.

To recap, Fast Food is a 6-song album. The songs? These are songs I wrote from high school. The rules? Use only an iPad and an iPhone to record and edit.

I’m recording using GarageBand for iPad, which allows a maximum of 8 tracks, no volume automation, no manual EQ, no pitch correction, little mastering.

20111025-143500.jpg

So now 8 tracks… That’s room for: Drums, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Bass and 4 left for vocals and harmonies. Sounds like it’s enough, right? Not quite. I’m a 16-24 track kinda guy. I layer my guitars nowadays and go nuts with the vocals.

And as I said before, no volume automation, which means no fading out of vocals or guitar sustains. And no pitch correction, so I really gotta be on point with these harmonies.

I have 3 songs done so far… they’re far from perfect, but that’s what’s to be expected for my experiment. I wanna see how far I can go with the iPad.

Since it’s a return to the days of teenage angst, singing songs about heartbreak and broken dreams, it’s also a return to the days of limited production tools.

I’ll have these three songs available later this week on YouTube, “Unrequited Love” “The Glory Days” and “Dream Girl”.

I’ll also be giving the music video for “Unrequited Love” the same production treatment. Nothing but an iPhone and an iPad.

“A Night on the Town” music video!

20110627-124025.jpg

Filmed and edited at studio923, here’s the newest video from the album King Friday:

This was filmed with Sony’s Bloggie Duo and edited with Apple iMovie HD 6.

Mobile Vocals

Last Sunday, I found myself at 8AM, in a parking lot of a hotel off of Route 17 in Mahwah… recording vocals for a song on my iPad. I’m taking this mobile/minimalistic recording approach seriously. Since I’m kinda limited in the amount of singing I do in my apartment (due to the thin walls and my neighbors), I took the recording on the road. I figure since I’m the type to wail out and sing-a-long while driving, maybe a car was my perfect comfort zone.

I was singing to the new version of “At The Bridge” using the built-in mic of the headphones that came with the iPhone. It really sounded like shit.

The other night during my midnight window shopping at the 24-hour Best Buy in Union Square, I found the Samson GO MIC

Tiny. Mobile. Capable. PERFECT.

Here’s my overview:

I’m gonna try my luck with this thing later this week.

Making Fast Food

It’s time to go to work and use my iPad 2 for the reason I bought it. I’ve tinkered around with the new GarageBand app, just to see what I can and can’t do.

Just this past week, I was able to hook up my electronic drum kit to the iPad as a midi controller! For my technically challenged friends: I can use my physical drums to control and record the software drums on the iPad. No more tapping beats on the screen 🙂 Using Apple ‘iPad Camera Connection Kit’, I can add a USB device to the iPad. Then, using an old MIDI to USB cable, I can interface the drums into the GarageBand app. So awesome.

Here’s a tutorial I made:

I started recording for my mini album called “Fast Food”, which is a compilation of 6 songs that will be recorded ONLY on an iPad. They’re going to be re-recordings of songs I did back in high school. Going back to those teen angst years, I suppose.

So, I’m already able to input my guitar to the iPad, and now I can input drums, vocals should be a no-brainer.

When all that is done, the next step is cutting an entire music video with the iPad. Technology is great.

20110519-111542.jpg

“Her Name Here” Video!

Here it is! World premiere of my latest music video!

From the new album King Friday, here’s “Her Name Here”

Filmed with a Sony bloggie HD pocket camcorder, at Studio923 in Manhattan.

Originally, the video was supposed to open with a 1960’s talk show host introducing the band known as “Richy and the 923’s” and I was going to play the part of the host, but I didn’t want to overkill the fact I was doing multiple roles. (also I ran out of disguises).

So instead of getting too crazy with the cuts, angles and edits, I wanted to keep it simple. I figured I should get a little stylistic with some good coloring and film grain filters instead.

And through my “band” I get to present my geeky/creative side which is the singer, along with the mild/chilled side with the bassist and my goofy/hyper side with the drummer.

Video Shoots

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been preparing to shoot two music videos for the King Friday album, “Her Name Here” and “It’s Not Karma If It Doesn’t Hurt”.

I’ve gotten a hold of a new HD pocket camera, some tripods/monopods/misc camera mounts (to get some pretty cool high angle shots), FINALLY some lighting equipment, as well as a couple of camera-happy friends who are willing to help me out.

“Her Name Here” is gonna take a classic 50-60’s ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ kind of approach, while “It’s Not Karma…” will have more of a conventional style with a narrative intercutting with the “band” performing.

Now… the past few music videos I’ve done, it’s always been: fast cuts of different angles of me in different outfits, playing the different instruments to kinda create the feel that it’s a full band. I’ve always thought getting a ‘mock band’ together might be a good idea (with actors playing the other members) but then I feel like I should promote the fact that I am a one man band. So I’ll be doing the same for these music
videos.

Video production starts after the weekend.

And on the music production side of things, I kinda put my “Fast Food” mini-album-made-on-an-iPad side project on the back-burner to focus on writing my 3rd official record. But with the new GarageBand app coming soon for iPad, I will definitely be going back to that side project.

Heavy Steady

Sunday afternoon, I started work on a new track for the Destiny album called “Taking Over”.

It’s going to be one of the heavier, hardcore songs of the entire record. So far, I’ve layered 3 guitars, some heavy bass playing, strong, crunchy drums and I plan to add a strings section in the last half to make it more of an epic piece.

I have yet to record the vocals, mainly because there’s some rearranging I have to do with the lyrics to fit the structure of the song. Also, I definitely have to record it somewhere other than my apartment… there’s gonna be some screaming involved.

For those familiar with my music and the past few albums before face:the.music, there’s gonna be a special treat in there as well.