Upon hearing rumors that I had been working hard to wrap up an album project for December release, I decided to sit down with myself for an interview. Here are all the facts for our loyal Linescratchers readers.
Does your album project have a general theme?
To me, these are guitar-driven songs about life. They are real, they are raw, and they are relevant. That’s pretty much the theme of the project.
Stylistically, how would you describe your music?
Describing my music, and this particular album project are 2 very different things. My music crosses into numerous genres, blending vintage and modern sounds. I draw from very organic music like blues, folk and bluegrass, and then turn around and draw from country, rock, pop, R&B, and more. I can experiment with cutting edge electronic music and strange fusions of various styles. I think its fun to be comfortable going from down and dirty music like rock and blues to “sophisticated” music like jazz and classical. This album, however, is a bit of a “roots” album in some ways for me – its really a blend of rock, blues, country, and pop. Frankly, in some ways it is the album I had hoped to make in my early to mid 20’s,and in many ways its my home base.
If you wanted to do this album that long ago, why did you wait so long to release this project? Is this sort of a way of stopping mid-life and looking back?
The short answer is that I was busy. The long answer is a little more, well…. long. I have experienced a lot of life in the last 10-15 years that has really made me a better artist. Even though a good number of these songs were written quite some time ago, I find they are more true than ever, and I can perform them with more passion and authenticity now than I could have in my mid 20’s. Really though, I have been busy with life – being a husband, a dad to 4 kids, working with church callings, and being a work-a-holic with my real job. I also estimate I’ve worked on easily 70+ projects for other artists and I’ve just put my own music on the back burner time and time again. Quite honestly, there were also delays at times because I felt inadequate as a musician, or because I was too proud to ask for help with a part I couldn’t handle, and there were also times when I had logistical problems with not having the right equipment or space or something to do the job the way I really wanted. When you are doing literally every aspect of the album project yourself, it takes time and there are many walls that you have to bust through. I’m really a guitarist, but I tackled drums, bass, keyboards, and vocals on this. At times I would run into walls and limitations and I had to figure out how to deal with it. All that took time, or took time away from my project.
So how long have you been working on this project?
3 of the songs on the album actually went into the very early stages of production between 1997-1999. One of those 3 was completely re-recorded over the years. The other 2 songs still have some of the original tracks that were started back in my garage in N. Logan, UT all those years ago. I made some good progress for a couple years in Indiana, made a little more progress while living in Georgia, and finally finished it up after 3 years here in Florida.
Is this purely secular music, or are there LDS themes to your music?
Separating the two worlds are impossible for me because being LDS is my world. While the music and lyrics are secular in nature, they speak constantly of LDS morals and values. Themes like doing the right thing, working hard, persevering, family, God, and country – these are all very present in my music and relevant not only to LDS doctrine, but to pretty much any decent, “salt of the earth” type of people.
Tell me a little about the production of the album project – how did it all come together?
Slowly! When I first started I was using a traditional 24 channel 8 buss analog mixer, ADATs, and a rack full of gear. Cubase was in its infancy and was the first sequencer I had. Very little was actually done on this setup other than a few rough tracks and some sequences. When I moved to Indiana in 1999, I sold pretty much everything, and bought a Mac computer and Pro Tools LE. It was a rough adjustment at first to go from being “old school” to in the box, but once I got rolling I never looked back. I’ve upgraded my rig a couple of times since then but still stick with a Mac/Pro Tools setup. Many of the guitar tracks use Line 6 modeling but I also have a sweet Matchless Chieftain that was used a great deal. Drums were a challenge – I’ve done them every way you can think – real drums, programmed drums, manually created one hit at a time with samples, and more. I have had a drum kit now for about a year, so I’m really looking to do more live drums in the future. I usually start with an idea on guitar, record a rough take to map out the structure, timing, and tempo and then build on it from there, but I have no formula. The crazy thing about taking 10-12 years to do an album is that you go through phases where you try new things, plus you get new gear, and new capabilities in your studio, so there has been a lot of experimenting on this project. I did ask a few friends to chip in a track for the album, but was only able to actually make arrangements with a couple. I wanted to involve them not so much for their help, but for the nostalgia of involving some of those people who had been so important to my musical development and experiences. The end result of my years tinkering with this album is mix of genres that still blends pretty well, with a bit of a raw sound and energy that takes me back to my garage band days. I actually have dozens of additional songs waiting to see the light of day, and many of the songs are better than anything on this album, but this project just screamed and begged to be completed. I really had to get this group of songs done before I could feel good about moving on, and I am really happy overall with how they’ve turned out, and I’m excited to set my songs free for the world to hear. About a year ago I was offered a contract by a small label, but frankly the deal didn’t feel right, and I’m so glad I kept control of this project…scars and all, this album is me, and done my way.
When will the album be out?
I’m still tracking vocals and I have one guitar solo left to do. I am hoping to get all the mixing and mastering done by around December 5th, and should have physical CDs in my hands a day or two before Christmas.
How can people find your music?
My Kickstarter campaign features a fair amount of music that you can hear, and you can also pre-order albums there. That runs through the end of the month. I’ll put in a shameless plug – please check it out. I’m also on facebook, myspace, reverbnation, and more. Google me, I have a unique name… my blog is at http://www.recordingpro.blogspot.com and you can hear a few samples there as well.