Category: General updates

Soundcheck/ cover

Checking to making sure that my updated non-mobile rig is working properly… (which means I now have a semi-mobile counterpart. More on that later…)

Can you guess which cover I just butchered horribly? You can download it here, if so inclined…

 

**Edit 04/2016 – I’ve decided to remove the clip since the performance and recording’s not as good as I would have preferred.

More Cool Interviews with Legends by MakeWeirdMusic.com, Plus my personal rant on my decision to gravitate towards writing weirder music

Here’s my newest favorite show/site MakeWeirdMusic.com, one that features interviews with unique legendary musicians with genuine talent, uniqueness, musicianship (be it composition-wise and/or playing techniques) – musicians playing in genres that aren’t exactly perceived as ‘mainstream’, and might be considered as ‘weird’ by the general public.

Their recent interview with Steve Vai was another spectacular one, particular the first portions of it when he said that if you need to ask/question yourself why you’re making music, then don’t do it, and that you need to write as if you don’t have any expectations of anyone ever going hear the music, if your ultimate goal is to be true to yourself and sounding unique.

[Rant Alert]

This resonated with me because that’s the way I started to look at things after my first album myself. While I was proud that I was able to release a record on my own and I did some experimentation with playing styles that I wasn’t yet comfortable with, there were a number of pop-ish songs that I was not entirely genuine to myself, because I was constantly second guessing and wasn’t sure whether or not an audience would like my writing. When it was time to make the second record, I figured that be hell with it. Who knows who will ever listen to my music out there and if I don’t have work that I could stand behind and be fully proud of, then it’s not worth the financial budgets, months and years of blood, sweat and tears (and other sacrifices) to make my records. Unlike artists that fully depend their surviving finances on creating music that serves the liking of their audience, I have the advantage of having a day job that would supplement that portion. That advantage does matter… especially since I don’t really have an audience, don’t have my own band and have the ability to play all the different instruments in a live setting (there are ways around that, but you get my point), or have the same number of hours in a day to practice/play and get better on my craft. It takes me longer to mix (or write for) a record since I’m only able to fully immerse during my days off work, and rate of my releasing records and incoming generated from those don’t really justify the recording gear that I get and session players that I hire. It’s almost impossible to come up with something that’s truthfully 100% unique and sounding musical at the same time. As I remember my favorite bassist Bryan Beller has said many times that we’re all sums of what we listen to – and I fully agree. But coming out with something that’s truthful to yourself isn’t exactly easy and does take a bit of effort, but the results are so, so, *SO* worth it when everything just clicks and the ideas that you have built on sound the most exiting and genuine at the same time. It’s like having coming up with the coolest cross-over move in basketball or craziest thread-the-needle-unexpected-assist. I get asked all the time by doubters why I even bother making records. I think I have my answer right there.

[/Rant Alert]

Ranting aside, if you’re still reading… do check out MakeWeirdMusic.com’s interview with Steve Vai.

In case you have missed the one with Mike Keneally, which I think was the best interview with any I have watched ever (and I watch TONS of interviews of my favorite artists.. total fanboy/junkie) – you can check it out here. The site has video/audio/stream/download options available.

Offtopic: I also found this video of Mr. Keneally on youtube playing a number of Zappa songs. You can generally find many of the youtube videos of him, but many are rough bootleg quality and don’t always exactly sound or show the real genius in that man. I feel this one here really shows a cool glimpse of that. That’s just on the guitar, and he’s equally outrageous on the piano too.

 

Goodbye Old Studio! Farewell San Diego!

For the last 2 or so years, I had been contemplating a move away from San Diego, for a variety of personal reasons. As soon as I finished my “Business Specials” record, I was very much focusing on relocation to the Greater Los Angeles area. No writing, no promo work of the new record, no playing/practicing – just the move. I can now say that I’m in the very latter part of the transition and onto the next phase of my life.

I made all 3 of my records in San Diego, and learned the fundamentals of recording during this period. First record was done in my apartment, and the latter two were in the living room of my later home and had world class drummers in them. Obviously these were never things that I had planned for when I first moved to the home, but I am eternally grateful how these things have worked out.

studio

Original studio…

Empty studio

Empty studio… lifeless… dark… odd empty feeling…

The comfort and abundance of this home studio space is something I’m really missing already, but I’m now living closer to my friends, mentor, music teachers, professional music studios, like-minded people, all the activities/conventions/shows that are available in this area – heck, even the cool used gear market! Food options are much better should I need to grab a quick bite while working on my music. This is going to be an exciting time, and a much, MUCH needed boost!

 

 

Brief Hiatus Soon to be Over

Hey everyone. I’ve been going through a couple of changes recently, but hopefully the hiatus will be over soon in a couple of months, and I’ll be able to start getting back into playing shape again and get my chops back up.

I had spent a lot of time, in preparation of making this latest record, on improving my chops and playing techniques to get better tone out of the guitar. However, I personally find that whenever I’m making a record, outside of tracking, all the other times spent on things such as mixing and sorting out logistics, takes all the time away from my playing. But the current changes (positive changes, by the way) are unfortunately making this down time longer, and is even taking away all my time from being able to promote this album. BUT – Having said that, I’m really happy and grateful of all my new recent Facebook ‘Likes’ as of late. It was sitting at around 20+ before, but is now approaching 1000 ‘Likes’ – all within a month! Hopefully more people will know about the record and will listen to it (- it’s Streaming for Free on Spotify). It’s a really strong record and one that I’m really happy about. It does feel like it was a long while ago since working on it, with all the madness going on right now. But I’ll announce what those changes are soon.

 

 

New Album Release – “Business Brunch Specials: Uranium Omelet (with GMO-Free Brown Sauce)”

This past week was the release of my third solo/studio album, “Business Brunch Specials: Uranium Omelet (with GMO-Free Brown-Sauce)”.
The CDs have arrived and I’m quite happy how everything turned out. The album cover art, designed by the very talented Shawna Armstrong (O Totally Studio) looks fantastic – even more so in physical form.

The drum parts that Tobias Ralph played were tasteful and excellent, and Ronan Chris Murphy was able to help me with the final finishing polish in mastering to make things sound ‘like a record’. As a writer, I feel that I have progressed (and I am gradually becoming a little bit more efficient at it).

In case you’ve missed it, here is a recent interview I did with SomethingElse! Reviews where I talked a bit about the album. This album, (for the most part…), was a joy to make, although the work needed was extremely tedious, intense and involved. If you get a chance, please check it out. Currently, there are preview samples up on CDBaby, as well as a teaser on youtube. However, the record should be out on various digital outlets (, such as iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc.) in upcoming weeks.

I am also planning on having a more detailed write up on the recording process, so please look out for that.

Teaser of new album – “Business Brunch Specials: Uranium Omelet (with GMO-Free Brown Sauce)”

He’s a teaser of my upcoming album, “Business Brunch Specials: Uranium Omelet (with GMO-Free Brown Sauce)”. I shot the main video using my phone back in February with the intent of having at least some sort of visual footage of me making this album. When I finally revisited this today to add in the texts, I couldn’t help myself from laughing because it’s SO BIZARRE.

Hope you like the gloves! 😀

Pat Mastelotto’s Drums, Microphones and Studio Setup

Might be a little long overdue posting this, but here are some snapshots showing Pat Mastelotto’s drum kit setup, microphone placements and studio he had while tracking for my 2nd album back in 2013. Sorry about the blurriness – I believe Pat took these with his camera phone at the time.

Click on picture for larger view.

Microphones used

There were 2 overheads, 2 kicks (in and out), snare (top and bottom), hi-hat, toms, single room mic. The ride might have been mic-ed as well, but I do not remember exactly. The overheads were Earthworks (although I’m not sure what the model was).

Preamps

I believe he was using an API preamp

Which mics I used and which ones I did not

During mixing, I didn’t use the snare bottoms, kick (out), hi-hats. Things sounded much more focused and better that way. So it was mainly the overheads, kick, snare and the room. The toms were not played much, but I would un-mute those microphones whenever they were played. Every thing sounded excellent when they came in, and I all needed to do was enhance what I had with some processing.

Third Album Update

Tobias Ralph (Adrian Belew Power Trio), Live at The Casbah in San Diego, 2014

I have been working hard since Halloween 2014 on what will soon be my 3rd solo album. I have Tobias Ralph (from Crimson Projekct/ Adrian Belew Power Trio) playing drums for me on this record – just can’t wait to get this out the door and share with all of you (i.e., all 5 of you in the entire world 😉 ). My mixes are now done, and mastering date is set for next week in at Veneto West in Los Angeles. Ronan will be mastering the record for me again this time around.

This will again be an instrumental record, consisting of 9 tunes in total.