I’ve broken ground on this thing, finally, again. Last night, Kevin and I had our first official practice/recording session for the new album. We worked on an old song of mine that I’m tearing apart and rebuilding into something I can finally be satisfied with. We recorded some loops of some of the parts just to kind of get a sense of how things work together and to give me something to listen to/think about until the next time we get together to play.
Preproduction probably officially started several years ago when I first started writing and demoing these songs. For this context, preproduction started sometime in late 2008. I had been in a band that came to an end, and I was working on another project – Metroid Metal Live – that seemed like it would be a one-time event. (That’s turned out to not be true, but more on that at another time). I wanted to have something lined up to take advantage of the momentum from the Metroid Metal Live show in January 2009, so that’s where the idea for a “solo” project originated.
There have been a number of former bandmates I’ve kept in contact with over the years, and there’s always been discussion of doing long-distance recording, but nothing ever came of it. This seemed like a perfect fit for this, so I started talking to these guys again, and without exception, they were into it.
Through my previous band, Life on the Blue Dot, and Metroid Metal Live, I had access to an absolutely amazing drummer, Kevin Lawrence. He was keen on having a project beyond MMLive, and I would have been a fool to turn him down. We’d been practicing every week for MMLive, so after that, we just picked up and started practicing the songs I’d selected for this album without, if you’ll pardon the pun, missing a beat.
I’ve noticed in the past that songs improve immensely AFTER they’ve been recorded. When you’re tracking each instrument individually, you have a chance to figure out what does and doesn’t work, and can adjust accordingly. Sometimes you don’t notice those tiny details when you’re rocking out at full volume. I did some basic open-room recordings with Kevin, and they’ve proven to be very useful. For instance, this recording of Concrete Flea felt good while we were playing it, but when I listened to it later, I realized it was WAY too fast for other parts I had planned (particularly the melody) to work effectively. So, we adjusted, and in subsequent practices we’ve worked to slow it down.
Also, listening to these recordings has reinforced my belief that I have no business playing guitar on this album.