Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back in the studio on July 25

Zak sips his coffee and thinks over the plan for his final recording session (for this album).

Here's a semi-unusual blog post from me, in that it's focusing on an upcoming event, rather than something that already transpired. In slightly more than 48 hours, I'll be leaving here and heading out to Sound Sanctuary Studios in Riverside, CA, the same place where I've already recorded nine songs for my upcoming album. The plan for this coming Saturday is to record the last two songs that will be going on the album, a kind of poppy little tune called "Fade Away", and a song that's pretty epic in both length and content called "Waiting for This". At that point, we'll have 11 songs in the can... plenty enough for an album release. It doesn't, of course, mean we're done recording forever. I have every intent of jumping right into the next album, since I have at least several songs in various stages of being written. But at some point, you have to wrap up a project, and that's what we're about to do with the debut album.

Most of you understand that simply recording the music doesn't mean you're finished. These songs are made up of many components -- guitars, voices, drums, bass, and so on -- so those audio elements need to be mixed in ways that we think sounds good. After all the songs are mixed, it needs to be sent to another guy who does something called mastering. That's where the tone and volume of the entire album is made consistent so it's not jumping around from song to song, and the end result is the master, which is then used to replicate CDs and to create files which can be purchased from places like iTunes.

I'm not really concerned with the schedule; there's no record label breathing down my neck to release this, so it will be done, basically, when it's done. But we are getting closer, and wrapping up this Saturday's recording session brings us another step toward completion. I'm pretty excited, but you can't rush through the finish line when so much important stuff happens at the very end. The need to pay attention to detail is crucial from here on out.

Regardless of all that, the important thing for now is to pay attention to the last couple of songs. I'll be there with my lovely Kat, who comes to the sessions for both moral support as well as her job of photo/video documentation of the recording. My co-producer, engineer, and great friend Phil O'Keefe will be handling his multiple roles with aplomb as always. Bunny Knutson will be there to handle drums as on the other tracks, but will also be adding some vocals and other instruments. And, if all goes well, my pal Ken Lee will be rested enough from his recent trip to Brazil to be there and play some keys and whatever else we can get him to do. I have some very cool ideas for the arrangement and production of these tracks, and I'm feeling very ready to render them into reality.

And, of course, one of the fun parts about working with this team is that even with all the ideas and plans in the world, I always end up getting even more and better results than I'd planned going in. The actual process is exhausting, but it's also fun as hell. And, since Kat will be there with camera in hand, I'll share some of the high points (or silly points or whatever else we get) with you shortly after the session.

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