Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Wednesday Night Monday Crayon Update

Well hello. As you might know by now, I try and fill you in on what fun-filled musical activities we did in our band They Stole My Crayon every Monday morning, since our recording work is pretty much limited to the weekends. Unfortunately, Monday became a whirlwind of mundane work that continued through Tuesday, and then somehow ramped up today, which would be Wednesday. It suddenly occurred to me that late is better than never, so here's the latest.

As you may have seen in my most recent post, last weekend included a birthday of two Crayon members (myself and Christina), a live show in SL at a new venue, and the unfortunate injury to a rather important finger. But in between those events, we did manage to do some really good work on the album.

Saturday June 6: Crayonifying "Underwater Underground"
After I wrapped up my show on Saturday, Christina and I chilled for awhile, and then got to work on some of our own music. We were putting our mark on a song that Bunny had originated called "Underwater Underground", and we liked his initial version quite a lot. The goal was to add some more vibe of The Crayon without taking away from the feeling imparted by Bunny's original version. Why work on music on our birthday? Because we love doing it! We started by adding some new guitar parts, and then added a new background vocal line. We were enjoying how it was coming together when the Horrible Fingernail Incident occurred. It should tell you something that as soon as I got bandaged up, I was hitting the record button immediately to continue on the song. The pain was bad, but not as bad as missing an opportunity to get this song recorded.

Sunday June 7: Tweaking "Bag of Nothing" and Bunny's Studio Adventures for "Got Guilt" and "Vendetta"
I should start this section by mentioning that when I got up rather early on Saturday morning, there was a note from Bunny, who had just left that studio after having worked all night on re-recording the song that is planned as the opener for the album, a sparse and haunting song called "Got Guilt". It's notable in that along with "Underwater Underground", it's one of the final Crayon songs that we had to transform from a Bunny-based demo into a fleshed out band song. Bunny continued to make use of the available studio time on Sunday to record some live drums for our tune "Vendetta". The results from both sessions came out great. "Got Guilt" in particular was simply outstanding when we got to hear it late on Sunday evening.

Earlier in the day, though, I had some Crayon work I could do despite my finger injury (which has forced me to take the last four days off playing guitar, and probably will keep me sidelined until the weekend). Our song "Bag of Nothing", as good as it is, just was suffering from a hurried initial mix and needed some tweaks, which I did and made it sound much better, in line with the rest of the songs we've recently done. Now I can listen to it without cringing at some of the sonic problems it previously exhibited.

The Order of Things
One thing we've faced as a band is a problem that most other bands would be happy to have: we have too many songs. I don't have an exact count, but since we formed the Crayon in late 2012, we've created somewhere in the range of 25 tunes. We considered the idea of putting out all 25 on multiple albums at once, but the fact is that like any collection of music, some songs are stronger and some are weaker. More importantly, as time went by, we found our sound as a band, and some of the earlier stuff simply didn't fit the vibe that is now well defined. We began the process of narrowing down which songs we wanted on the first album, and now we've settled at a magic number: 14 songs that comprise 49 minutes of music. Still a pretty hefty album; no one who buys this album will feel shortchanged.

With this hopefully final group of songs decided, Christina and I made an attempt at getting them arranged in order. Sequencing the songs on an album is not at all easy; it's possible to make an argument for or against just about any decision. Many things come into play, including the tempo, time signature, key, and other undefinable "vibe" aspects of each song. So we quickly put together a list, which Bunny immediately pointed out was flawed based on our stacking too many songs of the same time signature in a row. We're somewhat back to the drawing board in that regard, but all of the little details are coming together that will allow us to get this album done pretty soon. Go Crayons go!

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