Skylines and the Horizon 2018: Overview

After spending  a week writing and recording songs, I took a bit of break from the music. It was an intense enough situation where I wanted to take a step back, let the experience stew, and then go back in with a fresh set of ears to mix things down.

When I write a song, especially if I record it either on my phone or with a proper mic setup, I like to take a week or so and then revisit the song to see if my initial feelings are intact or if I feel like it’s not up to snuff.

The songs that are going to eventually be on Skylines and the Horizon are songs that I’ve had in my catalog of songs for years, have recorded numerous times, and feel comfortable with. I wanted more than a week to digest the songs. Well, a week turned into a couple of months.

In October of 2017, I finally revisited the songs. What I heard left me feeling underwhelmed. There was something about the guitars that sounded hollow to my ears. Interestingly enough, the songs that JD and Matt recorded for their EP sounded better. I’d told JD that I didn’t plan on revising parts, but that changed when I heard the songs.

It also didn’t help that I’d bought new pedals, traded for others, and had a new guitar in the stable of guitars. I was itching to do something with them.

I decided to start with “Spin”. I listened to the 2017 version for a good week before coming to two conclusions: the bass part just didn’t work very well and the pre-chorus needed a second guitar part so that the chorus guitar didn’t just completely come out of nowhere. I didn’t want to add anything to the verses because I felt the guitar was sufficient.

Here’s the 2017 pre-chorus vs. the version I redid.

Apparently, I’d already started redoing parts on the 2017 version because when I did the quick mix to get the above section, there was only one guitar track and not the two we recorded. I did a few things differently. In the redo, I added a fuzz guitar using a Barber Trifecta fuzz that played single notes throughout the distorted sections of the song, added a second rhythm guitar and panned it to the left channel, and centered the riff that plays through the chorus.

After I redid “Spin” other things too priority and it’d be 10 months before I’d find a renewed sense of purpose to start recording again. Ten months, man. That’s a long time.

During 2018’s Who Needs Sleep, a 36-hour telethon put on by the quite awesome Devin Pike, a co-host of the podcast I was a part of and I interviewed Todd Pipes, who is the lead singer of Deep Blue Something. You might recognize them as the band that sang “Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Todd is a really cool guy and after talking about his recent solo EP, we briefly talked about my project. He told me to give myself a deadline. I’d always set goals but never a deadline.

I gave myself the deadline of the end of 2018. The weekend after Labor Day, I began recording the songs.

This time around, I planned to make use of my Fender Princeton Reverb Reissue with two mics on either side of the cone: a Sennheiser e609 and an MXL r144 ribbon mic. Instead of the Fender Rumble 100 I’d used in 2011 and 2017, I used a Fender Rumble Studio 40. My Telecaster would provide all of the solos on the album and the rhythm guitars would be a mix of the Gibson Midtown, Gibson Les Paul, and PRS SC245 Ted McCarty.

My plan was to record one song per week or two and to be done with tracking by the end of November. That would give me the entire month of December to mix and master it.

In the next entry, I’ll talk about the setup for the individual songs that I’ve recorded.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this.

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