Monday, April 25, 2016

How To Get The Most Out of Studio Sessions:

Having well planned recording time is as important as having solid and disciplined band practices, sometimes even more because in the studio what you play is what will be heard over and over and OVER again. A lot of people may feel a form of mild (or less mild) anxiety about being in the booth, while some may think that it’s no big deal and they are going to knock out a whole EP in one day. No matter how you feel about it, it is important to go into the studio with a well rehearsed schedule that is ready to be executed.

1. Practice and Plan The Songs

Don’t go with a whole bunch of songs in mind and choose which one seems best, practice one song until it’s consistent to the slightest degree and then keep practicing. Try to do all the bad takes at home where it is free to practice the same solo for an hour.
Another aspect of this is to not try and over do it in the studio and waste your time going for that note you should’ve practiced for. Furthermore, keep in mind that unless it’s a solo album it is not YOUR album, let the band mates have a say in how the song is produced before the same track is heard countless times and drives you crazy for not saying something in the studio or poorly planning the trip.

2. Manage the Time You’re Paying For

Time is vital in the studio for most of us, so try to make the most out of everyone’s time while maintaining the quality you are paying for. Don’t get so caught up in getting everything down so quick that the recordings aren’t even worth the effort. If you just can’t hit that high note today and have other sessions booked, it may be best to just give it another try later, don’t be afraid to come back and put finishing touches on songs instead trying to finish everything completely and move on, your motivation may just go against itself in this counterproductive trap.

Between sessions give the songs a decent amounts of listens, all the way through and with different people to give input. You can feel if someone thought a note was sour that you had overlooked, do this on your own time instead of trying to figure out the song while you are on the clock.

3. Be Professional

Have the money you need, show up on time, consider traffic, consider loading in, consider setting up drums, consider everything that may eat up your time. A studio may let you go a little over if you were at a late start but definitely not if they have someone booked after you. Just remember it is a business and should be treated seriously. Bring tuners and constantly tune your instruments. Don’t party all night the night before a session.

To all the Rockstar vocalists and aspiring rappers out there, don’t do anything that will mess up your voice before the session, it is important that your delivery is clear because you will have the spotlight 9 times out of 10 and no one wants to be one of the groups where people say, “The Music is great but I hate their singer”. The Vocals are very essential to the final product and should be taken for seriously (but don’t sound like a robot either, remember you want people to feel it not just understand it).

4. Drum tracks 

Rock Groups be ready to lay down the drum tracks first because that’s what will most likely happen. To all the drummers reading this, have the songs memorized by yourself without the band and with a metronome. Have each fill rehearsed and sounding clean so that time isn’t wasted trying to show off for the record. Make sure your drums are tuned and that everything is adjusted, don’t use that shattered china cymbal that sounds like a trash can, try and borrow one from another fellow drummer because these sounds will be heard over and over again and we don’t want to make the mistake Metallica made in their choice of snare drum on “St. Anger”.

5. Do More Than One Take

So everything is practiced and to the dot, you go into the booth and the first take seems perfect. Unless it is a very simple part you’ve done countless times than just do it again. There is a difference between “Good” and “Good Enough”. Don’t feel so constrained on time that your whole project seems like a well recorded demo. Do multiple takes to ensure that the finished project is as perfect as it can be but still remember that you are limited for time. You may even save time in the long run by not having to redo anything once a song is almost finished, don’t get caught up on songs but still take your time to an extent.

6. Don’t Too Stressed

Whatever it is that helps you get into your zone whether it’s meditating, listening to Brian Eno or watching paint dry, take some time before the session and do it. Come in with a motivated and realistic sequence of events in mind and go at it. Remain comfortable and on topic because time flies while recording and lots of time and money can be wasted in the booth if it is not treated as seriously as it should be.

Side Projects:
even the pros jam with their friends

Them Crooked Vultures-
A powerhouse trio consisting of John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Joshua Hommes (Queens of the Stone Age), and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters & Nirvana). The group’s self-titled record evenly portrays the multiple personalities of each musician while creating a fresh rock sound with epic rock tracks such as “Dead End Friends” and “New Fang”. They only made one record but all members have stated that a second album is in the works, it’s been 7 years since their debut so all we can do is patiently wait.
The Claypool Lennon Delirium-

A Collaboration between Les Claypool (Primus) and Sean Lennon (Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger) that is just as weird as it should be. The vicious bass licks make it very obvious that Les Claypool is behind this project and the spacey rock feel of Lennon keeps the scale in balance and creating a distinct middle ground for the artists. It’s not as jumpy as primus but the bass is definitely a prominent instrument in the mix and overall composition of the music.

Hollywood Vampires-

Hollywood vampires is a group consisting of Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp that formed in 2015 to honor the legacy of rock icons and specifically those who died too young. Hollywood Vampires was originally a drinking club that Cooper had formed in the 70s that is said to have members such as Ringo Starr and Keith Moon. The band has one studio album that is mostly covers but has 3 original tracks on it. The band pays tribute to legendary groups like The Doors, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. The band is active but conflicted due to Johnny Depps schedule being out of sync with his band members.

Seth Macfarlane-

On top of being incredibly successful in the TV industry, Seth Macfarlane has 3 jazz albums that are no joke. It is made clear in shows like Family Guy that Macfarlane loves big bands and orchestras, adding epic soundtracks to the cartoon that adds a little bit of class to the raunchy humor. While Seth is outspoken and known as a comedic figure, he still can sing and swing like back in the day just like the people who would probably ban his TV shows from their home.

H Jon Benjamin-

On the other side of the scale lies H Jon Benjamins (Voice actor for Archer and Bobs Burgers), who’s album “I should’ve learned…” is a train wreck of Benjamin emphasizing his inability to play piano. The album starts with a dialogue between Benjamin and the Devil (voiced by Aziz Ansari) where they discuss the possibility of Bejamin’s selling his soul to master the piano, the offer is declined and the album continues. The first track begins with the back up band (who is actually pretty amazing) playing some upbeat jazz, quickly followed by hilariously awkward attempts at piano solos. The album goes through with this concept and slowly chainsaws its way through without any real pickup of talent in piano.

The Pizza Underground-

The Pizza Underground is a comedy group formed by child star Macaulay Culkin that pays tribute to The Velvet Underground and Pizza. The group covers songs and switches vital lyrics with pizza related words such as “Take a Bite of the Wild Slice”. The Group formed in 2012 as a joke and has played at Lou reed tribute shows as well as shows booked just for the band.

The Flaming Lips-

Known for their overall weirdness, The Flaming Lips are no stranger to humbling collaborative projects that emphasis the overall product rather than how much they put into the recordings. They have two cover albums of Dark Side of the Moon and Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band that feature several other artists such as My Morning Jacket, Henry Rollins, and Miley Cyrus. The Flaming Lips also did a full length album with Miley Cyrus called “Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz”. What else will the flaming lips do through their career? Maybe the better question is: what WON’T they do?

Temple of the Dog-

The rise of the Grunge music scene in Seattle during the 90’s must have been a place to be. It seems like all the bands knew each other and that the whole area was connected. A band called Mother Love Bone is one that does not get remembered due to their front-man, Andrew Wood,dying from a heroin overdose in 1990. His band would reform into “Pearl Jam” but first they would join forces with Chris Cornell from Soundgarden to pay tribute to their lost friend. The band only made one self-titled album that is a gem to the Grunge music scene. The Song “Hunger Strike” is a Epic duet between Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder that was a hit single in 1991, Alice in Chains also pays tribute to Andrew Wood with their track “Would?”.

The power of music goes beyond one single band or artist, it is a collection of all the worlds experience and perceptions. Jam with your friends and make great songs with whoever you can because that unifying feeling we get is what music’s truly all about.

Let's Get Live: Baltimore

Top 15 Places to Play In Baltimore

Trying to book some gigs this summer?  Just trying to check out some cool live music?  We’re here to help you find some venues with our series of blogs about some of the biggest cities in the music scene, starting with our own base of operations, Baltimore. 

Power Plant Live!

Located right near the Inner Harbor at 10 Market Place, Power Plant Live! is a popular hotspot for bars and music and often attracts some big names, though it also has some venues that will accommodate local talent.  Frankly, it’s pretty live.
Angels Rock Bar:  A Rock and Roll club with a cool atmosphere, Angels Rock Bar plays DJs most nights and has a summer concert series on Saturday Nights with bands starting at 10. Look at all the fancy stuff in the picture to the right.  Such Rock.  Much Roll.
Tin Roof:  Tin Roof calls itself a “live music joint ” and it is just that, featuring live bands every weekend!
Howl at the Moon:  A venue that promises high energy, they feature live bands that perform anything from rock to pop to hip-hop.
MEX:  A Tex-Mex bar which features live acoustic sets every Saturday night.
Ram's Head Live:   A very popular venue that attracts bigger acts, they do also have slots for smaller local acts.

Also of course, is Baltimore Soundstage, a venue that plays nationally touring artists and occasionally has local showcases!
There are also several great bars for live music in the area of Fell’s Point including:

Cat’s Eye Pub located in Historic Fell’s Point and offers great live music including jazz, open every day of the year.  Sounds like this cat’s eye doesn’t blink!

Bertha’s was the first sit-down dining room in Fell’s Point.  Known for her mussels, Bertha also has a history of providing a stage for jazz, blues, and rockabilly artists among others.
Image result for bertha's

The Horse You Came In On Saloon at 1626 Thames St. is the oldest drinking establishment in Fell’s Point having opened before the American Revolution, they also offer live music every day.

The 8X10 is an established music venue that puts bands in a small intimate space with a balcony.

Station North has a few venues that are excellent place to gig or enjoy yourself for the night.
The Windup Space is a great venue with intimate local performances and also  a variety of other kinds of exhibits such as art or film.

The Crown is a comfortable venue for both performance and dining and features acts in indie, hip/hop and more!

Joe Squared is a great venue for music, but it also has some of the best and most creative pizzas around!

The Metro Gallery is a multi-functioning music performance and art gallery with great acts and an intimate space.

Finally in the Hampden area, one of the most popular Baltimore venues both for big and local acts, The Ottobar.  With a grungy atmosphere, ample space, and a relatively cheap bar, the Ottobar is one of the best places to play a gig in Baltimore.

No matter which venue, if you're playing a gig in Baltimore, you're going to have an electric experience filled with amped-up energy and intimacy with the crowd, and that is one reason why Baltimore's local music scene is one of the best in the country.