Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Postal Service

Citing a music group called The Postal Service as a recent reference (although there are others who have done this I'm sure), we are planning now to implement a sort of "assembly line" method of recording songs.  We each have accessible, compatible recording equipment at our homes and will send recorded files to one another.  This will allow each of us the opportunity to add parts to the song without needing everyone to be at one place or even at a particular time.  Since we have a show this Friday evening at Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo, our main focus this week will be preparing for the show, but I'm excited to report on how the assembly line starts.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yes I Can...

I remember when we first got up in front of the class to briefly describe what we wanted to do for our thesis.  My first question was "Can I make money being in a band in this area?"  Yes I can.  I auditioned for, and have officially been invited to perform with country singer Charley Jenkins.  From what I can tell, this is one of the better paying gigs in Utah.  I'll be playing keyboard, guitar, and singing harmony vocals.  check it out at

The next Prince of Whales show is a benefit to help International Action and Help International raise funds for Haiti and Uganda.  April 1st (no that's not a joke) at Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo.  An easy way to experience great live music and help a great cause!  You can see the scheduled date on the Velour Show Calendar

Advisors update:  in English, Dr. Boyd Petersen; music advisor will be confirmed after spring break.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Securing Advisors

Now I have an advisor and another one pending. So far that has turned out easier than I thought it would be. It seems like advisors will be a great avenue for ideas, suggestions, follow-up and accountability, all of which I like.

I have been spending more time this week listening closely to recordings with the purpose of deciphering what techniques are being used to get certain sounds and how those sounds create the "right" feel on a song. While developing a vision for how the album will be represented, studying this way will make it much less of a struggle to get the sound we want in the studio as well as for live performances.

A performance is slated during the beginning of April. I'll post the date when I know it's firm.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

End Goal and Why?

The end goal is to create a finished, marketable product: an album consisting of 10-12 recorded songs.

Right now we are mostly in the idea phase. An initial track is being recorded, along with a couple of other tracks that have been started. Having a few recordings will give us a better feel for what direction we want the sound to go. So what will move us significantly toward the realization phase? Finding the "personality" that dwells within a concept and implementing it in the recording process, giving the record both a distinct creative purpose and a unique image, while keeping some reasonable guidelines to make sure the end result is marketable.

Maintaining consistency between image, sound, and personality might be challenging, but with a little patience and some common sense it shouldn't be too difficult.

Throughout the grouping process I will be drawing from the collective past experiences of everyone in the band. Each of us has different influences or sources, if you will, that shape our understanding of this process. Listing every single one is impossible, of course, but here are a few relatively recent (since the electric guitar came into prominence anyway) well-known musicians/groups that for some reason or another (not just the music) I have paid closer attention to: Buddy Holly, Nat "King" Cole, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Boston, Queen, Smashing Pumpkins, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, more recently Taylor Swift, and the Killers.

I have spent significant time (years) studying, analyzing, and performing works by many "classical" composers such as Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and Chopin. I have also studied works that are much less "classical" such as those created by John Cage.

Sometimes I come across a source in the form of a book, as is the case with Victor Wooten's The Music Lesson. It does a good job of summarizing (in less than 300 pages) my reasons for doing music, my reasons for changing college majors multiple times for a field that is notoriously less dependable than just about any other. Besides the fact (yes, this is an absolute) that part of me literally dies without Music, here is a quote from The Music Lesson that helps explain why I keep motivated: (This is the author's mentor talking)

"Now, listen to what I am about to tell you: Musicians do not have to be believed in. We do not have to be trusted. Our Music speaks for itself without the listener having to know anything about us. Music touches people's emotions in a way that nothing else can. When people find a musician they like, they are usually fans for Life. If they like the musician and his Music, they will open up their hearts to whatever that musician has to say. It matters not what country the musician or the fan comes from. Music is a language that all understand. It goes beyond and breaks down barriers. This makes the musician very powerful, and with power comes responsibility." (103)

I have always believed this about Music. That's why my end goal for this thesis even feels worthwhile at all.