Finally Taking the Plunge

I have been able to work on writing several new songs that I believe will make up the fourth YHP record. There are still a few final decisions to make and I may try to write some new songs to see if I can beat some of the older ones, but I think I have the bulk of the songs ready for the record.

Now comes the anticipation of getting everyone together to make this record. Scheduling is always tough, but it’s gotten much tougher. Some initial pings to people to check their availability have revealed that they’re ready to make another YHP record. It’s certainly been too long since I’ve gotten some decent Little Rock BBQ, catfish, etc. I think the band feels the same. Stay tuned for updates, but it might take a while for this new record to come together. Life is complicated.

The new songs are largely written from a rather specific perspective of getting the band back together and writing for that band. Because of that, I don’t want to work on them anymore until I get to work with the band. I need something new to do. I have decided to finally take the plunge and learn more about recording at home.

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Here’s my new drum recording setup based on Glyns Johns’ method.

Up until recently, I have always tried to keep my home recording setup pretty simple. I haven’t wanted to get particularly fancy or good at recording because (1) I was hesitant to invest in the right gear and (2) that was never my main focus. I have always just wanted enough to record demos of my songs to document my ideas preferring to leave the recording to the professionals.

Circumstances have changed. I am not able to get to the studio so easily and it can be difficult to find the time to get everyone together. I have also started to think about trying to write different kinds of songs — songs that weren’t so tied to the band that I could record myself. That’s when I finally accepted the idea that I should spend some time thinking about how to record things better than I have been.

Jason has been hugely supportive and helpful. He donated some mics and got me started on finding the right kind of gear that I would need. He’s also patiently dealing with tracks that I’ve recorded and helping with notes on how to improve my recording. I’ve recorded one new song so far, and things are progressing well. If I do more and I think they’re interesting, I may post things to soundcloud. Maybe I’ll come up with a different moniker.

For these songs, I am trying to keep things much simpler. I am focusing on more standard chord changes and considering more experimental sonic elements. Lyrically, I’m trying to explore different kinds of voices and streams of thought. I don’t have broad themes identified, but it’s fun to think about songwriting by thinking about doing something different from what I have been doing.

The one thing I have committed myself to is having everything be performance-based. I would like to adhere to the idea that things should be happening before the box rather inside of it. If I can’t play the thing with the sound that I want to have on the recording, that means I have to practice until I can. In that way, I am hoping to get better at everything I try to do. It’s too easy to fall back on old habits or compensate for my shortcomings through avoidance. I need a mechanism to force myself to push beyond my capabilities. Otherwise, I’m not going to be interested in what I’m doing.

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