Overnight Success

I’ve got not one, not two, but three Vlog episodes in various states of completion. I’m not going to lie, this YouTube thing is a wee bit more difficult than I expected. This shouldn’t be surprising to me, yet here we are.

It’s been over a month since I put up a new video. Since the BDI21 episode, life started to creep in and I managed to find myself behind. In that time though, a strange thing happened:

A couple of people subscribed, someone liked, and someone commented; all without any promotion. I haven’t really told anyone about this little project, it just … is. So the fact that people are finding this and taking a liking to it is pretty cool.

I sincerely take my hat off to all those who have found success on YouTube simply because the amount of work you need to do is mind boggling. Starting out, not only is there scripting, filming, editing, releasing, and promoting content, it’s all being done between and around what is referred to “normal life”.

This makes me think how ridiculous the idea of the “Overnight Success” is. Unless you’ve won a lottery or were born into wealth, there really is no such thing as overnight success. Just because we haven’t heard of a certain singer before a certain date does not mean that they all of a sudden popped up out of nowhere ready blow your mind. Nothing appears out of thin air, ready made with a number one song. Even those by the numbers, label created, top 10 boy bands require an insane amount of work get off the ground.

The cool thing about this project is that it just is. Some days I’ll have time. Other days I won’t. This is fun and I want to stay that way. If a few of you want to come along for the ride, no matter how sporadic, you’re more than welcome to.

Quick, Random Updates

In no particular order …

Transitioning back to Windows has been pretty painless. This here refurbished ThinkPad is happily humming along and I’m able to do nearly everything I want to do.

I still can’t find anything that even comes close to MainStage so I’m keeping my little MacBook Air around just for that purpose. When the Air up and dies, I’ll revisit this.

I’m enjoying catching up on all the tech I’ve ignored for the past decade. This has led me to rediscovering my old hobby of building phantom computers on Newegg.

I’ve moved back to a mouse when the ThinkPad is in desktop mode. I found that while Magic Utilities give me all of the macOS gestures in Windows, the overall feel is jittery and nowhere near as precise or velvety smooth as it is on a Mac.

Go figure.

This Razer Deathadder though … it reminds me of just how shitty Apple mice are.

Speaking of “laptop in desktop mode” you know what’s really nice? Having a removable battery. When I plug the ThinkPad in, I can pop out the battery and leave the laptop plugged in forever and not worry about the battery swelling and bursting. Ever.

On the music side of things, I’ve been using Harrison Mixbus more and more.  I purchased it last year when it was on sale and played around with it a few times on the Mac, but never really gave it an honest go. I always found myself back in the familiar world of Reaper. I have to say, it’s quite the fantastic DAW. I really, really, really like the channel strip EQ and Compression. The ability to tweak on the fly without having to dig for plugins is incredible.

Mixbus 32c is on super sale right now…

I just might get it. I wound up getting it.

Speaking of Mixbus, that song I’ve been working on since April (yeah, I know) is nearing completion. I’ve laid down the bass and most all of the guitars. Next up is to rewrite and record the drums. It’s coming together nicely.

Those GLS ES-57’s are a goddamn steal. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Go buy a couple of them.

It’s late. It’s snowing. I’m old.


LACK Rack!

When setting up my office/recording area, I needed a shelf of some sort to hold my outboard units and the Mac Mini and the stereo and store my bits and bobs. Always with the and. I wound up with one of those Ikea HEJNE (the older version that was 50cm deep), plain pine storage shelves. Sure it held everything but it was chaotic. And ugly. I mean, they look fine in storage rooms and garages, but in a home office?

Another problem with big shelves: Not only do they take up excess room, they give you an excuse to keep everything.

I mean, just look at this monstrosity:

Last week I walked into the room, took one look at that giant eyesore and decided that it had to go.

What to do though?

Continue reading “LACK Rack!”

Moving Over

I’m typing this post on a second, maybe third hand ThinkPad, testing out IA Writer 1 on Windows to see if the experience mirrors that of macOS and so far so good. Reaper and Mixbus are doing their things as the licenses work for both platforms. Hell, pretty much all of the apps I use these days have Windows versions and they all run pretty damn good.

The dark horse is MainStage which I use quite a bit and is an absolute steal if you’re on the Mac platform. It’s thirty bucks and comes with untold gigs of samples and is, quite simply, one of the most powerful, easiest to use  music performance apps out there. Moving to Windows is going to be super hard without MainStage.

… Wait, what?

Continue reading “Moving Over”

GLS Test

Here is a snippet of a composition I’ve been working on since April. This is one of the most recent variants of the song and includes testing the GLS ES-57‘s I bought last month.

That recording is dry. There is no eq or compression on any of the tracks, just panning and volume.

I used my LTD EC-200QM (with 12 month old strings – I really need to change those) and a Schecter Revenger I borrowed from H, Opium Winter’s guitar player. Both guitars were played through a Kustom The Defender tube cobo amp 1 (also thanks to H) miced with an ES-57.

    • DAW: Reaper
    • Interface: Tascam US-16×08
    • Three rhythm guitar tracks miced as mentioned above
    • The melody guitar that comes in at 0:25 is straight DI with an amp/pedal sim on the track
    • Bass: straight DI
    • Drums:

The drums were recorded about two weeks before the ES-57’s arrived. I did get four of them and plan to test them on snare and toms as soon as I can (I also need some more mic stands and/or drum mic clips). If the sound as good on drums as they did on the guitars, then they’ll be used when I lay down the final takes of this piece.

1: The Kustom is out of this world. H can get it to howl and scream with distortion and effects but up until now, I’ve never heard it clean in a quiet environment. This thing has colour and a well rounded tone. I’ve played a lot of budget amps in my life and this has to be my favorite.

Merde d’occasion

I’m a big fan of budget equipment. I honestly enjoy digging around and researching all kinds of lower end gear. It’s really awesome when you manage to find something amazing that does exactly what you need, especially when it doesn’t break the bank. This is how I found the Tascam US-16×08 and the 12 Step.

That being said, there is something that’s even better than new budget equipment: buying second hand.

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Burnt Bacon

This is a follow-up on the old post I put up about Neil Young and the way music sounds.

Through a small stroke of luck I’ve begun stepping into the world of vinyl records. I have a Fisher turntable and a Pioneer receiver – coupled with a Realistic stereo preamp 1 – that came included with the house we bought two years ago, and a set of speakers that I bought second hand from Mez, Opium Winter’s drummer.

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Music Has Always Sounded Like Shit

I wrote and posted this bit back in July 2015 after Neil Young announced he was pulling his music off of streaming services because of sound quality. I wanted to put it back here as it’s a nice precursor to a piece I’m finishing up abour vinyl albums.

To note: Neil Young’s music is currently available on all the streaming services. Guess that Pono thing didn’t work out as well as he thought it would. that being said, he’s still on his damn soapbox.

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Opium Winter: Making the First EP, Part 3

This entry is going to cover the editing/mixing portion of the recording process and my thoughts along each step of the way. This not going to be a step by step entry that covers every EQ setting and compression ratio on each track. 

The recording process began in early April 2018. All instruments and vocals were tracked by the end of the month. The plan was to release the debut Opium Winter EP by the beginning of the summer. Instead it was officially released April 1, 2019… almost exactly one year later.

What happened? The answer is simple: Mixing.

Continue reading “Opium Winter: Making the First EP, Part 3”

Opium Winter: Making the First EP, Part 2

With equipment rented and drum tracks completed, it was time to move on to guitars, bass, vocals, and synth.

This was going to be a little easier as the basement in our house came with pretty excellent sound treatment. The previous owner had a home theatre setup down there and added decent insulation in the walls and installed a dropped ceiling complete with acoustic insulation tiles. Both the main room and the back room, which has become my home office, has that slightly “dead” feeling you get when walking into a pro studio. Don’t get me wrong, It’s not pro level perfect, but it’s more than I could ever ask for and I’ve been making good use of it.

My home office has a small closet that I’ve converted into a makeshift isolation booth. I stuffed a small Ikea mattress against the back wall and hung up some fabric to help cut back on reflections.

Continue reading “Opium Winter: Making the First EP, Part 2”