It felt good to finally finish ‘Rise and Fall‘ and release it into the world, but there’s no rest for the wicked!

Today I spent several hours re-recording guitar parts for another instrumental called ‘Streetlights’. I’m finally using my Roland GR-55 Guitar Synth to make a really cool clean guitar tone that incorporates a string section, a pan flute, and a model of a Fender Strat into a Roland Jazz Chorus amplifier. Another guitar part was recorded using my Line 6 Helix

I’ve always been a technology guy, and there are so many cool products available to help guitar players create unique and varied tones. There are purists who think guitar modelers are the devil, but I don’t think it matters what you use to make your music…what matters is that you ARE making music.

They say a mix is done when the song is due, but what if you don’t have or haven’t set a deadline? That’s when things can get tricky. As artists, I think that we can ALWAYS find something to fix with whatever it is that we are creating.

For example, I have an instrumental I have been working on called ‘Rise and Fall’. The song is recorded and the mix is ‘pretty much’ done. Why pretty much? Well…I say pretty much because I can hear things that I think could/should be fixed. The funny thing is that my beta listeners don’t hear anything wrong with it and say that it sounds great. So what’s my hangup?

Fear.

The more I think I can fix/tweak this song, the safer I feel because I am not putting my art out for the world to see…and possibly ridicule. That’s the thing with the Internet…it’s an can be an awesome thing, but the anonymity allows folks to say the most comtemptible things imaginable.

So what do I do? I suck it up, upload my art, and let it speak for itself with the understanding that art is subjective. Some will love it while others will hate it…and that’s ok. The world is a better place with art in it…that’s what I’ll focus on…that and not reading the comments.

That said, I’ll release ‘Rise and Fall’ into the wild this weekend and move on to the next song. I’ll feel accomplished and there will be another piece of art added to the Universe.

This is a transcript of an interview I did with the Angie from All The Write Notes. (source)

1. Tell me a little about your history as a musician–have you always been into songwriting? What instruments do you play? How long have you been doing this? BASICALLY- tell me anything you want people to know.

Thank you so much for interview Megan!  Hello to the All The Write Notes readership…I’m excited to talk to you all.

I started playing guitar in my late teens and was playing lead guitar in my first rock band three years later. This is where my skills as a player really started to blossom…jamming with other musicians. Sure, you can learn plenty at home and practice until your face turns blue, but when you step into a stinky garage or a grimy rehearsal studio and start banging out songs with other people, your craft is missing something. There is a synergy that happens in a band situation that is really unmatched. When the group is working on a song and you all change to the same chord at the same time or you intuitively know when a rhythm will change…it’s amazing…it’s creation.

I like to think I can play anything that has strings, but my focus is on guitar. I play acoustic and electric guitar, bass, some keys, and I sing. Some of these things I do better than others, hehe, but those are the tools I use to express myself musically.

As for songwriting, it ran hand in hand with my guitar playing. I started writing original music as I was learning to play guitar. I was never really one to play other people’s music, despite playing my share of cover tunes. For me, I preferred playing my own melodies over other people’s music. I would use that improvisation to help me develop new musical ideas and transfer those ideas into my own songwriting.

Writing music comes fairly easy to me, so a lot of my early songwriting was instrumental. I’ve written plenty of songs with words, vocals, melodies, harmonies, etc., but I’ve found that my best songs have been written with other people. Of course my ego despises the fact that I just wrote that, but it is the truth. Know thyself…

2. Top three favorite songs of all time. Go. 

Just three!?  Wow…ok.  Bristol Shore – Eric Johnson, Pride And Hunger – Lowen and Navarro, and With Or Without You – U2

3. And now, what’s your most favorite song to belt out in your car?

Oh boy…I’ve got a few, but the first one that comes to mind is ‘I Dare You’ by Shinedown…Brent Smith has some pipes and I like his vocal melodies (I really need to be warmed up to sing this well..hehe). I will also offer a confession…Barry Manilow…yes, I am a Fanilow! His greatest hits are always in rotation.

4. How did you and Kelsey become Wedding Day Rain? And where did that band name come from?

Our approach to a band name was pretty simplistic. It rained on our wedding day  🙂  To paint the picture, we were barefoot on a mountain top in the desert southwest, it started raining, and then there were two rainbows overhead. It was an amazing display, and the pictures are fantastic!

5. What’s your songwriting process like? Do you and Kelsey write the songs and music together, or does one of you take lyrics and the other take melodies?

I mentioned earlier that writing music comes pretty easy for me. With that in mind, I will write something on acoustic guitar and play it for Kels. She will start to sing a melody and if the song gains ‘traction’ then we will write the lyrics together. This isn’t set in stone however, as either of us can contribute whatever we like to the process.

6. You guys usually do Studio Saturdays (or Sundays? Right?)- What’s that like? Give me a quick rundown of a day in the studio working on Imogen Unlocked.

If we had a camera to record this, people would freak out! Being married to your band mate is both very cool and yet very difficult at times. Artists have egos pure and simple and when your spouse accidentally steps on that ego, things can get messy. Over time we have developed a method that works for us…we figuratively (and sometimes literally) wear a different hat while working on music. Our marriage is temporarily put on hold as we work through the recording process. We are able to offer criticism, respectfully of course, with the understanding that we are musicians trying to make the best sounding songs we can. It’s hard work, but good work. When we are done, we take our hats off and say hello to each other as a couple.

As for the technical side of things, I will record the music and have it ready to be sung over. Since Kels is the primary singer, she will sing first and I will engineer the recording. Once her lines are done, we trade places and I sing while she runs the session.

7. Name some of your personal musical influences/role models.

Since guitar is my main instrument, my main influences are guitar players. George Lynch – such aggression when he plays. Eric Johnson – melody and artistry. Nuno Bettencourt – flashy and technical.

An interesting thing you might have noticed is that these guitar players play fast, heavier music and yet I don’t incorporate that into my songwriting. Imogen Unlocked is all acoustic guitar based and will be performed in the same way. Oddly enough I don’t have an explanation for this…something for me to ponder…

  8. Do you have a favorite song on Imogen Unlocked? What is it and why? (I don’t even know if you’re allowed to answer this. I have no idea what’s supposed to be under wraps at this point! So if not- skip it.)

That’s a hard question because I have several favorites, but I suppose if I had to narrow it down to one it would be ‘My Strength’. This one stands out for the way the song was written. I had a couple of pieces of music that I had been playing for months and nothing ever really manifested. Once we started writing songs for Imogen Unlocked, we smashed those two pieces together and ‘My Strength’ was born. I also like the message that this song conveys. Sometimes people get judged by appearances, financial status, education, etc.  ‘My Strength’ is about the surprise that those who wrongly judge others get when they find out just how talented and amazing these people can be.