engineering

The Hard Times Release Debut EP on Whatevski

Releases? Release? “The Hard Times” is a single unit, but it’s more than one person, but… whatever.

With not a lot of fanfare, my reggae project The Hard Times released our first 3 song EP “Two Bucks For Bob” on Whatevski, a boutique online store that specializes in b-sides, live songs, rarities, and side projects from the world of NYC ska/reggae band The Slackers. So how did we get in? I’ll start at the beginning but I’ll jump around. (more…)

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Recording Update

The yet-to-be-named Hey Stranger recording is now 7 months along and more importantly about half way done. We joke about this being the band’s Chinese Democracy, but given the limitations of time, the availability of bandmates, our engineer and the studio, we’re not doing half bad. We started off in March and April with drums and bass and by summer we were recording vocals and guitars. Vocals and guitars I thought would wake the longest just given there’s more of them than anything else (lead vocals, backing vocals, clean ska guitars, distorted punk guitars, lead guitars, etc).

It’s been a really unique experience for me given that besides our loyal engineer and friend, Dave, I’ve been at more sessions than any other person. I’ve only missed one weekend of recording for a work commitment and the fact is it was probably for the better that I wasn’t there. I really enjoyed sitting in the producer seat for the times when I was there, judging takes, pushing people to play better, suggesting ideas and tackling the unexpected hiccups that come up along the way. I think from the start I wanted to be there for the whole thing and really own that producer role. However, it’s a Hey Stranger record, not a Jake record and I think not being there was good for the process. It was a heavy weekend with a lot to do and it means anything recorded that weekend was done in a different different atmosphere with a different vibe. These things matter. I will admit that it’s a little weird to have yet heard everything that was done during those sessions (I’ve gotten spoiled, our poor horn players haven’t heard much of anything yet!) so I’m somewhat nervous, but I have to trust the process and the creative minds that were present… and be prepared with a drink when I finally hear the mixes.

What’s left? A few small things have to be done on guitars and vocals but nothing that couldn’t be done in a couple hours. I actually have to go back and re-record bass. We got this far before realizing I’d screwed up playing a bars in one song. Then we just have to cram the horns into our Queens’ sweatshop. I’m very psyched though it just makes me that much more impatient to finish this record. I’m happy with the progress we’ve made and I think things sound great so far because we haven’t just rushed into completing anything.

We’ve been doing our best (we could be doing better, let’s be real) to blog and video blog about our time in the studio. We’ve got two videos so far with clips from recording, some goofy commentary and a lot of shirtless drummer.

I’m actually in the first clip, the background music is just from our demos we did back in March 2009. Download them now before we completely bury them:

I’m not in this second clip (it was recorded the weekend I wasn’t there) but it’s pretty funny and all the background music are rough mixes from the sessions:

The playlist I’ve been working to all day is about as manic as I’ve felt all day. More updates to come…