The SYU Diaries: Turn Up, Turn Down

As I get closer to finally finishing Soon You’ll Understand (SYU) once and for all, I wanted to attempt to chronicle how things are moving. Mostly so I feel that I’m making progress I suppose.

So far, I’ve mixed three tracks and made clean versions of each. I am by no means even an average mixer, as I’ve always just messed with the levels to where I think they sound good and then I move on to the next song. With this being my first album, I’m really making an effort to get it as right as I can. I also mixed volume 4 and the Live From The Dancefloor EP but I’m really being picky now.

I’m actually doing my mixing on a pair of studio headphones (and I can hear all the professionals cringing). I have decent speakers on my studio computer downstairs and I normally like to listen to everything in E’s studio monitors, but I don’t have the time to sit in the basement and listen there and E’s studio hasn’t been available. I’m actually getting decent work done though.

I don’t have any beats tracked out, so I’m just adjusting the single instrumental file in each session as well as my individual vocals. Luckily, I did most of the vocal editing while I was recording (a habit I picked up from CFX, Thack, and Hazy over the years) so I really don’t have to do much there other than adding a Light De-Esser.

On “A Journey Of Great Power & Responsibility”, the instrumental is loud, that’s just how 227 Digitalmasterz beats are. The biggest issue I’ve had here is getting my vocals to fit in the pocket since instead of my normal delivery, I’m yelling. After adding some distortion originally (and then realizing how terrible it sounded), I finally came up with a mix I was happy with and put it to the car test today.

The car test is when you take a freshly minted song and play it in the car to see how it sounds. While my car has a great sound system, the fact my CD player won’t play burned CDs hinders me and I have to play the song from my iPod/iPod adapter. Since I’m unable to get crystal clear quality, I usually take the songs to Angel’s car but I haven’t had a chance yet.

“AJOGP&R;” sounds pretty good but I noticed a few things. The hooks were a bit loud, almost to the point that they were fighting the instrumental for dominance, so those need turned down. Meanwhile, the verses are audible, but I feel like I could turn them up just a smidge to make them fit in the pocket better. Then I have to clean edit the new mix.

The clean edits are really for my dad. He doesn’t like all the language when he listens.

“Better With Bacon (The Hyphen)” is pretty much perfect. Again, the instrumental is loud but I think I have the volume in a good place. I might still turn it down a bit. And do another clean edit.

“No Room For Squares” is another really good mix. The only thing I noticed in the car was the fact that the hi-hat seemed to need a bit of De-Esser on it. That could just be my iPod adapter though. I also considered turning up the volume on the whole mix. The song just seems quiet and I feel like a little bit of volume would make it stand out more. So unless I try that De-Esser on there, this one won’t need another clean edit.

I also have two bass parts that Kwame played for me. I decided his longer one, at 2 minutes plus, would immediately follow the conclusion of “NRFS”. So a 4 minute plus song has been turned into a 7 minute song. I already know E won’t like it but it’s a funky little bass piece and I like it. And I also feel after 3 high energy songs, it’ll transition to the next, slower song quite well. So I’m keeping it.

In other news, I got the digital booklet done! It’s 10 pages total and is probably the best one I ever done. While I didn’t put lyrics in it, it has all the credits for each song, thank yous, and even more credits. I’m really extremely proud of it.

I also decided I’m going to be more selective about what I put on my YouTube channel. For a while, I’ve been posting every single song I release in streaming form, figuring that YouTube was one of the easiest ways for people to discover, stream, and share my music.

And all of that is true… if I could get people to watch. My music related video with the most views since 2012 is the official video for “Summertime 2013” at 203. The video with the most views out of the ones I’ve done recently…41 for “Cold December” and 70 for the “8 x Four” official video.

I’m not that artist who will blow up Twitter feeds and Facebook walls and emails. In today’s day and age, you almost need to do that but I don’t like to. My music is for myself, those who have discovered it, and for those with the potential to discover it. I’m 31; about to be a new dad. I don’t have time to chase views, plays, and downloads. The music is there if you want it.

So instead of rendering a video for every song like I did for LFTD, I’ll be uploading unique content only. A trailer hopefully, live performance videos of the songs, and music videos. And hopefully that means that once all this mixing and mastering (which I have a program for, thank goodness) is done, the album can get posted that much faster.

And then I can throw myself into writing. And being a dad. And trying out these different music ideas I have.

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