As my last post outlined, files were handed off for mixing a couple weeks ago and Geoff began his black magic-like process of reaching into the chests of these songs, massaging the hearts, and artfully displaying them out on the table for us all to absorb. AKA “mixing.” It truly is an artistic interpretation of how the song was written, arranged, toned, and how the sound waves were captured using tiny membranes contained in metal cylinders that act like human ears.
Last Wednesday, October 14th, I was in Rome, Georgia for a work event when I got a message from Geoff that he had uploaded the first few tracks to a shared folder and I should be ready to listen to them. The work event I was at ended and we went back to the hotel. I went in my room by myself, took off my shoes and grabbed my headphones. I laid down on the bed and plugged the headphones into the computer, navigated to the folder on the computer and hit play on Set Me Adrift.
What followed was a rush of emotion I was not prepared for. A huge smile came across my face, I let out an audible “Fuck YES,” (alone in my room again, remember…), and soaked in a moment of unadulterated personal backslapping. Then the chorus kicked in, and immediately, my eyes filled with tears and I began to sob like a toddler. My vocals widened out and were drenched in a dreamy reverb, a silky punctuating bass announced the chorus, and Anna’s gorgeous harmonies washed over me in a way that felt like coming out of a damp tunnel to be greeted by a warm sunny day.
When I let Stella hear the song, she sent me this review over text:
That kinda says it all. What followed over the next 30 minutes was me listening to the other tracks that had been finished, lots of crying, lots of happiness, lots of moments of being proud. What also followed was some moments of emptiness as I realized how badly I wished I could let my Dad hear what I was hearing. Or to watch him listen to it for the first time. I want my Momma to hear it, but wish that I could be there for just that reason, to see her and experience her first listening.
I have received most of the record at this point. Not a single mix has come in that didn’t bring me to tears. The best description I have of this is not just about my Dad. I will give the credit here to Geoff. I will say that he has found the essence of this record; he heard it just as I did and understood why this was important. He put care into the mixes like I could never have dreamed possible and sprinkled fairy dust where necessary. His attention to this and willingness to take on a project that he had a million reasons to pass on only confirm for me that he was not only the right person, but the only person that could have added to this like he did. For that I am eternally grateful.
So now what?!
Once the mixes are all in and we are signed off and happy with them all, they will be handed to Ed Brooks at RFI Mastering. On November 4th, I’ll be in the studio with Ed to master the album. Mastering will consist of things like getting the final track order in place, EQing and/or compressing the overall tracks if necessary, setting them all to a unified volume so the album doesn’t get too loud or too quiet on different tracks, cleaning up the beginning and end of each song, and for this album, we’ll be running the entire thing to tape and back to digital. In the simplest terms, this means we will literally record the whole album on actual magnetic tape and then recapture it digitally from the tape. This will add tape harmonics and warmth that you used to get all the time when recording to 24 track tape machines (Like the first 3 Dynamite Boy albums were – the self titled was tracked in Pro Tools). The album will be mastered for digital release, and also will be mastered for the vinyl release (different track order to split by side and cut out songs due to time overages; also different EQ to make up for sonic differences of digital vs. analog vinyl). What does that mean for release dates?
Well, digitally, the album will be done and should be ready for release before Christmas (though due to the holidays, I’ll probably hold off on actually releasing it until late January). Once I get a better handle on dates, I’ll set an actual release date. Artwork is being worked on as I write this. I’ll write a whole blog post about that amazingness as well soon. Kickstarter backers will, as promised, get the album from me as soon as I have it done – they will not have to wait for the digital release. That should definitely be before Christmas. I just need to get the digital masters uploaded and Dropcards created – I’ll be mailing out download codes to all those precious folks.
Vinyl can take up to 16 weeks to press after they receive the masters, so no release date on the vinyl yet, although that’s just a stone’s throw away at this point.
I seriously can not wait to share the album with you. Soooooooo……… (pssst…. scroll down!)
I’ll let you experience the album the same way I did for the first time. Grab some headphones, lay down on your bed, and check out the UNMASTERED mix for Set Me Adrift.