Tag: Andrew Reynolds

The Good, The Bad, and The Kitchen Sink

Wow, has it been almost three months since I’ve blogged? I suppose we’ve been busy. Let’s get to it.

By the end of 2013 we reached the halfway mark in the recording. Five songs now sit finished (methinks) on two reels of 2″ tape, waiting to be mixed. Another song has made big progress and is awaiting overdubs by some special guests. By now you may only be familiar with “Hourglass of Red“ (Andrew Reynolds) and “Just a Note“ (Rob Ferreira, Dave Marcus) from our first two videos. Also completed are “Voices From Heaven” (Tony Caggiano), “Walking Wounded” (Max Feinstein), and “Window To The World” (Javier Valenzuela, John Roccesano). Our next video will look at the making of “Just a Note”, and that should be out soon.

Some pretty notable achievements have been made that we’ll explore in technicolor throughout 2014. Anna Sirota completed recording vocals on her first song, “It’s Been a While“. Several of our musicians or vocalists have given the famous Leslie cabinet a spin; a fine bit of experimentation at every turn. Max employed a vintage, analog Moog Rogue synthesizer on “Walking Wounded.” Javier was the man to debut Sound Over Sound’s Yamaha Parlor Grand, where he nailed the bridge of “Window To The World” in a single take.

On “Window To The World,” I added the only DAW-manipulated sounds* on the record, in order to play up the song’s themes of digital dependency. It was also a fun way to put any sound I wanted but the kitchen sink onto vinyl (we did record the kitchen sink, too, but that was analog). Ironically, this same song contains my first successful vocal recording without any use of pitch correction.

*A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is a computer program used to record and manipulate sound. In this case, Avid’s Pro Tools.

An analog test mix was carried out in New York for “Hourglass of Red,” although not quite meeting our expectations, I’m sorry to say. This has however led to some maintenance at Sound Over Sound to carry out the next test mix right at home. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, my friends and I have been enjoying some digital rough mixes I made. Many more friends and family will be joining us soon, and we’ll likely be exploring some other studios as well. The record is finally coming into focus for those of us making it, and more of it will soon be revealed to you. Thank you for sticking with us, and thanks to our new followers, wherever you are.

-Johnny Rock

That Smile

In our first video back in September, I said we had a long way to go, and that’s still true. With so many people contributing to the record, most of us working day and/or night jobs, it’s difficult to even schedule one or two sessions per week. But enough complaining! Let’s get to the positive developments of the last six weeks.

We released another video on October 5th documenting the recording process for “Hourglass of Red”. It’s the first song we’ve finished recording (mixing still pending). In the video I sit with Andrew Reynolds and Max Feinstein to discuss the song’s origins, how it evolved, and a breakdown of the elements in the recorded version. Each song on the record will be given this royal treatment, and there are many great stories to be told.

Most of our recent recording sessions were spent on a song called “It’s Been a While,” written by Anna Sirota and Andrew Reynolds. It’s a great jazzy tune, and we’ve spent a lot of time making sure the basic tracks were really solid. On October 6th, Anna arrived for her first ever professional recording session. 15 years ago, my first professional recordings were done in the same room; it’s very satisfying to now be giving that opportunity to a good friend.

Another song we’ve been working on is called “Just a Note” by Rob Ferreira and Dave Marcus. It’s a great rocker that you can catch throughout our introductory video. Rob and Dave came back to Sound Over Sound on October 13th to re-record their guitar parts. Dave has also started recording vocals on the song, so there’s a good chance we’ll be wrapping it up soon!

Some technical developments: A 1986 Yamaha Parlor Grand Piano was delivered to Sound Over Sound in September, and the instrument will be put to good use by several of our artists. Jon Bross and I also made a trip to a Manhattan studio and played one of our tapes through a real mixing console. I’m happy to say our recordings translated absolutely beautifully, so hopefully we’ve found the right place to mix these songs. Once mixing gets underway, I’ll give that studio a big plug from the team.

On a personal note, this project is shaping up to be an enormous learning experience, and it’s unquestionably the project of a lifetime for me. The sounds we are recording have a shape and quality I’ve been searching for since I was a kid. Working on analog tape means it’s not just another day at the office on yet another computer; it feels more like the music is what matters. Everything I’ve learned in over 20 years of production is all being called upon to produce not just the album, but all of the videos and promotional material.

Finally, I really do have the best friends a guy could ask for. These are dedicated, patient people who get more enthusiastic about the project every step of the way. We’ve been helping each others’ careers get bigger and better for many years now, and this project really is bringing that sense of community to the fore. Every time I walk through the door at Sound Over Sound I’m wearing that smile; the one that says “This is what I’ve been working for. These are the right people. This is where I belong.”

-Johnny Rock

© John Roccesano, 2015
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