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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What happens after the music is done

So, the mix on the new Strange Land cd "Catharsis" is nearly done. Yay! Now we can party, right? Hold on, not so fast. There is a lot that goes into a cd beyond the music as I'm sure you can imagine. All the more time consuming for an indie band that doesn't really have "people". I have learned that I need to take my estimated time for project completion and triple it. It always takes longer than I want it to. Here is a snapshot of what happens after the music is recorded.

  1. Mix the music. This can take hours to weeks. With Strange Land we do a little bit together, then I finish up everything myself. I burn cds for Chad and Brad to listen to in various places, I often judge a mix in my car since that's where most of my listening happens. We kick this back and forth a few times until we are happy.
  2. Master the cd. Mastering puts the final 'pixie dust' on the recording and its often best to have another set of ears to do this, someone not in the band. This time we will give it to a guy who will tweak it, then we will meet with him to listen and finalize everything.
  3. Artwork and layout. Everything from the front cover to who gets thanked. This time out we had a photographer take some pictures, I am manipulating them, then I will send the cover to MAV (hi MAV) for a kick ass logo. Then I'll put the whole thing together. Time here varies depending on how many pages we will do for the booklet. And that can depend on:
  4. Who is paying for it? While all of the above is going on we are working with our contacts to see what kind of record/distribution deal might happen for this cd. The details of that can affect how many copies get made, how many pages the book has, and other things determined by who will foot the bill.
  5. Sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Or run and hide for a while to decompress from the whole damn process. Or both.


MVunit3 said...

...who me!?

My FIRST Credit :D (a tear falls) on a CD!

Nice to see another contribution from you here :)
Sure is an arduous task isn't it, but the rewards of the heart :)

BG said...

Just you see the "after recording activities" as a chore? If so then it must be d*** hard to create albums, because the polishing part is just as important as the being creative part, and If your motivation/patience is wearing thin... Hmmm, when I think about would be fun to get some numbers about how many of the popular bands are just leaving the "after part" for someone else to do. I mean if they have money...they can do it.

guitarsean said...

I'm very sure that any band with bigger label support leaves all this to someone else. Probably just with some input as to what the art concept is, do they like the art, do they like the mix, song order...

I am torn. Often the post-recording process is a chore. But it is one I am suited to take on. I chose early on to develop mixing skill and I have a knack for art. Its not that Chad and Brad can't help, but at some points "too many cooks spoil the soup." So its best if I do a lot on my own, share the results, then go back for more tweaking. I'm swamped with many things at the moment and the cumulative stress makes it worse. Plus, although I'm not in it for the money I do consider the idea that I am doing for free what some people get paid $100 an hour to do. I must also admit a little ego inflation, that despite the stress I also take pride in having done the work myself

We are spreading things out a little this time. We had a photographer friend take pictures for the artwork, MAV is doing the logo... thats all stuff I had done before. And this time around we are going to go to a new label and they are willing to help in the costs (which they will recover before we get paid I'm sure).

Some cds are more stressful than others. This one has taken a lot longer than I would have liked but there has been more steady work all along and It seems a little less crunched for time here at the end.