Personal songwriting has always been on my mind. After my earlier experiences with tape recorders, 4-tracks, VHS audio, and all those projects for friends and friends of friends, I wanted to record my recording project. So I shifted my focus, and in the late 1990s, the journey began.
Personal Songwriting and Recording Project – My Time to Play in the Studio
I work full-time, have a wife, and have two children, one of whom lives with a disability. Therefore, if I was to work on my recording project, I had to stop accepting outside recording gigs. After clearing my studio workload, I could think about the CD without any other distractions hanging over my head.
Songwriting and Jamming with the Band
Me and my longtime good friend and drummer, Keith Ribera, set out to make our CD of original songs. Even though we had many songs already written from earlier years together, we decided to start from scratch. We had several songwriting sessions with another longtime good friend, bassist Jeff Curtis. However, we had a good time jamming, improvising, laughing, and coming up with catchy-sounding material, and we did all of this in our spare time.
I spent considerable time on my own, setting up the equipment with good mic placement, adjusting mixer settings and computer settings, etc., so that when the guys showed up, it was just a matter of tuning our instruments and playing. Below is a random multi-track recording of Keith and me, and I added the bass track later. Our motto was, “the stranger it sounded, the better it sounded.” Most of the time, it was a total creative free-for-all. We would make recordings like the one below and later pick out the good parts.
Personal Songwriting and Recording Project – Editing and Mixing the Songs
After a few months of playing, hanging out, and recording, I started selecting our best parts, arranged them into songs, and re-recorded all the guitar and bass parts from scratch. Jeff could not record the bass tracks because, at the time, his work had him on the road almost constantly. Therefore, I recorded all the guitar and bass parts with a click-track. Afterward, Keith recorded his drum parts. He made about 5 or 6 takes for each song, and then came the editing and mixing, which was my second favorite part of this process. Here are some early rough edits of our songs going into 2000. I’m not sure what genre you would fit these songs into, but we received a better response from other musicians than non-musicians.
Personal Songwriting and Recording Project – The Finished Recordings, Where Are They?
Around 2000, life got more complicated for Keith, Jeff, and me. Our families and other responsibilities took up more and more of our free time, and the recording project slowed down and eventually stopped. However, these life changes didn’t end the project because the songs were unfinished. To be continued.