April was a big month with three major events that will all lead to a better album. First of all, the rock grotto is done. I know I mentioned this last month, but those little “finishing touches” that I talked about were finally completed. Here’s a short video on the process of the project:
Secondly, the majority of the lyrical work is done. The only things I’m waiting to finish are a couple of songs that I want to do as a collaboration, but the meat of the project is very close to the final draft. It’s angsty at times, but I’m okay with that. These are things I think and feel, and I’d rather sing about something real than cough up bullshit.
Lastly, after years of hesitation, I finally pulled the trigger on a new hollow-body electric guitar, an Ibanez AGR70. It’s a good mid-range guitar (price-wise), and it’s capabilities are in sync with my intentions. It has a good clean sound that’s easy to add some “twang” to for a bright, acoustic guitar timbre. It also has a solid distorted tone to it, though the feedback can be a little tricky with high volume. On top of all of that, it’s pretty sexy to look at too!
So that’s April’s update. For the next month, I’ll be trying to finalize the drum tracks and possibly start recording some bass lines. I’ve already been playing along with the rough recordings I have, trying to add some complexity to the bass lines in an effort to expand over my last album. I’ve even been trying to learn “Hysteria” by Muse just to get some bass practice. I’ll let you know how it goes next month, maybe even post some audio progress if I make any. Until then, rock on!
I know I’m about a week late on giving an update for March, but it’s been a busy week! First off, my basement / man cave / rock grotto finally got carpeted. It’s just about as complete as could be without doing some final touch-ups here and there (video forthcoming). I’m really proud of it since I designed and built most of it myself, and it’s a relief to finally have a room that feels new and finished where I can play music.
As for the album, it remains nameless. However, I’ve finalized the track listing and most of the musical writing work. I have 13 songs that I feel good about putting on the album. They all feel different and it makes me hopeful that someone listening to the album front to back won’t find too many similarities between songs. I was up to 14 songs at one point, but I sacrified a song that was coming off as too angry. Since last month, new songs have emerged to take the places of previous, weaker songs. There are a couple songs in particular that I feel are really strong. I’m trying to make an impression here!
My goal for the next month is to finish all of the lyrical work. There are a couple songs that still need to be refined, and some that are missing whole verses completely. I also thought about doing videos of just random parts of the process, but I don’t want to seem like I’m stroking my own ego. I want to connect with more people, but I’m not sure how to do it without coming off as self-centered. All I want is to make music and spread it around, but good intentions can easily get lost on the internet.
Let me know if you have any suggestions. How can I reach more people? Youtube is a big untapped resource, but my aforementioned concerns make me doubtful. I’ve also thought about a website, but I don’t even have enough fans on facebook (facebook.com/theryangilkay) to justify spending money to host a site. Any thoughts tumblr people? Peace!
The shortest month of the year is behind us, and as expected with so few days, there was minimal progress on the album. I finalized drums and a couple more tracks, recorded some keyboard parts and worked out a few more lyrics. I finished conceptualizing and fleshing out a couple more songs, both which I think will make it to the final cut. Overall, the vibe of the next album is getting a bit dark with a few rays of light in there. I really don’t want the whole album to come out angry and confrontational, but that seems to be what’s been pouring out of me lately.
I am working hard to make the more positive tracks on the album the most catchy and memorable. Since they’re going to be outnumbered by some heavy feelings, I’m hoping that by reinforcing the upbeat songs it will help offset the general moodiness of the overall project. Regardless of mood, I’m still pleased and optimistic that it’ll turn out as I intended. I am trying to have some fun with a few of the tracks, which translates to using some interesting effects and even a couple sound bytes. I’ve also been toying with the compilations of a friend of mine who made some “techno” years and years ago. It’s nothing serious, but I’m writing lyrics and putting vocals to these songs for fun. They won’t be on the album, but whenever they’re ready they’ll be free.
I think I still have a couple of spaces left to fill to reach my goal of 13 songs. I expect to do some more writing this month and start firming up those last few songs. It’s sad to say that there were a bunch of songs with potential that will just fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, I don’t have the resources like a professional band to record everything and see where it goes, and then withhold songs as “B-sides”. I’m one guy, playing all of the parts, in a “studio” in my basement, when I find time between my job and social life. In any case, I like where it’s going, and I hope to have more to share after March!
Also, I’m taking suggestions for an album name/concept. Still working on that part…
Album update (January):
For the last month, I’ve been hard at work on my next album, and I’m pleased at the progress I’m making so far. I have a lot of parts and riffs to play around with, though I have completed composing seven full songs. I have a few others that are works in progress, but I’m waiting to see where my inspiration takes me instead of forcing them along. Already, I’ve run into a few snags with songs sounding too similar, and in those cases I’ve torn them apart and tried to reassemble them in a different way. I don’t want the songs to sound so similar that the album becomes uninteresting. I like a lot of diversity in my music, and I expect to delivery that same feeling instead of cookie-cutter rock ‘n’ roll.
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve focused heavily on the lyrics for those seven songs that I have completed. I’m just writing and writing to see what comes out, and it’s turning out a little more personal than I thought it would be. So far, some of the lyrics reflect internal emotional conflict and the dynamic of relationships based on lies. These aren’t feelings that I’ve necessarily experienced firsthand, but for some reason my collection of experiences produced these results. It’s not all so personal and emotional however. Some of the lyrics also philosophize on the 2012 end-of-the-world phenomenon while others describe my fondness of life in Milwaukee. I intend to have some more uplifting topics on the album, but I’m just waiting for those positive melodies to arrive from my brain.
I’ve set goals for the album and hope to stick by them. I would like to have the album fully written by the end of May, have the music recorded by the end of August, and vocals recorded by the end of October. That will give me November to finalize everything and plan for another December release. Fingers crossed!
It’s been a month since I released my album “The Moment”, an 8-song EP of material I’ve been working on for the last few years. I’m glad that I was able to contribute something to musical world, and while it excites me to be able to share my music with the public, I haven’t received as much feedback as I’d hoped. What little feedback I’ve been given has been generally positive, though minimally constructive, and so I struggle with where to go next.
I’ve already begun writing and recording for another album, but without knowing more about how the first album was received I fear I may fall into a Nickelback trap and end up writing the same music over and over. I’ve written 13 songs so far, half of which I feel are good enough to make the cut for the next album. I continue to write to try avoiding any uninteresting filler, but I have ambitious goals for the next album. I’m shooting for a minimum of 12 songs, but if it ends up being more then so be it, as long as I feel all of the songs add value to the project.
For the next album, I’m really trying to draw on my experience from writing/recording “The Moment”. I’ve added a keyboard to the mix and hope to utilize it to fill more space and strive for that full stadium-rock sound. I’ve also been researching new artists in an attempt to broaden my horizons and bring interesting new elements to my songwriting. My guitar equipment is better now than it was at the time “The Moment” was recorded, so I aim for more diverse tones and interesting guitar riffs. Though it seems like I’m changing a lot, I don’t want to write something that isn’t true to what I love to hear, so the core experience won’t change. Think of it as the same body wearing new clothes, and perhaps you’ll understand what I’m trying to accomplish.
I’m interested in working with other people on this project as well. I thought of my last album as a proving ground to what I could accomplish on my own. Now I’m looking to expand and perhaps include some other musicians on the album. Though the writing process is still in the very early stages, I’m looking for opportunities to include female vocals, some rock-rapping (a la Linkin Park or Travis Barker), and maybe even guest instrumentalists. This is all speculation for now, but you have to have goals, right?
Though some of things I’ve mentioned seem like quite an undertaking, the most aggressive goal is that I’m trying to complete this album by the end of 2012. I have the time and technology, and the problems that delayed the last album have been solved. As I said earlier, I’ve already begun writing AND recording. I’ve scripted the drums for about six songs and have lyrics written for half of those. I’ve recorded a few parts and started mixing the opening track of the album. The ground has been broken and now that I’ve started, I’m obsessed and want it to be as full and entertaining as I can make it. All I can ask is that you tell me what you want to hear, and I’ll promise to try and deliver.
My album is just about complete. I’m officially releasing it on Saturday the 17th, but I released one of the finished tracks early. For more info: reverbnation.com/theryangilkay
My album is almost done! Just a few more tweaks a minor recording sessions to top it off!!!
I did a little more brief work on the album today, which includes recording vocals for one of the last remaining songs. I only have one to go, but it’s going to be a busy 3 weeks in trying to get this project done by my band’s next show on 12/17. I’m close, so wish me luck! I’ll put my songs on Tumblr when it gets close to showtime!
I spent a lot of time in the beginning of October working on my album. Admittedly, I’ve spent the middle part of October ignoring it. I started mixing and mastering some of the tracks again tonight after a bandmate and I were having a texcussion (text-discussion if you don’t follow my gibberish) about writing music. I told him I’d been working on a solo album for a while now. I’ve kept this secret pretty close until now, so I sent him a couple songs after doing some minor tweaks. I nervously await his feedback, but for better or worse I welcome it.
We usually have band practice on Tuesdays, but my singer is out of town so it’s canceled. I hope to use a good portion of tomorrow evening to work even further on my album. We’re about 6 weeks away from our next big gig on December 17th, which is when I plan to “release” my album. I’ll probably start putting some tracks up on Tumblr around Thanksgiving time, so any encouragement is appreciated, and criticism for that matter. Just be respectful of a rocker’s dreams. ;)
After today, I should be done with vocals on 7/8 of the album. It’s been a busy week of recording vocals over and over, but I’m in the home stretch!
Here’s the latest on my album. My voice hurts from singing, shouting, screaming, harmonizing, and re-harmonizing about 20 times to make it sound good. I’m agonizing over really tiny things that most people won’t notice. My confidence fluctuates by the moment as I wonder if there isn’t more I should be doing. Then I remind myself that this is the first album I’ve ever written, recorded and produced all by myself. It will be far from perfect, but every day I learn something new. As for the project overall, I have vocals recorded for half of the songs. That doesn’t mean the songs are done. I might still have to re-record and make some edits. Nevertheless, it’s pretty exciting that I’m really getting close to finishing this album!
This is how the recording process is going. For those too lazy to watch the video, the verdict is “it’s going well.”
On my way to my parents’ to house-sit for the week. I’ve condensed my recording studio to a laundry basket. Hopefully without any other distractions and some privacy, I’ll be able to push my album to near completion. I’ll be giving updates all week on my progress. Wish me luck!