Category: CHP News

Messin’ With The Music Part 2

As we work with more acoustic instruments and try different techniques to record, we want to take you all along on the ride with us. Our first installment was in the post ‘Start At The Beginning’ where we worked our way through an acoustic version of Ween’s ‘It’s Gonna Be A Long Night’. In this post we take a similar path with The Cure’s ‘The Lovecats’.

We’re starting our recording journey with the most basic recording steps. Each instrument is recorded with one microphone (sometimes using the same mic and setup for multiple instrument tracks) and we’re recording one take for each instrument (other than vocals where we’ll usually have more than one track). We do some punch ins, but for the most part keep it as ‘live’ sounding as possible. In other words we’re not going to edit or digitally fix every string squeak or change in dynamics. It’s an attempt to see what we get if you go back to a time when studios couldn’t digitally enhance or ‘fix’ every little blip. What you play is what you get. As we go along through the songs we’ll describe the changes and additions to the recording process (adding electric instruments and multiple takes will come in to play in future recordings).

As you listen to ‘The Lovecats’ see if you can pick up the instruments that were tracked: acoustic six string guitar, five string banjo, six string banjo, mandolin, twelve string guitar and fretless bass guitar. Hope you enjoy our version. In the meantime, we’re already working on the next song.

– ‘The Lovecats’ by The Cure:

 

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A Couple Of Things….

Just wanted to throw out a few thoughts on some items I think deserve some ink. The kind of wonderful distractions from the ‘real world’ that keep me going.

First,

Always a great pleasure to drop in a new track from The Record Company. For your listening pleasure, ‘Life to Fix’:

 

Second,

An introduction to some of the invaluable staff at ChurchHouse Productions. I’d like you to meet our ‘in-house’ Public Relations staff:

Bonnie Blue

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She’s been a wonderful greeter and is a 24/7 studio pup. Bonnie loves to spend time in the mixing room.

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And never hesitates to let me know what she thinks of a mix.

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I believe the feedback was “I’m outta here…”

Samantha

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Besides being the owner of the famous ‘hound howl’ she’s a fanatical lover of David Lynch movies.

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Although the aftermath of her watching a movie puts her in a bit of a ‘Lynchian’ mood (“this bed belongs to me now”).

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Love them both and ChurchHouse wouldn’t be the same without them.

Third,

Shout out to a wonderful, old fashioned record store in Jim Thorpe, Pa, Soundcheck Records. The kind of place I grew up with and sadly are hard to find in today’s world. Let’s cross our fingers that vinyl and stores like this make a big comeback. If you’re up in Jim Thorpe it’s a must to check out.

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Finally,

We’ll be rolling out another song at the end of September. We’ll keep the title a surprise until then but as with the last song, we sort of broke it down and did some rebuild. Gotta have some fun.

 

Start At the Beginning

Time has a way of passing us all by. Blink and another year passes. Close your eyes and who knows when you’ll wake up……  I felt that I was in the creative equivalent of neutral for a few years. Lots of ideas, not a lot of execution. So at the end of 2017 we decided to try something new for both the writing and recording process. Americana, bluegrass and ‘old time’ country have added a lot to our listening lists for a while now, so the idea of using more acoustic instruments made sense.

The voicing of the variety of acoustic instruments makes all of them very audible in a song mix. Two acoustic guitars might step on each other, but add mandolin or banjo and they stand out. Hand percussion. Twelve string guitar. Fretless bass. Whatever’s laying around. Oh, we’re not abandoning loud, reverby feedback guitars. Just stirring it all in. You might associate the acoustic instruments with bluegrass music but we’re not looking to work in that style. Or maybe yes. Anything’s possible.

So to learn how the instruments sound together, how to arrange the songs, how to do mic placement, what pre-amps to use, what effects, etc, etc, we decided to re-imagine some cover songs we like. Some of the songs will be quickly recorded, some will have more production. We’ll also be starting to work more with video, both ‘live’ and produced. In the mean time we’re writing and recording new original material. Stick around, it should be interesting.

First song up: ‘It’s Gonna Be A Long Night’ by Ween. Did you ever know one of those “I can drink anyone under the table” types. Ween evidently did. Times 100.

We encourage you to listen to the original versions of the songs we cover. Always good to check songs out, especially if you’ve never heard it before. Hope you enjoy it. Back at you soon.

Good reads and good tunes

I stumbled across this song from a book I read called Stillhouse Lake, by Rachel Caine – good read and the music she lists at the end is awesome.  So check it out.

This is one of the titles I particularly liked – and of course, the lyrics are way cool – the beat is catchy.

Lo Fidelity All Stars – Battleflag (came out around 2008, um, where have I been?)

So on to serious business… I have a great surprise coming out next week from the studio.  Got to work with a really great guy and had a great time recording with him.

Until next week, hit play and turn it up!

Web Sites and Such

If you are cruising around the sites, just an FYI this blog will now be the official site for ChurchHouse Productions and the other site (Velvet Wrinkle Wreckerds) is getting some work done. If you go to either of the sites and things are looking weird, just let me know, but more than likely it is due to switching things around and will go back to normal soon. Hope everyone is enjoying Spring!!!! 🙂

The Polyphonic Spree

Recently I discovered the Dallas-based band (yes I know they have been around a long time – the rock that I lived under didn’t have wi-fi), The Polyphonic Spree. So, I decided to put up a post about them and say that I apologize for being so lame with getting around to posting, but it has been a trying last 6 months or so. Things are starting to turn around now and I figured this would be a good segue to putting something up about the band and saying that I am looking forward to getting back into the schedule of posting with more frequency. Cheers!

You get what you pay for – or do you?

We had debated writing an article on this, but felt that it was important to do because if there is anyone out there who can benefit from things we have learned the hard way, it is worth it. While the names of the not-so-innocent have been withheld – the message is clear, so take heed.

We were contacted by a PR firm on the west coast via a social music site. This was their original email:
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: PitchFork Music Festival PR Inquiry
Date: 2014-07-07 23:17
From: The Not-so Innocent
To: Electrostatic Rhythm Pigs

Hey there,
I am trying to reach REDACTED. Not sure if this is a general band email but I had a chance to check out your Electrostatic Rhythm Pigs EPK

One of our music interns turned me on to your profile and forwarded it to me to check out. I’m not sure if anyone on our end may have contacted you yet about our PR Campaign and REDACTED series but I had a few questions that I was hoping to speak to you about.

First off all, I’m not sure if you currently have PR representation but I wanted to set up a conference call to discuss a PR Campaign we are offering new clients that includes a Press Release Campaign, a Two Week Social Media Campaign and a spot on our REDACTED MIxTape Series that will be distributed during Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago this July. We have two spots still open on our Pitchfork Campaign this month in Chicago so if you are interested, we would need to speak with you this week.


The PR Campaign including the press release Campaign, Two Week Social Media Campaign and the spot on REDACTED is a flat fee of 295.00. Here’s an overview of it:

  • A professionally written, approximately 600 word customized press release about your current music related news and artist happenings.
  • YES. They did do this.

  • Automatic submission of your press release to over 7500 syndicated newswires, media outlets and music journalists.
  • NOPE. Never got this.

  • 20 guaranteed online media placements of your press release in newspapers, blogs, magazines, etc with links provided.
  • NOPE. Never got this.

  • A money back guarantee that your press release will be error free, published and with 20 verifiable guaranteed placements.
  • NOT REALLY – press release was error free but never got any kind of “verified placement”.

  • A spot on our REDACTED. It will be distributed at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago this upcoming July 2014. You will also receive download codes and cards that you can use to distribute to your fans at shows and online.
  • NOPE. If they did – we never got confirmation of it. Still to this day – cannot find where this supposedly is.

  • A 14 day Social Media Campaign. You will be assigned a social media manager who will write, schedule and post compelling material on your networks including Facebook and Twitter.
  • NOPE. Never got this.

  • Content posted by your Social Media Manger gets tracked and recorded in an easy-to-read report showing you how many retweets, comments and new followers your social content is getting. Also, so you know–REDACTED is not for sale. It is handed out as a free download card to festival goers. We will be handing out over 3500 download cards at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago this upcoming July.
  • NOPE. Never saw any of this, or that it was ever done.


To give you an idea of the quality of press releases we produce and the media outlets where we often secure coverage in, you can check out these links:

REDACTED. Put it this way – we saw like two client testimonials. That should have been a red flag right there.

All of our work is results-driven with a money-back guarantee. Here are a couple of testimonials our music clients have recently given us:

REDACTED

I would love to discuss what your specific PR needs are and the details of this campaign, along with what song we would like to include on REDACTED. I can set up a time to call you to discuss it. Let me know if you have availability this upcoming week and the best number and time frame to reach you at.

Wishing You Success And Nothing Less!

Lessons learned:
1. ALWAYS get it in writing.
2. Even if you get it in writing, what will you do? Sue them for 295.00? You’d spend more in legal fees – scammers are smart in that regard – low fees mean a lot less likelihood of actually getting sued.
3. Verification of services should be offered at every step – you shouldn’t have to ask.
4. When you call like four times and don’t get a return call, it is probably a good indication that they are weasels, not serious PR providers.

Time Flies……..and crashes

Yes, as the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun. Well, time flies even when you’re not having fun. I’m not much of a winter person so it’s been a while between posts. So I think it’s time for another round of ‘what do these things have in common’. First let’s talk some music, old school style. When writing or recording you can get away with a lot if you concentrate first on the rhythm. I came across an article that deals with the pinnacle of old school rhythm. If you want to know how to construct a groove you can’t lose if you study James Brown. Here’s an interview article with Clyde Stubblefield the original ‘Funky Drummer’. It’s an interesting read (or listen):

http://www.npr.org/2015/01/05/374818384/the-original-funky-drummers-on-life-with-james-brown

How about a clip where Stubblefield gives a live demonstration of how the beat originates:

And now hearing the beat in a bigger context:

You could put a political speech on top of that and it would still be funky.

So what else is new? Velvet Wrinkle Wreckerds and ERP have new T-shirts!

http://www.velvetwrinklewreckerds.com/?page_id=8

What do these things have in common? Ummmmmm…..does it really matter? Not really!
– Happy Winter –

Steaming Mulch Goes Enormous

It appears that the eclectic collective Steaming Mulch has finally spit out a new tune. We never quite know what we’re going to hear, but that makes it all the more interesting. The word is that there are more song partials traveling around the studio at ChurchHouse, so we should hear the next one soon……ish. Their sense of time does not mesh well with the real world. As always your guess is as good as ours as to the origins of the title (go ahead, guess. we’ll wait…………).

In the meantime…

‘Enormous And Turbo Smooth From Diamond To Rose’

Steaming Mulch
2014