Wednesday, April 29

Album 3 Recording Diary: Day 6

I didn't expect that I would call this experience the third most intense of my life thus far. The first most intense was the birth and early childhood of my son. The second was my wedding. The third is/was recording this album.

This statement is probably very hard for anyone who hasn't done this to understand. And honestly, I'm kind of disappointed in myself for making it. I don't know exactly why. I sort of feel like I should be able to do this - to record an album - to spend seven days in the studio more or less non-stop. And I suppose I *can* do it. I have done it so far. Only one day to go, and barring any sort of sudden awfulness it should go well and be relatively enjoyable. But god am I tired. And at times the pressure (entirely self-inflicted though it may be) was almost too much for me to bare.

It's the fact that you have to be ON. You have to perform. You have to get it right. Right now. This moment. This take. Or maybe on the next one, but today. Not tomorrow. Sure, you could take another day. You could come back. But that'll cost you more money. Hundreds of dollars. You don't want to do that. That's not the deal you struck with your wife. Plus, you hate to be inefficient, right? You want to make this record as cost-effectively as possible. Great, but for the minimum cost. That's why you spent months and months rehearsing twice a week: to a click track, on your own, in groups, in coffee shops, on stage. All in preparation for THIS MOMENT. Right now, when the "tape" is rolling. But this moment isn't a moment. It's eleven hours of moments. And that's just today. Then there's tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

And it's easier than it's ever been, recording. You can copy and paste things. But we choose not to employ some of the tricks that seem to sacrifice too much or make it too phony. We don't do auto-tune. We punch in, instead. We sing the word right, at least once. There's certainly some satisfaction in that.

And why, at the end of the day, do I do this? It's a question I've been asking myself a lot over the last few days. I will most certainly get a high off of hearing this record when it's done. But chances are, when I play it for my friends, for my family, their reaction somehow won't give me what it is I'm chasing, no matter how enthusiastic they are. I'll still want to do another one. And another one. And another one.

I think I'm chasing something that I'll never get. Maybe it's self-acceptance. A feeling of "yes, you did it well enough." A feeling that I can be satisfied with the work that I've done. I don't have any answers here. I don't know why I do this. I know that I've read and said and heard others say that it's not really a choice. That if you're a creative person, you have to be creative. But maybe I have choices within the non-choice.

Steve is an excellent producer. He works hard, he gets great sounds, and he's really patient, kind and supportive. And all of this despite some major, major disruptions from outside of the studio. I can't think of a better person to work with, both aesthetically and in terms of professionalism.

I hope that when I recover from the stress and exhaustion of this week I can look back and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. I can already see it over the horizon. And I hope I can bask in the glow of that satisfaction and maybe, god forbid, take a few weeks (or at least days) off.

Of course, there are shows booked, etc. I've made sure that I have a stacked plate. No changing that, now. But I need to carve some time out to lie under a tree or similar. Life's too short not to see it as it's happening. I spend a whole lot of time being somewhere else.

Anyway, that's enough of that. Today we finished the last two vocal tracks and did guitar overdubs and percussion. But now my wife is finally home, and we finally have a child-free and studio-free hour to talk. I'm not going to miss that, even to blog about gear and nonsense.

Until tomorrow!

- Jesse Kates / Download Kinda Like Fireworks for FREE