I am still waiting on the good folks over at RPM headquarters to mark my album as received. It usually takes a little while for them to acknowledge everyone’s submissions so I’m not concerned. There was also the issue they had with the site crashing on the 29th so they let everyone have an extra day to check things in. I had all of that done before noon on the 1st.
Here is my entry on the RPM profile page:
2020 Album name:I Only Believe in Truth
2020 Preferred Track name:We’re Coming for You
About this preferred track:Simple (mostly) 12-bar recorded mostly live.
About this album:My original idea was half electric and half acoustic. That went out the window quickly and I ended up with a mostly disjointed mess of songs that are not so bad.
Favorite moment:I used to be a sax player first and foremost, but once I started playing guitar while I was in high school I became a full time guitar player. On this album I decided to see if I could still play the sax. I can. Not well, but I can still do it. That felt great.
Words of wisdom:I lost a full week due to a family vacation, though I did mix a few of the songs while sitting in a hotel in Disney World (we stayed at the Yacht Club). I was able to find the time to get all of the tracking done in plenty of time. You can do it if you need to, you just need to be creative with your time management.
Lessons learned:I can still play the saxophone. A guitar played through two amps just sounds better than a guitar part played through one amp. Writing out a melody prior to writing the lyrics or sitting at a mic lead to me writing much more creative melodies that were not only more fun (and harder) to sing, but lead to songs that overall seem more interesting to me.
I also wrote a blog post during lunch today to act as a sort of recap for the month. Everything I wrote had been written on this blog at some point or another (except maybe the bit at the end about wishing I could change my mind on the sequencing).
I did it. That’s nine years in a row with a finished album by March 1st. I know that in terms of the real world it’s silly and stupid and not important, but for me it’s a huge thing and the feeling of accomplishment I feel cannot be overstated.
The finished product doesn’t look anything like what I planned. I knew I was going to lose a full week to a family vacation so I kept my expectations kinda low. I wanted 10 songs. Five arranged for an electric three-piece rock band, and five arranged for an acoustic group in a coffee shop: Acoustic guitar, cajon and hand percussion, alto saxophone, and vocals.
It didn’t take me long to change the 10 song plan to 14 songs (seven of each type). That was simply due to me writing too much music. Even the 7/7 plan went down the tubes as I kept writing electric songs long after I should have stopped. I ended up with seven acoustic songs and 11 electric songs.
If that wasn’t overdoing it enough, as I was working on a couple of the acoustic songs I starting thinking that they would sound pretty good with a set of drums instead of just hand percussion. Eventually all seven of them had bass, drums, and electric guitar parts added and I ended up with two different mixes. One for the coffee shop and one for a rock band. So now instead of 18 possible mixes to use for the final album I had 25.
I thought about doing a three sided album where side one was all electric, side two was all coffee shop (my coffee shop analogy is starting to get annoying, but I’m rolling with it), and side three was band mixes of acoustic songs.
I scrapped that idea too. Instead I went through all of the acoustic songs and picked the mix I thought sounded best and then went through all 18 songs and sorted them into three categories: Good, Kinda Good, and Crap. Two songs went into the crap bucket, and three into kinda good. I decided to drop them all from the final album and just go with the 13 that landed in the good bucket.
Here they are… 13 disjointed songs that no longer fit to any theme or structure, but which were the least offensively bad of the batch:
So what did that leave me with? Seven alternate mixes and five outtakes. Two of the outtakes were acoustic so I really had five alternates of album tracks, five outtakes, and two alternate mixes of outtakes. 12 leftover tracks. I figured the alternate mixes of the album tracks were all still pretty okay so I packed them all together into an alternate RPM album:
The saddest part of all of this is that last night I was listening through the dropped songs and I really think I should have kept one of them. If I had paid a little more attention during the sequencing I would have made a better decision and the final album would have been a little different. I am afraid that when I listen to the main album I’ll decide there were things I should have dropped.
Oh well. February is over. As with all RPM Challenges it’s now time to figure out what I want to do next.
What do I want to do next?
So yeah… what do I do next?