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After The Empire

After The Empire - live in Toronto

Many moons ago I was in Toronto and happened to stumble in on some friends working on their first EP. I was crashing on their couch for a few days, and was also invited to join in as a ‘guest vocalist’ for one of the songs. They’re called After The Empire, and their EP is now available for free download on their bandcamp page. Check out “Ghost Town” and listen closely for my guest ‘ooohs’ in the background at around 1:14. I really dig their stuff, because it’s got the heaviness of metal, the attitude of rock and roll, lots of atmosphere, and vocals that might not be your thing…at first, but will eventually become anthemic! “Freedom Lives… it simply is”.


The beginning of the end of the beginning

The recording of the album is done! Of course, there’s still a mastering phase which will kick in next week, but for now, I can revel in the fact that it’s been completed!

With completion comes payment: the bill came in, so Dave and I made sure there was a photo opportunity, and we also took a video at the bank as the money was handed over.

I’m happy and sad at the same time, because the recording is done (and it sounds deadly!), but at the same time, it’s the beginning of a series of payments that will leave my wallet very empty by the time I hit the road for tour…

Manual looping

Good Grief!

We’ve finished the album, but now we’re just re-editing some of the live DVD footage.

“Where’s the problem with that? Isn’t that fun?”

Normally, yes! However, some of the looping wasn’t quite audible, so we had to go back into the studio and build loops after the fact. The problem is that we don’t know the original tempo/etc, so we have to build the loops manually. Usually this process could be completed within a half hour, but several hours later, we’re still here. It doesn’t help that the track is over 10 minutes long, either.

Regardless…Chris Dorota is a champ and pulling through it all, despite wanting to create a personal ‘manual loop‘ for himself right now.

Studio Day 9

So after 7 days of working on both acoustic and electric guitars, they are all done! However…there is still one more thing that needs to be done with them: I need to royally abuse my old Fender, by laying it down on a baffle, attaching some mics to it, and slapping away like it was a hand drum. For those of you that haven’t seen me live, I used to beat that guitar into submission all the time, using it for ‘kickdrum’ sounds. I would also slap and tap the neck of the guitar to get percussive ‘handdrum’ sounds as well as a variety of other stuff. That’s all that needs to be done, BUT…I’m taking a short break from recording in order to focus on some other things:
the MA thesis is still being worked on. My transcribing machines finally arrived from the States the other day, so I’ve been diligently working my fingers every day, either by typing out hours of interviews, or laying down tracks for the album.
Secondly, I’m also working on another soundtrack. This short film is called ‘The Drink’ and has been put together by Apple Wagon Films. I also happened to be one of the 2 main actors, so it’s really neat to add atmospheric music that compliments the visual foreground.

[photo by Shannon Lepere]

Studio Day 7

After the 7th day in the studio, I’ve been able to finish a whole bunch of additional guitar layers.

My friend Curtis Jensen (of Apple Wagon Films) was there for a most of the evening, filming segments of the recording process to be used for the final DVD’s “making of” segment. We’re using performance content from the studio to make up a video for one of the songs, called How Come No Bones, which will feature a drum solo from Reggie Modin.

Also there tonight was Shannon Lepere, snapping some photos! [see left]

As the recording process continues, certain things are becoming more obvious as we move along. For example, some of the standout tracks are becoming clearer, but at the same time, I’m also feeling more confident about some of the other tracks that I thought might be cut out. The tracklisting includes 14 songs, with the idea that several of them could potentially be cut. The original list of 14 was already reduced from close to 20 tracks. This means: that the tracks that make the album will be quality! It’s all for you, the listener!