Monday, July 13, 2020



Your dreams will take you far 
When you realize you’re a Star
It doesn’t matter who you are
Believe you are a Star
That’s what you are

I organized silverware and plates as quickly as I could. Forks, knives, and spoons shot into their correct slots. Plates flew onto stacks of the same size and shape. Linens were thrown into their bin. Next bus bucket, next bucket, next bucket. I finished and booked it to the garage to where my car was parked. Once I unlocked it and got in, I brought up the Voice Memos app on my phone and pressed Record.

It was three weeks until I hit the studio. I had a budget to record two songs. Although I love the three tunes that were in consideration, I was still completely clueless as to what original I was going to lay down up in Boulder. I knew I was going to record a cover of “Summertime (Doin’ Time)” by Sublime with a musical and lyrical twist. Take a listen to my version of it by clicking here

With that song being at 81 BPM, (Beats Per Minute) I felt like I needed a more uptempo tune to balance the other out. Two of the originals in question were a little on the slower, groovier side and the other was at running pace. Whatever was cooking up in my head when I was busing that Sunday night felt right.

A hair over 120, “Star” clocks in at 121 BPM. It’s great tempo to dance to, which is why a lot of House and Techno music typically features songs at or around 120 BPM. My head was bopping all the way to the car as that initial idea brewed. “Star” went through the most lyrical drafts I have ever done for any song. Usually I’m able to get “the” version of the lyrics in the second or third round of writing them. STAR TOOK SEVEN DRAFTS TO WRITE AND GET RIGHT. The 6th draft was off by a few words and I laughed looking back at a small stack of half a dozen drafts that led to the one that finally did it.

Alright, let’s fucking go. 

For the next three weeks, almost all my time outside of working was spent running the musical gauntlet; bouncing from drums to bass to guitar to vocals to lyrics to…gulp, keyboards. Before recording, I knew where a “C” note was on keys. Other than that, I didn’t know how to play piano. Buuuuuut, when I was touring around the studio, the last thing I was shown was the true gem of the place: a 1959 Hammond organ with a Tallboy cabinet housing a Leslie speaker. 

Time to geek out for a sec. Apparently the quality of Hammonds started declining in the ’60’s and was in its prime during the ’50’s. Honestly as impressive as the year and condition of the organ was, playing through the speaker was actually the most important and most exciting part of it to me.  One of my  musical idols Trey Anastasio of Phish beautifully employs the Leslie rotating speaker to get these otherworldly swirling tones. Ever since I first heard it I wanted to play through one. Now I had the opportunity…I just had to learn how to play piano first.

It was a solid case of reverse engineering. From knowing where a “C” was, I figured out note by note the shapes of the chords used in “Star.” With the organ having such a rich sound, I could really just let these chords ring out. I didn't have to be concerned with too many quick changes as “Star” is a pretty simple tune. Many, many hours of practice and experimentation later, I got into something I really liked. It took a few tries to really nail it in the studio, but the gorgeous and lush tones of that ’59 Hammond and Leslie speaker really shine on “Star.” 

Next week come 7/20/20, "Star" will be released on all major streaming sites. Take a listen to a preview by Clicking Here!

  • 3 GUITARS (2 electric, 1 acoustic)
  • TOTAL=10 tracks recorded in 2.5 hours

Monday, July 6, 2020

The World of Recording - Part III

The World of Recording - Part III

The alarm went off well before the Sun came up. Man, I’ve got to be crazy. The night before I joined one million other citizens of India in the Girivalam tradition. During this full moon celebration, our study abroad program made the trip to the Arunachalesvara Temple and that night joined an ocean of others spending hours walking around Arunachala hills. It was something like I’d never experienced before and left me feeling mentally, phsycially, and spiritually charged but drained at the same time after such a long night. “Do you guys want to do a Sunrise hike tomorrow?” One of our main guides posed the question and in a euphoric high from the event, some friends and I readily agreed and made plans to. Only 3 of us total ended up making it because of such an early take off time and late night before it. When we met in the lobby of where we were staying, I was sort of surprised I wasn’t the only one there. With our tiny group, we made the trek up the mountain believed to be the body of Lord Shiva.

When the Sun came out that morning, we took some moments to stop and just look at the beauty we saw. As I soaked up this incredibly expansive and colorful landscape, somehow our tour guide Segar and I got on the topic of music. He said he liked to play too, but more as a hobby than anything. I remember that conversation so well because I really believe that was the moment when I really committed to professionally pursuing music. I’d always loved making it and from countless hours of practice, I developed a great set of ears and skills. But frankly I was never wholeheartedly committed to making music for a living and making a really good living do so until those moments on the mountain. As I talked with Segar, it just came pouring out: making music is my favorite thing to do in life, it’s what I enjoy doing most, and getting to experience a room full of people absolutely loving what you are creating for and with them is a near unrivaled high. As I rattled all this off, I made the decision that upon getting back to the States, I was going to make a living making music no matter what.

About a month later as our study abroad program was coming to a close, a group of four of us went into a recording studio to put together a track. It really stoked my fire to spend more and more time recording and making music in a professional setting. But only many years later after with the band I was in did I earnestly try to make professional-quality recordings. When our group got a new bassist, his senior project was to record an album so we used that as an opportunity to put together an EP. It’s was far from a professional production and was more recorded in more of a rehearsal type room than a legit studio, but it was a start. Though we at least had something on record, the band wanted something more legit that was made in a recording studio. After a collective move to Boston, we got in touch with a studio and booked some time.

With a specific time period paid for and set, lot of practicing and rehearsing for those 5 songs went down. Hour after hour, day after day, everybody in the group sharpened their axes. It wasn’t some simple G to C kind of stuff, there were really progressive and demanding parts that were difficult to pull off. The heat was on to use the studio time in the most efficient way that we could. And we did. A lot of takes were close to or even good to go from the 1st or 2nd attempt. But like many bands, that one broke up due to creative and personal differences. It was brutal to go through that break up for a lot of reasons: we were all living together, I was going to have to start over musically, and my decision to split came at a time where we just got to play Main Stage at a fairly big festival in New England. Needless to say, the other two were not happy about having to find a new guitarist to learn some pretty tough tunes. But I knew I needed out, so I split and saved up enough money to move to Colorado. A few months before moving from the East Coast to the West, I started writing a ton of material. About one year after they were written, many of those songs would end up making their way into a studio in Boulder, Colorado.

Check out some of those songs by clicking this link!