With a scheduled release date of Tuesday, May 11th, “Heaven Meets Earth,” my 10th record album, is consuming the better part of my time these days. Writing, recording, overdubbing, mixing, mastering, duplication, distribution, and promoting are all labor intensive, time consuming processes that require a lot of attention to detail. And energy.
The human ear is extremely forgiving during a concert. And the brain is just plain forgetful. When you go see your favorite band, amped up on excitement and Red Bull, you walk away remembering a fantastic show–not the guitarist that forgot about the new change in the third verse. They covered it. But that cover doesn’t fly when it’s played back in the studio. We call it “the microscope.” In the studio, we see and hear everything. Everything. While my latest project is very much a live recording, there are a lot of “fixes” that need to be made simply because the consumer would never listen to the CD exactly as it was recorded over and over again. It would get on anyone’s nerves (most notably, mine!). From blown bass lines to out of tune guitars to terribly flat vocal parts, “overdubs” need to be made…for all our sakes. It’s like editing a manuscript for a new novel. Because consumers are used to a certain level of excellence (myself included), it’s safe to say that–no matter what the liner notes say on the printed package–no live recording you’ve ever heard put out by a record company is exactly “as is.” Even if they never punched a single track (meaning, made a small fix), they still sweetened the sound in the mix, and then further mastering. It’s what we do.
That being said, my band came into the studio last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and had their own shot of fixing their mistakes. And it was fun! Getting a second chance at something you love is always exciting. And challenging. Trying to capture the same sound, play with the same intensity, and perform even better than you did “the night of” is much harder than one might think. And all to fix one note sometimes. But the end result is a recording that both the consumer and the artist can actually tolerate, and still call “live.” Here are a few shots a snapped during our the three days in the studio. Enjoy! ch:
[Peter Hopper: Crafting the perfect head mix.]
[Denis Johnson Jr.: Laughing in spite of his own awesomeness.]
[Nate Cronk: At home in the cable mess.]
[Peter Hopper: At the helm of the Starship MasterView.]