January 28, 2015
Man o man o man! The days keep on slippin', slippin'... into the future! Getting really really REALLY close to the exciting version 1.0 release of my video game Ramp and Roll. I will release it on the 31st for download, for free. A suggested donation of $5 if you would be so kind. It will be a hopefully bug-free release, though some things will be missing. The updated soundtrack, the larger crowd sound effects. But a completely functional game.
What else? I have very fast fingers and accidentally erased almost all of Frankenstein! Ahhh! I got a hold of the source files and am starting over. But with better skills and tools (Pro Tools 11 Clip Gain is the best feature ever, and the Pitch II plugin really saves me time by doing real time processing) I am nearly back to where I was. Another project that is about to begin is Without a Plan, a short film I wrote last year on my endless night shifts at the hospital. Just gathering the last of the actors and will hopefully film mid February.
The last thing I have to announce is this swell commercial I am putting together for Canadian Author and winner of an Unhanged Arthur award, Same Wiebe. His book Last of the Independents is out and doing well. It's a great read, so buy two copies, give one away, read it, and review it on every site you can think of. My computer is rendering the commercial right now and will be for another day or so. I made a demo of it before, and then wanted to add rain (you know... Vancouver!) but that was outside my skill set. So I made a new version that was darker and had the headlights of passing cars. I tried to write music but then I thought what fits better is just the sounds of a city - traffic, sirens, people. I'll post a link when it's up.
December 17, 2014
I've finished recording the guitars for 3 of 4 tracks for Ramp & Roll, and done some mixing. I'm really happy with the way the drums sound. I spent a little more time than usual getting tones and it paid off! I also had 2 ladies in the studio who together form The CNC Band. They recorded a tune called "Catch Me" that they will be releasing at the end of the month if all goes well. You can learn more about them here https://www.facebook.com/TheAmazingCNC
and see a little video of us recording those drum tracks here:
December 2, 2014
Well last Saturday we had a great recording session. Scott Rivest was back in the studio laying down drums for the game Ramp & Roll. It really sounds so much better with real drums over the midi ones I had on previously. I have completed 2 of the tracks in regards to guitar, now I just need to finish the third, add bass to all tracks, and then they are ready to go to the keyboard player for some organ solos. Unfortunately he will be in Japan until end of January, however I will complete the tracks and release the game before then and then update the audio with a patch.
November 10, 2014
Got some new gear! It sure has been a while since I felt the excitement of that. It's technically old stuff but new to me. A Mackie 1604VLZ mixing board for my PA system.
Been working at the mall using my excellent stage skills to handle... Christmas decorations. It's super duper lame but the money is alright and the people I'm working with are good. I'm no Scrooge McDuck but the commercial side of the holiday season disgusts me. I just want to eat and drink, hang out with friends and family and even set aside my hate for certain people for a few weeks.
I've been doing some hardcore freelancing lately. Very exciting stuff. Everything from police recordings to becoming the voice in a series of safety videos. Mostly noise reduction and editing, but that is totally fine with me. I have developed a really neat studio trick using phase cancellation to reduce reverb in a recording. It's atually helping me bring in some money!
September 18, 2014
Well time comes and goes. I got hired to do some sort of audio install at the local Cabela's grand opening. When I arrived, they were like "Oh I meant stagehand... same thing." I then proceeded to bust my ass building stages and setting up barricades and made it into an event fancier than it had any right to be. Le sigh.
In other actually audio related news, one of my video games is about ready for release. It is called Whee-Ball and is a SkeeBall simulator you play on an arcade machine with a trackball. The audio component came together really fast, and it's a fun game to play. I just need to get a group together to record some of the audience/crowd noises and it will be ready.
Another game-related project I have on (and off...) the run is audio sample packs for videogames. I have been working on an audio library for some time now, and have begun creating sample scenes where you can walk around in a first person view exploring the environment and hearing the sounds it has to offer. My scenes started off as just very simple ones, and I accidentally applied a grey shader over it all giving it a creepy noir look. I decided to keep that as a theme, since it is easy and looks cool. I will put up a demo in the near future.
August 18, 2014
Have been doing a lot of non-audio things lately. Built a few arcade machines, and as awesome as they are I will be glad to have them out of the house. One was smurf themed and the other was hot pink and zebra stripes.
I had a recording session with a man named Doug Legasse last Saturday and we comped together a pretty solid guide vocal and are now on the lookout for a strong male voice and several female voices to finish up the track.
Going to have another group voice session for some more game audio soon, as I have a new game project in mind. One that is a little easier to wrap my head around and uses physics and a trackball - a skeeball game! Have the 3d models built already so it's just some art and coding, but I'm waiting for Unity 4.6 to get going because there is a new UI in that release that will make things way easier.
June 10, 2014
On the 7th there was a large party of voice actors in, and we did indeed finish the voice tracks for Frankenstein. I feel as though a weight has been lifted. Of course, now there's the rest of it. But this step should have taken A SINGLE AFTERNOON. Oh well, it is what it is, and now it is done. I guess the rest of it is... up to me? D'oh.
Another project we slammed a huge dent in is my videogame VOA. The voice actors/actresses did an outstanding job. They were Craig Burnett, Coralee Draginda, and their children Genevieve and Odin, plus one of Odin's friends Isaac. Then we had Tabatha Orange, Greg Tegler, and Diane Verhiel. There were a few no-shows, but the cast was excellent and powered through regardless.
Speaking of VOA, I may finish up the hospital rebuild today. I needed to make fewer polys and damn did I ever! Don't have the total numbers yet but it's a more than 2x more efficient and looks better to boot.
May 5, 2014
Well we finished up the drums and edited them, recorded acoustic guitar, ukulele, and some scratch vocals. It's coming together slowly. Other than that I started piecing together some Frankenstein sound effects. Now that I am rocking Pro Tools 11, I feel motivation to knock that one out. I will be having more free time in the coming months to wrap up some stuff. High on my list is working on VOA. I have been doing little easy things in my spare time but really, I should be handling all the programming I need to do and worry about props later.
I have been playing guitar a lot lately which is nice. The blueshawk in particular has been inspiring. I have been trying to write some serious music for a while and recently discovered that I don't want to. I want to write the kind of nonsense that flows through my head, and I am going to do it... for better or worse.
April 4, 2014
The studio has one more recording session this Saturday before going dark for a week or two. Besides heavy renovations, I am upgrading to PRO TOOLS 11, and want to play with it for a bit before bringing it into a working scenario. I'd rather be on my toes than be with a client when I find out that something I need has been changed!
Pro Tools 11 - so many exciting features, but my favourites are easily going to be video editing, and faster than real time bounce. As long as my copy of Vocalign still rocks then everything should be great! The downsides are the very high price and of course having to buy an iLok 2 when I have a very nice iLok 1 laying around...
March 17, 2014
It seems as though every time I turn around, I have forgotten to update this for a few months. How embarrassing. What has been happening? Well, we went and recorded ADRIFT, a nautical horror flick filmed on a floating pub and at the bottom of a swimming pool. And afterwards, we ended up all coming into the studio for a few drinks and recording all the dialogue. It was a lot of fun, everyone learned new things along the way, and it re-solidified my belief that it is definitely the way to do this film thing. The audio was so clean afterwards we had to add in some background sound or it just seemed unnatural. You can read about it all HERE.
Tonight we are recording the drums to a tune that was written mostly by Melissa Dinsdale and partly by me. It will be me on acoustic 6 and 12 string guitar, fretless bass and some vocals, Melissa on lead vocals and ukelele, and Scott Rivest on drums. There will also be coconuts, tambourine, and maybe even a little harmonica. Look for it soon!
Starting in a week the studio will be down for about 3 weeks. New siding and windows, including 2 sound-resistant windows in the live room. Not that we ever get noise complaints, but since I was doing it anyways I figured it wouldn't hurt. Pictures as soon as I can!
November 21, 2013
I've practically vibrating with excitement over the new Xbox. I'm even excited for Kinect! Let's hope it doesn't let me down...
The walkie-talkies were a hit at the Adrift filming sessions - so convenient. Wish I had brought them the third day. I will probably disappear for a bit until after Christmas - need to wrap up my current projects before I commit to any more, since things are getting a little out of hand with so many obligations up in the air. Look forward to the completion of Jeff Carpenter's ADRIFT, my very own VOA video game for PC and Mac, SPACE BASE a mechanical arcade style game, Sam Wiebe's audio adaptation of Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN, if Joshua Wiebe's film A SOFT DISEASE wraps up the fim side of things I can do the audio, and a prototype arcade game project I have been working on. I plan on having these all complete, or at least my portion of them, by the end of winter. In the spring I want to get going feet-first into finishing up filming for The Falls, and have it edited and ready to debut Summer 2014.
November 6, 2013
Life is good, but oh so busy. Waiting for the 22nd - the beginning of a weekend and if I'm lucky I'll be scoring an Xbox One on launch day. But on with the news!
Getting ready to record the on-set audio for a short nautical horror film called Adrift being shot here in Nanaimo BC at the famous (infamous?) Dingy Dock pub. Going to L&M tomorrow for some acoustic guitar strings and hopefuly not a new saddle for my Guild. But there is a chance it will shatter as I work on it. I'll also be seeing if they have what I need to rent for Adrift. My mics are not really made for that kind of adventure. Filming takes place on the 11 and 12, and if need be 17 and 18. On the 18th, it will be a crazy crazy day. Work at the hospital in the morning, possibly Adrift in the afternoon, and then in the evening worjk on the ALICE COOPER SHOW playing live at the Port Theatre. And then... sleep!
Just need to write drums for the Space Base playing theme, and an intro/attract mode tune. And then get a panic miode thing happening my last one started off as a good idea then turned into a rock song. Try, try again!
October 23, 2013
Figured out what I think is the hardest part of coding my game, VOA. Should be fairly smooth sailing from here on in... lots of tweaking but maybe I will actually have it done for xmas? That would be awesome.
I have a voice recording session for Thursday, supposed to happen a few weeks ago but life gets in the way - as does sickness. I got really sick and have been so for over a week. It's most definitely on it's way out but damn... I don't get sick often, but when I do it is absolutely brutal. I've been more sickness-prone since my last bout of food poisoning, and I wonder if that gave my immune system a severe beating. Anyways about the voice recording - we'll (as in Jennifer Hodi as "the talent" and I as "that guy pushing buttons") will be working on Frankenstein, VOA, and Space Base. 3 projects - 2 severly overdue for a finishing!
October 16, 2013
Been getting back into the swing of things. The Astro Rising project has recieved some new voices and all of the music has been remixed except for one track which I will hopefully finish up tomorrow. In theory there is a recording session on Thursday for some voice over work for FRANKENSTEIN, SPACE BASE, and VOA. Imagine if these projects started heading towards the end phase! I could move on to new horizons... such as Jeff Carpenter's upcoming sea shanty horror. And Hamlet - the radio play the film. It's bound to be better than Street Fighter the Movie the Game!
VOA is getting near-playable! There's a few little bits of code that I just don't quite yet understand how to program, but it's getting there. Once the coding is done it really is as easy as dragging and dropping objects onto the playfeild to create new levels. I was thinking of doing 10-15 individual leves and then the hardest level would just loop forever - of course it would have to be a very hard level to ensure the game would end.
I am now accepting just about anything in the quest for xmas monies. If you have anything you need audio manipulated on, fire me off an email and I will send you back a no-hassle quote.
I have been doing more audio for video than ever, and I must say I do enjoy working with video in Pro Tools. I'd love to upgrade to 11 soon, apparently it gets better fropm there on in, though I do disagree with the way it is set up. Imagine, on a large scale project, some audio guy gets the capability to alter the video edit from Final Cut right in Protools...
September 29, 2013
I have been a slacker updating my website. There's no excuse. I'm sorry.
I have done some filming on the Falls, not as much as I'd like, but some. Also a lot of hard work on VOA. I have also started work on a sort of upside down pachinko project... with joysticks. That I'm not supposed to talk about. So think space, and think 70's!
July 31, 2013
Things have been slow but steady. A little video editing here and there, some music, and got some more work done on VOA. Teaghan, "Alison" from The Falls, should be arriving on Thursday. There's lots of work to do, and a limited time frame but if things go as planned maybe some fancy camera work can get things happening without all the actors present at all times. Of course, there's a few scenes where I will need like 30 extras, so...
June 25, 2013
Zipped up the first dance tune for a wedding coming up in July. It was an easy task but sometimes it's the little things that bring the most joy. For myself I picked up a little gift - the famous Shure SM7b. The pictures do not do this thing justice. It is freaking huge. And that's without the radio-DJ foamy on the end. It sounds incredible, and nothing short of blowing directly into it will cause a pop. I may delve into the world of voice acting a bit to test the waters - so if you've got something that needs a voice over then let me know and perhaps I can lay down something at an extended discount.
The school year is over, and that means that the schedule for one of the stars of the Falls is going to have some more time to work on the project so I hope that we will get a lot more done in the coming weeks. I'd like to see the filmiong stage of this project end and the production stage begin - I have a lot of musical ideas in many lonely Pro Tools sessions piling up and not enougbh footage to try them out. We'll see how the first week of July goes, I have some favours to call in - maybe a few small changes to the script will get us moving again... most notably trading a horse trailer for an RV. Not a big change but could make everything a lot easier to handle.
May 31, 2013
Setbacks, setbacks. One of the bigger props we were going to use for The Falls has been SOLD. So, if anyone has a big horse trailer, RV, or similar for one day use, let me know and I will do my best to get you some money for it and I will return it cleaner than when you lent it to me.
Worked an entire week of graveyard shifts (I get paid more to work graveyards) to help fund more construction on the studio. One of the rooms has been expanded into the adjacent hallway, and also I want to buy more arcade parts. It's coming together really fast now (the arcade machine) and I'd love to have it finished ASAP. Most recent addition is a 32" screen, which makes everything better. Because it's bigger. Yes, I know it's ridiculous to get a widescreen HD monitor to play 20 year old games, but that is the world we live in.
VOA has some minor upgrades; nothign worth writing home about but it's getting there piece by piece.
May 4, 2013
Well another few weeks have gone by with no updates. I have got some news; we've recorded some zombie noises with the talented Jennifer Hodi for The Falls. Film shoot tomorrow, involving our most physical action to date. Looking forward to it but also a little nervous. What makes a good fight scene? Close up wiggly action, so you can't tell what's going on? The camera back a bit so it's not so intense but you can see the action? Decisions, decisions. The fight has been choreographed though and I think it's a good one - the hard part will be capturing it in a way that shows the action while still being exciting. Hopefully the two cameras will help.
VOA is coming along. It now includes walking around, complete with animations. Slipping and falling. Next step includes the slipping bit - I want the puddle to shrink and disappear during the slipping animation so when it disappears it is fully under the player. After that, the camera movement. I have it basically following the player around but it needs some hardcore tweaking. The animations are pretty much done, just need to see them in the environment, do some lightmap baking, the puppies, scoring, etc etc. Still a long way to go but I'm making lots of progress and understanding it more each day so I think it will pick up.
April 12, 2013
There is a storm a'brewin, and it's a good'un. The two video games I am developing are coming along at a rapid pace - both VOA and The Steve have made some pretty impressive advancements if I do say so myself. The Falls has had a few small editing sessions happen but one of the actors ran off to Europe on short notice and will be back in about ten days or so. Hopefully we can follow through with the 2-day filming session I have planned. After the last one I have renewed confidence in the quality of the finished product.
I finished up the audio editing for Wrinkled Pant's software re-release of Are (bees/whales/dogs/squirrels) Smart, or What!? They are being re-released in Mandarin as I imagine some sort of ESL aid? Maybe not. Either way the question remains, why do my cats go crazy for Asian women? Never has a recording session been more interrupted. Everything worked out nicely in the end, in fact it was more funny than annoying.
March 25, 2013
The Falls - we filmed the final scene in the movie! Unfortunately we aren't filming in order, so we have lots to do. We are however making progress. I'm going to edit it together today and get it to the actors to see how they feel. I think the footage we shot was just awesome.
Two other small projects have come and gone. Wrinkled Pants software is re-releasing their iOS apps in Mandarin, so we've been recording the voice overs. It's been interesting. ANother one with a time crunch was the Cannibal Camp out - it's a play being performed around BC... I think. I have no details but if you go see it, my voice is the police officer and the screaming man. My wife Lauren is the pre-show announcement voice, so you better do what she says when she tells you to turn off your cell phones. Trust me. I will post more details when I have them.
February 25, 2013
Busy! The weekend fun is over (spent the weekend in Vancouver drinking, acquiring a new guitar amp, and planning for more production on The Falls plus brainstorming about another unrelated video project I'd like to tackle) and I'm just editing some audio for a video for Nanaimo real estate agent Ryan Coffey. On the lookout for some more audio related work but doing a bunch of stuff in the 3d world.
February 12, 2013
January 22, 2013
Well things happen. For example, filming on the 19th was excellent. We had all 3 main actors/actresses together for the first time for The Falls., and everyone knew their lines. The extras even had their lines memorized which was FANTASTIC. I'm going to do a rough edit today and see how it goes.
VOA is coming along at a stead pace. I have been learning the Unity 3D engine and have figured out many of the things I need to do to get it off the ground. I am especially excited about the audio and the way it works - very neat/well executed. I'll be taking the weekend off however as it is both my and my wife's birthdays and we are going up the mountain.
January 9, 2013
A new year. Feels like the old one. Warm today... warm yesterday. A huge disappointment yesterday when I showed my wife the scene in No Country for Old Men where Anton Chigurh crashes the car and has blood pooling in his eye. Somehow she didn't think it was awesome and worth the $26 for the Kryolan Eye Blood. Well let me just reassure you, The Falls spares no expense when it comes to making our actors look beaten. I have no idea who the guy in the picture is, but he's blown a blood vessel in his eye and when that happens the blood gets trapped between the eyeball and the clear coating and takes a long time to reabsorb so you look like a zombie for about a week and a half, or so my research tells me. Look for eye blood in The Falls.
So I'm getting back into the swing of things, writing some video game music for the upcoming game VOA I am working on. That project is going slowly because I have so many more intense things on the go. Cameras, audio and directing for The Falls, audio for A Soft Disease, picking up a new project called The Streets. I also have just completed the DVD release of Ladysmith Little Theatre's final performance of The Normal Heart. I have also started a little acoustic jam with my friend Melissa Dinsdale and it's been a lot of fun.
December 17, 2012
Well it's been a while since I last did my update. What is new? Well I have another DAT to cd project on the go. Should be done by this evening.
Another thing I have is the movie A Soft Disease, which can be seen on their various pages: http://asoftdisease.tumblr.com/ http://www.facebook.com/ASoftDisease?ref=ts&fref=ts It's filling up my dropbox right now and I will be working the audio to remove noise and clean things up a bit. I'm unsure of my role in the film other than this, I may end up writing some music or doing some music as well.
November 14, 2012
Scenes for the Falls are coming together ever so slowly - but what we have shot I'm really proud of. Of course only 1/3rd of it is on my end; the actors are amazing and that goes a long way towards a good product.
In other news, my programming on the game VOA [Veterinary Office Assistant] has been shut down for the time being. I was using one software program but in my new Pro Tools studies I've been learning the ins and outs of Unity which is a much more in depth game engine so I'm going to switch to that and render my characters in Blender.
Audio-wise I've got a few things done for the Falls - zombie noises, some truck samples, writing some sound-trackery. The studio has been re-arranged making it a much more comfortable place to work - not that it wasn't before - and these long cold days have got me bundled up down there more than ever.
October 18, 2012
We shot the first scenes for The Falls the other day, and more are coming on Monday. It's learned a lot from those shoots and though I am happy with what we got, it will only get better from here on in! Check out The Falls page for some stills; there's a great pistol-whip in there.
Other things in the works - getting lots of sound done for various projects and have started recording my album. I found out that a friend is moving back to Nanaimo so will be jamming with her a bunch starting in December.
September 20, 2012
The Falls has had some serious casting progress! Lots of interest being generated and many meetings with potential actors. It's all very exciting. I have been puttering around the studio adding little things and painting, tacking up a little bit of trim here and there. it's all looking very good! I'm especially happy with the panel I made for the vocal booth - 2 mics, vga, headphones, usb and ethernet all wired up and mounted to the wall.
I worked at Rifflandia this again year - one of the acts in particular I thought was really good. The White Buffalo - goog it and enjoy.
September 9, 2012
Some things happened! First of all, I wrote a little piece of music that is being played on a commercial on television.
That was exciting and I got to work with Jordan Pederson again. I feel that we work well together. On another film-related note, our lead role has been abandoned and we are back to the casting table. I don't want to go into details but I will say that IT WAS VERY UNPROFESSIONAL OF YOU TO DO THAT. On to the next order of business!
Excited? You bet I am. Because after 5 short years of living on the island I have competed another milestone in the production of my studio. My microphones [drum roll!] now plug INTO THE WALL. I am freaking excited about it. And it looks great as well. I did an excellent job of soldering the patch points and everything is rock solid. The panel pictured to the right is the end result. One of these in the Live Room, and another mirrored version in the Control room. The "Universal knockout panels" I order4ed did not hold my mic jacks straight, but I think it looks kind of cool at an angle.
July 24, 2012
Closed up shop for a while there as I gutted and rebuilt the bathroom! Back open now, and have some things on the go. First of all I recorded, processed, edited and bounced down a first for me: Voice tracks for an ipad app, that is not in English. It's called "Are Bees Smart, Or What?" and is an educational game for youngsters and ESL students. At least the existing English version is. The new version is in Mandarin. More details are on the website, www.wrinkledpants.com
Other things coming up, we're going to be casting for The Falls starting next week once I return from the mainland. There's also some sort of concert up in Strathcona Park I'll be doing some sound work on as well as of course Rifflandia in September.
July 5, 2012
I don't know karate, but I know carazay! Things have been hectic lately. Got married June 23rd and had a little honeymoon in the outskirts of Victoria. It went perfectly well. I have been crazy busy as well doing more and more video shifts at the theatre, and have recently finished up the dialogue for Astro Rising. The second webisode of Manchildren aired on the 3rd I believe, with a great little jingle I wrote at the end. I asked for a little spot ion the credits and got a huge one, that made me happy. Of all the video projects I am a part of currently this one is in the top! The writing is just good old clean humour without the pretentiousness of even professional comedic writing. You don't always have to be witty to write something excellent, and I think Manchildren does an excellent job of showcasing that. But check it out for yourself.
The Falls is coming along, I think we'll be casting soon for the lead roles. So get ready!
May 30, 2012
Isn't this interesting! Some information about THE FALLS has cropped up on this website. It's a film Sam Wiebe has been writing with myself helping with ideas, making props, sound design, composing, and a few other things. Gotta get on learning to use a camera and whipping people into doing what I want!
Another project that has been going well is Astro Rising. The first test animation should make it's way to me shortly, and I can see it finally. The music is nearly done, been working on some floey for it, and of course drooling over the excellent renders the artist has done. To see them animated will be a dream come true. They aren't photo realistic however the use of light and shadow has a similar feel to the old game Out Of This World which I've always thought had a very dramatic feel to it.
May 23, 2012
Well I've been working lots around town. Setting up lights for ballroom dancing, writing and recording music for a number of projects, rewiring a house from the 40's. Also, I get married in exactly one month!
April 30, 2012
I think I have decided on a music licensing company to represent me - www.musicdealers.com. That would let me stop messing around looking for work and just concentrate on writing music! Stay tuned for more!
April 3, 2012
Things are bumping along. I sold the banjo finally. I may use a small portion of that money to treat myself. Selling the LiquidMix and am on the fence about the electronic drum kit. I probably will, it just doesn't get used much.
I have recently picked up 3 slabs of wood - excitement levels are high. I am going to be building a guitar. And, as a crazy side project, with the scraps I am going to try to build a snare drum. You read right. Am I crazy? No, because if it doesn't work out I won't be out anything.
Been working on a short animated film called Astro Rising. Look for it in 2012!
March 15, 2012
I have spent all morning writing stuff for the RV Boys project. It's all going very well, the ideas are just bursting forth which is nice. Laying them down in a timely manner. Tomorrow I'll have Andrew Kent in the studio on drums for those tracks, it'll be his very first session date here which is exciting. I will have to take some photos for sure. Having some beers with the 'Boys on Sunday night to talk about the tracks and see if my music is the direction they are going for.
March 6, 2012
Another month goes by without too much to say. Frankenstein has been edited and we are now into overdubs. Documentary is coming along at a glacial pace. Piano is now refinished in a gloss black stain and poly finish.
I hope to start work on a short entitled RV Boys soon. I have some ideas which is excellent, but they are my ideas and I'm not sure it fits in with the director's vision. I like it anyway, we'll see how it goes over.
I am also writing a 4 minute rock song for a release trailer - but it's not what you'd expect! Half real and half 3d animation , it is an ambitious arcade-related project. I have many ideas for it already and hope to get some laid down this week and then on the 19th I want to get some drums on that beast.
Last week I had Kazimea [acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, and vocals], Earl [double bass], and Brian [acoustic guitar] here in the studio. It seems everyone had a good time and the track ended up sounding great. There is definitely more magic when you play together live. It's just a little harder when you have isolation needs, but the bleed we had going on helped things along in the end, it sounds very natural as a bluegrassy waltzy kind of song should.
More exciting news, the banjo looks like it has been sold. I've said that before so take it with a grain of salt, but here's hoping.
February 3, 2012
So here we are in February of 2012 already. ALREADY! Holy bujeezus time goes fast. What's been going on here in the studio? Well for starters there is a new piano! Maybe not new from the factory or store, but it's new to me. It's a little ugly, caramel colour and all that 70's jazz. But that's ok as I plan on refinishing it in a really dark stain to further fit the nice theme I have down here. I've already tuned up 2 of the 3 pedals and am scouring the net for a good deal on a tuning wrench.
Other than that I've got a good start on writing tunes for Frankenstein and have edited up to page 14 of 50 in the script. It's coming together nicely! After this I plan on separating all characters to different tracks and trying some alternate pannings for things like crowds and other atmospheric effects.
January 17, 2012
I've been working on some segments for Music To Talk About, an internet talk show about the music scene in Vancouver, BC. There are already 6 or 7 up with me in them talking about things such as equalizing out your feedback, wrapping a cable, and soforth. I recorded all those segments at once with little equipment available, but from now on for the most part I will be doing it from the studio here where I have everything at my fingertips.
I have also been working on the Frankenstein radio play soundtrack, though haven't done any recording in a while. Just been playing my various string instruments gathering ideas. That should all change this week however!
January 9, 2012
I hope everyone had a good holiday season. I know I did! The studio got some new gear from Santa. 7 new harmonicas in various keys, a ukelele and a 31 band graphic equalizer for the PA. On January 2 the cast of the next Wiebe Brothers' radio play, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, got together and recorded. It is now in the editing stage and I am composing the music for it. If you have never listened to a radio play before, you are missing out. There are voices and sound effects and you can use your own imagination to conjure up images in your mind's eye. I personally love listening to stand up comedy and radio plays when traveling - on the bus, on the ferry, on the road.
November 27, 2011
I wrote another article published on Guitar.com today. It talks about mastering, where and when I believe you should pay the extra for mastering services. Enjoy! A friend of mine has also asked me to write my opinions about mixing drums live, a topic we both feel has taken a turn for the worst in the past decade, so I hope to get that up soon. Also there is potential for me to write a soundtrack for a documentary. Details coming up after these important messages from our sponsors.
November 25, 2011
Silent State was in for 2 consecutive weekends rocking out their newest tunes for an EP, hopefully available in the new year. I even got to lay down a slick solo on it. There's always some pressure when the mics are already set up and then someone asks you to play on a song you've never played and only heard for the first time that day. I am happy with the way it turned out though! And out again came my good friend the Snarling Dog's Whine O Wah +, the biggest, baddest wah I have ever seen/played/heard. Mine's an original from before company founder Charlie Stringer died, and it hand wired and all that jazz. I dunno if that makes the big difference that a lot of purists claim, because most of my gear sounds excellent despite being PCB construction. Here's an unmixed soundbite of the solo in question.
Heard from Jean Luc last night. Looks like he's getting the recording bug again and will be in to wrap up his recordings. A remote session bass player has laid down bass lines for him, and I have also secretly done the same so it's a battle of the bassists when he decides which tracks to use. I won't be heartbroken if I don't make the cut for all the songs, but there's a few I particularly like.
October 10, 2011
Finished editing some music together for an upcoming wedding. Some people have the right idea! Having a DJ is not as mandatory as some people seem to think for a wedding. In fact, my idea of a DJ is someone who creates art - musical soundscapes, manipulating samples etc. etc. instead of what is now the more common definition - someone who makes playlists of songs for events, be it a bar night, company dinner, or wedding. With today's technology at most people's fingertips you have more power than you know. And setting up a PA system is for the most part not as hard as people think it is. Plugging an ipod into a simple PA is just like plugging it into a boombox - and setting up a basic PA like the Yorkville EX1 is no more complicated than setting up a home stereo!
Other exciting news is that I'm trying to impress the developers of an upcoming video game to let me write the soundtrack or at least part of - I'll update when I hear back, but the good news is the funk tracks I have been writing for them have a serious low end thanks entirely to my new bass!
October 6, 2011
A new addition to the studio is here, in the form of a beautiful mid-90's Gibson Les Paul bass. It has 20 frets, a wine-red body, ebony fingerboard, and Bartolini pickups! It makes my old bass sound like a mosquito. The tone and volume is consistent from string to string and fret to fret, and the sustain - you could hold a note, go out for a bite to eat and it will still be ringing when you get back!
October 2, 2011
All in a day's work! Things have been happening lately. First of all, I worked at The Metro Lounge during the Rifflandia Festival doing monitor mixes. I was contracted by DL Sound and Lighting. I have had plenty of ideas for the up and coming rendition of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, however due to my NEW COMPUTER (!!!) I haven't been able to install Protools as my computer doesn't have a firewire port. Hopefully that will change, today! Newfangled technology, I need a PCI-E card. Speaking of technology, I have a lightscribe drive now... amazing!
The studio now has a functional bathroom which is great. I have also begun constructing some furniture for the place - the new rack is built that houses all the goodies, and my bookshelf/mic drawers are part way complete. I have a new DeWalt 10" mitre saw that is excellent, and I'm putting it to good use!
Coming into the studio soon - Silent State! Last time they were in we all had a rip-roarin' time. Hopefully next time will be even better thanks to upgrades to the studio.
Auguest 22, 2011
Completion is a nice feeling. I got the final print of the DVDs yesterday, and they look pro. Disc Makers account all sorted out [problems with my address not saving, so they kept shipping my orders to White Rock!]. I am pretty sure I'm close to wrapping up Jean Luc's album. Just needs bass to be recorded and mixed in. But for the most part the album is sounding great! A few more days and it should be polished!
Other than that I have been decoration the studio a bit and have started working out details on the upcoming Frankenstein project. Even laid down a few tracks for it!
July 8, 2011
When I stopped to look at my recording drive yesterday, I saw that it was packed nearly full of old projects. I spent a few hours burning backupdiscs, and deleting files that I have archived. I had a client once named Mark Evanshen - after he had recorded 2 albums' worth of music with me, he had me send the files to another studio to mix. I did that, and 3 months later, erased them forever. About a year after that Mark called and said the other studio had LOST HIS FILES. How heartbreaking. I'll never make that mistake again!
I've got a few things on the go here, nothing really big enough to make a blip on the radar, but may have a big announcement to make before September... dun dun duuuuhhhhhhn!
Also I updated the samples on the site, check out the new ones I put up.
July 1, 2011
Well, the video project is still going. We're at the 95% stage I think. Tuesday the first disc goes away to the printer's. I will have the audio done by then if I get the video in a timely manner.
In other news, I passed the LPEC exam, which is Live Performance Electrical Certification. I am now certified to do a whole bunch of dangerous stuff. Watch your eyes, the light produced by arcing electricity can detach your retinas!
I have re-established my connection with Disc Makers. Yay!
May 31, 2011
So the Skywhale charity concerto has a new sound guy - who is also providing the PA. Which is excellent for them, not so much for me. I was looking forward to it! Alas, it was not meant to be. What was however meant to be was the epic [in the absolute strongest sense of the word!] EPIC installation of the control room window. Special thanks to Eric Fulcher for helping me lift the thing up into the sill. At 37 x 37", it's a mighty big window - and at 1 1/4 thick, it weighs in at 150 lbs. 5 ply safety glass, with 3 plies tempered glass and two plies of plastic.
May 11, 2011
This month has been busy so far! Picked up the studio window glass, finished the workout music, mixed the music for Jean Luc Williams, and built a stage on the beach for the BC Boy's Choir. Coming up in my schedule is transcribing some lyrics to musical notation and then in a few weeks I'm working for SkyWhale Productions again for another charity benefit concert.
April 18, 2011
Let's all welcome The Shape You're In Fitness and Wellness, Inc. to Facebook. That's the company I am writing the workout music for. Everything is going very well, I have half of it done and another half just needing some extra shine added. Should be able to get everything done by Thursday the 21st and then that gives me 2 weeks for revisions.
In other news, April Wine was for the most part awesome. There's Brent Butt on Friday and then at the end of the month Jean Luc is back here rocking the place up, and then the monday after that it's some choir - Mid Island Boys choir maybe? at Rathtrevor Beach.
April 14, 2011
It's been a while without update! So here is one. I have been absolutely SWAMPED with work. Writing 2+ hours of music for a series of workout vids, working on the video game sound track, doing live sound around town, and working on the arcade machine for the studio lounge.
Let's start with the sound tracks for the workout videos. It's great fun and I have plenty of creative freedom. Everything from hip hop to some blues. The deadline is fast approaching and I have 50% of the music finished and another 75% nearly done - I over-wrote the music so that there is more variety to work from and of course anything left over can go into the archives for hopefully future use.
The video game is apparently coming along. I have yet to see much of it... but things have been moving at a glacial pace. Which is better than being canceled. I have been doing my part though, that's what counts... right?
Live sound: I worked with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, a few smaller concerts, and yesterday I did microphones on a few hundred kids for Beauty and the Beast. Tonight, it's April Wine and then next Friday stand up comedian Brent Butt.
The arcade machine got the order in... I routed the slot and then glued on the vinyl, trimmed it down, rolled the edges in and hammered in the molding. It looks very nice. VERY VERY NICE. Now I just need extra monies for the guts.
March 21, 2011
Three weeks is a long time to wait for something. Also a long time to receive any updates on my tracking number... I have a feeling that USPS has lost my package.
In the past few weeks I've written and recorded some more tracks for the video game as well as a bunch of sound effects. Creaky doors, zombies, reloading sounds. Gotta wait for the sun to come out before I start on the next series of SFX.
March 7, 2011
Last week I had TJ Connel in the studio to work on some mixing for his upcoming album, soon to be on iTunes. He's aiming for April of this year. Between that and restoring a few records things have been slow. I have the third mix revision for Silent State's tune Time to Leave, and will probably bust out a fourth and final one soon.
I also set up an account on www.voices.com - I had great fun writing and recording a demo track of my voice. I hope to get a few regular voices up and have a small catalogue of voice talent. My account is located at http://www.voices.com/people/permanentrecords if you'd like to hear my demo. I browsed through a tonne of demos, and though there are better voice actors than me... the vast majority of them are full of lip smacking noises, plosives, sibilance, pumping compression, and even downright clipping. My demo is rich and full sounding by comparison. The others may have more experience, but there recordings are ameteurish. There is more going on with a voice over than standing up to a microphone. Admittedly, there is a space to list your equipment and most of them are running a >$200 budget condensor mic. Sometimes even one of those USB ones! I used an AKG C414 B-XLS and was thinking that I could improve by going down to a $350 Shure SM7b. But by and large my VO sounded better, at least technically.
In other studio related news, the arcade machine is coming along just fine. I'm on hold while I wait for some parts but they should arrive this week and then I'll be applying the vinyl over the sides, front, back and top. I still can't find a decent marquee light though, it's beginning to get on my nerves.
February 28, 2011
Vancouver rock trio Silent State was in the studio for 2 days last week. We had a lot of fun and tried some new techniques out. We ended up triple-tracking rhythm guitars and laying down a smokin' lead, some of the better drum sounds I've ever recorded, and a really big bass guitar sound. It really fattened up the sound! You wouldn't believe it's only a 3-piece if you just listened to the recording.
Other than that I have finished repairing and intonating a particularly sweet Fender Jazz fretless bass and today am re-gluing the top on a classical guitar that someone put steel strings on, that started to peel up due to the extra tension. Other repairs I have completed lately: a Marshall 8100 head, Dunlop Crybaby wah, DOD Wah/Volume pedal, MXR noise gate, and a Boss delay. Now I just have 2 more to go, my hand-wired Snarling Dog's Whine-O-Wah+, Peavey HotHead distortion pedal from the 80's, a Samson guitar wireless unit, and of course the Evans Custom Eighty.
February 7, 2011
It's been a month since the last update. The MADD Charity Benefit was a success, bringing in over $1000. More things have happened in the studio as well - thermal/sound reducing curtains are up, the in-wall patchbays are tinned and ready for the connectors to arrive in the mail, and the drum riser now has been wired for the colour changing led lights.
I have been working on the video game soundtrack - looks like Scott and the team are also working really hard at it and I now have more details on the game than ever before. I have been inspired, to say the least.
Vancouver rock group Silent State is in the studio at the end of the month so that should be fun.
January 4, 2011
It's a new year, and most of the renos are done now. Window sills, drum riser, flooring is all installed. I need to do the trim and some minor wiring, but the studio is pretty much 100% operational right now! This Friday I am doing a walk-through of the stage where the MADD fundraising concert is to be held, and the concert is next Thursday.
December 28, 2010
Been slow lately - which has actually been a good thing, because I've had time and money to renovate. Control room now has flooring, as does the bathroom. The funny thing is that now I have an entire box of leftover flooring as I ordered too much this time. Tomorrow I'll be making window sills and a drum riser, as well as flooring the laundry area, and then it is down to trim, and trim alone!
December 14, 2010
Got a contract to zip up a vocal-less version of a country tune for a funeral/celebration of life. The deceased woman's granddaughter will be singing her favourite song in tribute.
I cashed in my air miles for gift cards to the local lumber shop, so soon there'll be a pretty significant update to the studio in the form of some entertainment and some window sills. Should clean up the look of those lovely drywall edges finally. Then some trim work and the place will be looking fantastic!
December 6, 2010
Business has been slow with the advancing holiday season. I've been working on a few video projects and writing tracks for an upcoming video game for the Microsoft Xbox 360. Added a few small improvements to the studio, such as a sill around the old electrical panel, some paint, put up some new doors, and of course, a Christmas Tree.
November 20, 2010
The studio lounge looks pretty awesome if I do say so myself. I really have to be a little more forgiving with my ordering skills however - I didn't order as much as I should have in terms of making sure there was enough. It all worked out in the end, with less than 1/2 a board of scrap, and a very thankful me! That's cutting it way too close as far as I am concerned. I appreciate the extra living space however. Very nice to move the furniture out of the live room, it's sounding very lively again.
I've got the video for the Nanaimo Green Group on my computer just waiting for the Power Point slides so that I can edit them in there, and I am nearly done the first video in my web series! I just have to start finishing some of these projects.
November 17, 2010
Just ordered more flooring! Not the awesome engineered hardwood I have in the Live room, but some sturdy and durable laminate for the lounge. In "Okanagan Cherry" whatever that means... should look nice with the colour on the walls and open up some more living space in the studio!
November 15, 2010
I'll be donating time on January 13th, 2011 to run sound for a charity benefit concert - Mothers Against Drunk Driving to be exact.
November 14, 2010
Got back from the Nanaimo Green Group's recent event which was all about tips on how to make your home more energy efficient - 2 hours worth of material on film, just waiting to be edited. Looks like I have my plans for the week!
November 12, 2010
Well the situation with Leon worked itself out and everyone is relieved, so that's awesome. This morning I worked on mastering a track for Silent State and wrote some new material for the track The Morning After. After a great drum session on Wednesday, I'm really excited about that track - it's nice and full sounding but still very minimalist which leaves it open for the lead I wrote and also for a deep bass line.
November 8, 2010
Had some terrible news this morning about my fiance's brother, I hope that situation works itself out without too much trouble. Everyone hope for the safe return of Leon! Besides that I've been running through some patches in my sampler trying to find the right tones for this zombie project - still withholding some of the info because I am still fairly in the dark. But once I have something substantial to say, I will update this page. I did however find some perfect patches and tweaked them to fit the music I'm writing. I've got 4 on the go right now - a "teaser" trailer type high energy track; a first encounter, meeting our flesh-eating buddies for the first time creeper track; a refreshing, life-will-go-on slow victory track kind of like end credit type material; and finally, a short, easily repeatable, repetitive but not irritating home shopping network track. Have I given too much away?
Also, the first video on Real Estate went online: Interview with a Home Inspector. Though I don't expect it to go viral, Ryan is an excellent Realtor and knows his stuff - there is plenty of great info on there and is worth watching even if you don't use Ryan as your Realtor [though really you should].
November 5, 2010
Wrapped up the video this morning over coffee [Coffey?] and am waiting for approval. I've gotta tune up the toms and pick some microphones for the 3 day drum fest about to happen on Tuesday Wednesday Thursday of next week, where studio regular Rael Linford will be laying down some beats to my ever-expanding library of sample music.
Also - stay tuned for this big announcement in the next few weeks!
November 4, 2010
Today I'll be working on some audio-for-video for Realtor Ryan Coffey. I might even tweak the colour in the video a bit, it's a bit dark. I will post a link when it goes online, probably by the beginning of next week. Other than that, I have 2 articles up on www.guitar.com, one covering how to use equalization effectively to shape your tones with natural results, and the other a guide on buying microphones - lots of good info in both, suitable for beginners to pros.
November 1, 2010
It's been slow lately - finished restoring the old cassettes, and have been working on an instrumental acoustic album featuring more mandolin than my usual offerings. Another new project I'll be starting on soon involves some creative noise-making... original foley for film/videogames/etc.
October 18, 2010
Received another cassette today! People loved them cassettes back in the day. Unfortunately, they aren't good for archiving! This one is going to be a challenge!
October 8, 2010
Transferring a few cassettes to cd - and giving them a thorough going over. 35 year old cassette tapes do not age like wine! Hopefully the audio within can have a second chance at life.
October 4, 2010
Working on a new internet video series about recording and stage work. I'm hoping to cover a lot of ground with these, but there will be a lot of re-hashing the basics, and then moving up into recording on a budget, making purchasing decisions, mic techniques, and other stuff. If you've got a topic you'd like me to cover, feel free to send me your ideas!
September 28, 2010
Getting ready to master a few tracks by Vancouver rock group Silent State!
September 27, 2010
Been doing some extensive testing on some gear that has been in for a tune-up. And of course a new funk track was the result! I've got to schedule a drummer in to lay down some beats on a few tracks I have waiting for them.
September 20, 2010
Writing some new material for the portfolio, a little jazzier than my usual stuff. Also been getting ready to master some tracks coming in from Crestview Recording; sometimes you just need a fresh pair of ears on a project for it to turn out it's best.
September 12, 2010
I've been working with Realtor Ryan Coffey on some video interviews discussing various topics regarding real estate. There's some great information in them so if you're in the market or like to be knowledgeable about the real estate market, stay tuned for these informative yet friendly and entertaining videos.
Other recent projects include recording some sound effects and some minor audio editing, restoration, and transfer work.
©2013, Permanent Records - Andrew Nicholls