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Tape is Rolling….


Tape is Rolling….


It was bound to happen, an article without the accompanying video. Yes, I’m guilty. But, I think I have a really good excuse: the October release of my new CD.

Anyone who’s gone through the process of making his or her own CD knows what I’m talking about. It is a potentially long, but awakening process. Right now, for example, I’m knee-deep in producing, tracking, writing, booking musicians, editing, mixing, and mastering. That’s a lot of “ing” words!

But this beautiful process is the heart of what we musicians do. It makes us better artists.

One example of how recording can make you better as an artist is the arrangement of a song. Say you recorded a song you’ve been working out live on the bandstand for some time, and it just doesn’t “pop” on the recording like it does when you play it live. In the digital environment, you can switch around sections of the tune and play with the arrangement, maybe making the song more “palatable” for a CD – changing the soundscape, if you like.

Another example is soloing over changes. You might think your approach to soloing over your new song was killin’ when played live, only to find out on the recording that it sounded like you were chasin’ roots. Being in the controlled environment of the studio allows you to compose your solo more thoughtfully and better connect with your song.

The old adage, “Tape don’t lie,” really applies here. On more than one occasion, I’ve tracked a tune that I had high hopes for, only to realize I needed to go “back to the drawing board” for more production. But, even so, sticking with the tune almost always pays off for me, and I’ll hear the song come to life before my ears.

The recording process is a way we get those notes into the air. Obviously, the digital age has greatly increased anybody’s potential to record – which is both good and bad. Good in that you’re not racking up thousands of dollars at a studio – Bad in that we’re not all engineers, and maybe it would be better to record in a studio where professionals do their thing.

Granted, there’s no one way to record a “record” – yes, I still use that word – and if you asked 10 different bass players how to go about it, you’d probably get 10 different opinions. But that’s what I love about it!

As I mentioned, producing your own record makes you wear a lot of hats: the writing hat, the editing hat, the mixing and mastering hats, the $pending hat, and the managing hat – there are those “ing” words again – but what I’m trying to get at here is that for every hat your wear, your spirit will grow exponentially throughout the recording process.

I think this article will definitely inspire a couple of follow-up articles from yours truly, as it is a vast subject and we’ve only scratched the surface. So, if I may conclude with a shameless plug:

New Doug Johns CD to be Released in October!

In my opinion, it’s exactly twice as funky as the first one, and it grooves like a freight train on nitro. Check in on the website and myspace for the exact release date. Keep recording your own material, and don’t forget…. Get out there and jam with somebody.


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