A Fly On The Wall – Guest Blog by Kathy Mullen
A fly on the wall story of music production….
By Kathy Mullen
Mullen Music Management
The Front Office took over for a moment to share a couple of thoughts…
The vantage point of being around a musician can provide amazing and new insight into things you might not otherwise think about. For example, what it actually takes to produce a $15 CD. Now that I have, I’d like to share it with you.
Speaking as someone who is not a musician, I continue to be fascinated with great talent and everything that comes from that; energy, emotion, drive, inspiration, vulnerability, patience and the ungodly amount of time that goes into writing, rehearsing, recording and performing music. I have had the incredible pleasure of being closely involved with the production of two CD’s at different levels and from two Independent Singer/Songwriters over the past year. It was a unique experience which I will always treasure. While going through the actual process, it didn’t really occur to me just how much goes into the making of a professional CD. It wasn’t until much later when the deadlines were met, the product was finished and the CDs were finally in the hands of the fans, that I took time to reflect. The two CD’s are ‘BACK TO BASICS’ by Jeff Pike and ‘CHILL BEFORE USE’ by The Frozen Gringos. Please note that these are my own thoughts and observations, not those of the artists.
MY PERCEPTION AT THE BEGINNING.
It all began with making decisions on which songs to record. Songs that, once produced, would live on as a legacy for the artists and be played for years to come. Jeff’s CD was easy; the plan was to focus on material that was stripped down, organic and emotional. This material would show those who only know him as part of A1A, that he is capable of so much more. Jeff thinks outside the box while showing great diversity in the work that he does.
The Frozen Gringo’s CD is another story. First and foremost, it took an enormous amount of consistent perseverance on Jeff’s part to finally convince Hugo to record the CD, which became ‘CHILL BEFORE USE.’ A lot of persuasion over a long period of time finally paid off when Hugo ultimately consented.
Working on the material on both CD’s took a tremendous amount of time in each songwriter’s life. These were songs that were written in the moment over the last two years, and some more than 30 years ago. Watching the evolution of these songs unfold before my very eyes was an ever changing and unpredictable process. Even though it was extremely difficult for Hugo and Jeff, each song was well thought out, carefully selected, executed and placed into the listening order. I was amazed at how precise, time consuming and draining this process can be. I think what amazes me the most about both Hugo and Jeff is their extraordinary emotional bond with some of the songs they have written and recorded. In fact, there are some songs that are so close to them taking decades to have the courage to share the songs with the public, as the songs really did come from their souls.
RECORDING AND MIXING
This was a brand new listening experience for me. It was not just ‘surface’ listening. The days, weeks and even months it takes to listen to all the tiniest of details, different versions and different mixes of the songs are draining and long. Then just to make sure, you have to re-listen again and again and again. Just going through this one part of the experience I learned what an incredibly time consuming, extensive and iterative process it can be. It is a process that requires a different kind of talent – a talent which goes beyond the songwriting. The needed knowledge of logistics, software, computers, instruments, long hours in the studio, travel, headphones, different sounds to different ears, and so much more – WOW!!! I have always loved music, but seeing this part alone increased my appreciation tenfold. Studio time is coordinated around gigs as no money is being made when in the studio. Yet, the heart and soul that goes into this is a priceless and precious reminder of how deeply music touches the soul of the artist and most importantly, the gift of themselves that they share with others.
On to production. So many details were double, triple and quadruple checked, but there was still more to be done. Months had gone by since the process started and at this point, it was getting closer to becoming a reality. All of the marketing had begun and the fans had been very, very patient.
Fan support is so overwhelmingly important. Honestly, all of the lack of sleep, too much coffee, fast food, sore voices and months in the studio are draining, but the motivation and energy the fans provide through support and patience is priceless.
Shipments arrive. CD release parties are booked. Sales start coming in and you, yes YOU the fans are the ‘why’ behind the music. Without you, this music would not be heard or played in your living rooms, so please keep listening to the music.
Saving the best part for last…. Sometimes, you don’t know where a decision you make will lead you in life, or when or if you will ever see the importance of a decision. I have to say, I have great pride in Jeff for his work with Hugo and the Frozen Gringo CD. It took a great deal of time for Hugo to agree to it, with a lot of prodding from Jeff. When all was said and done, they captured 13 songs that wouldn’t have been recorded otherwise. Thus adding to Hugo’s songwriting and musical legacy. In addition, 100% of Jeff’s proceeds are going to assist with Hugo’s continuing medical expenses and living expenses as he fights Esophageal Cancer. Jeff has donated more than $1,200 and we are still filling orders.
Who would have thought the Frozen Gringo ‘CHILL BEFORE USE’ CD would have such an impact and in so many ways.
Next time you have a chance to purchase a $15 CD from an Independent Singer/Songwriter, I hope you think about all these things and know that it was created from the heart and soul just for you.
You can purchase all of Jeff’s music and the Frozen Gringo CD ‘CHILL BEFORE USE’ at www.jeffpike.com / Store.
Keep Listening and know we love you and very much appreciate your continuing support.
Kathy Mullen Music Management.
“Music is what feelings sound like” ~ Author Unknown