Day ten: introducing Em-Eff Productions!

Today was an epic day.

I began early this morning with the drum tracks, lead guitar, and lead vocals for “You Will Thank Me,” the recently-written, last-minute addition to The 2010 Project.  Thanks to Mike, I felt the pressure to record steadily, as we would be getting together around 9:30 for breakfast.  So, before I jumped in the shower at 9, I had recorded the key tracks for a new song and completed the lead vocals I had started for “I Would” last night.

After breakfast, these recording sessions were taken to a whole.  Nutha.  Level.

First up, Mike worked some production magic on “You Will Thank Me” to make it sound more full.  Then, before returning to “I Would (Prefer Not To),” he led me through some practice on palm muting, searching for the best effect on my pedal, and finally through a series of performances that have transformed this track into a huge electric production, a truly glorious guitar-driven song.

In talking with him, we developed the idea to record the song I had set aside to be a “hidden track” as a live performance, just the two of us in one or, as it turned out, two takes.  So, the bonus track on my new album will be the first-ever officially released Dry-Knuckle BedHeads recording, “The One For Me,” featuring me on guitar and harmonica and Mike on the hand-made (old-school) maracas my sister brought home from the Dominican Republic years ago.

The Dry-Knuckle BedHeads rock out

If you don’t want to wait until the album comes out, you should click on the Dry-Knuckle BedHeads tab in the toolbar above and listen to “The One for Me,” as well as “I Already Know It’s You (California),” one of the other three songs we recorded today.  This song is a Mike Fusco original, and features him on guitar and lead vocals, with me accompanying on harmonica.

We also recorded two other Mike songs: a rocking version of “Do You Have a Sister?,” previously heard in his solo performance on the Laptop Sessions blog, and a heartrending performance of “Back to Reality,” both of which will be converted to .mp3 and posted soon with additional pictures, so check back soon!

To make a long story short, the remainder of my day included: a candid conversation with Mike about home, traveling, life, love, goals, dreams, reality, and the unexplored potential of mOu; my second eating-out lunch of the week (a break-week tradition); and last, but not least, driving the Fustang, which added several more reasons to my list of why I should consider buying a muscle car for my next automotive purchase.

If you’ve made it all the way through this blog entry, I thank you for being so patient and interested, and I promise to bring you some great music at the end of this long 2010 Project journey!

Oh, and Mike and I call dibs on the title for our new production company/label: “Em Eff Productions.”  It sounds informal but edgy, and as Mike pointed out, he’ll be able to keep it if we ever have a falling out (M F stands for not only Moore Fusco but also Mike Fusco!).

More to come tomorrow!

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Day nine: An evening show-and-play

Tonight was the most enjoyable session yet, with the inimitable Mike Fusco stopping by for a couple hours.  I played him three songs, and he played around with my tracks.

And that wasn’t supposed to sound dirty, but somehow it did.

The result of our collaboration last night will be stylistic across The 2010 Project: he taught me an apparently Beatles-esque double-tracking technique that has alleviated my fears about my vocals ending up either lost in the mix or sounding like Love Out of Fashion (which were good for that album, but not here), he gave me arrangement ideas on “No Lights, No Sound” regarding bass and the levels on my tracks; and he jammed with me on electric to find a new, much more satisfying effect for “Socrates’ Gulps.”

It all started with Mike walking in during my first take of lead vocals for “I Would (Prefer Not To).”  Before I even had a chance to listen back, I offered him the headphones for a listen.  His encouragement and advice across the three tracks that he listened to (some repeatedly) made me feel like we were old rock star pals paying each other a visit.

Before he left for the night, we jammed a bit on a couple of his songs, Mike on acoustic and me on harmonica.  It stemmed from a conversation about how I wish I had been more knowledgeable and had more of a range of harmonicas in different keys back in the days of mOu.  At one point, I tried a method he had used in the past of having a harp in each hand and trading off after each chord change, D to A on “I Would.”  It all ended with us jamming on “I Already Know It’s You (California),” one of Mike’s most gorgeous songs and one that he hinted he might contribute to our Dry-Knuckle BedHeads project.

Later today, I’ll be back in the “studio,” finishing my lead vocals for “I Would” and starting in on a new song, probably “You Will Thank Me.”  More to come on that later tonight, and maybe even the pics that Mike took while he was here last night!

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The 2010 Project 2011 Preview Series: Part Two

Happy Monday, and welcome to the second installment of my preview series for The 2010 Project.  Today, it is my pleasure to bring you an acoustic version of an all-electric track on my new album, a song called “I Would (Prefer Not To).”

As you listen, try to imagine this with electric guitar and power chords rumbling across teh track…

“I Would” came to me one day as I messed around with simple barre chords.  This is one of the oldest tracks on the album, hailing from back when I lived in my apartment two summers ago.  From a simple D-A riff, “I Would” unfolded as a message I’d been unable to express previously.  It is a song written to a friend following a fall-out, outlining frustrations and mixed feelings regarding recent events.  The first two lines express my frustration better than anything I’ve written before or since, and the choruses are also very expressive of what I’d been thinking that summer.

So, I hope you enjoy this preview track and look forward to the full version on The 2010 Project when it drops later this year.

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Day eight: Finally rockin’ out!

For the first time since October, I’m back in the recording groove and working on a new song.  Today, I spent a lot of time warming up, just playing around on my guitar before I even began to record.  I knew that I wanted to record the first all-electric track today, a song called “I Would (Prefer Not To).”

For those American literature dorks out there, yes, this chorus is partially a nod to Bartleby the scrivener.

After playing the song several times (it’s been weeks since I’ve even picked up my guitar and months since I played “I Would”), I put my headphones on to listen to the new Radiohead album, The King of Limbs.  Initially, I had planned just to hear a couple clips of the new record to satisfy my curiosity before jumping into my own project.  Instead, it drew me in, and I ended up listening to the entire album, practicing the chord progression for my song.  It was good practice for muscle memory without the risk of getting bored with playing it so many times.

Finally, I got underway.  However, I hadn’t even finalized the drum tracks before I got distracted by a new song.  It came to me when I was messing around with drum loops.  The result?  I began writing “Bells and Whistles (or, The Post-Post-Modernist Cha-Cha)” and recorded a couple takes of a demo to save for later, possible Dry-Knuckle BedHead or next solo album, use.

Before Nicole got home from work, I managed to lay down the lead rhythm/riff guitar track, and continued to work on the power-chord guitar track while she watched television in the other room.  That’s the beauty of recording electric guitar: it doesn’t require absolute silence in the rest of the house.  I should confess that I did cheat a bit on the power chords.  This being the first time I’ve ever played them in a song, I kept brushing against the low E string, which kept muddying the sound.  So, I added an, um, “accessory” to my guitar.  It’s not classy, but it worked!

My power chord cheat

So, I came up a little short today, not getting to the lead vocals.  However, there’s time enough for those tomorrow or Monday, and then Tuesday will be my next session, probably for “You Will Thank Me,” another electric romp.

Until then…

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