Part I: Line The Track
As the dust of an excessively hectic, music-filled weekend began to settle, work officially began on Cold Lazarus’ thus-far untitled debut album.
On Sunday morning — after surviving the madness that was the sixth annual Brokenstring Music Festival — I slowly got myself upright, dusted myself off from my night on the campground where I slept, collected the two other Cold Lazarus members who camped with me and made my way straight to Tone Hill Studio and Productions in Kiantone. Showers and sleep would come later; for now, we had business to attend to.
As I mentioned last week, I’m going to try my best to comprehend the recording process that we undergo and then articulate that experience in as coherent a manner as possible in the coming weeks. Every band has their own preferences and techniques, as does every recording technician in every studio, but the following is a general breakdown of how events transpired for Cold Lazarus this past weekend.
To begin with, the first session is generally not overly exciting from a playability standpoint. There’s a lot of discussion as to how best to proceed from scratch and then there’s a lot of time spent setting up drums and placing mics while the rest of the band members wait for the “record” button to be pressed.
And even then, trial and error over levels and translation of sonic texture must all be accounted for before we can even begin to lay down anything remotely usable. In this case, our producer and owner of Tone Hill Studios, Ben Juul, was diligent about making sure everything was in order and that we were all comfortable with how things were about to play out.
In a nutshell, we ultimately opted as a band to attempt recording this album without a metronome — or “click track” as it’s commonly known in the studio. This is a divergence from the process we underwent when we recorded our EP at Graphite Sound Studios in Warren, Pa., this past February.
I was admittedly a bit hesitant to try this new method, as I’ve always been a bit of stickler for strict tempo adherence and I’ve really never known anything other playing to a click, but it readily became that all of us were more comfortable and confident recording the songs together, as opposed to laying down our parts separately. I was further assuaged by the knowledge that several other artists with whom Ben has worked — notably, Smackdab, who just wrapped up work on their forthcoming CD — also recorded without a click.
To clarify, the only tracks we’ll end up using from Sunday’s session are the drums. While the drums were mic’d up for recording, the rest of us were playing “scratch tracks” direct-in to the computer via Ben’s mixing board, and our instruments could only be heard through headphones. So, although we were all playing the songs together, Marc (drummer) was the only one being recorded. The rest of us will layer our parts individually over the drum tracks in future sessions.
This was done to give the album a more organic feel, as the drum tracks that the rest of us will record to were originally laid down to an ensemble performance. It means that there will be some (hopefully) slight tempo variations in the final product, but ideally nothing that will be noticeable to the casual listener. In fact, if done right, these variations may provide for a more believable and natural sound overall — as it will be more reflective of the way we sound when we play live.
So, at the end of the six-hour session, taking into account all the aforementioned setup and the trial and error, we ended up recording six of the 10 drum parts that we’ll use for the album tracks. At least, as of now, it looks like we’ll end up with 10 songs on the album, overall.
Our next session is Saturday. Again, I’m anticipating a rough go of it from a physical stamina standpoint as we’ll be coming off another two-day camping excursion — this time at the Night Lights Music Festival (see below). The plan for this weekend is to finish recording the remainder of the drum tracks and some of my bass tracks, as well.
A full and detailed progress report will follow in next week’s column. And I’ll probably do somewhat of a retrospective on the Night Lights festival, as well, since it will be my first time in attendance and I’ve been looking forward to this ever since we were confirmed to play back in April.
Until next time!
And now, here’s some of what you can expect to find in the area this week.
Seventh Annual Night Lights Music Festival Starts Today: The seventh annual, three-day Night Lights Music Festival is set to kick off today at the Heron Grounds in Sherman. Running through Saturday, the festival will feature 30 area and regional acts on three separate stages in an all-weekend, practically nonstop groove session. Initially conceived by festival coordinator Brian Enright and members of the Buffalo-based art rock band Lazlo Hollyfeld, the festival aims to bring something unique to the area both musically and visually. Headliners for the 2017 Night Lights Music Festival are: Papadosio, a rock-jazz-electronic-space fusion band out of Asheville, N.C.; and Dopapod, a five-piece, progressive-dance group out of Colorado. Also of note will be three performances by the Buffalo-based Aqueous, rising stars in the regional and national groove rock scene. For a complete lineup, visit nightlightsfest.com.
Gate hours are: noon-11 p.m., today; and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Weekend and day passes are available at the gate, but visitors are strongly encouraged to buy their passes in advance online at nightlightsfest.com. Weekend passes can be purchased in advance for $125, and Friday and Saturday passes are available for $65.
The Heron Grounds are located at 2361 Wait Corners Road in Sherman. For more information, visit nightlightsfest.com.
The Texas Tenors To Perform At Chautauqua Institution Friday: The new Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater is set to host The Texas Tenors in an 8:15 p.m. Friday performance. With their Emmy Award-winning PBS special aired across the country and their whirlwind debut several years ago on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” The Texas Tenors have accumulated a long list of awards and accolades. They have collaborated with some of the most prestigious symphonies and performing arts centers throughout the globe and are the No. 10 Classical Artist in the world according to Billboard magazine. From Bruno Mars to Puccini, this trio and their band will treat Chautauqua to a unique blend of Broadway, country, classical and current pop music with breathtaking vocals, humor and a touch of cowboy charm. For more information, visit thetexastenors.com.
For more information on Friday’s concert, or to purchase tickets, visit ciweb.org or call 357-6250.
Mike Randall To Perform At Prendergast Library Saturday: Magician and ventriloquist Mike Randall will perform for families and children of all ages at Prendergast Library at 1 p.m. on Saturday for the library’s Summer Reading Finale. The performance is free and open to the public. After the show, library staff will announce the winners of the 2017 Summer Reading Challenge Grand Prize Drawing. The upcoming performance by Mike Randall and Friends is titled “Build a Better World” and ties into the 2017 Summer Reading Challenge theme. The show is intended to teach children about the importance of reading, and will feature magic, puppets, ventriloquism, storytelling, humor and a lot of audience participation.
Mike Randall has appeared at several local venues including the Springville Dairy/Ag Festival, Cattaraugus County Fair, M&T Plaza, Eastern Hills Mall Children’s Theatre Series, The Toy Festival in East Aurora, Lewiston’s Wildlife Festival at the NY Power Authority, and the Cuba Garlic Festival as well as several schools and libraries throughout Western New York.
For more information, call the Prendergast Library at 484-7135.
JCC To Hold ‘Hairspray’ Auditions Next Week: The Jamestown Community College Uncommoners theater group will hold its final round of auditions Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 31, for its upcoming production of “Hairspray.” The auditions, which begin at 7 p.m. in Scharmann Theatre, are open to JCC students, high school students and community members. Those auditioning must prepare a song from “Hairspray” that demonstrates vocal range and acting ability and should wear comfortable clothes and shoes for the dance portion of the audition. Rehearsals begin in September and performances will be held November 3-5 and 9-12.
“Hairspray,” an award-winning Broadway musical, spotlights life in 1960s Baltimore and a dance-loving teen Tracy Turnblad, who auditions for a spot on the teenage dance show, “The Corny Collins Show,” and wins. She becomes an overnight celebrity, a trendsetter in dance, fun and fashion, and a vocal supporter for racial integration on the television show.
The JCC production of “Hairspray” will be directed by Julie Costantini, the vocal music teacher and musical director at Maple Grove High School. A resident of Jamestown, Costantini earned a bachelor’s degree at the State University of New York at Fredonia and a master’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh.
For more information about the audition process, contact theatre manager Steven Gustafson at 338-1166.
To include an upcoming show or event in this column, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 487-1111, ext. 243 by Monday.
Jules-R-Us Karaoke: 8 p.m., Good Time Saloon, 590 Fairmount Ave. in Jamestown
Karaoke with DJ Xcite: 9 p.m., Bullfrog Hotel, 1414 E. Second St. in Jamestown
Karaoke with Felony Entertainment: 10 p.m., Forte, 114 E. Third St. in Jamestown
Dave McDonald: 6 p.m., The Wine Cellar, 309 N. Main St. in Jamestown
Jules-R-Us Karaoke: 7 p.m., Lakewood Legion, 174 Chautauqua Ave. in Lakewood
Alex Cole: 7 p.m., Hadley House, 3328 Hadley Bay Road in Stow
Jay McDonnell Duo: 8 p.m., Vikings Lake Lodge, 4923 Route 430 in Maple Springs
The Freeze: 9 p.m., Big Shots, 674 Route 394 in Kennedy
Karaoke with Felony Entertainment: 10 p.m., Shawbucks, 212 W. Second St. in Jamestown
Splitfoot: 10 p.m., Bullfrog Hotel, 1414 E. Second St. in Jamestown
Jenny Langworthy’s 40th Birthday Bash: 10 p.m., Bullfrog Hotel, 1414 E. Second St. in Jamestown
Danger Bird: 6 p.m., Lakewood Legion, 174 Chautauqua Ave. in Lakewood
Claire Stuczynski: 7 p.m., Hadley House, 3328 Hadley Bay Road in Stow
Tyler Smilo: 7 p.m., Craft Burgers and Brews, 60 Chautauqua Ave. in Lakewood
Karaoke with Claudia: 8 p.m., Big Shots, 674 Route 394 in Kennedy
Jules-R-Us Karaoke featuring Tami T: 9 p.m., Good Time Saloon, 590 Fairmount Ave. in Jamestown
St. Vith with 40 Rust and Paolello & Gone: 10 p.m., Mojo’s Music Bar, 104 E. Second St. in Jamestown
Steel Horse: 2 p.m., The Vegas Pad, 1064 Route 394 in Kennedy
Bill Ward and Company: 4 p.m., Hadley House, 3328 Hadley Bay Road in Stow
Open Jam: 9 p.m., Bullfrog Hotel, 1414 E. Second St. in Jamestown
Bill Ward: 6 p.m., Andriaccio’s, 4837 W. Lake Road in Mayville
Bluegrass Jam: 7 p.m., Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Jamestown
“The Beguiled” screening: 7 p.m., Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, 116 E. Third St. in Jamestown