Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Did you know, did you know...?

Fernando Perdomo, Durga McBroom-Hudson, Lorelei McBroom, Dave Kerzner, Randy McStine

January 23, 2013 - I arrived in LA yesterday and immediately went to Fernando Perdomo's studio to get to work on a Sonic Elements Pink Floyd tribute project featuring the McBroom sisters (former backing vocalists for Pink Floyd). We had to work up quite a few tracks to experiment so I got a team of musicians to help me get it all done. Fernando and Randy are both talented multi-instrumentalists. I worked extensively with Randy on his project Lo-Fi Resistance's album "Chalk Lines". Fernando I've known for years but only started working with him recently on the song "Digital Man" by Rush. He was great! In addition to Randy and Fern I got Billy Sherwood, former producer and member of the band Yes who is also a multi-instrumentalist, to work up some skeleton tracks for us to work with. Basically, I was coming out here to go to a trade show called "NAMM" (National Association of Music Merchants) which I do every year for my company Sonic Reality. Whenever I go to LA I try to get some music work done because I know so many great people and places here for doing that. This time the two McBroom sisters who are normally on two different sides of the country or touring the world were together in LA so we decided to make the most of the limited time we had and get as much recorded as we could. So far we've gotten as much done as is humanly possible!

Fernando recording Randy McStine (Lo-Fi Resistance) playing some Gilmour-esque guitar

Me laying down a vintage-Floyd style Wurly part

This is Fernando's upright piano. It has a great haunting quality to it... and we're going to sample it! "Dreaming in Stereo" is Fern's "prog band project". They have two albums that are really good and I told him that if he does another one I'd love to do something on it. So we'll see! 

It's an interesting type of tribute album that we do with Sonic Elements. The approach in some ways is similar to how Steve Hackett did his Genesis Revisited 2 album where it's centered around an original member of the band but it's still covers and there are guests joining him. In the case of some of these Sonic Elements tribute albums I center it around iconic drummers that Sonic Reality has sampled for a sound library/music software product we're putting out. So, for instance, with the Rush tribute we're doing we have Neil Peart playing all the drums via his sampled drum library with Sonic Reality called Neil Peart Drums. So, for the Floyd tribute we have soon to be released sample library collections done with not only Nick Mason, long time drummer of Pink Floyd but also with Alan Parsons (of Alan Parsons Project and the engineer who recorded Dark Side of the Moon), Guy Pratt (bass player for Pink Floyd and also Toy Matinee, Kevin Gilbert's band previous to Thud) and the McBroom Sisters. What that means is that many of the sounds you'd hear on this tribute are also available as playable samples you can buy if you're a musician. So if you TOO want a certain Floydy drum sound or a really cool fretless bass sound or "ooohhhhwaaahhhh" to play from the keyboard you'll soon be able to do that (taking liberties with the word "soon" there... I mean some time this year). But, of course, if you're not a musician then you can enjoy the music created with these sounds... and an interesting mix of the "elements". 

Some of those elements can be the musicians with their particular style and sound. I've had the chance to mix some unlikely combinations of musicians together in a song. The most recent one that I've been working on features Keith Emerson (ELP), Steve Hackett (Genesis), Billy Sherwood (Yes), Francis Dunnery (It Bites), Neil Peart Drums (Rush) and myself (Squidttthhhh!). I've mentioned it already but I'm still excited about that the more I work with it. It's also interesting that it spans two songs that relate to each other. More will be revealed about that soon. 

Alright so that's it for now. I have to either get back to work or catch some Zzzz's so I have energy tomorrow for another mega session this time at another studio in the Valley. We'll have Guy Pratt in the early afternoon and then some major sampling with the McBroom Sisters. Then in the evening a vocal session with Louise Goffin (Carol King's daughter). That should be fun! After that I head on down to Anaheim for the NAMM show... but somehow I am going to try to do some sessions here and there too because if you haven't noticed I'm a bit of a work-o-holic! No, seriously, it's all about people's schedules and when you have a slot open you gotta take it especially if you're producing an album on a budget. Nothing beats being in the same place at the same time. Plus some musicians are autonomous with their own studios (like Billy or Fern). You give them a track and they add their part in their studio and send it in. We did that when we played on Steve Hackett's album and he did that when he played on this. Other musicians you need to book a studio and have someone be there to direct and/or engineer it... and sometimes that someone has to be you (or you leave to much up to chance). 

Anyway, I'll leave you with this video interview with Steve Hackett and Roger King talking about how we sent in tracks for them to use along with guys like Steven Wilson, Mikael Akerfeldt, Neil Morse, Steve Rothery, Nad Sylvan and many other people who guested on that album from around the world. Gives you an idea if you're curious of how that's done these days. 

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