Mid-July Update

Hey friends,

I just thought I’d do a quick post to keep everyone in the loop of thingys. PGEP was released on Monday and I’m pretty happy with the feedback I’m getting so far ūüôā Thanks to everyone who’s downloaded or checked it out! If you’ve yet to download it, use this free button to add it to your cart:¬†[purchase_link id=”109″ style=”button” color=”white” text=”Purchase”]

I was going to try to take the rest of July away from writing and just mentally unwind a little bit and make sure all my ducks are in a row for “chapter two”. I took about 70 hours and then dove back into some tunes, mostly collaborations that with any luck will be released by the end of the year. ¬†I’ve decided that my next EP will be titled¬†The Narrows EP and will probably three or four songs on it. As for a due date, I’m uncertain. There’s a few other collaborative projects that I’m putting most of my energy into.

Most importantly, I’m ramping up for a live show. Poly Gecko has never played live and it does present some challenges but I’m waist-deep in tackling it. Hopefully this ol’ MacBook can handle it. I’ll be running Ableton Live to spit out a few stems while I attempt to play a combination of Maschine, synths, vocals, vocoder live. Oh, and I think I found a really cool drummer who’s willing to do this stuff live with me. That’s a big deal.¬†Not only will it be unreal to have drums coming live from someone’s capable hands but he’ll feed me energy live and it’ll be a way better show overall. I’m also looking at picking up a DMX interface and writing a sick live show to go along with these tunes. I’ve got plenty on my plate entering the later half of 2015.

Transition Roads - Ominar

As always, I’ll include some music that’s entertaining me of late.¬†Solar Echoes¬†by Nigel Stanford is an amazing instrumental guide to why I love electronic music: nothin’ but ear candy.¬†Meridian EP¬†by Zola Blood has also caught my attention. The group¬†reminds me of¬†Tremors¬†by SOHN. Super fat synths, really spacious songs and beautiful hooky vocals that’ll stick in your head all day, but in a good way. Last by certainly not least,¬†Transition Roads¬†by Ominar. You know when an album starts with the lyric “Like a candle strike, we are the perfect match” that it’s going to be amazing. Every single song from this album is really great but my favourite has to be¬†Distance. This is my favourite album to come out of Halifax in a little while. Ominar calls herself Dream Pop and it is most certainly that. It’s super chill and I urge you to take a listen for yourself.

Until later,

Ryan

The Importance of an Audio Engineer

Back in December when I really started to focus on the completion of PGEP, I figured I would write, record and mix it for myself. Well, I followed through on the writing and recording aspect, anyway. When it came to mixing, I decided in the spring that it would be better if someone else¬†performed that task. Even though I graduated from a Recording Arts program, I still thought it would be best for PGEP to get mixed elsewhere. There are a couple reasons for my decision: I don’t have a proper listening environment to mix (sorry Dartmouth apartment!); I wanted to remove my biases towards parts and allow it to be mixed for an audience instead mixed for me; I wanted a knowledgable,¬†experienced¬†set of ears engaging the project to bring out¬†it’s full potential. His name is Luke Batiot and he is the Chief Engineer at Village Sound in Halifax.

Luke and I have a great¬†history. We were classmates in Recording Arts, then roommates in 2012 and 2013 and now we watch¬†Game of Thrones together. Maybe you’re thinking that I picked Luke to mix PGEP because he’s my friend. I suppose that’s maybe partially true. I selected him over any others because I¬†trust him. I¬†trust his ears. I¬†trust his mixes. I’m so happy he was able to mix this project. PGEP now sounds like I always heard it in my head. I couldn’t have reached those heights without Luke, Dave and Jason at Village Sound.

I’d like to use this space to demonstrate the importance of mixing and the importance of finding an audio engineer you trust.

This recording is Forrest at a rough mix stage (before Luke):

This recording is Forrest post-Luke:

Hear the difference? I hope so. The drums are tighter, more impactful. The vocals shine like they’re supposed to. That bass pad at the end is suddenly taking up every square inch in your room. The use of delays and reverbs is much more refined in the Luke version as well. The mastering really smooths out the tracks and makes it way more listenable. Overall,¬†Luke’s version has so much more life, texture.¬†The rough mix falls flat in comparison.

I don’t want this blog post to be a butt-kissing parade or an awkwardly long thank-you, but merely a tip of the hat to Luke, Dave and Jason and Village Sound and to stress the importance of finding an audio engineer you can depend on. It certainly has a cost but all the important things do. If you want your music to be the best it can be, get it mixed, get it mastered. Your future self will be thankful.

Sidenote: PGEP is done (that was fun to type). On Monday, pop on back to this website and hit the PGEP tab for your free download. 

I’ll see ya then.

A long slow goodbye,

Ryan

10 Days Until PGEP

Hey friends,

It’s now only 10 days until I release my debut EP, PGEP. It’s kinda weird because it feels like I’ve always been working to release something,¬†anything. And now that it’s finally done and nearly ready to be released, I’m still rather shocked. That being said, I have plenty of upcoming musical adventures¬†to keep myself occupied – and you entertained, of course. For each of the songs on PGEP, I made a short teaser video. So far I’ve uploaded one of Forrest, Num3rology, 82 and Infancy <See below>. This Sunday I shall upload the final one, Only. Only is probably my favourite song on PGEP, but ask me tomorrow and maybe it’ll be a different one…

After PGEP, I’m going to piece together a live set. I’m aiming for about 30:00 to start and play a few shows and see how I feel. I really have very little experience playing live, let alone by myself so it’s a bit nerve-wracking. I’ll get over it though, this is what I want to do.¬†I think my live setup will consist of¬†triggering stems from Ableton Live using my APC40 MkII, then using Maschine and a Roland JDXI live for synths and drums. And of course, an SM7B for vocals. It’s challenging to do¬†everything live off-the-floor so I’ll employ Ableton to spit out some basic stems and I’ll play and loop overtop. Oh, also, a lot of lights and lasers.

Alongside the work for a live set, I’ll start work on my follow-up EP, tentatively titled¬†Thresholds.¬†I really haven’t decided many details but I have a rough picture of what songs should be on it. One is called Utifi and you can find a demo of it on my SoundCloud.¬†Listening back to that now, woah, it’s come a long way. There’s about 5 other songs in contention to be on¬†Thresholds but I’ll narrow it down more as it draws near.

I’ve been working a lot on my music theory as of late and I’m learning a lot. A year ago, I knew shit all when it came to the language of music. I knew a major scale on my bass and that was about it. I’m finding my writing is improving immensely as¬†I spend more time learning the theory behind it.

I’ll check back in on Monday I imagine after the album is mixed and mastered by my good friend Luke Batiot. I’ll probably post a comparison of my songs pre-mix and post-mix and you’ll be able to tell why a good mixing engineer is worth every penny.

A long slow goodbye,

Ryan