Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 77 The Great Producer

"Sing A Song of Joy" and "Night of Miracles" are now on their way to the next phase. 

The basic 'feel' and/or 'groove' has been captured and some sprinkles have been added in for color and flavor.  Next they will be evaluated and handed off to other musicians to add their thoughts and interpretations, all under the direction of the great producer of course. 

The drummer, bass player, guitar player and keyboard player meet and establish the 'base' of the songs.  Then each may go back later and add in more things according to the producer's direction. 
Songs that are based in a rhythm section often get recorded this way. Not all the songs on my CD require a rhythm section.

I couldn't be there, but thanks to FaceTime and Source-Live, an iPad, iPhone and iMAC, I was able to still be a part of the process and it worked amazingly well!  (the links are for the techies out there who want to know). 

In the picture below this paragraph, you can see what I saw.  My iPad was giving me a view into the studio as they were talking and working.  The lower right corner box was me taking a picture (with my iPhone) of the iPad so you can see what I was seeing.  I got a tour of the studio via the iPad.

The studio sent me a link to their audio so I could put my professional studio headphones on and listen in on the session.  I could hear what the players discussed, the riffs they tried and decided to use or throw away and their silly comments about music in general.  I even got to hear their bunny trails of music while they waited for someone to give direction or press a button.  Jazz, Rock, Country - I guess it was their way of letting off steam and getting ready for the next 'take', sort of like a biker revs her engine at a stop light.  Can't wait to get going again?

I could make comments and give feedback directly to my producer as we talked on my iPad using FaceTime.  (In fact, as I write this blog at 8:30 p.m., I am still linked in to the studio in TN and listening to other songs that they are working on.  I don't know if they know I'm still listening.  They aren't my songs, but I get to hear the development of other artists' songs).  Pretty amazing!

While I was listening with my headphones from my iMAC and watching on my iPad, I was texting from my iPhone back and forth with my producer as we discussed things that were happening. 

At first I tried to give ideas for changes, but I could tell real fast that it was clear that Eric has a vision of the 'big picture' of not just each song, but the whole project.  He tries to walk a fine line between making sure I get what I want, but that I also end up with music that fits the song, my style, my audience and what is current in the music world.  Like when I suggested a different 'feel' in the verse, he told me that what I played on the demo is reminiscent of by-gone days and that they are trying to keep it more current - which is something he knows is important to me on these two songs.

Here's some of the comments back and forth between Eric Copeland (my producer) and I.  Sometimes the texts are disconnected.....our thoughts were finished later as we talked things through on the iPad.

Night of Miracles

Eric:  "Dave is redoing his 1st guitar, not adding yet"

Frances: "Ok - I think I better just listen and let you lead this  : )"

Eric:  "Prepping for next guitar and keyboard sounds" 
          "I told Dan I think I hear the miracles happening"
          "He started making baby noises and saying "Its' a boy!" 

(this was as they began adding bells to the song making it start to sound like Christmas)

Frances:  "Ah yes...Dan.....I remember having trouble recording because he was always making me laugh"  

(Dan Needham is the drummer and played on most of my "Inside Things" project.  He was hilarious to work with.)

Eric:  "He's rather tame today"

Frances:  "It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas!!!!"

Sing a Song of Joy

They spent a good bit of time on this song before they began to record - more than I've ever experienced before.  It was interesting to listen in on their thought process.  It sounds very different than my a very good way.

Eric:  "They are still feeling their way through"

Frances:  "I like it"
 Eric:  "Gotta also remember, we will be orchestrating over the top of this"

Frances:  "I like the electric guitar groove he is doing in the chorus"
Frances:  "Liked the intro too"

Eric:  "I hate the key change"
Frances:  "Ok - Lose it!"

Frances:  "What else might go in the bridge"  (sometimes we'd talk and skip the texting)

Eric:  "Organ cool?"
Frances:  "Whatever you think"

Eric:  "Jeff is going to add another belly thing when Dave does acoustics"
Frances:  "Ok"

Frances:  "Really like what the acoustic guitar adds"

Eric:  "I also hear chimes in this, but that's more orchestral in nature.  Strings and orchestra will be beautiful in this, and may add some parts in the middle as well (cello?)"
Frances:  "Great"

Eric:  "Gonna be very nice"

So you see.  The producer plays a very big part in this whole thing.  He hired the musicians, planned the recording day, chose the engineer, the studio and coordinated all the interaction between all of us.

He kept reminding me throughout the afternoon that what we were doing today is the 'base' of everything in these two songs.  When I was tempted to say it feels one way or another, he would remind me that I needed to be patient and let them do their thing because they were 'building' it.  I know that in my head, but you can't imagine how it feels (or maybe you can) to spend years writing, working, saving and then have it come to life in one afternoon.  You want so much for it to be grand right away.  But you can't ask a baby born one day to be trained, mature and ready for college the next day.  So it is with a song.  This is only the first day of school for these children of mine.   Graduation day will be when the CD is released to the world.  And by the end of the first song, I was loving what they did!  He was right.

Trust is a big issue when working with a producer and I chose Eric because we've had history of working together before and I knew when he reminded me that he hears so much more in his head than what I heard today, that I needed to trust him like I did with my other projects.

He hears the finished product.  That's why he's the producer and I'm not.

Reminds me of our heavenly Father.  So often I cry out afraid that what I currently hear or see is all I'm going to ever hear or see.  But He is building a much bigger plan than I can even comprehend and He can easily see down the road to the 'finished' product and outcome of our lives.  We must trust Him that all things are working together for our good. 

Today is only a glimpse of what the future holds.  If I base my faith on what I hear today, it could be really great (but only if I have a good day).  If I have a 'bad' day, then I might be tempted to feel yucky.  He wants me to trust Him in good and bad.  To wait for the bigger plan and picture to unfold and enjoy each moment as it comes until the big dream is complete.

Sigh.  (wishing for deeper trust!)

What a great day.


  1. Can't wait to hear what they've done with the songs! Excited for you on this journey : )

  2. So nice to have you to journey with!