I started working today on the album that I recorded with friends at the end of December/beginning of January. My friend Joel in Arizona (Dear & The Headlights, Gospel Claws, The Through & Through Gospel Review, Samuel L Cool J) offered to help add some depth and instrumentation to a few of the songs. I got the files from Jeff, the recording engineer, on Friday. Busy as I am, I just got to looking at this stuff on Sunday, and the files were not uploading correctly to my Dropbox, which is my easy way of sharing with Joel.
So, today, I told Joel that I was having troubles, and shared some screenshots (TECHNOLOGY!) with him so he could see what I was looking at. His reply: “Uh……..hmmmmm”.
That’s not typically good.
We messaged back and forth and eventually got on the phone. It was good to talk to Joel after at least a couple years. The last time I talked to him I told him that I thought The Head & The Heart had ripped off Gospel Claws on the song “Summertime”. Anyway, he told me some technological mumbo jumbo that resulted in me thinking that I had not received what I needed from Jeff in order to have Joel collaborate on this project. I had been waiting since the last week of January to get these files, and now I find out that I was still sunk.
I decided to tell myself that it wasn’t a big deal. That we didn’t really NEED Joel. I didn’t believe it, but I still told myself to make it feel less hopeless. See, what I had asked Jeff to do in the first place is unprecedented for most recording engineers – to take his work and let someone he doesn’t know add to it. It’s a risk. Jeff took the risk, drove to and from the studio (a three hour round trip) to convert the files, and even donated his time. Free work. I didn’t want to bother him about it anymore and risk hurting our relationship.
Tonight, Joel messaged me after thinking on it and told me to just text Jeff and find out if he had done such and such a thing with the files…perhaps what we were seeing wasn’t what we thought. Basically, all of the files on my flash drive from Jeff were separate, and Joel is only going to work on three of the songs. If they aren’t ‘consolidated’, they won’t be lined up in ProTools and it would be virtually impossible for Joel to recreate what happened in studio. Instead of giving up, I decided to listen to each track to get all of the acoustic, lead vocal, backing vocal, electric, bass, kick drum, cymbals, toms, and snare tracks for one song into one folder in hopes that, if Joel takes these files and puts them into his ProTools…blah blah blah.
I consolidated the tracks, and am currently uploading all of the studio tracks into my Dropbox to share with Joel for one song. It took about 45 minutes to find all of the tracks for one four-minute song – 25 in all.
With fingers crossed, I will be sharing the files with Joel shortly, and then we will see if it works.
Joel is a musical savant. He is brilliant (that’s a redundant way of re-stating savant for those that don’t get the implication at first). We met before either of us had any clue what we would become, almost 15 years ago. Since then, he has toured with some of my favorite bands, had a song featured in a movie (Earth to Echo), has won an award for “Best Live Show” in the Phoenix-metro area, and had a music video on MTV-U that was in competition with “All About That Bass” late last year to get played on national television (Samuel L Cool J – ‘Slip and Slide’). And, he’s a delivery driver. He’s a dad. He’s a husband. He’s a cancer survivor. And now a living legend. I want his help because he offered it (which is called grace), and because it will truly be help. It will make this album better than I could ever hope it could be.
My files have now finished uploading. Fingers crossed, I’m sending the link, and hoping that we have a chance to make music together again, virtually.