The in-your-face, cheerful melancholy punk rock band that's still alive solely because of the internet. I've been playing guitar in this awesome band since I was in high school, and the guys in it are basically my brothers.
Weekends feels like a child to me. I created the album largely with Brendan Steere, with lots of great accents from Bogdan Niemoczynski. I spent the greater part of 2016 (and some of 2015) creating pieces to a larger puzzle that became the album. I think the machine that Brendan and I finally got well-oiled by the end of creating Weekends is pretty interesting. Since we all live in separate states, this album literally exists because of the internet.
For the most part, Brendan would send me a song he had written with both an acoustic track and his vocal track (After finally getting him to run with a metronome). I would then build drums around the acoustic guitar track, all in Logic Pro, and then completely rip out the acoustic track; with a few exceptions, see "You Are the Weekends" and "Delores". After that, I created electric guitar tracks, sometimes a makeshift or MIDI bass track, and do some backup vocals. I would then mix it all together, maybe send it back to Brendan for a vocal retrack and a real bass track, send it to Bo to see if he felt keys could fit in, and mix it once they sent me back their new tracks. After what sometimes felt like 100 iterations of the process we got the final track. There definitely are exceptions, for example I completely wrote "(no) Light", all instruments in "A Million Ways", and "Unlimited Blade Works" started from a piano piece that Bo sent to me.
Since I was so involved in the mixing process (and not yet too familiar with mastering correctly) I sent it off to our old friend Shaun at WerleyBird Studios to master the album and learned some invaluable lessons from him along the way. I'm really proud of how Weekends came out, and hope everyone that listens to it can enjoy it a little more after reading this.
Asuka Re(build) was actually my second remixing project. We originally recorded the album back when the entire band was back in college in 2011 and living closer in proximity to one another. I played guitar and did backup vocals for most tracks, and the only song I completely wrote is "This Voyage", otherwise most of the songwriting was Brendan Steere. Some people enjoyed the original mixes, which were basically just us recording in GarageBand and kind of getting the levels right then putting them online or in the queue to release. I wasn't that big of a fan of the mix quality and thought it could be better, so I decided to give a shot at remixing it once I was living on my own out in Seattle.
Most of the remix was based off of pure trial and error from the past remix I had done for "Made in Highschool". I knew what the tracks should have sounded like and produced the tracks much, much more. The drums were definitely the most difficult part because we originially recorded all of the drums on a single condensor mic in a basement. I probably had about three copies of the drum track, each with EQs banded off for the kick, snare, or overheads and then major production with plugins on each of those tracks. It was a mixing nightmare, but I worked with it and think it came out pretty well. The album itself as an artwork I feel is still very much Brendan's songwriting, but I feel my remix gave it a new life.
Made In High School was the first remixing project I ever did. I obtained all of the original mixes from an old iMac we initially recorded everything on, where we released a conglomerate of an album in high school. I pulled together all of the songs that I thought were album worthy and started at it. My set up at the time was something less than to be desired in such a sense that I will not describe it unless someone really wants to know. (There may have been virtual machines involved)
I started this one out with just playing around remixing the song "Gimme Formal". Since I had never officially mixed anything before this, it was A LOT of trial and error (and online tutorials) until I eventually was able to push out a decent sounding track. In retrospect, this album was terrifying from a mixing/production perspective and I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemies. The reason being is, the majority of the tracks on the album (besides the guitars) were recorded through an onboard iMac microphone, including drums and vocals. This version of the album is still not perfect by any means, but I like to think of it as a timestamp on my progression as a producer. With that all said, the songs still all have a special place in my heart because of the amount of times we had played them all live.
We Salute You, or Wii Salute U, will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first set of tracks we recorded everything on a hackintosh I had scrapped together, making it the first time I had full creative freedom on the production. Also, it is the first time I was able to sneak one of my chiptune tracks onto an album, see "Fanfare". This album was super fun to practice and get all of the tracks recorded on. I still remember recording the backup vocals in my parent's old house during the summer in Pennsylvania, I had to turn off the A/C to make sure the microphone didn't pick up the humming noise. By the end of the day it was nothing less than raw in that room. For this album, we also actually recorded the drum tracks with two microphones so at least we had a solid kick drum track. Overall, I think I went through two iterations with the album, the original and then a remix of it with some of the knowledge I had from Asuka Re(build) and Made In High School.
This EP I feel is much more of just an honorable mention, because I think the songs on it are all fantastic. The only track I actually recorded on was "Defy (Oh I Know)". Brendan did the majority of the album with the exception of "Dead Bands of the 90's" where Cody was on drums and there was a guest backup vocal track by John Decker from the band Worries. I did eventually remix the entire album with the gusto leftover from Asuka Re(build) and Made In High School, and I think overall the mixes came out pretty well.