Monday, December 03, 2007

Studio Blog 2 (12-3-07)


I woke up this morning bright and early and went and worked out with my trainer. We worked hard for our hour and then it was home to shower up quickly. As soon as I got dressed, I packed up the rest of my guitars and loaded them into my SUV, along with 3 amps and then it was off to pick up Ash at 10:30. I got him and his equipment and it was up 65N to Stephen's studio.

We got to the house a little after 11am and proceeded to unload all of my stuff. Loading and unloading is the bane of my musician's existence. One day, down the road, I will hire many men to carry my stuff in, but for now Stephen and Ash's help will have to do. Soon after we got unloaded, Steve Bishir, the main engineer for the record came by and brought an expensive mic for us to use on guitars...he also helped make sure that the "sounds" were just right. Stephen is a pro, so of course everything was great, but hoops must be jumped through for the main engineer. After he was satisfied with sounds, Steve headed off to have a day off and Stephen and I got to work, with Ash filming as we went along.

We set up and decided to work on "Pleased". We started off with me doing rhythm electric guitars. I sat down and started working with my Tradition Les Paul and Stephen decided that we needed to give it some love, so we took it down to his workshop and he worked on setting the guitar up. Once that was finished, we began working on guitars and, to be honest, for some reason I was struggling.

The thing I'm realizing quickly that a label record has to be even more perfectly precise than an indie record has to. We are taking pains to make sure everything is perfect. I would lay down a guitar part and 1 note would be off and we'd do the whole thing again....incredibly frustrating. But you know once I finally got the entire song 3 hours later, it was worth the work because it sounded awesome.

Brown showed up right before lunch, as I was finishing up the 1st part. He gave his approval on what was happening, and then, after I'd finished, we all went to lunch at a Greek restaurant not too far from Stephen's place. It was fantastic. I got a small meal, so I was able to eat great food but watched how much I ate, so I felt good about it.

After lunch, Brown headed off and left Stephen and I to our devices. I doubled my guitar part with another guitar and different tone and that went a lot quicker. 30 minutes later, we had the doubled guitar part and it was on to listening and fleshing out extra parts.

We listened through trying to figure out what was needed. We do know we need bgv's and maybe strings. Stephen will do some lead guitar work later on, but for now, we just decided we needed some synthy stuff to make it feel different than your normal pop/rock song on the radio. So we added one part to the verses and the end of the bridge, and then for the last hour or so have been working on the lead parts on the intro and turn-arounds.

Everything is sounding great.

Around 6pm, we moved on from "Pleased" feeling like we had everything we needed with the exception of some guitar parts that Stephen will do later. We moved onto "Potential". The new arrangement of this one doesn't leave a lot of space for tons of guitars, since it's a little more ethereal, so we tried to figure out what else it needed. We messed around with some synthy stuff and then decided to go ahead and record 1 guitar part. I pulled out my telecaster and ran it through Stephen's old AC30 Super Reverb, which sounds incredible. I tuned my guitar down to drop D and laid down a little distorted part that sounded kinda cool (in the mix, you'll probably barely be able to hear it, but it'll be there).

After we finished that guitar part, we worked on some keyboard stuff. I wrote a little line that I played at first in Reason and then we transferred it over to a Pro Tools program called Velvet, which is a sample-based program that sounds exactly like old electric pianos (Rhodes, Wurlies, etc.). It added a little counterpoint to the vocal, which was what the verses needed.

After we'd listened to see if anything else was needed, we closed up shop for the night and I headed home. Can't wait for you guys to hear everything.


slimpickens said...

Oooooooh. The anticipation for the final product is building greater than I have the capacity to contain it. Thanks for working so hard to get every note "just right". And toting all that equipment around should be good for the physique too, Chris. Does your trainer take that into consideration??

Lovin' ya!


vivian from missouri said...

Believe me I understand the whole "loading and unloading" thing-----I have 2 sons currently in bands besides working their day jobs and most people don't understand what it takes to set up and break down as well as load and unload---my youngest son tripped over a curb carrying equipment and broke both of his front teeth --not a pretty picture and expensive for him to repair. It is amazing how much work goes into recording just one song and sometimes frustrating too, Most people probably wouldn't think it would be tiring because it doesn't seem like "work" but it can be exhausting I know --so as long as you are pleased with it we can look forward to the finished product and hope that in the future all you have to do is show up and do the sound check. Be well.

Carianne said...

Man, after reading your description of what it takes to make an album, I don't think I'd have the patience to be a musician haha... but I'm sure all that hard work will be worth it. Every time you post a new blog about recording, I get more and more excited for the album!

On a side note, I laughed when I read the title of your latest MySpace bulletin: "Chris Sligh says buy A.D.D." That title combined with your profile pic (the curtsy -haha!), I couldn't help but laugh :p

rosalee said...

Here is the news article and video from yesterday's book signing:,0,7791687.story

The news article talks about these "hard core" Clinton fans. Little does that reporter and bookseller realize that at least one "fan" was really a "hard core" fan of someone else....(lol)

risalea said...

I love reading about all that goes into one song. When it all comes together seamlessly, all the little parts that you work so hard on, seem effortless to the non professionals out here, but I know you'll hear every nuance. And it will all be worth it!

As for carrying stuff, let me give you some advice from my husband's experience with years of carrying heavy C-130 parts...lift with your legs, not your back. You don't want back issues. Ever.

OK, brother from CA is in town, and he and my mom just left, so I'm behind and have a couple of hours work on the computer for my monitoring job. Later, guys! Chris, can't wait to hear the next chapter in your story! Risa

p.s. Because it was posted at the end of the last blog, I don't want it to get lost. Amanda sent a text to me, asking for prayers for her friend, Tyler, at St. Jude's. He needs them badly. Thanks for adding him to your prayer list, all.

rosalee said...

Chris -
I recently read something "somewhere else" that you thought was "genius", but I had the same idea months ago on this blog and it didn't elicit any response (maybe it was just in the presentation, or you had to be there)
See your Sept 4th blog post - Shrek:The Musical
My quote:

"rosalee said...

Actually that's pretty neat. I think it would have been good for you - just to do something different. If they ever remake The Honeymooners, maybe you and Phil will be cast in the starring roles (Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton)(LOL)"

I said it first, and btw, I think that Phil is a much better fit than Sanjaya for the Ed Norton role. (LOL)

Carrie said...

Popping in from my unannounced hiatus (things are hectic so I'm on a "break" from stuff) just to say;

Blake's album is officially out! I think I'm going to buy it tomorrow in between classes.

So Chris, I'm requesting my "BLAKE IS AWESOME!!" blog post.

See you all soon.

Tawny said...

It sounds like things are going well so far. Keep up the awesome work.

I didn't get Blake's album *hides* But I might soon. I still need to check out more clips first.

Wow... I can't BELIEVE how many chances the Patriots ended up having. They should've lost tonight >.< I was sitting there staring at the TV with the tremendous luck the Patriots had in the last 1min of the game, insane. Go Steelers! Please beat them this weeknd.

Tawny said...

Blake's album comes out tomorrow... duh lol Ignore that. I got confused.

amandarhea86 said...

Chris i havent read the blog yet, but right now i come here asking for fellow believers prayers they gave my friend Tyler 10-12% to live, he is on a vent again. So please everyone pray for him. You can read more about it on my page in the last 3 entries the pic is of me and tyler pre bmt. Love yall

radueriel said...

so, you have a blog...

just droppin by for the first time...

good luck on your post-american idol career..

HstryQT said...

I can see how frustrating it would be to re-do songs over and over for one note being off. But I'm glad you got it perfected! That made me wonder if when you listen to the HPF album you can hear notes that are off? If there are any, I know only you would notice, so, it made me curious!

gdahimself said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gdahimself said...

To Rosalee,
From GDA,

"If they ever remake The Honeymooners, maybe you and Phil will be cast in the starring roles (Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton)(LOL)"

This sounds akin to me suggesting that they turn up at a Halloween party as Laurel & Hardy.
Chris with a Charlie Chaplin moustashe is an interesting visual.

GirlyGirl45 said...

Hi, Chris--I'm enjoying your blogs about your recording experience. It's fascinating to me how many iterations your songs go through (not only to make the suits happy but also to mesh with your and the other musicians' idea of what the song is about). The contrast between the precision of a big label and the more relaxed Indy approach is also interesting. One could argue that the little imperfections add character, but I suppose you best cross all your Ts with this first go-round. Don't worry about the schlepping and the hoops jumping--I guess even in the arts, there's a reason it's called "work."
Speaking of which, bravo for you for sticking with your training and your careful food choices!! sounds like you're doing great. Ever since I've returned from New Orleans in October, I want anything with crumbs, so more work to do at Curves. (Last time they played You Really Got Me, which always makes me smile)

GirlyGirl45 said...

Some respect from the Dazeoffire fanjaya site, Chris:

"I will say this about Blake and Chris Rich. I respect that fact that they and they people they're working with have/are constantly dropping tidbits of information on how the recording process is going. They're making full use of their MySpace pages as marketing tools.

Same goes for Sligh.

I think it's VERY smart and a way to keep their fans informed, excited and INTERESTED."

I couldn't agree more.

risalea said...

Chris has posted some studio pics up on his myspace. Gives a visual to what he's been sharing with us.

Chris, you've discovered the key to weight loss. It's not what you eat, it's how much! Good old portion control (oh, if I'd only had that lesson sink in my head X number of pounds ago!!)

OK, reviews to complete and upload and a Board meeting to y'all later! Risa

HstryQT said...

Holy Smokes! There was just a Blake commercial on MTV! I don't know why that's so surprising to me; but I don't think I ever saw a Jordin commerical anywhere. It wasn't even through MTV (like many music commercials are), it was through Arista and Target.

Looking through your new Studio Pics now, Chris. Did Ash take the pictures as part of the documentary process?

Cathy Storms said...

The pictures are great. Thanks for letting us go on this journey with you.