The music from Zendcon 2009

So there's been a little bit of interest in the music I wrote for Zendcon in '09.  Some people liked it, some didn't.  I remember reading some of the Twitter posts on the wall and feeling a little nervous.  The sound guys played it more up-front than I was expecting.  I had no idea that they were going to turn it up the way they did.  It wasn't that loud (according to Kevin's reckoning ) but I was expecting it to be background music.  So the fact that I wasn't chased out of there with pitchforks made me glad.

The way I had started it was about a month before Zendcon I pinged Eli with a very, very rough cut of a song and said that he could use it for Zendcon if he liked.  I had recorded the rough cut for Zendcon 08 but I didn't have the time to properly do it and give it to Cal.  So I figured I'd try for 09.  Eli mostly liked it but said it needed to be longer.  It was originally about 3:40, I think, and he wanted 6-7 minutes.  So I basically started from scratch since the originaly recording was pretty poor.  I recorded about 75% on the second Saturday before Zendcon.  I had the riff, the beats were easy, but i had to come up with 6-7 minutes of solos.  So what I did was played through the song and did about 5 or 6 takes, improvising the solo.  Then I took the best parts out of those and started splicing them together to form some semblence of structure.  The guitars are all live, and I've played it front to back several times, but I didn't write it that way.  I sent it off to Eli and the next time I heard it I was sitting at Zendcon waiting for the keynote to start.  I had no idea that he had decided to play it (since I had told him not to worry if he didn't want to).  So when I heard it I almost started jumping up and down and screaming!  Susie, head of Global Services, had no idea what I mean when I was saying "I wrote that!  I wrote that!"  She thought I was talking about the twitter stuff on the wall.  So, I definitely owe Eli a beer for making it so prominent.

For those who are interested; a word on gear.  I don't have much, but it's good enough for what I do.  It was kind of funny.  I was taking part in the "Meet the team" event as the representative for Global Services and the only question I was asked was "What kind of guitar do you have?"  I was, of course, more than happy to say.  It is an Ibanez JS-1000 which is a lovely piece of work.  It was also the only part of the recording that was real.  Pretty much everything else was synthesized.  The guitar was plugged direct in to an M-Audio Audiophile 192 interface and recorded clean.

From there I kicked in the distortion using Guitar Rig 3 LE with a compressor in front.  The way I got the sound was basically take two EQ bands in the upper register and boost the bands.  That was the lead sound.  The rhythm sound had the same setup but just dropped the highs down.  Guitar Rig 3 LE doesn't have a compressor so I put a compressor in front of it on the track in my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).

Speaking of, I use Sonar 8 Producer.  I haven't upgraded to 8.5 yet.  Why am I not using something like ProTools?  Good question.  Sonar is incredibly unstable.  Every session is marred by at least one crash, usually many.  The features are great, but the stability royally sucks.  So why not ProTools?  I guess because I know Sonar and it's got some really good synths with it, though it looks like ProTools is adding a bunch of stuff.

The drums were Session Drummer 2.  I like that I can seperate each drum into its own audio track.  The bass was a sound in Dimension Pro.

The listening part (i.e. studio monitors) was done using my Behringer B2031A's.  However, at the time I didn't have my B2092 sub and so I had to crank the sub frequencies way up.  It sounded great on those speakers but I didn't want to push them too hard since I had the low end EQ shoved way up to compensate for the dropoff at 50-60hz.  With the B2092 now that's no problem at all.  It's 360w of pure fun.  It's not the greatest sub in the world but for what I paid, it is frigging awesome.  I think I voided the warranty on my house when I first got it.

But enough about that.  If you want it, here it is for your listening enjoyment.  It's free, though I ask that you use it for your personal use.  If I hear it in a car commercial I'll, well… probably do nothing, but still. 🙂

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