Don’t Hold Your Breath
Happy New Year!!!
I have been enjoying my winter break from school. I thought I was going to be busy mixing the latest Mister Cooper CD. It’s already taken so long, hasn’t it? The bottom line is this. If you’re waiting for the new CD to be ready anytime soon, don’t hold your breath.
There are so many roadblocks, detours and traffic jams along the way. Generally speaking, it’s called LIFE. Especially during the holidays. So many parties and so little time. Friends showing up at the door with who knows what. Then there’s always a cold, flu or infection throwing a monkey wrench into the proceedings. Presents to buy and then return. Preparing food you only eat once a year and then all those dishes to clean. And here I thought I’d have 2 full weeks to focus all of my energy on completing the CD. Ho ho ho.
The songs were finished over the summer. Recording started in September and finished in October. Then there was two months of “comping” which is short for compiling. Let me explain the process. I would normally record the lead vocal for a song three separate times (hoping for a particularly good one). After that, we (Scott the engineer and I) would listen back, take the better parts of each vocal take, and make one really good vocal track. Does that make sense? Sometimes a word, sometimes a phrase, sometimes a whole section would be pieced together for the “best” vocal. We’d do the same thing for all of the instruments, all of the singers, for all of the 18 songs. Whew! That’s crazy, yo.
Today was going to be the day we started mixing (feel better soon, Scott). Mixing is the procedure where you combine all of the “best” tracks together. The vocal needs to be a little louder. The mandolin would sound good all the way on the left side. The bass is too muddy and needs to be thinned out. I need to hear more of the kids singing. Less kazoo. That sort of thing. Once all 18 songs have been mixed and everything is exactly the way we want it to be, the whole CD goes to be mastered. Mastering is the step when we decide what the song order will be, how much space is in between each song, and that the overall volume level for each song is the same. Then some overall equalization is added to make the whole thing sound good on the radio, car, iPod or home system. A professional CD is born.
But wait, there’s more! The CD cover, all the artwork, and all of the text needs to be designed. And what will go on the label of the actual CD? Once that’s figured out and done, everything goes to the manufacturing plant. They press up the covers and the CDs, add a bar code, and then shrink-wrap each one for your protection. Then they send them back to me. And I can bring them to you.
So, you see, there’s a lot that goes into the creation of a CD. And sometimes LIFE gets in the way. Please stand by. Hold on. Hang in there with me, OK? Whatever you do, don’t hold your breath…
In the meantime, here’s a song from the new Mister Cooper CD that’s taking so long. I hope you enjoy it.
Happy New Year!!!