The album is done

This weekend the final track was mixed, mastered, and approved by all stakeholders. That means that after five years, the music for this project is finally done. We have MP3s all tagged up and ready to go with the final album art; the album credits and lyrics are being designed as a PDF that will come with the download. We are thrilled, as you would guess — we get a mental break after the last five months of pushing hard, and after that, we might start hearing the album the way other people might hear it.

Our friend Rob Smith put on his biz-dev hat and approached some potential partners to make videos for some of the songs, but the DIY spirit that has powered this entire project actually wont the day. Katrin Auch has created videos for all 13 tracks, and they look excellent. So in addition to hearing the album upon release, you can watch it too! (Fun fact: Kat also appears on the album, one of only two guests…)

Now we’re working on pre-launch details. That PDF booklet is being finalized; the website is partially upgraded in case we get a rush of traffic but still needs some configuration; the current topic of discussion is nailing down the final release date. It won’t be long — we want to get it out there ASAP once everything else is in place.

But for about an hour this weekend, we actually relaxed and enjoyed the moment!

PS: Thank you to Todd Gagel, who gave us our first donation. If we could frame PayPal and put it on the wall, we would.

April 2017: Videos, websites & tip jars

It’s with some amazement that we realized we now have 12 of 13 tracks done. That’s all the way done — mixed, lightly mastered, ready for release. I’m embedding ID3 tags and album art and the whole bit now. Only the final track is left to complete and that should be done in about a week’s time. It’s a little surreal to finally be at the end of this five-year mission, but it’s time to boldly go release it for people to hear. We will offer the album here as a free 320K MP3 album, and probably a FLAC download too.

Our attention is turning to other aspects of release now. We are going to offer the album for download here on the site, but that won’t be the only place to hear it. Since we were unable to secure a video partner, Kat is creating lyric videos for the songs, so people will be able to hear the whole album on YouTube; she’s almost done and we’re just finishing up the little things like end cards that link between songs and stuff like that. We’ll also upload the tracks to SoundCloud so you can listen to them there if you like. Our pages on YouTube and Soundcloud are on our list of links on our sidebar, so if you wanna bookmark…do so!

The other thing you’ll notice on the website sidebar is the tip jar. We always give our tracks away for free, but have been asked for years if fans can buy albums or even just send us donations. (We sell t-shirts but we make no profit from them — we figured having people wear our logo was thanks enough.) So we’ve decided to finally offer a tip jar for people who want to use it. As they have for the last decade, our tracks remain free, and that includes the upcoming album — but if you want to throw us a few bucks, you can now use the PayPal or Venmo links to do that. You choose the donation amount; whatever you choose, we’re flattered and we’re not going to say no. We’ll use the money to recoup some of the investment in our gear and the website.

Speaking of which, the website is about to incur a larger expense. We feel there’s a fair chance of this project getting some mainstream exposure (especially since it’s free, which is the internet’s favorite word), so we’re going to invest a little money into a beefier server setup, so nothing crashes. Lots of attention is a nice problem to have…right up until the moment it crashes your website. Many thanks to our old friend Matt Hancock for his advice on this front.

So…we’re agonizingly close now, and we’re looking forward to posting the darned thing. We’re still considering a few different dates, but when we do launch, it’ll be with all cylinders firing.

March 2017 Update

The last month has been very productive. While we had hoped to have everything squared away and done by the end of February, we are spilling into March — but there’s enough wiggle room in the schedule that it’s not terrible.

We have eight tracks fully complete now, with the ninth in final mix, on the bubble of being approved for release. That leaves four songs. Two of those are complete except for relatively minor instrumental additions/changes; we have some digital instruments that can be improved or replaced or both, so that needs to happen. The remaining two songs were pretty bare as of last weekend, but now have content all the way through to confirm structure, whether it be bass or guide vocal or piano or some mix of the above. Now it’s a question of “decorating the tree” (or “hanging meat on the skeleton” if you prefer a different holiday). We are each adopting one of those tracks as we build them out, then we’ll swap and finish each other’s work. That will probably take us a few more weeks, but with so many songs done — the first six sequentially, and now very close to the first eight in order — we’re in good shape as the video pitches get underway.

We have a friend representing our biz dev interests, approaching online content producers and distributors about making videos for some of the songs we’ve recorded. While that’s happening, Kat is working on album art (which is pretty darned close to done) as well as a few other visual surprises, including new promotional photos. And weirdly, we are working on getting this very website — which is as clean as a whistle — removed from some internet malware blacklists. Guess there were old issues with WordPress that got us flagged, but after the site was fixed, the flags were never removed. We’re now going to the individual watchdog sites and asking for new evaluations. That’s what we get for running our own website.

While we considered working with outside musicians, we did wind up doing everything ourselves — drums, esoteric instruments, you name it — and we are still working all weekend every weekend, plus some time after work during the week when energy and responsibilities allow — at the expense of our gaming, for sure. But we’re definitely at the point where we listen to the tracks and no longer say “What the hell are we doing?” but “Wow, we did that?” Hopefully you will, too.

February 2017 update

For the second half of 2016, we were basically sidelined by real life. The last two months, we’ve done everything we can to make up for that; the last three weekends have been particularly fruitful/exhausting. We’re also at that crucial time where we feel like we’re getting a lot of great work done…but we still cannot tell anybody what we’re up to. This will all be explained once the project is officially announced and we start promoting it, but trust us — we’re bustin’ our butts here.

The very good news: The first five tracks are as complete as we can make them. Through a friend who has biz skills, we are now ready to approach potential video partners with these songs as our calling card, along with the full (copyrighted!) lyrics and a project overview.

Please cross your fingers.

Drums: We’re going digital

Thank you for the suggestions, volunteers, and “I’ve got a friend” messages after our call for a drummer. We’ve decided to move forward with MIDI drums, which will give us the greatest control. Half the songs are completely done in demo form and just need to have their drum sounds upgraded. If anybody likes programming MIDI drums and feels like helping with that, shout — we’ll give you credit.

That said, not only are half the tracks completely tracked, but we’ve now got at least something recorded for all but one song, which we saved for last on purpose. The next few weeks are going to be light on gaming and heavy on working in whatever spare time we have outside of our busy jobs and abnormal normal lives. We are still dedicated to a late spring/early summer release window, and if we finish stuff now, we can give video partners time to do their thing for that same time frame.