This Gaga photo has nothing to do with anything.
“Do it right the first time.” I guess I would say I ascribe to this saying. It’s common, it’s one of those oft-repeated sayings from school and childhood used to ward off mediocrity and slackerness.
Except I’m realizing that mantra is not always the best or most logical thing to follow. I’ve been 99% done with my record for a couple of weeks now, and the deal is…I have what I would call “good ears”. SOME have mocked me for my OCD ears, but we’ve brought this album so far and it’s SO GOOD that I just want it to be the best it can be. So does Dan, the producer man.
The other night I was listening through and almost ready to upload the album to my Kickstarter backers, because they are amazing and get it first. That’s when I heard, on the last track, a noise. A lot of times there are little noises made when you record. An open room mic, an artifact from the recording software, whatever. Dan takes care of these as he mixes, but some are tricky and hidden.
So I’ve sent notes to Dan before about noises. Mastering actually makes these little buggers pop out more, I’ve been told, so it’s pretty normal to notice stuff like that. Some of them he hears too and we’ve taken care of them. Some of them, I’m over-listening and it’s a guitar pick sound or something that’s supposed to be there. Dan is very patient and also awesome.
I thought we were done, but there it was…a noise. I slept on it because I really didn’t want it to be there because we’ve mastered this album twice already. I woke up and listened again, and there it was. I emailed Dan. He said, “Yep…there it is.” So he kindly took it out, no big deal, and we re-mastered for the third time (thank you Mark Hallman) and I am going to pick it up today. This is the one. I hadn’t heard anything else, and this was the last track of the whole shebang.
So this morning I was pondering all this. I do operate on a level of perfectionism in my life sometimes, but in art you really do have to learn (and re-learn) that things aren’t perfect and that’s what makes them great. I’ve had to find the line between obsessing over something and on one hand trying to make it almost sterile in its perfection (which benefits no one), and on the other hand understanding that we have made this project SO GOOD that it would under-serving it to give up on the last yard in the marathon.
I think we have done our due diligence, and I am super grateful to Dan for listening along with me. And we DID do it right the first time, meaning we have approached this EP with care and fun and attention, and I think that reflects in the music. It’s as great as it can be and I’m super proud of it.
The Kickstarter backers shall have it shortly, and I’m making a plan to get it to the rest of the world this summer. Promoting a new album is another example of letting go of doing it right the first time, because there’s always something new to try or learn. Let’s hope that process is as fun as the recording process has been!