Wednesday, February 25, 2015

SACHEM ORENDA - Studio Blog #1

Treelady Studios is the place to be if you don't like trees.  This is mostly because it is indoors.  I've always wanted to go there for other reasons, namely recording music.  I am sitting in the studio now after 48 hours of recording and mixing my new single with the legendary Dave Hidek.

Dave and I touching mixers.
Let's back up.  There is a  little place called "The Music Building" that houses the University of Pittsburgh's music department.  I had the fortune of being a student-worker at this location for all four years of my undergraduate studies.  During this period, I made lasting friendships with countless musicians, and it always seemed that I made extra-strong bonds with the other student workers in The Music Building.  One of these persons is sir David Hidek.  I particularly looked up to this friendly fellow when I was a 17-year-old Freshman that knew nothing about music recording.  Dave was already interning at Treelady and could answer all of my ridiculously ignorant questions such as "which of these softwares will make my music sound the best?"

One day this Hidekian man was having a senior recital.  He called me up and said "Sachem, can you bring a lamp?", but I didn't own a lamp.  [Don't tell anyone, but] I abused my power as a guard of The Music Building, used my entrance key when the building was closed to the public, grabbed a lamp out of the jazz room, and ran to Bellefield Hall.  I kick the door open (would have looked cool if actually happened) looked at dave, and said "did somebody order a lamp?"

Choosing the right music producer can be stressful.  Dave moved up to head engineer at Treelady, got a master's degree in composing music, plays drums, reads books on music psychology, AND has written his own electronic music.  Once I got the serious thought in my head to possibly drive all the way back to Pittsburgh to make my new album, the choice was obvious.  I wanted to work with Dave and no one else.  

Now, we have wrapped up the first mix of the upcoming single to my album on Feminism.  I can say with certainty that I made the right choice to record at Treelady Studios.  We still have to go through a few rounds of mixing before the final version is ready, but anti-feminists beware - Dave and I are about to sonically kick your asses!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A FEW NOTES ON RESTLESS SLAVES - and the Power of Friendship

Paul McGranite is a personal friend of mine.  By this, I do not mean that he is merely one of my friends.  He is one of the greatest people that I have ever known, and I am certain that my life would be significantly less fortunate had I never met him.  I suggested that we might lock ourselves in his studio for an entire day until we have produced a piece of music.  His response was something I had never heard before.  I later found that he was quoting Mitch Hedberg by saying "I'm for it."  I also later discovered that Paul misunderstood and thought that I was suggesting we get some club sandwiches.

All musicians learn that there are no rules as to how multiple music-makers might work together.  It's always a new language and usually quite difficult to learn.  Paul and I decided to just start messing with ideas and moving without hesitation.  The exciting thing about Restless Slaves is that we literally co wrote almost every detail of the song.  One of us would say "how about this melody?",  and the other would take that melody and alter it.  Virtually every melody, bass line, drum beat, and chord pattern was a combination of the intellect of two minds.  The piece became the corporeal version of exactly how you would imagine a collaboration of McGranite and Orenda.  The handful of listeners that are already familiar with both of us will see this relationship as clear as a clear thing. 

At the very last minute, we decided to add a rarity to the single.  Bright White Armor was an instrumental track that Paul wrote circa 2010.  I thought it was the most beautiful thing that I had heard that day (amongst other days), and begged Paul to let me add vocals.  I wrote the lyrics from my assessment of Paul’s perspective on love and, to some extent, mine as well.  See, we are both sensitive and hopeless romantics.  The words were meant to be a means of helping Paul cope with his feelings, and to guide him to receive the love that he deserves.  “Caterpillar, about to die” was derived from a description on Paul’s music site that I found when we first met.  Something to the effect of:  The caterpillar is transforming into the butterfly.  

Paul does not know that I am writing this.  I want him to know how much I love him as a brother and as a human being.  He is the best.  I consider myself a pacifist, but I would still kick anyone’s ass that ever messed with my Pauly Paul of the Paul people named Paul.  What shines most about Paul, is that his constant altruism makes those around him want to be better people.  How lucky I am that this friendly person came into the University of Pittsburgh Music Building while I was hanging around one [I don’t believe in] fateful day.  

Also, we would like to give our sincere thanks to Bill Danylo for doing a fantastic job mastering this song!  Bill is also a truly rockin' person.  You should probably meet him.  


Restless Slaves is a free single: