08 February 2011

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– Producer’s Desk: 5 Home Mixing Tips

I’ve been doing a lot of mixing recently, and that tends to get my head in a very detailed listening mode. So when I hear other home recordings, lots of things stick out to me and I thought I’d list a few items here that might help you improve your home recordings.

Before we dive in, though, remember that of the 4 stages of recording (pre-production, source recording, mixing, mastering), what I’m touching on is only the tip of the iceberg on the 3rd stage. So by the time you get this far you’re already in the deep end. These tips aren’t going to make a bad song good or save a poor instrument tone (“you can’t polish a turd”). But if you’ve got your parts recorded well already, these should at least remind you not to make the most common mistakes when actively listening to your mixes.

05 February 2011

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– Two Songs Being Mixed

I wanted to give you a heads up on two songs coming down the pipeline. They’re both very close and should be finished and released over the next few weeks. Although it can be an arduous process, mixing and mastering is ultimately so rewarding that it’s worth the pain and fine details work that goes into it. There is nothing better than pushing play on the final test CD that sounds fantastic blasted out of the home stereo system!

Anyway, the two songs are: 1. Water Colors, the latest from my upcoming album, and 2. A re-mix of David Rix’s Carry On with Jessica Lynne sharing vocal duties. Here’s a little more detail on each of these…

03 February 2011

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– Jessica Lynne’s Version of “Colored Life”

Just a quick note about the new posting of my alt-country/Americana duet “Colored Life” now featuring Jessica Lynne on vocals. Jessica and I have been working together a lot lately and I thought it a fitting opportunity to go back and try to improve on this song. I’m thankful to Jessica for doing it (and even coming back for a second shot at the middle break to put it over the top!) and I think it turned out great.

A little note about Jessica, she’s only been in the US and Seattle for a few months now, but is already tearing up the country/Americana scene out here. Don’t ask me how someone from Denmark ends up singing with a southern twang, but here’s the evidence it can happen! She’s working on an EP now and I’m helping her develop some songs and backing her up live. Always nice to work with great up and coming talent from any genre and Jessica’s about as friendly and straightforward as you can get – just my style! She also knows the amount of work it takes to make it in music and I love supporting that kind of effort. So please wish her good luck and if you’re into that style of music, please keep an ear out for her new recordings – I’m sure they’re going to be fantastic!

02 February 2011

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– Let’s Talk Americana

Have you ever noticed the number of new music genres that have popped up over the last, say 10 years or so? Now, prior to the last couple years, I had my head down in the rock genre pretty solidly, so when I started opening my eyes to the wider popular music world the genre selection was all very confusing and fascinating. As a musician and a fan, I questioned not only what genre I was in personally, but what would you call the music that I liked to listen to? So many of these “smart” playlist systems try to push specific genres on you and I’d choose one and then say, “oops, that’s not it” when I heard the artists they thought fit there.

One exciting genre I had never heard of before recently is Americana. Now, I’m not much of a country fan, but I grew up listening to a bit of John Denver, the occasional Kenny Rogers, and even watched Hee Haw here and there. Not necessarily big into folk either, but folk/rock a la Crosby, Stills, and Nash or Simon and Garfunkel are okay with me. But as country itself has gone more toward rock, and folk has people going every which way, I hear more and more about “alt-country” and “Americana” as a description for a style of music that’s not quite country, not really folk, not rock, but perhaps a bit of all three. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong on that description or has a better one.

28 January 2011

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– February Preview

Down to the last few days in January, already? Wow, it’s been a productive start to 2011 and I hope you’ve enjoyed some of the fruits of that labor. There have been two major song releases, a podcast, a start at Twitter and YouTube, my regular blog, and then lots of behind the scenes effort to get all of my web presence pages looking consistent, easy to use, and packed with as much content as the various sites will allow!

There’s still lots more to do and tons of content in the pipeline for February. Here’s a glance at my upcoming “to do” list:

– The third major song release for this early group of new recordings, “Water Colors”: It’s another with lyrics passed to me by Cait Rosellini. It’s got a different feel that I am really digging – those who have heard it think it has a David Bowie sound. I’m a bad judge of these things, but perhaps because of the metaphor-style storytelling? Anyway, I’m excited to have you listen and tell me what you think of it yourself.

– Two new recordings with Americana singer Jessica Lynne: I’ve got two recordings coming with her that are cool variations on already released songs. One is a version of “Colored Life” – you can hear a preview of that from the (horrible visual quality!) live video that was taken of us performing the song together. Jessica has a great voice that fits the song perfectly and I’m very happy to have a fully produced version of the song with her. We also got her recorded on a version of David Rix’s “Carry On” which takes the song in an interesting duet direction.

26 January 2011

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– Producer’s Desk: 5 Non-Technical, No-Cost Tips for Better Home Recordings

What does “polish” mean to you in a recording? And is it even something you want more of, especially in a rock setting? Can you have a polished recording of an unpolished sound? In my mind, everyone should want a polished recording – this would represent their sound in the best, most appealing way possible. To me it’s about clear translation of the artistic vision, no matter how sloppy or gritty that vision is.

So there are certainly ways that you can spend lots of money to get better recordings (equipment, studio time, engineering & mastering help, etc.) and lots of sound engineer techie ways to improve your sound. Those tips are for another blog post! Let’s start with what you can do using what you have already.

1. Pre-Production – Start with disciplined practice, lots of practice. Practice with a metronome so you can be consistent in tempo. Record rough versions of the song so you can hear it back and start to think more about arrangements. Make your song better – really evaluate it and refine it. A great recording of a so-so song is a lost cause. Does it need an extra chorus? Can you cut an interlude or long intro? Cutting is usually better than adding, and this is your time to be brutal. For example, I’ll often cut a verse during pre-production if I have any sense that it’s getting too long. Make your decisions now, before you start recording in earnest, because the farther down the road you are, the harder it is to make significant shifts. You’ll still have plenty of opportunity to be creative – in fact, you’ll be more free to be creative since the basic decisions are confidently locked in.

24 January 2011

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– Matthew Meadows Podcast Posted!

The January podcast with my special guest Matthew Meadows is up and ready for your listening enjoyment! Matthew is a rock guitarist and singer with a new EP, Etherati, and a great approach for getting his music heard. He talks about some of his songwriting process as well as his recent run up the Reverbnation charts (reverbnation.com/matthewmeadows).

In addition to two guitar instrumental tracks from Etherati that are discussed and played, Matthew also was kind enough to perform his song “The Mistress” live in a solo acoustic setting. If you’re already familiar with the song, you don’t want to miss this very different arrangement! It’s always great when a guest performs live at the podcast and this is no exception.

21 January 2011

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– 50 Songs in the Store!

With the posting of “The Age Old Story,” I thought it was interesting to take a second and celebrate a cool milestone – 50 songs in my store! Two Jester’s Crown discs, two solo discs, a handful of old unreleased singles and a handful of previews from my upcoming disc “This Journey.” These are exciting times! 🙂

I’d like to think that there’s something for everyone in there, from the dynamic modern rock of my newest work, to the old school heaviness of songs like “The Chimes.” From the delicate pop sounds of “Cider & Roses” to epic prog like “A Voice of One.” Songs that border on country or folk like “Colored Life” or “Don’t Tell Me Why” to Billy Joel/Elton John inspired songs like “What Brings People Together” and “All It Takes.”

19 January 2011

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– Hear Ye, Hear Ye: “The Age Old Story”

Have you ever wished upon a star? I’m proud to present to you the first song I wrote with lyrics from Cait Rosellini, “The Age Old Story.” I was inspired by the different thematic material and sense of wonder in the words. This was a fun one as it just came out so smoothly and naturally – I’m very excited about this song. I hope you enjoy it and share the link with friends. Thank you for your support! Here are the full lyrics:

17 January 2011

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– “The Age Old Story” Drops This Week

Heads up, All! Incoming mid-week I’ll be posting my second new song of 2011, “The Age Old Story.” It’s the first song I wrote with lyrics by Cait Rosellini and I think it’s one of my best EVER. I know, it’s always easy to think the last thing ya did was the best, but I gotta tell you, I think this is a special one. I hope you agree!

It’s also the kind of song that I think really represents my creative identity at this point – strong melody, dynamic flow, buttery harmony vocals, and a kickin’ guitar solo all wrapped up in a tight pop/rock structure.

16 January 2011

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– Musicians and “Day Jobs”

I was recently pointed to a great little writeup from CDBaby asking the unfortunately neverending question, “Should Artists Have to Work a 2nd Job?” This really hit home with me as I’ve struggled with this for a long time. In fact, for the first time now, I am 100% focused on my musical career in 2011. This is strange and exciting territory for me – when I was in school, I of course had school to focus on in addition to music. Then I went directly into the videogame development industry, where I focused in addition to music. This continued for over 16 years.

I always considered the day job as the only way to fund the musical endeavors. So above and beyond normal living expenses and month to month bills, there was constant gear purchases/upgrades, recording studio time, promotional expenses, cd manufacturing, etc. It can be an expensive passion pursuit, even as I consider myself extremely frugal with my musical investments! On the plus side, I never had to play the part of “starving artist” – which I’m thankful for. BTW – I totally respect anyone who’s willing to sacrifice for dedication to their art. I haven’t been willing to take the risk until now and know it takes guts no matter what level of success you’re having.

12 January 2011

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– Playing Live w/Jessica Lynne This Friday

Just a quick announcement about a show I’m playing with my friend, Jessica Lynne. She’s a great singer in sort of an alt-country/americana style. We’ve got a nice little band going with a few other Songwriters in Seattle members David Rix, Adena Atkins, and Derek Medina. We do all original songs, some of which I’ve had a hand in, such as Colored Life. See the video of Jessica and I doing that one on my video tab here.

Anyway, the show is at Skylark Cafe in West Seattle, Friday, January 14, starts at 9pm with a $5 cover (the flyer is wrong that it says “free”), and includes Lucky Suns and Guns of Nevada. It should be a fun time for all and from my perspective, I really enjoy stretching out creatively from the big rock guitars once in a while. Collaborating with good people and excellent musicians is always a plus as well.

10 January 2011

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– Jester’s Crown Now in the Store

Who is Jester’s Crown, you may ask? Well, they’re my old band from the 90’s! Known for epic rock songs, deep arrangements, and excellent musicianship, we put ourselves in the genre of “melodic prog.” Progressive rock is a niche with a lot of variations and we were by no means hardcore, but there was enough of a tilt towards the complexity that fans of the genre liked that we held appeal to that group. If you listen to enough of the songs, you’ll understand what I mean.

While the songwriting had moments of collaboration between all members, the majority of the songs were written by me with my brother Pete’s lyrics. I still play many of the “classics” today when I do solo acoustic sets: After the Rain, It All Comes Together, The Chimes, A Voice of One, Certainly, Not a Moment Too Soon, Setting Sun, and more still pop up now and then. Many of these songs still hold a special place in my heart and I enjoy performing them, often evolved slightly toward my current tastes.

05 January 2011

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– “This Journey” is Now Posted!

Starting off 2011 with a bang! New rocker “This Journey” is now available for streaming from any of my music players and you can download it at my store for just 99 cents. Many thanks to Cait Rosellini for the lyric inspiration – you can look forward to a few more coming from Cait and me over the next few months…I hope you agree it’s a winning combo! Full lyrics below:

03 January 2011

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– New Song, “This Journey” Coming This Week

All right, folks, it’s time to start showing off the new songs!!! I’m very excited to have the first of this group to be posted be “This Journey” which is in fact my newest song at this point. It was only written last month and went through full production exceptionally fast. It shows off a different side of me, not only from a songwriting point of view, but vocally as well. Split into two unique sections, no guitar solos or thick harmonies are employed in this arrangement. I hope you find it to be as refreshing a track from some of my usual productions as I have. It has been a lot of fun to put it together!

A little bit more background on this song. It is my fourth collaboration with lyricist Cait Rosellini, whose name you’ll be hearing a lot more of as these songs get released.

29 December 2010

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– Jillian Graham Podcast Posted!

Time to go check out the latest on the podcast page – the last for 2010! Finished the year on […]

27 December 2010

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– Podcast w/Jillian Graham Posting This Week

Coming off the Christmas weekend I’ve got lots to post and more to tell you about! First things first, I am anxious to post the December podcast with fantastic up and coming Seattle musician Jillian Graham. We had a great conversation and heard some music off her new album Movin’ On, including an in-studio live performance. Jillian is a Korean born American adoptee who has some fascinating stories about taking her American folk music back to Korea recently and having some incredible performance opportunities there. Many thanks to Jillian for coming by and sharing her music! I will make a short blog announcement when I post it, but for now here are some pictures of the evening to tease it:

20 December 2010

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– Three New Songs Coming Early 2011

I’m excited to announce that I’m putting the finishing touches on the production of three new songs of mine, to be released early in 2011. These songs were all co-written with a new lyric writing partner Caitlyn Rosellini, so they all have a fresh sound and a different perspective. Being recorded in with my new home studio setup also gives them an upgraded quality in the production I am thrilled about. So far only Energy and Carry On have been released using this studio configuration, so producing more at that level is something I want to get out as soon as I can.

The three songs, in the order I will likely release them, are called This Journey (just need a final mix & master), Age Old Story (a guitar solo away), and Water Colors. Each has unique qualities and each rocks in its own way – no acoustic numbers in this group. I’ll give more detail as each song is released, so for now have a very Merry Christmas – musical presents from me are coming soon!

13 December 2010

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– Re-Launch of ChrisKlimecky.com!

I’m very happy to unveil the new look and better functionality for my website. It is the center of my musical world and now much better reflects everything that I am currently involved with. My work as a Producer, collaborating with many other talented musicians is now forefront. I’ve also added podcasting to my repertoire! And I have an accessible store where you can purchase full downloads of the songs you like most.

These are exciting times, creatively speaking – there is so much in the works I can’t wait to show you, both music of my own and those who I’m working closely with! This new website is much better equipped to contain it all as it comes in. Not to mention I can keep you updated better through this blog on a more regular basis. So please check back and I’ll do my best to keep you in the loop, and keep the music coming.

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