Wanted to create a thread for Ghastly (at the urging of @dan_derks).
Here’s some fun facts:
The album was written mostly during 2018, with the oldest songs birthday in December of 2017, the newest October of 2018.
The hardware used was primarily my Yamaha DX7, my Moog Sub Phatty and the TC-Helicon Voicelive Touch 2. And I use Ableton as my DAW of choice.
Ghastly was written while I was beginning to process an extremely toxic relationship, and the ramifications of that relationship in my life and person.
It’s been an incredibly beautiful, maddening and vulnerable project. I’m so excited to share.
Really beautiful stuff! Thank you for sharing.
and a bit more reading here!
I’ve been meaning to seek out this work, having recently marathon’d through every episode of “sound and process” ever. How convenient that it should actually exist now!
this is really great! congrats
I think some folks work their whole careers to be called a crooner publicly and you got it in one of your first articles. good work!
nb: it was @joshhh who prompted the ask for a standalone thread! he is v sweet
listening now, I’m realizing how I’ve heard 9 different versions of this album and each iteration features new decisions and pivot points (
Eat’s changes are most striking – you pushed that song right where it needed to be. gd). absolutely insane and I love it. was reminded to merge this exchange into this thread from elsewhere:
I’m curious what it was like to get the album to the point where it was very nearly finished, and then invite someone else to help mix at that stage? I heard some earlier mixes and know you already had things sounding
super solid, so I’m curious if there were any big challenges or things you learned from having another set of ears late in the process on such a personal, self-directed, introspective thing?
Well this was my first time getting anything mixed externally. Ironically I learned a lot more about mixing having Matt mix the album as opposed to if I had mixed it myself, because I had to learn actual terms and descriptors for what I wanted. We also mixed from August until December (not kidding) with a sanity break in October (I couldn’t hear the songs anymore) and Matt was really incredible and patient with me the entire time.
The hardest thing for me to fight during the mixing process was my own perfectionism and neuroses. I would constantly go back to Matt and be like “none of this is working, let me work on it”. So I’d go back into the ableton project file and change EVERYTHING about the song, add new harmonies, add different drums, add arps, change the time signature, etc. After I’d send it back to Matt and he’d mix it like an angel, I’d listen to the new version like "what the hell, you just overcomplicated and fussed up
Realistically it could have been done within a month, I just felt so insecure and insufficient in my arrangements that Matt had to mix a billion versions of some of the songs that ended up being pretty true to the original mix. Goodnight Texts is an example where we pretty much went back to the basics, with some minor enhancements. Eat is on the other end of the spectrum, where the changes I made to it (video game sounds) were super last minute and ended up being exactly what the song needed.
It was also super awesome to have someone I could email who knew a lot about music theory, because I pretty much
dont know jack . So boy it helped immensely that I could email at 2:00am and be like “does that kick sound like its off key? what the hell is that” and have him to bounce things off of when I felt too stuck in my own head to move past something.
I’m doing it differently this time around, because I learned how to mix better demos while I’m working. Now I’m able to get them pretty damn close to how I want to sound, so I can have him come in and brighten things up or make those drums really kick some ass without having to put Matt through revision hell. Mentally, because the things I’m writing about are different than the subject matter of Ghastly, it’s been easier so far for me to quote on quote “finish a song” and let it be. Also I think I’m more confident that I am making the right choices now, and I try to not
ever second guess that when I am bobbing my head and moving my body while producing, thats a great sign that I’m in the right place. There’s more trust there. So, we’ll see if I go mix crazy again, maybe it’s just who I am. But I wouldn’t have known or learned any of this without going through my mixing meltdown.
this record has eaten days of my life.
I started listening to this after the live sound + process show. I really like this album!
this is the best thing ever thank you
praise to jah thank you for listening!!!