MonthJune 2010

Home Recording Experiments

For years I’ve wanted to have my own home recording setup, a songwriting suite where I can, at any time, record my songwriting ideas for either future reference or for pre-production purposes. I remember looking at the home studios of my friends and thinking to myself “one day, I too can have this”

Now, with the final piece of the home studio puzzle purchased and installed a fortnight ago I have achieved my dream. Here’s a couple of piccies for you.

The engine room

The main keyboard (with Barry in the background)

At the moment I’m using:

  • 27″ iMac using Logic Pro 9
  • Presonus Firbird audio interface
  • Fostex monitor speakers
  • Rode NT3
  • Rode NT1000
  • M-Studio MIDI keyboard
  • Some Casio digital piano
  • Alesis SR16 drum machine
  • Line 6 POD X3

I must admit, the learning curve I’m experiencing has been very, very steep and there have been times that I’ve thrown my hands up in air in frustration convinced that I’m “never going to get this” but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from all of this is that you learn a lot about yourself when you’re faced with a huge challenge.

I’m going to put some home recording experiments online very soon so feel free to send me feedback but in the meantime, the rain is pelting outside so I’m going to fire the home studio up and make some more music.

Peace,

Corey :)

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CD Project Update #1 – The Beginning

I went into the studio last Saturday with drummer Tim Irrgang to start laying down bed tracks for the CD and I’m glad to say that we’re halfway through the preliminary list of 18 songs earmarked for recording.

Tim and I go back a few years and I’ve had the pleasure of playing shows or working in the studio with him as either a bassist or vocalist/guitarist but I’m still constantly amazed at how much of a master player Tim is. His attention to detail is astounding and his dedication to the project is second to none.

It’s very safe to say that I love his work.

Tim setting up his kit

All miked up and ready to go

Recording everything separately has been a very new and interesting experience for me as most of my musical experience has been in the live scene. even when I was in the studio doing demos they would mostly be recorded live with the band. At times the recording process felt a little disjointed but I also know it’s early days and besides, I trust everyone who’s working on this with me so what have I to worry about?

Gotta keep ‘em separated (the tracks that is)

Just to give you all a background on what has happened so far…

Over the last four weeks I recorded 25 songs on acoustic guitar with vocals to a click which I then whittled down to preliminary list of 18 songs. These songs are to be used initially to guide Tim and myself on drums and bass so we can lay down the rhythm foundations for all 18 songs in readiness for acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keys and vocals to be overdubbed later.

The list of 18 will then be culled to a final list of 12-15 songs

Recording the guide tracks to a click was fascinating as I thought I kept pretty good time but as time goes on you soon find out that click-tracks don’t lie. Anyway, with that said, both Tim and I got through 9 of the 18 songs. The rest will be completed in the next couple of weeks.

A big thanks once again to Anthony Stewart for his infinite patience and his great coffee.

The engine room

Anthony hard at work

Watch this space, I’ll keep you updated as more news comes to hand.

Peace,

Corey :)

Finally… My CD Project Is Underway!

Yes, finally, after years of making excuses, dodging questions and a few false starts I’ve rolled up the sleeves and started work on my first CD.

It’s amazing to think that even though I’m approaching 40 and I played my first “professional” gig at 16 (I think $50 and a round of beer jugs at the Century Hotel counts. Thanks Jason!) I still haven’t got a full recording of my music out there in the world. I’ve got lots of demos but not an official release.

I’ve started recording my CD about a month ago at Red Brick Music with a very good friend of mine, Anthony Stewart (Kane’s Dad for those in the know).

He has a great space, a great set of ears and is one of the nicest and most patient guys you’ll ever meet. I’ve recommended artists such as Cal Williams Jr and Courtney Robb to record there and their reports of his service are glowing. I don’t want to sound like an advertisement for Anthony however, I feel that I’m in really good hands and that’s important to me because it gives me confidence in my music and the product I’ll be producing.

People often ask me why it’s taken me so long to commit my songs to disk. There are a number of answers to that question ranging from being too busy working with other artists projects to concentrating on building up a cover band (FIGJAM. You’ll get to know what that is later) but, the simplest and most direct answer to the question is “FEAR.”

It was the fear of not selling enough CD’s and having boxes of them under the bed like so many other artists I know that had stopped me.

It was the fear of releasing something that people are not going to like and not take seriously (and therefore they don’t like me) that had stopped me.

It was the fear of being judged and criticised by others that had stopped me.

So, for years I hid behind other peoples projects, playing in their bands, working on their CD’s and having a wonderful time with it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret any bit of my musical career to date but, in the end, hiding myself and my music away from the world was not serving my needs as a creative person.

But not anymore.

With this CD project I’ve now stopped hiding and am starting to find myself and my music. I’m rediscovering what it’s like to be proud of what I’m creating and by doing that, I’m rediscovering what it is to be me again.

I’ll be documenting my progress to keep you all in the loop and to keep me on track because now that I’ve finally set the wheels in motion I want to ensure that the momentum keeps going and accountability is very good for doing that.

It’s out with the old and in with the new. Bring it on.

Peace,

Corey :)

Why?

Why this blog? Why this site?

I discovered early on in my career that, as a performing songwriter and musician it’s really, really important to have people to play in front of. Seems a simple enough realisation.

Playing to an audience gives me a sense of purpose with my music, an end result to all of the hours practising, rehearsing and writing and of course it satisfies the ego but I also realised that just satisfying the ego was not enough. Performance is a two way street between performer and audience, without one the other ceases to exist.

I realised that for me to be a successful performer I need to be successful at giving the audience a reason to care, to touch move and inspire them and then find a way to keep them all in one group and give them what they want on a regular basis.

Hence this blog, this site. I’m using technology to reach out over the vast expanses of cyberspace to tap you on the shoulder and say “HI!”

I want to build a community of people around me and my music and I’ll be doing that by being me, being open and honest and documenting everything that I’m doing on my musical journey.

I’ll be putting up my music, my images, my videos, my thoughts, feelings and other interesting and useful things I find along the way. All because I want to reach out to you, my audience.

I know that might sound a tad arrogant but, I know that winning you over is not going to come easily. I have to prove my worth to you, prove that I’m worthy of your attention because your time is just as precious as mine so I don’t want to waste it.

If I’m on stage I know where my audience is. When I’m writing for this site I don’t know where you are, it’s exciting and scary all at the same time but it’s worth pursuing. My audience, my community, my friends are out there. I’ve just got to find them.

It is my hope that through this site (and what I put in it) will give you a reason to give me a go, to care enough to tell your friends about what I do, to come to my shows and to allow me to be part of your life through my music. It would be an honour and a privilege to do so.

As you can read, I take community building very seriously. It’s what the music industry is all about.

Peace,

Corey :)

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The Great Experiment Begins

My name is Corey Stewart and I’m a singer/songwriter/musician from Australia.

I’ve been writing, recording and playing music for over 20 years and in that time I’ve seen a lot of changes in the music industry and a lot of changes in the way musicians get their product out to an audience.

When I first started it was still a really big deal to independently release your own material. The reason being that, the only way to “make it” was to send out lots of demos and hope to get signed to a record label.

Being an independent musician wasn’t really a viable option. There were no broadcast quality home studios in those days so if you wanted to record independently you needed to have a lot of money behind you.

Record labels rules the airwaves and independence was only afforded to a few artists.

Today, especially with the internet being a huge influence on society as a whole, the tables seemed to have turned. Home studios are everywhere, distribution of music is much easier to manage and putting out a CD is the done thing for bands and artists.

In spite of all this, I haven’t released a CD of my own as yet however, this is where my Grand Experiment begins.

Since 2000 I have been fascinated and excited about the possibilities for musicians who market themselves online. Since 2004 I have maintained a songwriting blog and a music industry blog and branched out my experiences to include web development and online marketing.

Over the last few months I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to have some sort of success as a singer/songwriter/musician through using the internet and open source software only. I’m thinking a kind of independent open source music artist. An Online Music Artist for want of a better phrase.

I have been doing some research and I realise that my ideas are not necessarily treading over virgin territory. Artists such as Brad SucksScott AndrewJonathon Coulton and Ben Walker have paved the way before me, producing great music and using the internet to their fullest advantage at the same time.

Reading their stories and watching what they do (I subscribe to a lot of songwriting and indie music blogs) inspire me greatly.

I’m not necessarily here to be a trailblazer, all I want to do is to put my music out to anyone who wants to hear it, I want to perform my music to anyone who wants to see it and I want to produce music for anyone who wants to share it.

This site will document my journey, warts and all. My quest is to be a self sufficient, independent, online music artist.

My journey starts now.

Peace,

Corey :)

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