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The “Different Folk Live!” Project

LIVE-CDCoverI am really pleased that my band Different Folk is finally releasing an album!  We have been performing together for at least ten years now, and have never done more than a demo recording.

Because this CD was live, the process was a little different than the way that I usually approach a recording.  We had recorded three of our live shows over the past two years and then went through those to pick the tracks that were the best.  Usually I go into a recording project with an idea of what tunes I want to record.  Doing it the other way around was interesting because we still ended up with a great mix of fiddle tunes, traditional and modern Celtic songs, and some classic rock.

One aspect of the live recording process that I loved are the fact that each track on the album is a single take.  We did not go in and pick part of one take and part of another – it is exactly the way that we played it.  The other aspect that I really enjoyed is that a live CD has the energy that you as a musician have while playing for an audience.  You try to play as accurately as possible, but it is a lot about having fun and engaging the audience.  When you are recording in a studio you are concentrating so much on trying to play perfectly that sometimes you can lose the energy of playing that a live venue can offer.

Another fun fact about our new CD is that the first recordings were done without the thought of making a full-length album.  It was only the third gig that we recorded where this idea had come together.  That means that the first two shows we really were just having fun, trying our best to play our best, but not focused on being flawless.

A lot of the steps after the recordings were done and we had picked which tracks we were going to use were pretty standard to the creation of all albums .   I am happy to have done as many projects as I have as it has allowed me to know what was needed to happen next and what I could work on while waiting for other items to be completed.

We sent the tracks off to a local studio to have them mixed and mastered.  The studio did a great job and there were very few corrections that we wanted in their mix.  The mixing process ensures that the tone is what we wanted and accentuates whichever instrument or voice needs to be more prominent at that moment.  The mastering gives the tracks that final polish

Next was researching the pieces to find out who wrote them so that we could obtain the rights in order to record the songs.  If someone else wrote the piece and they are either still alive, or have passed away less than 50 years ago,  there is a certain amount of money for each song of theirs that must be paid for you to be allowed to record their work.  This is a quite easy process assuming that they have registered their music with a group called CMRRA (Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency).  That is something that I still need to accomplish with my own original music.

After we obtained the rights to the pieces we wanted to include and knew who all of the composers were, we had to get our design done.  Again, we used a local company who were able to turn it around very quickly for us.  I have worked with this company before and knew that once we got out material all in order that they could get a design back to us within days.  We had been working and editing the text for the CD while we were waiting for the mixing to be done.  We had photos done just over a year ago that we had not used for a project like this yet, so we did not have to have a new photo shoot.  That was very nice!

Once the design was done it was time to get the CDs pressed.  The company that we went with is based out of Ontario.  A local fellow from New Brunswick did all of the coordination for us.  We got our finished CDs back about two and a half weeks after we sent in the files.

This whole process took us two months from listening to the tracks to having the finish product in hand.  I am really proud of us for pushing through, keeping on track, and making all of this happen is such a short period of time!

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