Hi folks. I have too much stuff to talk about for one newsletter, so stay tuned.
I spent my summer in Brazil doing my first ever 5.1 surround mixes. Great band (Titãs, my fifth record for them), great hotels, great food, great people, sort of OK mixing studios. The recording situation was a live, outdoor show. MTV Brazil filmed it with 8 cameras; I was responsible for recording the multitrack audio. (More on that process next time.) Mixing the result in surround was interesting. When the band first asked me, I protested, "I've never done this before," but Charles, the band's drummer, told me not to worry about it, and that I'd figure it out fast. He was right. I spoke at length to a few other producers down there who've done a lot of surround-sound live DVDs. Everyone told me different things. I got ahold of a whole bunch of live DVDs, and spent time listening/watching. My conclusion: everyone else is winging it. No one really knows what they are doing yet!
So I relaxed and had fun with it. For a live DVD, it's not hard... the simplest way is band in the front, audience in the back. If it had been a studio recording, I'm not sure what I would put in the rear speakers, but I'll cross that bridge some other time. I'm not totally sold on 5.1 surround yet as a format, and it's partly because of the weird way 5.1 playback systems suck the low end out of the main speakers and route it all to the subwoofer. The cutoff point slices a rock kick drum cleanly in half, and it really messed with my ears.
As it happened, the stereo mix, as a 20-song live CD for Sony-BMG Brazil, was released and in stores there only TWO WEEKS after I finished mixing it, and before I had even returned home! (I was still there doing the 5.1 mixes for the 25-song DVD version.) They didn't waste any time. Not like here, where it takes six months for a record company to release your record after you're done recording it. If you're lucky. First they have to have lots of meetings and fire a lot of people. The Brazilians honestly wonder what the heck takes record companies so long here in the US. Me too.
Speaking of delays: my nearly-mythological solo record "Permanent Fatal Error" is available now, even though the "official release date" is still a couple days away. You can find it at CDBaby.com (great for credit cards and foreign orders), and my "garage sale" site is back online at my website too, with the new record and all the old Skin Yard stuff as usual, and I do take PayPal. I also took a deep breath and plunged into the MySpace world, and you can hear a few tracks at myspace.com/jackendino. I'm pleased to say that people seem to be really digging it. The lucky record label is Wondertaker.com, home of the immortal Grannies.
If anyone on this list owns or works at a record store, you can order my CD from these distributors: IDC, Carrot Top, or Lumberjack-Mordam in the US, and Cargo in Europe.
And if there's any genuine reviewers, writers or bloggers on this list who want/deserve a review copy and haven't gotten it already, write me back at this email address. You, too, can be part of my "street team"! Seriously, this is very much "DIY indy", and I need all the word-of-mouth I can get. BTW, we haven't sent many to Europe yet because we've got a guy there who's supposedly taking care of it, but delayed by about a month. And we haven't sent promo copies to Canada yet because I'm still trying to line up some distribution there, as well as a release in Australia and Brazil. Patience, friends.
If anyone has been wanting an interview with me, now's your chance. With my record out, I've decided this is no time for me to be shy!
While in Brazil, I was working so much that the discography on endino.com was the only section I had time to update, with several new records I did being released just since I left for Brazil in July... with the latest looking to be the new Nirvana disc, "Sliver: The Best Of The Box," out any day. I just got a look at the final track list, and three of "my" tracks from the box made it. Also, you collector website guys on my list (you know who you are) will be pleased to hear that the mysterious unreleased version of "Sappy" (the last thing I recorded with Chad on drums) is also included. It was left off the box. It's an odd version, with (I seem to recall) a technical hiccup in the middle that may leave people scratching their heads. I wonder what people will make of it overall, as it sounds nothing like the other stuff I did with the band!
Other records I produced this year, which are just coming out:
-The Makers "Everybody Rise"... the band gets past their rock-opera phase and makes the record (my third for them) that should have followed "Psychopathia", and they have a very kickass new drummer as well. We spent a lot of time on the vocals, with Johnny Sangster himself contributing angelic harmonies too. Really excellent well-crafted record with great songs. And it rocks.
-The Beautiful Mothers "Half American Serviceman"... a solid, raging rock record even better than its title. They kill me.
-Jodi Hates The World... a band that relocated from Louisiana to Seattle, just in time it appears, and did their EP "A Comet Tail Life" with me. I can't even describe them but they're pretty cool, kinda Radiohead-My Bloody Valentine-Smashing Pumpkins-Seattle.
-The DTs: Dave Crider (ex-Mono Men, Watts) had me record his band doing a record of R'n'B covers done garage-rock style, with the mighty Diana blowing the doors off with her tuff vocals. Seriously formidable.
-Dog Bone Sanctuary did a record of Seattle-style melodic modern metal with me... first rate players, kick ass singer, great songs and lyrics.
-Lucid Nation (a totally unclassifiable band!) just released their two-CD best-of retrospective, which I mastered from their original 5 CDs. It was tricky because the original albums were 'all over the place' sound-wise.
-Oh, and I mastered a new MENTORS CD. How could I turn that one down?? These geezers are originally from Seattle, by the way... circa 1979...
Every one of the above bands has a presence on MySpace.com, and you can hear their songs there. They are all linked from the "friends list" on my own MySpace site, myspace.com/jackendino. MySpace, I've observed, has come out of nowhere in the last 18 months and seems to be hitting critical mass. It's almost like a parallel internet. If it continues, I can see my "official" website endino.com taking on less importance. Strange, because the user interface on MySpace is pretty clunky.
While in Brazil, I discovered that whole country is obsessed with a similar service called ORKUT.com, but it is not as band-friendly as MySpace, with their four free song uploads for each band. The latest thing I'm watching is an internet telephony system called Skype, now owned by eBay. This will change our lives if it takes off. "Stay tuned."
I'd love to tell you what else I've recently learned about ISRC codes, ISWC codes, Gracenote and the CDDB, Soundexchange, other musical databases, online content aggregators... but then I'd have to kill you. Well, no, but I'd have to write another newsletter. Soon! I promise! Right now... I gotta go practice with Dirty Power for the 5 west coast gigs we're going to play in the next couple weeks, with them as my volunteer backing band, and the Grannies opening! Details on my Myspace site! (San Francisco, Oct 27th; Tacoma, Nov 3rd; Portland, Nov 4th; Seattle, Nov 5th.)
Thanks for reading.