Mark Hansen Music - LDS Rock Music - Free Downloads

Mark Hansen Music - LDS Rock Music - Free Downloads
Get the new CD, "The Third Time" HERE

WARNING: Listening to this music doesn't require parental approval. It's a bit of clean rebellion. It keeps your outlook up and your hope alive. It's got strong drums and screaming guitars. It pumps you up and drives your life. It's a hunger for exploration. It chooses the right and returns with honor. It's music you don't have to confess to your bishop.

It's not your parents' "Saturday’s Warrior".

It's "A Joyful Noise"

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

My Music-making Process

So, last night I was up way late working on the drum programming for “Under The Sun”. I dropped it to my thumb drive and was listening to it on the way to work.

The way I do things is:

First, the Demo:

1. I write the song. I’ll usually do this with the acoustic guitar. Typically, the lyrics, melody, and the chords all kinda formulate together at the same time. I might have a vague idea of what I’ll eventually want the arrangement to be like. I might even have a clear idea of the arrangement. I’ll play the song through a few times to make sure it’s solid in my mind, and to make sure that it works. I’ll also make sure that my typed copy of the words have chord symbols, so I’ll remember them.
2. I pick an appropriate drum groove and copy/paste it for about 5-7 minutes.
3. I’ll mic up the acoustic guitar and record a sloppy, messy acoustic rhythm guitar track, using the drums for timing and feel.
4. I’ll croak a quick scratch vocal into the mic and record that, so I have a guide for the verse/chorus form of the song.
5. Render that to mp3, tag it, and drop it to my zip drive.

Now, I have the song. Otherwise, I’d probably forget it. But now, it’s there, recorded, in a very rough form. Everything that I’ve done so far will be replaced, in all likelihood. I’ll add it to my scratch tracks playlist and just listen to it, possibly for months, stirred in with all of the other songs-in-progress.

Eventually, I’ll start to formulate cool ideas for the production, and I’ll want to revisit and revise the song.

1. I cut the bass track, matched to the drum loops.
2. I cut electric rhythm guitars
3. I recut the acoustic guitars, with more care and precision.
4. I might add scratch harmony vocals, so I don’t forget the things I’ve been singing along in the car for the last two weeks.
5. I’ll usually use time stretching in Reaper (my recording software) to tighten up the timing of the guitars and the bass.
6. After each step and session, I’ll render an mp3, and replace it on the zip drive playlist. Then, that will allow for more listening and more ideas.
7. Just as a curiosity, at this point all of the recordings are bone dry. No reverb. That will come in the final mix.

Now comes more listening, possibly for as much as another couple of months, while I work on other tunes.

1. Then, I’ll go back to the drums and program them with care, making sure that the basic beat is what I want, adding the fills, the crashes, the rides.
2. I add keyboards, if needed
3. I add any hand percussion
4. I cut the lead guitar track.
5. Another mp3, and more months of listening.

A big lag usually comes in at this point, because it’s actually ready for the lead vocals. It usually takes me two to three weeks to schedule in a singer.

1. Cut 3-4 lead vocal tracks
2. Cut harmony vocals
3. Comp (“Composite”) the lead vocal tracks into a single “best of” track.

Then, I set up Reaper for the mix and do a preliminary mix.

1. EQ and balance Lead Vocals, Kick drum, bass guitar. These are the foundation of my mix. Once I set these, I usually don’t touch them. I hang the other instruments on these three anchor points.
2. Add the rest of the drum kit (split out, so I can adjust each drum uniquely).
3. Add the guitars
4. Add the keyboards
5. Add any other sparkle tracks.
6. Add the reverb and other effects. I also check it out in three different monitor speaker sets, to get a good balance and similar sound in all three.
7. Burn an mp3 and listen for a few days.

The final stages:

1. Tweak up the mix, based on  a few days of listening.
2. Render it out as a full-res wav file, with the full vocal and the minus track (no lead vocals) for performance, if needed.
3. Create a new project, for mastering it for the web.
4. Add compression, EQ, and limiting (that’s a whole ‘nuther blog entry!).
5. Mp3 it and listen some more
6. Finally, upload it into Soundcloud.

The reason I went through this whole explanation is to tell you this:

In about the third set of steps there, when I finish the drums and have the timings tightened up, It’s usually a very exciting time. That’s when it suddenly leaps forward, from a general idea and a loose collection of scattered tracks... into a real SONG! It gets its breath of life!

Even songs that I felt very blase about can suddenly turn around at that point.

So, that’s where I am with Under the Sun.  It’s a cool feeling!

Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.

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