As I mentioned briefly in my last post, my personal life is a big reason. I have a full time day job, a wife, kids (another full time job) and so on. Typical suburban USA life for the most part. I can’t just go out multiple times a week and play music. I have other responsibilities in my life that need to come first. Music is an outlet and an escape for me. At this point in my life, mixing should help me fill the void where playing music used go be. Don’t get me wrong…I would love to play music live again but me spending a very large chunk of change on a new drum kit or bass rig is ABSOLUTELY not in the cards.
This form of playing with music in the digital realm started about a year ago. One of my old band mates came up with the idea of recording our old original songs. The trick was doing it remotely because the four of us were in 4 different states. As I mentioned, I didn’t have a drum kit anymore so here was hurdle one. I was recommend I try GarageBand on an iPad and try playing the drum parts. I guess it would be better than nothing so I gave it a go. Luckily I didn’t have to get too creative because I was playing material that we already laid out and played live numerous times. I got results but it didn’t sound good with the stock drum samples in the app. I had to take it further. I had to import my iOS GarageBand session into the OSX version to turn the MIDI tracks into loops to then extract them to use in another program. This was somewhat difficult as I didn’t own any Mac products. Luckily have an awesome day job and awesome friends.
Now I needed something to put these MIDI files into and edit them go make them sound better. I was in search of a digital audio workstation (DAW). This was interesting to research. I knew of Pro Tools and I knew it was expensive. I also knew I was not going to purchase or use that program. I tried out some but inevitably I ended up purchasing Reaper…more on that later.
At the same time I was looking for ways to make these drums sound better. I ended up trying out Toontrack’s EZDrummer 2 and I was thoroughly impressed. Thanks to my awesome friends that I mentioned, Christmas was good to me as I acquired the EZDrummer 2 software with 6 expansion packs! I built a kit that I was happy with and pretty close to what I played back in the day. What I did from here was send my tracks over to my buddy who was heading up the project. I gave him access to the software to apply the samples to the tracks and the rest is actually still in production.
At this point I was really starting to get into this form of making music. I didn’t like tapping drum parts on an iPad at all. It was like learning to play drums all over again. I had to do quite a bit of manual edits on the piano roll MIDI editor. Lucky for me being technically inclined, some of this stuff could be daunting for some people at first. It was all fun for me because I like playing with tech and software. The one thing I wanted to do more of was putting the songs together and making it sound, well, good. I just didn’t have that ability yet. No tracks to play with. No interface. Nothing but an old laptop and a DAW. The journey continues…