We are releasing a new single today, "Pale Moonlight". I want to share with you the entire process of a song from beginning to end.
The beginning: This usually starts with me noodling around on the guitar to find a lick. The lick for pale moonlight is really quite interesting in that it never lets you know if the piece is in a major or a minor key. The piece is in D originally and we moved it up to E to better fit Paula's vocal range but that is getting ahead. There were originally 3 verses. There still are 3 verses but the original first verse is where all the lyrics came from. Once the main lick is put to lyrics and some song structure decided on we start rehearsing the song so we can share it the same way with our musicians that we perform with.
Learning the song: The next phase in the process is getting together with musicians and playing the song for them while they come to terms with what it is they are going to do. We spent Saturday's and Wednesday's for a little over a year rehearsing the 13 songs that are going to make up the new album "Shuffle" This song was one of the first song's we got down together as a band.
Capturing the song: This is the funnest part and also the most expensive. There are many ideas and variations on my process this is just my favorite way to record a song. Once we have rehearsed and know the songs like the back of our hands, I schedule a recording date with a goal in mind of capturing a great drum track and a great bass track. Guitars and vocals usually end up very shallow sounding when the whole band is in a live room due to the bleed of the other instruments. Once the drum tracks and the bass tracks are solid, I schedule a day by myself to go into the studio to lay down all the layers to make the recording how I want it to sound. In this particular instance there was an electric guitar part that insisted on being included in the recording. When the guitars are all done. I schedule another day for us to go in and do any vocal work that needs to be done. We record all new vocals so that Paula's voice isn't covered by the drums bass and guitar that were recorded live in the room. We then have to make decisions on do we leave a single voice, do we double the voice, harmonize the voice etc... etc... and the decisions are dictated by the effect we are trying to achieve on the song. In this case a doubling was enough.
Mixing and Mastering the Song: Wait, did I say capturing the song was the most fun? Mixing the song is way up there too.(Aside from Creating and rehearsing the song, the whole process is a blast) The final day is the mix day. This is the day where I meet with the sound engineer and we turn the song into the recording you hear. We listen to make sure things are balanced, eq all instruments, do some fade in's and fade out's add delays or effects to any instrument that seems like it needs it. If my sound engineer gives me a crazy look like I'm crazy most times I think about what he said and others I say point well taken but I really want this idea.
Releasing the Song: First there are a bunch of codes that have to be gathered so that your music can be tracked and you know how well it is performing. Then I get artwork specs together and make a piece of art based on those specs. Sometimes Paula does the artwork and sometimes I do depending on who's idea wins. Then I type a write up about the album. First it is released at my website www.aaronmlewis.com.(I can control pricing and everything from my website) and then I use CD Baby for an international distribution. Once the album is up and released I start contacting radio dj's from around the country and try and get them to play the single on their station. The greatest thing about getting to this point is there is new creative ideas that have occurred and I am blessed to be able to return to the first stage in this process and go back, jack, do it again.