Week in Review: Sunday October 16th – Saturday October 22ndOctober 26, 2022
Week in Review: Sunday October 30th – Saturday November 5thNovember 8, 2022
Welcome back fair citizens and fanatical Roninites! Once again it is I, the incredibly lovable, infallibly talented and endlessly humble frontman of Ronin, Chris Feldmann!
Please, please…that’s enough. You’re too much. No need to stand up while reading this.
Please, sit back down and stop clapping, the people around you are starting to look concerned.
However, if you’re home alone…please remain standing…and clapping.
I hope you all had a great week, because I certainly did. It started off piping hot with the second rhythm guitar recording session on Sunday. Admittedly, I was a little concerned I wouldn’t be able to sneak in the remaining 4 songs on the album in this session, but by golly miss molly we did it! We hunkered down, clamped hard on those strings, bit our lips aggressively and gave it hell! Overall feelings coming out is that I played well and I am pleased with my performance and output for the day. There were a few times during the session that I was doubting my abilities when I was having some issues really nailing a couple of parts here and there but luckily, thanks to some encouragement and perseverance, the train never stopped or derailed. These 4 tracks were, for myself, more technically difficult than the first batch of 4 we went through, so I knew it would be a challenging day going in. More than manageable and achievable, but challenging nonetheless. We shifted a couple of parts and added a few little new flavors to the mix as well during the session that really helped certain sections pop and brought some more zest to the songs that really has me excited for the finished product.
The songs are shaping up to be greater than I could have ever expected. It’s always difficult to try and gauge how a song is coming out in the demo phases. At least that’s the case for me, because things are so unpolished and you know going in to record the songs properly that things are bound to change once you get into the studio and more ideas come out from either the band or from Frank, engineer/producer extraordinaire! I always try to keep that in mind when we say a song is “done” or “set”, because until you get into the studio and start properly tracking the songs, nothing is really ever “finalized”. In the studio you can hear everything more clearly and you see that maybe different parts or phrasings work better in different sections, or repeated parts can be changed slightly for some more variety. So I never try to be so locked into something that I’m immovable when the time comes to lay the song down. I’m pretty much open to trying anything when we are recording as far as shifting parts and what not. Now, with that being said, whether or not I have the skill to get the new additions/variations in hand and play them accurately is another story entirely. So sometimes, with my limited skill-set when it comes to guitar playing, my caveman like rhythmic tendencies and hands fumble-fuck through whatever new variation has been offered and that new offering becomes altered as well. I’m very good at altering the alteration. At varying the variation. I’m…well I’m good at molding parts I can’t quite play into something that’s also good that I actually can play.
Are ya dizzy yet? Because we’ve officially entered the Spin Zone!
Self-depreciation aside, the session went very well. Being in the studio really is an awesome experience. Just the act of physically being in the studio and recording almost instantly makes me feel more like a legitimate musician. It’s superficial and kind of silly to say, but it’s how I feel. I could do all the recording I like at home and in our rehearsal space and still feel somewhat lesser than, but something about recording in that setting just raises the stakes and brings a sense of accomplishment. I don’t know what that says about me as a person psychologically, as if I’m seeking validation or whatever, but it definitely makes a difference. Obviously, you’re paying for the time, so there’s that aspect. Regardless of the financial implications, the act of being in a different space that is dedicated to the art and process of recording and producing music, you’re with the band, the engineer and some other folks coming and going: it creates an atmosphere that just feels more real. More tangible. You can feel it. At least I can. You could be reading this and thinking I’m fetishizing or romanticizing it, and perhaps I am. Maybe it is that psychological slant. The innate yearning for validation. The craving of a sense of accomplishment that causes me to give this experience more credence than is necessary, but I think you’ll find this is the case for a lot of people who make music.
Honestly, at the end of the day though, as with all creatives, there will always be a sense and feeling of being lesser than. Those thoughts of self-doubt and “imposter syndrome” always find a way to weasel and needle their way into your mind and attempt to poison you and stop your progress. It doesn’t matter the atmosphere you’re in, or how many accolades you’ve racked up, those negative and maladaptive thoughts will always attempt to infiltrate and obfuscate. The hope is that those occurrences are few and far between. You hear successful and famous people talk about it all the time and we fairly often just outrightly dismiss it. We always think, “Oh how could they feel this way? They’re so rich and famous, what do they feel insecure or upset about?” They may not feel like that all the time, but they’re still human. Just because we’ve put them up on this pedestal of fame and adoration doesn’t take their humanity away, and something about that is quite comforting to me. It always helps to hear those we admire share things about themselves that we can actually relate to because more often than not, these “celebrities” seem unrelatable. Like they’re so out of reach and part of a different world that there is no connection, but the reality is, they’re not any different than us. So hearing a musician or actor that I really love talk about feeling similar things that I feel, actually makes me more at ease and helps me keep the negativity away.
Phew, that was a long-winded way of making the point that the studio experience is awesome. All musicians should look into making that investment. It’s well worth it.
The rest of the week was pretty par-for-course as far as work-weeks go. I started up some new nightly practice routines though, which is exciting. The band recently got a little more into, I hate to even say it, but…Tik Tok. I know, I know. You’re disappointed. So am I. It’s a wild west type of place that I really don’t quite understand, however, the algorithm stopped showing half-naked individuals shaking their assets just long enough for me to stumble upon some really excellent music-related profiles. One of the profiles is this guy who has made a series of hauntingly beautiful and melodic chord progression-style exercises that I have fallen madly in love with. I downloaded a few of his videos and have been practicing them over the last week or so. There are some pretty new and gnarly chord shapes that I am totally not familiar with, so it’s been giving my left hand a real run for its money. I never really stray too far outside the power chord and cowboy chord shapes because like I said previously, me is caveman, but these new shapes and phrasings could quickly be assimilated into my repertoire. I had fallen off a bit on my consistent practicing, but this has really reinvigorated me and is keeping me disciplined. It’s a win-win. Unless your my wife listening to me fumble-fuck my way through the progressions. Boy is she tolerant!
The week ended with our annual Halloween costume party on Saturday night with a bunch of friends and family attending. We had a great time, as always, but it doesn’t take much for me to have a good time at these types of events. I like seeing people interact and have a good time just as much as I like engaging in it. As is the trend with me, it’s just an atmosphere thing, and the party had a fun one.
Tomorrow Jack goes into the studio to record some leads and then next week we’ve got a day booked for some sweet, sultry, sumptuous, succulent vocals. Yes, it’s really all those things. Every single one. We’re coming down to the last few sessions for the recording of this album and I can feel the anticipation and anxiety creeping in. We’re very excited and eager to share what we’ve been working on, but more so to get the album finished so we can hear for ourselves. We’re very selfish that way.
Well, I’m signing off for now. We’ll talk soon. I’ll see ya down the road.
Onwards and Upwards.