“House Party” a self-reflection and what’s to come

Today 3/10 is the day I’m starting to release another full-length, this time it’s as singles. Once again Ryan Melone and I teamed up to record together but this time things were a little different. I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time to outline how things so let’s start at the beginning of my relationship with Ryan Melone. We met at school on Commonwealth Avenue in Massachusetts where we both lived in Berklee dorms at 270. We didn’t initially start working together, he was in a band called Cherry Mellow and I was in a group called Space Case both of which disbanded after just a few years. The two bands went on tour together which strengthen the friendship but we still weren’t working together. Ryan got his degree in record engineering which meant he basically lived in the studio his last couple of years at school. Meanwhile, I got my degree in the music business and spent the majority of my time trying out different ventures, forming a publishing entity, etc.

I’ve always been a songwriter, even before going to college I’d written easily a few dozen songs and been in a whole slew of bands eg; Hole in the Sky (Trestan, Adnan, Elizabeth), Similar Differences (Zac, Craig, Tim, Hailey, Adam, Kelsey, Hunter), Ayala (Pompy, Sean, Kris) Escape Pod (Pompy, Emmett, Chris), Madhouse (Adam, Chong), Slack Tide (Chris, Kian, Lee, Tom, Max). <- If you guys see this I hope you dig it!! If I forgot anyone I’m easy to get in touch with… For the above bands with the exception of Slack Tide and Escape Pod, I was typically the primary songwriter with varying levels of collaboration. Oh also my solo project bands, shout out Eric and Wes for Los Angeles, and now my current superstar lineup of Rijk and Jared.

So anyways fast forward a whole number of years, bands and songs later, and you arrive at “House Party” and my third full-length solo record. The difference in production for me is very stark in my three full-lengths. The first full length has state-of-the-art mics and equipment but we never multi-tracked the vocals we essentially just flew with scratch tracks but if you put on Publicity Stunt Double the songwriting is fairly homogenous but still valid and good. For last year’s record Almost There the production is a fucking mess. Ryan and I did our best but the highest quality tracks on that release which I consider to be “Sip of Sunshine”, “Start it Up” “Love Lines” and “Plus One to Heaven” (though “Always On My Mind” is the most streamed/saved so far!) we recorded sending tracks to each other using Logic (me) and Pro Tools (Ryan). The thing is that there is a lot of variation between songs eg; “Always On My Mind” was recorded pre-pandemic in Brooklyn and was co-written together on spot. For “Sip of Sunshine” we collaborated with the insanely underrated Brooklyn artist Tallbird, check them out, to get the horn lines, and then everything else was done in my closet Manhattan apartment and Ryan and I hung out for a while on the phone finalizing the drum arrangements together over a Facetime. I’m incredibly proud of that choruses bassline. “Plus One to Heaven” and “Start it Up” were cut much like “Sip of Sunshine” with me creating the song in Logic using their drummer and then cutting bass and guitars DI over it but for those, I ended up tracking vocals at Ryans in Nashville and tbh I think those are the two strongest on that record. However, I do think everything I’ve put out is pale in comparison to this new record that occurred like this… I wrote a bunch of songs, cut a few demos, and flew down to Nashville. I borrowed a Sony co-worker’s amp and set up my pedals in Ryans’s living room and started performing the tracks for him. Ryan was sitting drinking a Miller on his couch and reacting to the tracks saying things like “fingerpicking the entire time for that’s boring you need to add rhythmic variety” or “you’re playing that too fast it’ll have a more emotional impact if you slow it down” or “I’ve got a riff in F# that will work for that song that you should try”. We decided on an even 8 and moved the amp into his workout room where I was sleeping on a double air mattress. We ended up cutting all the guitars and vocals for the 8 song record that week. Ryan then cut drums and I sent him bass remotely as well as bells and whistles such as vocal harmonies etc. A hope of mine is at one point to have enough financial backing to rehearse a band and cut not to a click or start to a click but turn the click off halfway through the song…

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