Category Archives: The-Dailies

Thank God for Talented Friends

Last year, I was hired by a non-profit group called Many Mansions, to produce a video celebrating their 30th Anniversary.  Many Mansions is a really great organization. Through donations and government subsidies, they provide homes for low-income families and the homeless.  

Without the budget for licensed music and voiceover, I called on Chad to help me out.  In one easy session, he laid down a great voiceover. Further, he donated music to the project. (“The Science Project” totally kills it!) Bryan Ashmore also donated a great track – one that Corey and I used before on another project, that worked perfectly for this video.  

Isn’t it great to be surrounded by insanely talented and diverse friends? Artists, musicians, teachers, nerds, etc. A big thanks to The Dailies, Chad Reisser, and Bryan Ashmore for their contributions to this project.

Many Mansions 30th Anniversary Video from Frequent Flyer Productions on Vimeo.

Save a Child, Change the World

So, last year, my parents and sister went for a few weeks a remote village in Uganda on a ministry trip.  It was quite a thing for them to do.  My dad, in case you don’t know, is a family practice doctor, so he spent much of the time he was there basically seeing patients.  

There’s a picture, and I don’t have it on my computer unfortunately, of him seeing one of the women in the village, and there was literally not enough space inside the room, so he’s actually standing outside, examining some wound on her arm through an open window. 

Now, if you know my dad, Dr. German, this is not acceptable.  He is an unrepentant fanboy of infrastructure.  The folks on the trip decided to do some research, and discovered that it would cost about $60,000 to build a full blown medical clinic in this village.  They’ve been working for months to put together what promises to be a successful fundraiser this weekend.  

Anywhoo, Erica and I were asked to contribute some music, and here it is for your consideration.  I’ll embed it without further ado, and then make a little commentary after you’re done listening.  Or skimming.  

save-a-child-change-the-world.mp3

Welcome back! I found it terribly challenging to write a religiously ecumenical song, “We Are The World,” type song, especially as the name of the fundraiser is “Save a Child, Change the World,” and it was requested that I use this phrase in the song. This is not my cup of tea.

With that said, I feel pretty proud of the lyrics. I was actually trying to speak about such things without the usual utopian hogwash that typically sinks into a song like this. I was trying to convey the reality that when something like this happens, it’s not magic, it’s not some massive awakening. It’s just one good person trying to step outside their own skin and selfishness long enough to do an act of kindness for a stranger. I’m especially proud of the lyrics in the second half of the second verse. I find them terribly hopeful.

Now, I am not a guitar player, and the budget for this was $0.00. There was to be no Corey Witt love for me, this time, because Corey Witt won’t work for free because he hates Africans. He’s from Texas. That’s not true, people. I actually didn’t ask him, because I’m pretty stupid and didn’t plan ahead, instead using my usual technique of procrastination and then frantic creation.

So, anyways, I was searching for ways to make this feel more organic, and I am proud of my Ukulele debut. The cool thing was that, if you listen again, you’ll hear a distorted loop that emerges in the mix during the 2nd chorus, giving the mix a bit more mid-range energy. This is actually my ukulele parts fed through several delays and distortion and a 16th note tremelo. I think it’s a nice, original sound, and that it doesn’t sound like samples. I think the other thing I’m most excited about is the bridge. It just slams. I did a fair amount of manipulating and tweakage to get all the elements to sit down as well as they do, and it’s a very rewarding moment for me.

I was laboring hard for this to not sound like a home studio creation, and I think we got to about 90%. The cool thing is that with another day of edits and tweaks, I feel like I could get it to 100%. However, I’m out of time, so that’s that. But, it’s still cool for me as I listen back to old home recordings and hear how far we’ve come with our Dailies experiences.

Anyways, if this song has inspired anyone to do something generous, you can check out Embrace Uganda and make a donation. They’re good folks, and their cause is just.

Pump It Up!

Hey you! Yes you! Remember that cool album from The Dailies that you’ve been listening to over and over again? Well, why not take a moment to tell every living person how incredibly awesome it is!

Head over to Amazon.com and review the thing already! Give it the 5 stars it deserves, and then leave a lengthly diatribe about how nobody appreciates the subtle brilliance of the keyboard work, or give a track by track critique of how the album is really an extended metaphor for sexual awakening, or set off on a vicious indictment of the key of Ab minor … whatever! Just get some review up already!

Click the pics below to go the page for each album:

mixing metaphors

61twwkdlpl_sl160_

Mixing Metaphors on iTunes

Well, the fruit of our labor is available for general consumption.  

I invite any and all of you who cannot come to the CD release show on March 7th to go and invest your $9.90 in our record.  It’s a really good work, and we’re proud of it, and we think it’s worthy of your dollars and your listening attention.  

If you do like it, how about a review?  

Blessings to all of you.

The Ongoing Dailies Production Blogging Experience

Still at it!  

Go read it.  This one’s kinda cool, I think.

Also, in case you’re not someone whose in my Facebook or MySpace loop, and if you’d like to be, feel free to email us at thedailiesmusic@gmail.com, we’re excited to announce our official CD release show has been booked at The Hotel Cafe on February 28th @ 11pm.  We’re over the moon at the invitation to play there.  Hope you can come if you’re in the greater L.A. area.  Come see Mike and Corey (and Dana and Rosy) ripping it up with us.  

I know this is a bit desperate, but seriously go read it, or at least follow the link and then don’t read it.  I want to make sure we’re top ranked on Google, as I’ve started to work the intertubes in earnest, emailing music blogs and media sites.  

Thanks, roadies.

The Dailies – Continued Blogging on Songwriting and Production

So, I’ve quietly continued my series on the writing and creation of our new record, so tastefully reviewed by our own Zackiepoo.  

I put up another edition, but it seems like the traffic is diminished if I don’t link to it from here.  All hail the power of Addison Road.  Or something.  If you dug the first two posts, head on over to www.thedailiesmusic.com from time to time and see what we’re cooking.  This one is actually pretty interesting, as it talks about a near arranging disaster that had to be averted in the 11th hour.  

We’re getting some traction on gigs, so if you live in the L.A. area and want to hear us with the band, your time is coming.  The first of these is happening on Feb 7th, at 10pm, at Room 5 on La Brea.  Hope to see you there!

P.S.  Something you should know about Zack:  I’ve discovered more music because of him than any of my other friends.  He has a nose for good stuff, and he’s a true lover of music.  While he is a friend, he’s not a sunshine-blowing sorta friend.  If he didn’t like the record, he would have remained politely silent.  Actually, he might have trashed it.  He’s a tough nut, that Zack.

Reviews: The Dailies “Mixing Metaphors”

Let’s go ahead and get this out there: I might be the worst person to review this record. I’ve known Chad since we were about 16 years old. I watched him grow out of teen theater, and into Diesel Jeans. I’ve listened to the progression of his songwriting from his parents garage, to the studio, and even back to his folks house. I recorded some of his first pop songs. (Houseblend, anyone?) I saw the transformation from singer to songwriter, to artist, first hand.

I’m biased, if that’s not overwhelmingly obvious.  But whatever.  This isn’t about Chad. This is about The Dailies, which is a completely different thing entirely… 

From the opening track, “Signal Chain“, the band does an impressive job of separating themselves from their debut record, “What It Is“.  The first note imparts an urgency - unapologetic and confident.  But right away, the smoky Rhodes and the timber of two partnered voices soften up the listener.  You ride that airplane for a while, and then try to hang on as it soars through the chorus. This first track almost serves to introduce the listener to the band - I can practically see Rosy’s pursed lips and flailing arms as his snare drum introduces the bridge, Mike drops single notes on the piano that cut through the verse appropriately while Corey’s arpeggios return the favor. It’s like a conversation between musicians. At first, I thought this was a bit glaring. But after multiple listens to the entire record, it really works for the opening track. Not to mention, the mix of this track seems to serve the “introductory” purpose – a sound that isn’t embraced as much for the duration of the record.  

To this listener, “Mixing Metaphors” is about growth. Like I said, it’s a biased opinion. Gone is the sound of the “All-To-Well-Thought-Out” chart and recipe. These songs seem to have a life of their own – with the exception of a few songs on their previous record, it’s a life that wasn’t present on “What It Is“.  ”A Sovereign Nation” discusses the idea of conflict within a committed relationship – something very few songwriters are willing (or able, really) to tackle. The chorus pleads, “I don’t wanna go to war with you“, a defeated feeling all to familiar to the married/committed set.  

Speaking of growth, during the recording of “What It Is“, I couldn’t imagine Chad and Erica letting Mike Lee “chase the rabbit” on “The Science Project” – an unforgettable moment on the record, where Mike was allowed to shape dozens and dozens of individual takes and tracks on a single piano. Playing the keys, brushing the strings, and slamming the lid.  Letting Mike loose in the studio is a good idea. What follows is a sparse, haunting, and beautiful introduction to “Kiss Us Goodbye” – a clever and pretty song on it’s own, but Mike’s introduction softens the palate, and prepares you for the track. Somehow, I don’t think the song would work without it.  I’ve heard that Erica spends quite a bit of time “editing” these songs, throughout their birth and growth. If that’s the trick that separates this record from the first, then please, keep it up.  

Recording studios are very strange places. To the uninitiated, they’re nothing more than old Persian rugs, stale smells, and skinny Emo engineers seated behind rows of blinking lights. But to the artist, these rooms breathe. One inhales years of talented dust, and exhales something else entirely. What lived in your head and heart for weeks, as nothing more than time signatures and notes, eventually morphs into something unexpected – no doubt fertilized by the chemicals that are recording studios.  ”She Goes” and ”Feel Good“ sound like they was written in the studio.  They sound like sweet lil’ tunes, that chewed the old paint of the studio, and were shaped into something different.  ”She Goes” is rife with metaphor and rhyme. It’s predictable. It’s pretty, to say the least.  But to me, it sounds like the studio changed this song into something much more earnest and meaningful. It’s a true standout on this record.  Corey and I first discussed the idea of this session being referred to as, “organic”, and this song seems to define that theory.   “Feel Good” does exactly that to the listener – something that’s rare in the Smart-Pop genre. 

We all know Chad can sing.  Spend more than 5 minutes with him, and you’ll be well-versed in this talent.  If not, google that shit.  But Erica has pipes you’d not believe. In fact, if I have one overall complaint with this record, it’s that I don’t hear her as much as I’d like. “Love Brought You Here” has a cadence that is sweeping and lethargic at the same time. Don’t be fooled by it’s rather abrupt opening – this song quickly becomes something very unexpected.  Erica’s vocal builds slowly, from something basic and essential, to something urgent and desperate. It’s a really wonderful progression, and a true test of her vocal meddle. “Love brought you here…I know you don’t see, but in time it will all be clear…”  Simple and beautiful.  Look for Erica Reisser’s solo record sometime next fall. (I’m pretty sure that the usual suspects would be involved, too – Mike, Rosy, Dana, Corey, etc…) Kidding. Maybe…

Young Man” is the best song Chad has ever written. If you don’t agree, you’re wrong. It’s just that simple. For many years of listening to Chad’s music, I’ve been able to identify moments where I felt like he had a decision to make. Which chord to switch to, which solo to hide under, etc.  ”Young Man” has none of these moments.  It sounds pure, and unobstructed. Were there simply no decisions to be made? Or were all the right choices made, rendering the decision transparent? I don’t know. I can’t compare Chad’s writing to that of Springsteen (for many reasons, including the total lack of any drug addition, or working relationship with a Soprano) but this is Chad’s “Born to Run”.  The story is clear, precise, and relevant. It’s relatable, in a time where most music really isn’t, and it paints a perfectly clear picture. It’s very organic songwriting, and feels like a real departure from his normal style. Ever heard Jeff Buckley’s cover of “Satisfied Mind“?  It’s easy to hear that particular influence on “Young Man“. Kudos to Stick for a fantastic mix on this track. Upon first listen, you feel as if you know this road; you’ve driven it before, and you know which turn is coming next.  But this song hangs on the precipice. You’re always right at the edge. You can either stay and listen, or you can jump off the edge and miss it entirely. 

The Tide” brings us home. Throughout the record, we’re treated to the multiple talents of The Dailies; each track is a showcase of individual feel and contribution. The last track on the record, “The Tide” is simple and direct, and brings the listener back into the room with the band.  ”The waves roll out, and crash back in…and I am somehow comforted by their indifference“.  It’s thick and hearty through the chorus. Jangly guitars, chunky distortion, a bass line that won’t quit. The ride cymbal carries us out of the bridge, and back to the ground.  

Whether or not they planned it, “The Tide” reminds us of who the Dailies are.  They are singers and songwriters, and also students of the craft. They are mothers and fathers, struggling to be adults themselves.  They are evolving and growing, and the tide of the audience will forever rise and fall. No matter what is learned in the songwriting process, they’re never finished.  ”Mixing Metaphors” is very much a snapshot in time; a “Frozen Man” of sorts.  I’m really looking forward to the next chapter, and the snapshot that follows.

Signal Chain :: Evolution of a Song

Hey all, and a happy new year.  

I have to tell you that I fear that Facebook and iPhones and the holidays and offspring are sucking the life from Addison Road.  We need a mobile app, Mike!!!!  

In the spirit of the new year, and new starts, I wanted to let you all know that I’m starting a new series of posts over at The Dailies’ Website, journaling the evolution of each of the songs from our new record.  I had a lot of fun putting this together this morning, and I wanted to share it with you.  

Hope 2009 is treating you all well, thus far, and we look forward to opening up our musical heads for you all now that the Christmas Miracles are all done.  

Here!  Click me!  Click right here!  Yeah!  This one!  With the little blue line under it!  CLICK IT!!

Audio Christmas Card 2008 – Jingle Bells

So, this is our little family Christmas Miracle for 2008.  We’ve done this for the past few years, but this year we felt like we were only going to have time for one track, instead of the 2-3 we’ve done before.   So… we decided to get the whole family involved.  I have perhaps the most hilarious video ever of Zion, our almost three year old, tracking vocals on this one.  It’s priceless.  I’ll YouTube it and get it embedded here ASAP.  

In the meantime, Merry Christmas from Chad, Erica, Ella, and Zion Reisser 

jinglebells_mix.mp3

“Sir, Your Pain is Scheduled for 10:30am.”

“Thanks Maggie. Please hold all calls until lunch, ok?”

I had impromptu coffee with Ash yesterday. He was in town, called me, asked if I wanted to hang, and when Ash wants to hang, you just hang. That’s how it is.

Of course, things went deep. How’s the wife? How are the kids? How’s work? How’s not working? What is the meaning of time and space? Who is God? Does She have a personal assistant?

Like that.

At some point, the conversation turned to the nature of pain, physical and emotional. What is it? How does it affect us? I said something in the course of the conversation that made some sense, and Ash looked at me and said… “You need to write that down!”

Here I am, doing that. Here’s what I said, in a nutshell.

Life is pain. The very act of living is painful. We’re born into pain, and we die in pain. If you’re in pain, you know you’re alive. The question is this: do you want your pain working for you, or do you want to be its slave?

See… I was fat. Really fat. Like 320 pounds fat. Now, I am fit. I’ve lost nearly 100 pounds. I have muscles, and I can run 7 miles without stopping, and I can touch my toes. I do pilates and yoga and eat salad and have become a regular hippie. This process has been ongoing for 2.8 years thus far, and will never stop.

I got fit through a process of deliberately causing pain to my body. The body doesn’t like pain, doesn’t like the feeling of aching muscles. So, it gets all bent out of shape, goes in, and rebuilds the tissue… stronger, leaner, more equipped. This process burns calories, and fat. Then, of course, you have to do it again, and again. You literally incinerate your fat from the inside out.

It hurts. It hurts like hell. At first, when you start walk / jogging, your lungs feel like they’re gonna fall out of your chest. Your feet hurt. Your back hurts. Your knees hurt. Heck, your butt hurts. Most people stop because it hurts. Oh, also, you have to starve your body of calories, which also hurts. You have to purposefully and, of course, healthily, deny your body external food, so that it has to go to the resources it can get to, namely the resources that jiggle on your tummy. Being hungry doesn’t “Hurt” in the same way, but it is uncomfortable, and you get grumpy, and it all sucks.

So… why do it? Well, here’s something to consider: life is pain, and pain is life. Do you want your pain working for you, or do you want to be its slave? When I weighed 320+ pounds, my back hurt all the time. My knees were sore, all the time. My spine was crooked near the top, and slouched forward, causing chronic pain in my shoulders. I would sweat while sitting still. Airplane rides and shopping for pants were exercises in humiliation and discomfort. I couldn’t tie my shoes standing up. I was not likely to drop to the floor and play with my young daughter. I didn’t like going to the beach, or the pool. I had a chip on my shoulder, because I thought everyone was judging me because of my weight. I was a slave to my pain.

But now, (and this is, I think, what Ash reacted to) my pain is scheduled. I manage it. I make it work for me. I do not have back pain. I do not have a curved back. I do not sweat until I say so. I love shopping for pants. I can do a pull up. I am confident. I enjoy being on stage when we’re singing. I don’t fear people’s judgement… well, at least in the area of physical appearance.

Being fit has not solved all my problems, but having been both morbidly obese and a model for healthy living, I am prepared to make a value discernment and tell you that I experience less personal pain when it’s scheduled and maintained.

Schedule your pain. Make it work for you, instead of against you.

The Dailies on MySpace

Hey all.

So… look. We all despise MySpace. I understand. I’ve avoided it for 2 years after we set it up after the 1st record. However, for us indies, it’s a part of the landscape.

We’ve been updating our Myspace page with new tunes, including “The Tempest,” which none of ya’ll have heard, so I’d love to welcome you to do 2 things:

1. Please go enjoy the tunes. We’re really, really proud of them.
2. If you have a MySpace account, let’s be friends!

Thus concludes today’s shameless self-promotion.

Final Mixes from The Dailies

So, in honor of our cool gig last night,  we decided to put up final mixes of two of our new tunes on our Myspace page.   We’re going to post more in the near future, and keep in mind they’re still not mastered, but we still think they sound pretty good.  

The first tune is “All In,” and the second is “She Goes.”  The other 4 tunes are from our old record.

Enjoy!

Show and Tell — I’m a Cheetah Girl’s Boyfriend

Well… his voice, anyways.  

Way back in January, I was invited to two sessions for Disney’s Cheetah Girls : One World, which is being shown on Friday night for the first time.  I am singing for a character, except I have no idea who he is or what he looks like.  On these sessions, you arrive, you look at a lyric sheet, the composer / producers sing you your part phrase by phrase, and you sing it back to them.  

8 months later, you hear yourself again, on iTunes.  You’ve been tweaked, edited, tuned, compressed, and EQed to death, but it’s still you.  I have taken the liberty of de-DRMing these little clips I downloaded from iTunes this morning so that we can enjoy a little show and tell.

Now… if I seem a little excited about The Cheetah Girls, allow me this one thing:  This is the first time in my Disney “Career” where I can actually point to a part of the song and go: “Me.”  I’m plain as day.  On the HSM stuff I’ve done (on 2 and the upcoming 3) it’s like… “Wait for it… wait for it…. THAT’s ME!”  And then people will sorta scratch their heads and go… “Wait… which one was you?”  Then I rewind and we play the same scene out 3 or 4 times.

This time, however, you can really hear me.  

This first clip was a fun session, because the drive from Thousand Oaks to Brea and back took about 10 times as long as the session itself.  The session was for a couple of guys who are hot hot hot right now.  Andy Dodds and Adam Watts have songs all over the Disney machine right now, including the tune Switchfoot did for Prince Caspian.  We had never met, as the session was booked by someone at Disney, and we hit it off well right away.  

I think one of the reasons we hit it off was because I killed the vocal, fast.  We were done in 20 minutes flat, like from the first entrance into the booth back to shooting the breeze 20 minutes flat.  It’s always a little nerve-racking, as a producer, to meet and work with someone new, and for us, it was cake.  We have a bunch of shared experiences (worship leading, etc) and have similar perspectives on CCM vs. Secular music, so we had a good time.

Here’s the result of our wham-bam-thankyou-ma’am session.  I’ve edited the track to just include my parts, as not to force you into teen-pop-land longer than normal.  This track is called “Feels Like Love,” and I have no idea who the female singer is.  

feelslikelove_exerpt.mp3

The next session was about a week later, with a lady named Kara DioGuardi.  Now, I actually don’t get intimidated in sessions very often anymore, but Kara was intimidating.  She has a credit list a mile long.  She wrote some big hit songs for some big artists.  Rich Girl – Gwen Stefani, Pieces of Me – Ashlee Simpson, Ain’t No Other Man – Christina Aguilera.  These are big tunes.  Hit tunes.  Strangely, DioGuardi also wrote the song Home for Katharine McPhee, a song that we (The Dailies Band) did with her last year.

Now, Kara was perfectly pleasant and professional, but it was not the same instant connection that I had with Adam and Andy.  A tricked out Range-Rover was outside.  She had a Chihuahua in a recording studio.  I mean, she was in a joke band with Dave Stewart.  This is not my typical gig.  

However, everything went well.  I think the thing I’m stoked about on this one is how cool the chorus sounds that I’m on, and it’s all me.  The way I edited this is as follows:  you’ll hear the first chorus, without me, and then I come in halfway through the verse with the lyric “My Girl is a Drama Queen…” at 0:38 in.  Then the whole 2nd chorus is all me, a quad stack on the lead and a quad stack on the low harmony part.  

 imtheone_exerpt.mp3

So, here’s the thing.  I feel like the whole energy of the track lifts up when I come in.  As a singer, that’s my reward.  You can edit, tune, EQ, tweak, push, pull, but at the end of the day, if you can’t make it hot, it’s only gonna get so-so in the final mix.  I feel like, cheesy as they are, these little tunes are gonna serve me well representing my voice on a major product to future clients, illustrating the difference of what I can bring to the picture vs. a typical session singer.  

So, it’s an aok day for me.  :)  Thanks for indulging my show and tell.