Tag Archives: production techniques

Beat It

It’s the end of the year, time again for student projects. This was done by my Production Techniques class. Everything you hear, all of the instruments, the recording, the mix, everything was done by our students. It was arranged and produced by Sean Beck.

VOLUME UP!

Beat It

This is what we do!

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.