My Recording Journey: Craigslist

Yes, this really was a journey.  It was full of twists and turns, delays and road blocks, and plenty of frustrations.  With that being said, it also gave me the opportunity to meet some great people and experience the joy and sense of accomplishment that comes with recording music.

At this point, I have sold my motorcycle to help fund my recording project.  Recording the songs I have written has been a dream of mine for quite some time.  I have always enjoyed performing live, and meeting people.  On occasion, someone at a show would inquire about purchasing a cd.  I have always regretted that I didn’t have one to give them.  I was more than excited to be able to work on changing that.

I knew of a few bands/musicians from the area that recorded their material locally.  One of which purchased all of the needed equipment off of a popular online auction site, if you do a minimal amount of thinking you’ll be sure to come up with it.  After his band recorded their songs, he turned around and sold the equipment almost as fast as he bought it.  This option did not sound easy or desirable to me.  Another local musician, Greg Gilbertson, who happens to be one of the most talented guitar players I have ever met, recorded at a local studio.  I visited the recording studio and met with the owner.  It was professional, and the artists that I heard samples of sounded excellent.  This option sounded very appealing to me.  Then, we worked out the numbers based on what I had planned for my songs.  Basically, what it came down to was—-I didn’t sell a large enough motorcycle.

Enter now, the first time I remember being frustrated.  I really had no idea how much it cost to record, or the amount of time that went into mixing and mastering a song.  The fee for an hour of studio time seemed reasonable.  A musician can get a lot done in an hour if they utilize their time well and if they are really good friends with this little thing in the studio called a click – track.  If you’re not sure what that is, do an internet search and you’ll find it.

I did some thinking, and I came up with an idea.  I would post an ad on Craigslist to see if their was anyone in the area that could help me out, or knew of someone who may be able to.  I believe I received three or four emails that were legitimate.  I was actually pleasantly surprised by the response.  One of the responses I received looked quite promising.  Rather than tell you about it, I’ll share it with you.

I don’t know if you found anyone to do song recording for you, but I’m sure my brother would be able to help you.  He lists on Craigslist now and then to provide sound services to people.  He lives in Eau Claire and has a sound studio set up in his basement.  He plays bass guitar, does recording, etc.  His name is John and his cell phone is 715-***-***.  Tell him his brother Dave referred you to him, he’s a nice guy and could provide what you need.  Good luck

I called John, met with him and agreed on a price that was in line with my budget.  We set an initial start date, and a project completion date.  It all sounded good to both of us.  I think that we may have overlooked a few things.  Just to name a few of them:

  • I have never recorded, except for a few live performances.
  • The click – track proved to be a noble adversary for me.
  • We both have families, and work full-time jobs.
  • John had never taken on a recording project with the number of tracks per song I proposed.
  • We didn’t anticipate how difficult it could be to ask additional musicians and friends to be a part of this project.  Who also have families and full-time jobs.
  • Insert a number of other things here_______________________.

I think John and I can both look back and laugh at the initial completion date we set for about three months after we started.  What do they say about “hindsight”?  I now know that we put an unrealistic expectation on our goal.  The actual time it took us to record all the tracks for each song, with mixing and mastering was recorded by John.  What that looks like in real life time is  three and a half years after the initial meeting with John, we finished “I am Free”.

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