Thinking On Your Own – Part 2

For a while now I’ve been a (somewhat quiet) member of a community called Produce Like a Pro“, run by the Los Angeles-based producer Warren Huart. I joined PLAP (as it’s affectionately known) primarily to continue to improve my recording and mixing, and thus end up with a set of quality songs for my first album.

After the upload of my song ‘Thinking On Your Own’ onto YouTube and Facebook, I was contacted by fellow PLAP-er Tim Ellifritz, based out in Johnsburg, NY, who loved the song and asked if we could collaborate and he would produce and release it. Well…. what do you say to that!

Of course, it was “yes!”

In just one day, Tim had a group of guys ready to record and work on the song, and by then, Tim’s selected drummer, Patrick Peeters, in Belgium, had made a guide track from my Youtube video, all set to 162bpm for the rest of the guys to record in their DAWs.

On the 28th March I had my first Zoom meeting call with Tim, and his fellow American Dave Merkel from Billings, MT. We got on really well, and a ‘lockdown project’ was formed. Tim had managed to recruit Dave, then Patrick, and a bass player from the Netherlands, Peter Süoss. We became a band of producers.

This just shows the power of the internet and the fact that you can work with a bunch of guys you’ve never met in person, and come up with something incredible.

P.ii band members meeting - July 2020

Over the lockdown period, each of us went to work on our respective parts: I recorded two acoustic guitar parts for a stereo mix and five vocal tracks – one lead and two-part stereo backing vocals, plus some keyboard vocal ‘ooooohs’; Patrick recorded several tracks of drums; Peter’s track used his fretless bass; Tim provided lead guitar and a rhythm electric track, plus a low vocal; then Dave provided an organ track and some strings also.

We each decided at the outset to film our performances, for the video to follow.

Building the song involved a couple of drafts from each of us, then discussion via Zoom. We shared our tracks on the cloud, and each of us could mix according to taste and add things on top for the band to hear and review. What was most fascinating to me was how different each of our mixes were. Here we had five different versions of the same song.

Thinking On Your Own – Part 2

By July we had the song finished. We decided that we’d ask another PLAP-er, Sara Carter, to do the final mix from our tracks. Sara had years of prior experience with the BBC, and had recently started her own mixing business Music Mix Pro‘, and the result was amazing.

Release date was July 31st. We spent a great deal of time building up to the release, with the creation of a Facebook group, and a number of promo ‘reminders’ that appeared on both Facebook, and our other respective channels elsewhere. I produced a load of graphics and visuals for the release, and the other guys worked on video material too for our new fans. In the 11 day build up to release day, we’d got over 300 followers.

Thinking on Your Own - All band members assembled

We’ve enjoyed the entire process so much, from start to finish, that we are determined to have a go at some more music together. We’ve also started a P.ii video channel with an episode each Friday, called ‘Friday is P.ii-Day’. I’m not sure how long we can sustain this series, but we’re certainly going to give it our best shot.