The Making of “We Are the East”

So…I went rather quiet for the past month. (Had to find a new day job, couldn’t be helped. Happily, it didn’t take long, but it required some focus.) Now it’s time to get ready for Pennsic, and as Jessa and I race to do that, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on Sing for the East in a little more depth.

My Laurel, Mistress Zsof, has invited me to do more in-depth blogs about what I am learning as I continue to explore bardic. I realize that the sorts of entries she is talking about are usually more A&S focused (meaning, on period and period-inspired works, like “I asked of thee a boon”). At the moment, though, my most recent project was an album, and my entry on that collection was an original kingdom anthem. I learned a great deal putting the track for “We Are the East” together, and applied a number of lessons I learned about music recording and production from my solo album Hidden Gold.

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Studio Day: Choral Sing!

Yesterday, I had eight performers at my secret basement lair, Studio Oranwood, to record vocal tracks for Sing for the East. (From left: Mistress Dorigen of the Grey Gate, Drake, Mistress Judith Fitzhenry the Uncertain, Master Arden of Icomb, Mistress Linette de Gallardon, Lord Jayme Hume of Berwyk, Lord Martyn de Halliwell, Cedar-San Barefoot, and Mistress Sabine de Kerbriant.)

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Studio Day: Me with a guitar

No, there’s no picture. When I record myself these days, I do it alone. Mostly because logistically it’s so much easier. But I have finished recording the lead vocals and the guitar intro and outro for “We Are the East”, for the Sing for the East album.

This will be my first time I get to have an instrumental credit on one of my recordings. Or any recording, for that matter.  How did Red Riding Hood put it in Into the Woods? Oh, right. “Excited and scared…”

Studio Day: “We Are the East”, cont’d

Her Grace Caoilfhionn spent a few more hours laying down tracks with me for the forthcoming recording of “We Are the East”. I’m looking forward to doing some editing and mixing next week, because this piece is coming together and I think the end result will do all the contributors proud. 

The opportunity to work on music with Caoilfhionn, as always, is matched only by the joy of getting to geek out about our shared enthusiasms: the SCA, our kingdom, Hamilton, our families, this project and other things we’re working on, the fun of being able to use technology to do things that used to require the services of high-priced professionals. I savor the conversation when I get the chance. 

I’m particularly excited to get into the end game on this recording, because my last-minute performance of the song at K&Q the other week was met with enthusiasm. I’ve had some lovely and unexpected responses from people I had not had the chance to get to know before. So it’s feeling like an especially opportune time to be finishing this recording. 

All these months I’ve spent recording one song, though…makes you wonder, what else will be on this thing? Welllll…stay tuned. More information will start emerging before too much longer.

Studio Day: We Are the East

Recording with Arden again is a much fun as ever. (And yes, we will share about the project this is part of after the holidays. Promise.)


Studio Day: Special Guest Vocalist

Tonight was a recording session I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I got to record vocals for “We Are the East” sung by the duchess who inspired it. Caoilfhionn is one of the most beloved Eastern royals in the last few years with good reason, but there are still many who have not experienced her incredible voice. She is a talented singer (and songwriter), and arranging this song as a duet with her is a true privilege. Geeking out with her about music and our very different experiences in the SCA…that was an added pleasure, because she is a thoughtful and wonderfully honest person.

I promise, I will share more details about the project for which the song is being recorded. Soon…

Studio Day: Lead Vocals

I spent time in the home studio today, banging out lead vocals for a few different projects. The main one, of course, was “We Are the East”, which now has a complete set of male vocals in place. I’m excited, because this is a sign that I’ve learned from experience. Working on Hidden Gold, I left pretty much all my finalized lead vocals for the end of the project. This was a mistake, because (a) it meant the other musicians and singers didn’t have a finalized lead track to match up with, so I had to do a lot of digital editing at the end, getting things lined up, and (b) I had to cram in weeks of singing at the very end of the recording process without time to recover in between, so at the end it got really challenging (and painful).

I also did vocals for my filks, though I want to check what I need to do to be in the clear before I share those. Still, all in all a very productive day. A couple of hours of recording, a few hours of editing and compositing the vocal tracks. It’s enjoyable to see that the muscles I developed on my last recording project are still available for me to use.

I look forward to sharing the results of these endeavors with you when the time is right.