I interviewed Molly Zackary, my voice teacher, on July 9, 2021. In addition to voice lessons, Molly guided my lead vocals on my new album, "The Way," and assisted with the backing vocal arrangements. Molly sang some of the backing vocals herself, and recommended Marissa Russo for other parts.
Because this interview covers more ground than the other videos, I broke it into 5 parts, so that each part is only 4-6 minutes in length. In Part 1, Molly discusses her background as a singer and voice instructor. In Part 2, we discuss the voice lessons I took with her. Part 3 is about my lead vocals on the album. Part 4 is about the backing vocal sessions. In Part 5, Molly discusses her current musical projects, and gives her overall assessment of the album. Each video has snippets of a different song on the album.
I sent download codes to everybody who pre-ordered the album. I'm already getting very positive feedback from the first people to hear it. The artwork was finished and I've ordered a minimal run of 300 CDs. Those will be sent to those who pre-ordered for $25 or more, hopefully around the end of this month. The priority for me now shifts to forming a new rock band to play these songs live.
The new album now has a name. It's The Way, named after one of the songs on the album. I considered a lot of different ideas for the album title, but this one always just felt right. The songs were written over a 15-year period. "2am" was one of the first songs I wrote, in 2005, and "None of the Above" was the last song I wrote, in 2020. And it also seems to sum up the reflections of my life and music career that I wrote about on my blog last summer.
I selected Pat Creyts to design the album artwork. Above is Pat's idea for the cover, which I really like. He might tweak it a little, but this will basically be it.
The new album was mastered by Anna Frick at Airshow Mastering in Boulder, Colorado. In this video, Anna explains what mastering is, and talks about the challenges of mastering my album.
In this interview, conducted by Dave Briggs during the basics sessions in November, 2020, Ryan Watts talks about his background as a bass player, what he likes about my songs, and his first recording studio experience.
5 of the 13 songs on the new record have lyrics that could be described as social or political commentary. In this short video, I explain why.
In this short video, Jeff Kanan, co-owner and engineer at The Keep Recording studio in Denver, talks about his recording engineering background, and the approach we took with this recording project. The background music is from "The Neighborhood," one of the songs on the new album.
If you haven't seen the main video about the new album yet, click here or on the New Record Main Page link above.
Engineer Jeff Kanan has now begun mixing the songs. I heard some of his first mixes today and they sound great! In fact, the two instrumental mixes are what you hear in the video on the New Record page. I assume you've seen that new page I created, with the video, description of the project, budget and rewards for your contributions. If not, click here or on the link at the bar above.
We have completed recording for all the songs, and editing of the various tracks. We now move on to the mixing stage.
I am working on a new design for this page, with a video explaining the project, a budget for the project, and rewards for different funding levels. Look for that in the next week!
Backing vocals were completed yesterday by Molly Zackary and Marissa Russo. Earlier in February, Brent Loveday, of the Denver band Reno Divorce, added backing vocals and guitar solos to "Mama Had a Mohawk. Recording is now mostly completed.
Before moving to the mixing stage of the project, I have to pause and focus on fundraising. The project expenses have far exceeded the income from fans. The bills now total about $10,000 and, as you can see on the chart on the right, fundraising has only brought in about $6,000. Mixing will cost about $5,000 more. Then there's mastering, artwork, album replication, digital release fees and assorted other costs required to release an album. And I haven't even mentioned promotion, such as videos.
Please see the info on the right for the ways you can help. Once the necessary funding has been raised, the project will resume with mixing the songs.
Jeremy Lawton and Dave Preston came back to the studio last week to complete keyboards and lead guitar, respectively. I completed the recording of lead vocals just before Christmas, except for "The Way," which will be done next week. I would say we are now 80% done with the recording process. I have a few guitar parts left to do. Backing vocals will be done in early February, with my voice teacher, Molly Zackary, directing that.
Financing for the project continues to trickle in. I've now received about $1,500 in contributions from friends and fans. I helped my fundraising cause by selling my beloved 1961 Fender Deluxe amplifier to pay some of the bills. That brought in $2,600. I'm also donating my entire $600 federal government stimulus check to the cause. Monthly dues from members of my fan club, The Misfit Club, brought in about $500 over the past 2 years, and sales of CDs, downloads and streaming income over the past several years have brought in about $660. That brings the total raised for the project to about $5,800, just over a third of the minimum needed to record, mix and master the songs. Anything I raise over $15,000 will go to promotion, such as videos.
I spent 3 days at The Keep Recording studios recording lead vocals for the new album. My voice teacher, Molly Zackary, was present via a Zoom session for two of the sessions. I've been taking lessons from Molly over the past six months, and she has raised my vocal skills to a new level. Those of you who have heard my previous recordings, or seen me play live, will notice the difference.
Co-producer and engineer Jeff Kanan and I also began work editing the tracks that have already been recorded. For a couple of songs, we made slight changes to the arrangements. On January 5, Jeremy Lawton returns to finish up the keyboards, and the following day, Dave Preston returns to finish up lead guitar. Backing vocals will be recorded in early February. Molly will work with me on the vocal arrangements.
Funraising for the project continues to creep along. I have now raised just over $2,000 from one-shot contributions, The Misfit Club, and CD/Download/Streaming sales. You can help fund this project by clicking on the Paypal button above, joining The Misfit Club, or buying a CD or Download on my Rob Roper Bandcamp site, or my Total Flower Chaos Bandcamp site.
I spent December 1 and 2 at The Keep Recording studios, with Jeremy Lawton recording keyboards, and Dave Preston recording acoustic and electric rhythm and lead guitar layers. Both those guys are great musicians, and contributed both craftsmanship and creativity to my songs. To say that I was excited would be a gross understatement. I can't wait for the world to hear this music; it will be, by far, the best music I've ever recorded.
The only thing not going well with this project is the fundraising. My costs have already far exceed what I've raised so far from my supporters. Professional musicians like Dave and Jeremy have to be paid, and so does the studio and engineer. You can help fund this project by clicking on the Paypal button, or join The Misfit Club.
To reduce costs, I'm currently recording the electric rhythm guitars for the album at home. The sound quality isn't quite as good as it would be at The Keep Recording studios, but because I'm close-mic'ing the amps at home, with a pretty good microphone (Sennheiser e906), the poor quality of my music room at room doesn't matter as much. And it allows me to do multiple takes on each part-- to fix mistakes, or try different guitars and amps-- without paying $60/hour.
Still, I plan to record some guitar layers The Keep, in order to take advantage of room mic'ing, with great microphones, for a bigger, atmospheric sound on some tracks. There are also going to be a few songs where I'll record an acoustic guitar layer, and I definitely have to do that in a studio. I'll be doing all these guitar parts on December 1.
Fundraising is coming along, although slower than I would like, as you can see from the charts to the right. If you would like to help fund this project, please click on the Paypal button, or join The Misfit Club.
I spent two 10-hour days in The Keep Recording studios on November 6 and 7, recording "basics"-- drums, bass and rhythm guitar. It was very productive-- we got 13 songs done, and 2 instrumentals. Ryan Elwood did a great job on the drum tracks, and Ryan Watts laid down great bass tracks. Jeff Kanan did a great job engineering and co-producing. I am very happy; we now have a solid foundation to build on. Here's a few photos taken by Dave Barber. To see more, check out Dave Barber's awesome website, Rock on Colorado, which has hundreds of photos of Denver bands performing.
Yesterday, Jeff Kanan (engineer and co-producer) and I finished up the "pre-production" work for the album. I made this quick cellphone video so y'all can see the inside of The Keep Recording studio. Enjoy!
Starting tomorrow, I will spend 3 days in the studio with Jeff Kanan, the engineer and co-producer, doing what is called "pre-production" work for the album. That includes determining the the arrangements for the songs (how many measures for the intro, outro, solos, etc.), and perhaps modifications to the songwriting-- either lyrics or music. We'll decide the exact temps for the songs in beats per minute, and create charts and scratch tracks for the drummer and bass player to play to during the first "production" session, known as the "basics" session.
It will be interesting to hear what ideas Jeff has for my songs. I've given him the home demos I made so he can cut them up and rearrange them. I'll also bring an acoustic guitar so we can try different ideas and tempos. We'll kick around ideas, try things, argue (in a constructive way) and finally settle on an arrangement for each song. I'm sure the final result will be better than what I would have thought of by myself. Check out Jeff's experience on his bio.
Things aren't going well on the fundraising front, as you can see from the chart on the right. I still only have 3 fans in The Misfit Club, and have not received any one-shot contributions yet. The contributions from those 3 fans in The Misfit Club the past 2 years will mostly cover the pre-production sessions, but that's it. Hopefully more fans will step up and get behind this album project in the next couple of weeks.
Ten years ago, in 2010, I recorded my first full-length album, Misfit. It was released the following year, in 2011. Ten years later, in 2020, I am going to record "Misfit 2." I will probably give it a different name, but that's the idea-- it will be a full-length recording-- my biggest recording project since Misfit.
I have chosen The Keep Recording studio for this project, with owner/chief engineer Jeff Kanan as both my engineer and co-producer. He has enormous experience as an engineer and producer, both in LA studios, and with numerous Denver bands and artists.
Like Misfit, I will hire a professional graphics artist to design the artwork.
I have narrowed the list of songs down to these 13. The album will be somewhere between 10 and 13 of these. The year I wrote them is in parentheses.
The chart on the left shows the total amount of money raised so far for the project-- from one-time contributions, the Misfit Club, CD/Download sales, and my own money-- towards the minimum goal of $20,000. The chart on the right above shows how many fans are currently in the Misfit Club, and the goal of 30.
The minimum required is $20,000. That does not include any promotion-- review campaign, radio campaign, or videos for songs. That just gets the album recorded, mixed and mastered. It pays the studio engineer and musicians, as well as the graphics artist, and includes a mininum run of CDs to autograph for my contributors. I hope to raise more than the minimum so I can promote the album!
To pre-order this album, go back to the main New Record page, and choose a contribution and reward level. To order with a credit card, debit card, or Paypal, click the button below. (If you select the Paypal Family and Friends option, I won't be charged the 3.2% fee.)
You can also send a check to
Robert Roper, 2605 S. Lincoln St., Denver, CO 80210.
The Misfit Club are fans who contribute a small amount of money each month to support my music. In return, you get free downloads of all my recording music, exclusive access to home demos, live recordings, and songs from my old bands. You also get free admission to all my ticketed shows, live or internet.
Thank you for your support!