Our first completed project is our single, Amygdala. The initial riff during the intro and verse was conceived on Thanksgiving of 2010 while sitting next to my dad on the couch of my apartment in Libertyville on a sparkly Squier Showmaster tuned down to C# (we were covering Into The Void by Black Sabbath at the time). We wanted to write a tune that was happier but with an exciting hard rock inspired sound because at the time most music seemed pretty downer, but we were very inspired by bands like 80’s Genesis, and RUSH, as well as King’s X and kind of blindly threw our darts at the center of that Venn Diagram of influences. Our working title was literally GeneRush X (real original, I know). I recall asking Nick if he had any poems or lyrics sitting around, and he showed me the lyrics for what would become Amygdala and immediately I said, “Use that! That seems proggy.” Soon after that, I went to Google and tried to find a cool sounding word that had something to do with the logical and emotional, yet still based in real science. We are nerds mind you.
Later on, the song eventually was completed and once Nick and I brainstormed how we get this and all the other songs we had written actually recorded we either bravely or foolishly set on doing everything all ourselves. BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE THINGS!!! Said every naive artist ever…. Or just us.
That is the origin of how the production side our album came about and the eventual birth of Hear That Snap Music Publishing. From there we recorded every part track by track, scratch guitar part first, drums, bass, guitar (for real), keys, then voice. Amygdala then sat on the shelf for a while we recorded the rest of the album. At a certain point we were narrowing down on performances left to capture. Then it was, well who should mix this? I guess we will, we so obviously exclaimed. Back to Google… “Best mixing book for home studios” Enter the book Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio by Mike Senior. I know I can say I was sold when he referenced Battlestar Galactica in the opening chapters. So page by page we went through the book and tested all of the techniques on Amygdala. After eight or nine months we had a working mix. Then we shelved Amygdala again to work on another song. Eventually, after a series of technical issues we abandoned Reaper, our DAW of choice for the past 3,000 hours for Cubase 8.5. Now, we were ready. Amygdala. Version 2. The Electric Boog-a-loo.
With Cubase running perhaps not at our side because it was an entirely different pro-level beast. We got familiar with it over a few sessions then we were on our way with our second run at mixing Amygdala. It was a good choice that we revisited it, which we knew we would have to do anyway. The second attempt was better, “faster,” and more confident in our abilities as producers. Then once the mix was completed and checked on multiple sound systems, it was time for the mystical mastering phase. And guess who decided to do it themselves. That’s right, these guys. Whatever. We’ve already made it this far. No big deal.
Nick and I thought we might streamline the mastering phase by using an automated service like WaveMod, they had good reviews. We definitely liked what we heard, and it was a small $7 dollar investment per song, but it was just a bit off. So we tried just winging a master together to see if we could even get near the quality of WaveMod, and with all the techniques we had learned, we actually kind of surprised ourselves and pulled it of in about ten minutes. But even that wasn’t good enough for us. We needed our best. So back to the drawing board and more research. With a few more set action plans in place we spent another three or four sessions working on the master and that is what you hear in the video above. Speaking of music video, yeah, we did that too. No prior knowledge of iMovie or anything like it, but we were proud of what we put together in two more sessions. Especially the Tarantino-esque BLUETAIL hit at the beginning. That still makes me smile :-)
There you have it! Blog post #1, the brief history of Amygdala and Hear That Snap Music Publishing. Nick and I worked hours upon hours, usually three nights a week, about fifteen hours per week after our full-time jobs and on weekends. We definitely kept each other going with copious amounts of coffee, daily Ghostbusters and Wayne’s World quotes, several “Hey, did you see that thing on Reddit?” and above all the love for the music that we worked along with the other active and inactive members of the band. We hope very much that you enjoy what we have put forward. Thanks for reading and listening.