The writing for the new CD, Always Remember, was done in a way very different than my first CD, Life. When I was working on the first CD, I would write everything for a song in the same day. I’d make a quick demo with all the riffs and lyrics, then I would begin on the actual song. I’d program the drums, and then record all of the instruments. The process for Always Remember is very different.
The main difference is that I used the knowledge I have of the guitar and wrote the songs out in MIDI without actually playing the songs. I did this so that Dan L. could work his magic on the drums. He did, as the drums are really incredible. But this also separates some songs from some of the other songs that already existed. I was planning to make this a very high-class album with a couple piano-oriented songs that were driven by the piano with orchestral accompaniment. The problem is, we are rapidly speeding past the time constraints of a full-length album.
I personally love 75 minute albums, but not for this genre of music. When it’s progressive rock, that is fine. But you want an album like this to be more around 45 or 50 minutes so that you don’t overwhelm the listeners. Not to mention the fact that nobody listens to hour long albums anymore, they usually listen to the first handful of songs on a CD and then move on to something else. The iTunes generation is even worse, with their iPods on shuffle or just listening to 1 or 2 songs from a CD. I’m not talking about commercial CDs where there’s only 1 or 2 good songs on them anyway.
I digress though — I caught myself before I headed into a rant. I have split the songwriting for this album into 3 broad categories: There’s the epic pieces with Daniel’s drums. There’s the piano instrumentals which there are 3 of, one of which being the inspiration behind the whole concept behind this CD. The third category is the great acoustic stuff I’ve been playing just when I pick up the guitar, very similar to the way I wrote the first CD.
There’s way too many ideas, and not enough space on a CD for them. I think it was Mike Portnoy who said music is never completed, only abandoned. Another problem with the way we wrote this CD is that I have gotten used to the songs as instrumentals with no vocals. I don’t know if I will be able to write lyrics that match the love that I’ve gained for the music.
It is very likely that if I just stick to the base of what I’ve prepared for this CD, we will end up with 60 minutes of music. That would be 13 or 14 tracks… It is going to be an incredible journey if it ever gets completed! I’ve been recording a ton of songs lately. I have a lot of material that are “one hour compositions”, as well as an entry into the Conceptual Music Competition #33 at OCR which I really enjoyed and entered an original song. Entering things like that really helped me become more comfortable making new songs that don’t necessarily have a specific purpose. I used to just write for CDs I was planning. Now I’ve got songs I made that I don’t even remember.
Anyway… too many songs. They’re all good, too. I might be able to cut one or two songs, but I don’t really want to. It’s going to be a blast to work on all of this music — I can barely stand to wait any longer.