The night started off tough, waking up at about 1am naturally when we needed to be at the airport before boarding at 5:30AM. Typically, they want you there somewhere between 45 minutes and 2 hours early. So we were there about 2 hours early, and I ended up waiting about 40 minutes before boarding.
A nice, dark flight later, and I’m waiting at the bag claim when this nice group of people show up to greet me. Careless, Juja, and Juja’s wife! The latter two would later become a couple of the best people I’ve ever had the privilege to call my friends. Careless on the other hand, got me sick, but let’s not jump ahead just yet.
Stepping out of the airport into the parking garage, I quickly realized I am going to need to get used to this Florida humidity. Ultimately, it wasn’t that bad. It’s a very breezy state, it rains a lot, with intermittent beautiful sun poking through. There’s air conditioning everywhere, and people put it to good use.
We went directly to the recording studio from the airport. I didn’t know that is what was going to happen, but it did. We waited from around 8:30AM until 10AM for some reason during which time we fiddled around on the piano in the waiting room, talked, and entertained some of the staff who were walking around.
The giant chessboard in the waiting room lobby was amazing. It made me wish I knew how to play chess.
The outside of the building directly outside the entrance was swarming with gnats! It was an insane amount of gnats, probably due to being within 20 feet of a lake. It was a very nice location for a studio.
The big live room was really impressive, and very soundproofed. I was caught off guard a little at first walking in, because I’m in the best shape of my life and lost almost 70lbs up to now, but still you could hear me breathing when in that room. That quiet didn’t last long, as we soon had a bass amp, two guitar amps, drum kit, accordion, flute, violin, and at least 2 vocal mics hooked up. Later we were joined by 2/3s of a brass band as one of the guys never showed up and got fired. In other words, there was a lot of sound being made in that room. Of particular note was a live performance of Dovahkiin, which we also played on stage at the Geek Easy in Winter Park, Florida the following day. Hopefully there’ll be some decent video of that in the near future.
I got my own little spot by the amp with a music stand which I never used, a vocal mic, and a headset which I could make my own mix with. I’d be willing to bet that I had the best and most useful personal mix for monitoring our performers, not to toot my own horn. But a large part of the quality of that mix also depended on the guy behind the mixing board. I’m sure he was very tired of us by the time 5pm rolled around.
Anywho, onto the following night. After a celebratory dinner at a Venezuelan restaurant, we pretty much immediately started editing and mixing this live recording when we got to the hotel. It’s my theory that this restaurant is where Careless got me sick, and my illness continued to grow and grow the following week until it finally culminated in me going straight from the airport to the clinic. But again, that’s jumping ahead in the story a little.
Careless needed to buy a hard drive to copy the files from the studio so we could even use them. Then he went through the tedious task of editing each song (mostly choosing the last takes! dang it careless) and delivering each one to me on a hard drive to begin mixing and mastering on my own laptop. He finished around 8:10AM and I finished around 8:40AM and passed out in a nearby hotel room. One of the ones with a bed in it which may or may not have been used by one of the band members who was out (after having actually been able to sleep at night like a normal person.)
The next day… we had to get up early to go to some interview that I was supposedly going to be part of. What actually happened is that I ended up trying to burn our new mixes onto our CDs with Juja’s wife, who became a great friend during this trip. I snuck into the interview room to see what was going on, and try to interject in a comical way into the interview. After all, I was under the presumption — having been told as much — that I’d be involved in the interview. But the Nerdy Show people got veeery mad at me for interrupting in the middle of their recording. The anger was intense, and awkward, and not entirely understandable. I thought I was the third official member of Careless Juja! Maybe it was because my name isn’t in the band name. Who knows. That was weird.
Not to cut this short, but A Comic Shop / The Geek Easy was a great little venue. I ended up buying Book One of Preacher while I was there. I made so many friends during this ridiculous undertaking! It was surreal seeing people from Facebook practices just showing up and already ready to rock. From our very first take of each song, we were pretty tight. The show mostly went on without a hitch, excusing a couple technical difficulties and some little mistakes. Hopefully there will be video soon that I can share of the concert. I can’t really put into words what it feels like to play live for an audience… I thought it would be really nerve-wracking, but the anxiety drifted away while I was saying hi and talking to some of the audience.
Missing from this photo is Alyssa, the amazing vocalist who performed on Hollow Bastion. I don’t know what will come in terms of photos or videos, but there was a lot of content recorded! Keep an eye on YouTube and Facebook!