The first time I played a draft of Paradigm for Mikey he looked at me and said that he had no idea how he would add drums to what I created.

The first I played a draft of Paradigm for Emili she asked if the song really needed lyrics.

This is what they heard.

Paradigm draft

The song almost did not make it to the album. I thought about releasing it as an instrumental, but I always felt that with the right ingredients, the song would come alive.

And so it sat for many months.

Then one day Emili showed up with lyrics. Reading the lyrics alone made no sense. So I loaded the draft and had her sing along with it. Suddenly the song made sense. We recorded her scratch vocals along with the other songs and eventually a copy made its to Mikey and rest of the band.

I never did ask Emili what the lyrics are supposed to mean. I suppose it means something different to everyone.

When we got around to recording the drums, I still had no idea what Mikey was going to with the drums. The first time I heard his part was when I hit record on Pro Tools. Needless to say, I was amazed and pleased with what he created.

As we added the parts in the coming months the song finally took shape and became one of our favorites to play.

Here is the studio recording.

And finally, here is the live performance.


Idle Thoughts

It is often interesting to me that whenever I try to write, not much writing happens. However, the moments I am not trying to write is often when the writing begins. Hence the title of my post.

As creators we often get wrapped up in the business of the craft; we have to create our products.

What is difficult for me is that I create albums. I do not set out to create one song after another, I begin with a concept for an album and build the songs around the concept. Historically, when I complete an album, I begin writing a new one. The problem is that the next album is written. We even began to have rehearsals to prepare for the recording sessions a year ago. But then our realities were abruptly altered.

And so, I am in a holding pattern. Until the album is recorded and released, it is not really finished. At least not in my mind.

I do have a lot of content, however. Content from previous albums that need to be heard. I even have concert footage from the past two album releases that I need to finish uploading. There is work to be done; it just is not as exciting as writing songs.

Over the new few weeks, I will be updating my YouTube channel to include all the footage from the album release concerts for Entropy and Singularity. I also have a handful of random sketches of music that have not found a home yet.

Maybe creativity arrives in that sliver of a moment between being active and idle.

If we try too hard, perhaps we miss the moment. If we do not try, perhaps the moment never shows up.

I will let know what happens.

In the meantime, here is a sketch.



The word “producer” gets used a lot in conversation and I often wonder if the person using the word to describe themselves understands the weight of the word.

In the most basic definition, if you create any art on any level, then you are a producer. This means if you write a song, you could call yourself a producer. If you created a beat for a song, you could also call yourself a producer. But for me, there is much more work required before you can call yourself a producer.

In the late 80s through the mid 90s I worked with a good friend, David Ozab on a number of albums. We were recording to analog systems in school studios. This meant that studio time was precious, and we had to work fast to complete a song. Within a four-to-six-hour time block, we would finish an entire song. I would arrive with an idea and we started sequencing immediately. Often, we would track the main keyboard part, then add parts with each pass. Sometimes I would ask David to add a guitar part and he would create one as we were recording. It was fun and rushed but at the end of the block, I had a song written, recorded, and mixed. I would go home with a cassette copy of the song and say, “look what I recorded and mixed.”

I never used the label “producer” because the process was not thought out and planned. I relied on spontaneity and the rush of inspiration to create the song. Nothing was ever though out or planned. Yes, I had ideas and sounds that I wanted to get across, but I never took the time to really question every note, word, and inflection. I just needed to get the song done.

Production is a process that requires time and effort. Production is looking at each word in the lyric, each note in the melody and progression, and even the form of the song. Production is examining every element of the song and refining them until the song achieves its full potential. Production is assembling the best songs into an album and ordering them in a way that takes the listener on a journey. Production is taking the idea of a song and turning it into a complete work that best represents the artist’s intent and vision.

I could go on and on about this, but I will stop for now. But I will leave you with one thought to contemplate…

If you continuously ask yourself and others “how do I know if the song is done,” then you really have not produced a song yet.

A producer knows when a song is done.