Marcy and I have produced over 100 CD’s for other artists in addition to our own 42 CD’s and multitudinous instructional projects. So, how does a CD come together?
FIRST– we have to love the music. No brainer, we are crazy about Robyn Kneubuhl & Ginger Johnson, The HULA HONEYS, from Maui. We met through a friend while they were performing at a small local restauruant in Maui. An immediate friendship began as did a professional relationship with the Hula Honeys coming east for the Ukulele & Guitar Summit at the Music Center at Strathmore.
Then, the timeline begins. This one is approximate, but projects with people who live far away sometimes take a little longer.
SKYPE MEETING – We talk over the goals of the project, the music and our general plans for who will be in charge of what.
DRAFT AGREEMENT – Sometimes this is a tight contract. In this case, it’s a simple email stating what each person has agreed to be responsible for and how the finances will work. It gets tweaked and discussed and finalized. Best way to keep your friends is to keep things clear.
THE MUSIC – The important part! Ginger & Robyn begin to choose their songs from new originals to Hawaiian classics and Hapa Haoele Swing. When they are ready, they send us audio files of the songs, chord charts and arrangement ideas.
We listen and listen and listen and really get to know the music.
SKYPE MEETING– Go through the songs together and talk about the “wish list”. What do they want each song to sound like? We all KNOW we want Ralph Gordon to play bass and to have Gerald Ross play lap steel on a few songs. What else, who else?????
STUDIO– Meantime, Cathy & Marcy decide where and how to record. We went with a lovely studio in Takoma Park, MD, Airshow, and hired Kim Person to engineer. Kim has recorded incredible music by Tommy Emmanuel and we were excited to learn from her. It also gave us the opportunity to be producers 100% (and Marcy to play on a lot of tracks).
SKYPE MEETING – Sometimes these are during happy hour, sometimes we just get through a “to do” list. We’ve nailed down the dates.
April 19– Hula Honeys arrive in Washington
April 20- 21– Site see, change time zones (6 hr. time change from HI to DC) and preparation
With Eleanor Roosevelt Trying out Ethiopian Food!
April 22– All day rehearsal with Ralph Gordon on bass, Kim Person listening in and Marcy and Cathy taking notes and making suggestions. Plenty of laughs, food, fun.
BIG CHART – We like to work with a super large print spreadsheet style chart where we list all of the songs and have columns for who does what on each song. It’s really FUN to cross things off as they are accomplished, showing your progress.
April 23– Marcy makes the BIG CHART
SET UP AND SOUND CHECK – That evening we go to the studio and set up and sound check mics, positions, etc. so that the next morning we can start recording. We took about 4 hours doing this, with Kim bringing some of her favorite mics and gear and Charlie Pilzer helping us hook everything up to his studio system.
April 24-25-26 – Three solid days of recording. The goal is 4 completed songs a day, leaving just a few overdubs.
Ginger w/Tenor guitar Robyn Ralph Gordon, bass player, sandwiched by G&R
Uh oh, on April 25 Ginger starts feeling funky and by April 26 she has a sore throat and bad cold. We keep working, and have to skip her vocals that day, including songs Ginger & Robyn sing together.
April 27– The Hula Honeys & Cathy & Marcy all play a kids concert together in Columbia, MD. We get back home and do a little tracking in the Community Music studio.
Uh-Uh-oh – Ginger has shared. Robyn starts to feel sick
April 28 – Back in the studio for a while to complete rhythm tracks. Neither Robyn or Ginger can sing. Seth Kibel joins us and plays Sax and Clarinet on 2 songs and he ROCKS!!!!!
April 29-30-May 1 – Marcy becomes a teenage mutant ninja session gal and plays resonator guitar, electric guitar, ukuleles and whatever needs to be played on lots of songs, Cathy engineering at Community Music studio. Graham Breedlove plays trumpet on 2 songs. Trumpet might stretch the boundaries on Hawaiian based music, but it’s really, really fun and beautiful.
Magic Marcy on Gibson L4 Graham Breedlove –hey, who let this guy into the army? See, she’s magic!
MEANTIME – In a separate location, Kim has started on missing the rhythm tracks and the vocals we were able to track so that
LISTENING – We all listen to the tracks on a VERY high end set of speakers ($40,000 worth) and discuss, take notes and plan.
May 2– Kim heads back to her studio in Yorktown, VA to continue mixing there and we continue tracking and tweaking at the Community Music Studio
Gerald Ross has gotten a few tracks in Michigan to add his tasty lap steel to. He sends tracks back to us, we listen, talk with Gerald, revise, get new tracks and add them to the mixes.
May 3 – We work in the morning and decide to party early afternoon on the Hula Honeys last local day.
For the next few weeks Kim mixes, sends the mixes, we make suggestions. Cathy spends 20 hrs. in Kim’s studio with her soaking up some of her savvy and helping to mix a few things. The Hula Honeys recover from their colds and record the rest of their vocals in Maui, sending Kim the tracks to insert into the songs.
Since early April, the Hula Honeys have been working with a local Maui artist to create the artwork and packaging. We’ve been discussing, editing and watching progress.
STILL TO COME
Fundraising – We are putting the FUN into FUNdraising. JOIN THE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN HERE, contribute, get the CD and any other rewards you select and have FUN with the Hula Honeys.
Finished mixes to be approved by all
Finished art to be approved by all
Mastering by Charlie Pilzer at Airshow
Manufacturing by Oasis CD Manufacturing
Choose PR and Radio PR team
Line up digital and physical distribution through Community Music label network
Soft release (national distribution not kicked in yet) August 1 with 3 solid weeks of CD release shows on the East coast, including Bluemont Concerts in Fredericksburg & Ashland, VA, The Music Center at Strathmore’s Uke & Guitar Summit and the Philadelphia Folk Festival
Hard release date (with full PR, digital and hard distribution, radio campaign) Sept. 15.
MEANTIME– We’re all on to our next projects. Oh yea, and touring, and life!!!!!! We are working on 3 more recordings this summer (Kim & Reggie Harris, 10th Anniversary Edition of GRAMMY winning “Bon Appetit!” & a secret project), the release of our first itunes APP (Sing To Your Baby) and touring all over. We love our jobs and hope you love the fruits of our labor!