Life is a rollercoaster. We're all on it and anyone who uses a strict time management system to budget their day is busy enough to know that sometimes the tiniest of adjustments has a tendency to effect your entire mojo for the day. In Cedar Point terms - it's like going from the Blue Streak to the Top Thrill Dragster through the express lane. To give you a visual:
With that said, being in a band is much like being married to one or more (in our case) women (yikes. we know). Sometimes this marriage might feel forced, sometimes it rolls along swimmingly, sometimes there is a majority rules situation... there are break-ups, make-ups, cry fests and hug-outs and if I were to imagine being married to someone, I would have the band to compare it to.
I bring up these metaphors to create an image in your head of three women on the Top Thrill Dragster barely buckled into a two-seat cab simultaneously excited, panicked, frustrated and overjoyed about the ride ahead. Realistically though, one of us would be passed out (Elida doesn't do roller coasters), one would unbuckle her seatbelt and try to stand on the front of our cab with arms spread out like Kate Winslet in Titanic shouting, "I'm the king of the world!" (Kelly, naturally) and I would be somewhere inside my head trying to balance fear and excitement (a normal experience for me at Cedar Point).
Though we know the marriage/rollercoaster feelings quite well and have learned to manage the madness that both metaphors entail, for some reason we're all starting to feel like we just boarded. We just got down on one knee and are holding hands while approaching the front of the line to get on the Dragster. Apparently Cedar Point is our honeymoon destination (sorry Elida!).
We are currently in the process of making some of the most important and defining decisions that we will have to live and be satisfied with for an extended period of time.
These "things" include but are not limited to:
- Widdling a list of over 30 songs (some of which are not completed yet) down to 10 or 12 to create our album. Easy, right? Just pick the ones you like! Ha. You may or may not have noticed our first 2 EP's have disappeared and because we are not selling/producing them any longer, that makes all of the tracks on both of them fair game for re-recording in addition to everything we've written after 2009 (HA again!). 30 PLUS songs, y'all. Cutting tracks involves brutal honesty, deep conversation, objectivity and sometimes hurt feelings. This process is exciting in theory, but generally sucks in every other possible way. Anyone who has written music to inevitably be produced and recorded knows that leaving a song you care about behind for the integrity of the album is sort of like watching a piece of your heart crack and break off. On top of the fact that you can't simply pick the songs you want. There are other things like lyrics, melody, catchy-ness and overall popularity of the song to wade through. It is a seriously exhausting process.
- Deciding on an album title. We've never really done that before. We sort of took the easy way out with our last EP's and released our first as a self-titled album and called the second 2.0. Can anyone say cop out? And honestly, it was because none of us wanted to screw it up. Now that we are forced into a title, we have to take a step back, take a look at the content on the album and make a serious decision. This title will shape the entire aesthetic for everything we do from here on out (album artwork, t-shirt designs, even wardrobe). Oh, and we also have to make sure no one else memorable has used the title already (because we're weird like that. Or... I am).
- Cross our fingers that enough people believe in this album to help us make it. Recording ain't cheap and we are committed to doing everything right this time around. How much will the album cost? A lot. But to give you an idea of what we're used to... we recorded our first EP (7 tracks) in 16 hours and our second (7 tracks) in around 24 hours. That left us absolutely no time for objective decision making on any of our tracks. Technically, each song needs (including recording, mixing and mastering) anywhere between 3 and 6 hours each. 6 is on the long end, but we don't want to be rushed and every experience we've had with recording has been a game of Beat the Clock. We recently teamed up with a few stellar individuals who are putting together a formal promo video for not just JOA as a band but also an Indiegogo video that will be premiering in September to help us raise the money we need to record. Basically, without your help, there will be no recording project. Without your support, we are just a sad mess of musicians without a solid leg to stand on. We need you. And if all you can do is remind us that we can do it - we will take it! Pep-talks are severely underrated and we love them.
- Sift through and re-work all of our standing material - which essentially involves a lot of personal time spent with the music along with the 3 of us simply sitting down and working on developing our songs/sound further. Lyrically, melodically and instrumentation wise. We will be listening to the songs and deciding which ones need work, how they need work and then implementing changes. It's tough with only 3 of us! But thankfully we have a few friends that are brilliant musicians who have already volunteered their time to help us out in the studio.
So, in giving you a not-so brief update, those are the priorities right now, along with all of the normal stuff a band has to deal with on the regular:
Booking shows and dealing with promotion material, finding a merch source that isn't overly costly but has quality products, festering over merch designs, tax ID's, bank accounts and mostly not letting ourselves fall off the radar while we're in the process of working on the album. That will be a toughy, but we're ready to take on the challenge. Bring it on, Dragster. Bring. It. On. And once the album is done, (hopefully) the clouds will part and we will embark on a new rollercoaster as a band. Maybe even a new theme park?
We're not even going to blink until December. Everyone hold on tight!