Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Medulla Explanations Pt.2 (the making)

Welcome to The Medulla Explanations part 2 (the making of TMT)
You’ve got the inside story, now here’s the outside scoop.

Spring 2009, Lewis Johnson, the Golden Mic King himself and I were working on Songs for Bloggers at Truth Studios, which ended up getting released soon after in June. It was loads of fun spitting out productions and ideas, learning to mix, and experimenting with wild song formats. This was right after recovering from a tonsillectomy and also just as I had given up (for various reasons) on recording my original first album by the name of *For Star People Becoming Human with who would become my future mixing engineer Dave Green (More on him later). I was in a vulnerable place vocally with a totally new voice which I am still trying to get used to, to this day. I was going by the alias Dot back then. (remember that guy)
During a hang out session with Lewis, between popsicles and Pixar movies, the conversation of me finally breaking down and doing a project happened. At this point there was no excuse. I had co-piloted Songs for Bloggers to a safe landing, so I knew it could be done. So that’s precisely what I did. 

For the next 3 weeks I showed up at the Johnson residence around 8am on my fixed gear bicycle, fixed Lewis a vegan breakfast, then I would go to work in the lab. Didn’t actually take long for me to come up with 10 different production that sounded diverse enough yet from the same family to hold down an ambitious record like the one in my mind’s eye and ear. By August I was ready to start vocal recording so I set out to record at my brother’s (Vitamin D) studio The Pharmacy. Maxie (Mystique) Jamal and I would start in the early morning around 3am before I would go work. Things later became a bit unpredictable with scheduling on the studio’s end and for one reason or another we wouldn’t be able to record there. Eventually I started looking for another place to record.

Meanwhile Lewis was preparing to move to Los Angeles.
Later that fall I arranged with Lewis to record at Truth Studio. I got the green light and proceeded to work. During that time I got to interact with Lewis’s wonderful family, George (Pop), John (JMilla), Tanesa and Kaydee (the pitch shifter). Tirelessly I worked along with Maxie, clear into December and nearly completed mixing with the assistance of Lewis coming back for a post holiday visit. In this same time I was helping to clean, rewire and paint the studio with John and Pop and working on side projects with other artist recording in truth studios. Just when things we’re gaining momentum a shift occurred. I was forced to move my workings and my project elsewhere. That was the beginning of the Saturn Retrograde. This was a very sad time for me as the future of my transmissions were more uncertain than ever before. It was also during this period when Dot died.  

It wasn’t until the end of the retrograde in May 2010 that I even had an opportunity to begin thinking about completing the project thanks to a very dear friend and school mate of mine. THE GREEN WIZARD, Dave Green, whom I must say is a far more brilliant musician/singer/songwriter/engineer than I. His work will melt your brain with goodness!!!!
A disparate telephone call after almost an entire year had gone by with little to no communication set the second half of the album’s journey in motion.
Dave helped me salvage my scrambled encrypted audio files and reformatted them so that we could mix in Protools and did a spectacular job if I may say so myself. It was a glorious summer at Houdini’s Tree, mixing, barbecuing, eating, movie watching, video game playing, long walks and good old fashion bonding with my old buddy Dave and his lovely wife Ann (and of course Sam). Around the tail end of the mastering, another miracle appeared from on high. Jennie Lucas is her name, who just happens to be Dave’s sister. When Dave and I were discussing album art, he referred me to her. Jennie and I met and brainstormed on a a couple of graphic concepts and I knew from the beginning that she was going to be wonderful to work with. She came forth with great ideas and seemed to understand my visions from the beginning. It wasn’t long until we did a quick photo shoot and she went to work. We went back and forth via email until the vision was realized. Jennie was super supportive and understanding with all my pickyness and I love her for it.
The Medulla Transmissions saw it’s first bit of daylight at a performance Maxie and I did at the Capital Hill Block party with Air to a Bird. (Amos Miller, Gabriel Teodros, Estrella de’Leon, Lara Davis)
Dave and I put a seal on the Masters in early August of 2010.

Fall 2010.
After running into Amos Miller numerous times at various events, him and I finally sat down and talked about a project he was doing with Hollis Wong-Wear. Together they were The Heartfelts. He wanted to pull me in on production and I thought it was a great idea.
We linked up at Buttermilk Studios and I tool a listen to their rough recordings of 5 songs and I was deeply moved.
After a couple of months of developing with The Heartfelts, playing some gigs, helping to record and vocal produce Act 1 a 5 song EP and releasing it, the turn of the year was upon me. I knew it was time to release the album. I had managed to get my name out quite a bit playing with The Heartfelts and interacted with quite a few musicians. January was the month I would have liked the release, but I was a little too busy with other aspect of my life. Time burned right through chilly February and finally on the first of March, The Medulla Transmissions was out to the public.

I thought it might be appropriate to post my thank you’s and acknowledgements. It will serve as a perfect close to this chapter of TMT.

||| Reflections |||
To "the ONE", the transmitter of the greatest transmission. These recordings are for YOU. You've got my attention and I'm listening. To my Earth family: Lisa, Herman, Derrick, Kisa, Dana, Aja thank you for putting up with such an alien for all these years. Hope I can make you all proud.  To the Johnson Family: Lewis, George and John, this project would be no such thing if it weren't for all three of you. Our time together will not soon be forgotten. To David Green: I just need to pause for a moment................. for everything you are and everything you've done. There is no way to thank you, so I'm not going to try. We're just going to keep doing exactly what we're suppose to do. To Jennie Lucas: My ears might have heard, but they wouldn't have seen "TMT" if it weren't for you.  You're a wonder! To Maxie Mystique Jamal: Thank you for being you and being here, always. I'm not going anywhere! To my ethereal family: You know who you are and I know I'll never make it through this transition without you. Lets continue to evolve and to vibrate higher. To the versions of the program: I bet you think this song is about you! Don't you? Well, you're absolutely right!!! To YOU reading this: This pilgrim couldn't make progress without you, so for all of you, I am forever grateful.

Jahon Mikal

||| End of Transmission |||


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