Over the past few months, Marc Peloquin and I have been preparing to go into the studio with our first album together: 60 minutes of art songs by gay American composers. We unwittingly started the project in February when we put together a recital for the Composers Now Festival. For a plethora of reasons, the program was sparsely attended, but aside from the first few songs (in my opinion) it was a real success musically. Those first three songs would have been infinitely better if the house manager hadn’t pulled me aside literally seconds before we were set to go on stage to tell me that the poor attendance would add an additional $200 to our rental fee. But that’s a rant for another day.
The audience, despite being small, was mighty, and I was happy to have shared that special evening with many of the people who matter most in my life. And afterward, the prevailing opinion (besides, “Where the hell was everybody?!”) was that it would be a crime not to record those songs. Twist my arm…
After a bit of research into recording studios and the ins and outs of recording an album, Marc and I sat down over drinks, and decided to actually do it. We’d record that program, and we’d do it right. But we never dream without dreaming big. So in the course of that evening, we decided to form our own record label, and we planned our first five releases, starting with these 19 songs, which have never been recorded before.
Shortly after that, I had studio dates booked, and Chet Biscardi, one of the composers on the disc (and a good friend), set us up with a pre-recording concert at Sarah Lawrence College where he chairs the music program.
Over the past two months, Marc and I worked the songs – most of which we’ve been performing on and off since 2007 – and continued to find new and exciting facets and interpretive twists for all of them.
Finally, our recording dates came, and we trekked up to Oktaven Audio in Yonkers, NY on a series of increasingly cold November days to get the songs in the can. It was an absolute joy to be in the studio – it was my first time to record more than demos, other than my silent participation in several AME and Naxos releases as a page turner. We had three three-hour sessions, and each was exhilarating and exhausting.
We still have two major jobs ahead of us: listening to all 176 takes to speed up the editing process, and raising funds to pay for the editing, mixing, and mastering!
Every few days, I’ll be posting a rough clip or two from the recording sessions, so check here, on Facebook, or on Twitter to hear those little nuggets.
And please consider helping to fund our Kickstarter campaign, which runs through Dec 17. And if we reach our goals early, we’ll put up some extra rewards.