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View Full Version : The end, and a new beginning


Azraphael
March 6th, 2007, 04:44 PM
Hi all,

This is going to be a bit long, I expect.

On March 5th, 2007, I played my last jam with my band of the last 2 1/2 years, Blind Fish.

We made a decision on Friday to call it quits with this band, for a ton of different reasons. Last night was our farewell jam, a quiet, private, and admittedly emotional affair.

I've been in lots of bands over the years, but there was something special about Blind Fish. This is further evidenced by the fact that, here at the end, I still have 3 very close friends. There's no animosity whatsoever between anyone that was in the band... the same exact lineup that we started with in the summer of 2004.

But, all things must come to an end. The reasons for the split are varied... call it creative differences, call it mismatched ambitions, call it a re-evaluation of life's priorities for 4 close friends. Doesn't matter what you call it, really... all of those labels would be approprite, but none of them encompass it all.

It was one hell of a ride, and I'd like to publicly thank all of you here for your support, opinions and assistance over the last couple of years. Of particular note in this area are Otek, Aardvark and Clicktrack, though there were many other voices that helped us significantly over the years.

On a more personal note, this decision left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth for bands, at least for a while. The funny thing is, it's not like it has been for me in the past. When previous bands of mine split, there was typically some significant animosity somewhere in the equation. I think that's almost easier to take, really. At least that way I had something tangible to be angry about, and in a lot of cases someone specific to be angry at.

That's not the case with the demise of Blind Fish. These guys are still my friends, I'd still work with any of them in the future, and I have all the respect in the world for them as musicians and as human beings. Sure, we had our differences over the last 2 1/2 years, but nothing insurmountable.

Until this, that is.

Anyway, this had been brewing for a while, and after a substantial amount of thought, discussion with my wife, family and friends, I've decided to move in a new musical direction.

While I will always write and record my own songs, I think it's time for me to put my focus more on me, rather than on a band. After several failed attempts at bands, I think it's time to pursue a professional music endeavour that doesn't directly rely on other people the way a band does.

And no, I'm not going solo. The few among you who have heard demos with my vocals on them know that it would be folly for me to ever think that my voice would sell records.

Instead, I've decided to focus much more on the engineering side of things. I've been doing the hack hobby engineer thing for many years, and I think it's time to either shit or get off this proverbial pot. It's time to get serious, and since I suddently find myself bandless and therefore with disposable time and income, this seems like the ideal time for me to start.

My general goal is to first focus on getting my chops up. This will require a significantly better home recording rig than I currently have, most of which I have planned out already (you can read about it in my thread in the "Made Easy" forum here (http://womb.mixerman.net/showthread.php?t=2109)). It means a lot of time and effort learning to properly translate what I hear in my head into what's coming out of the speakers.

On that note, consider yourselves warned. I'll be asking a lot of questions as I move along.

Once I have my own chops up a little bit, I plan to obtain formal AE education. From there, I will start small... recording indie bands for next to nothing, just to get the experience. With a lot of hard work, and plenty of luck, I'll be able to start advancing my career as an engineer to the point where I can make the official professional switch from my current daytime gig.

Long term goals? Sure, I have them. Right now the big dream is to own and operate a decent, competitive studio by the time I'm 40. That gives me a little over 8 years. Not easy, but not impossible either, I think.

I find it kind of ironic that I'm going through this right at the same time that Compte posted that thread about every hack with a computer being a "prodoossa". Maybe I'll end up in that crowd, but I expect not. Unlike a lot of the riff raff out there, I fully recognize that engineering is both a science and an artform. Like anything else worth doing, it requires a lot of work and dedication to get good at it.

And I plan to get very good at it.

So what does this mean to you, good citizens of The Womb? Well, not a hell of a lot, I guess. Still, it feels good to share with people that can probably, I expect, relate to this on some level or another. This is a pretty cirtical crossroads in my life, one that means taking a completley new professional path.

Gods, it'll be nice to not have to wear a suit every day...

Anyway, if you've made it this far, thanks for reading. Thanks also for all the advice over the years, and all the advice I'll be bugging you for in the years to come.

Cheers,

Dave

mousdrvr
March 6th, 2007, 05:06 PM
Good on ya,

mous is rooting for you!

archtop
March 6th, 2007, 05:14 PM
Dood it all sounds Honkey Dorey.


'cept the "Formal AE Education"



I don't see that helping you at all.




I don't think it has landed anybody a gig, or made anybody any better.


What you need is the fire inside.


This I believe you already have.



I'm totally stoked for you.
Change is good.

Azraphael
March 6th, 2007, 05:18 PM
Thanks guys.

Archtop - I agree with what you're saying, but I'm not yet willing to claim that I can learn this on my own, or just through other connections like these fora.

Still, I've heard the same thing about the formal AE eduation in the past.

But, looking long term, I expect that it will be significantly easier for me to get investors and/or a business loan from a bank to start a commercial studio if I can prove a formal education and certification in the field.

Just a guess, but I think a bank might take me a little more seriosuly with the education under my belt from an accredited institution. And, realistically, this is going to require a whole bunch o' money in the future at some point, I think.

Cheers,

Dave

Johnny
March 6th, 2007, 05:28 PM
Dave, you're going to do very well. I can "hear" it in your words.

I think the formal education will be useful to you in terms of acoustics, etc., and also in "learning the rules before you break 'em."

It will be fun to follow this new aspect of your career here as it blossoms. Thanks for posting this.

Fulcrum
March 6th, 2007, 05:41 PM
I find myself in a situation similar to yours. Fulcrum was a band, once, so I certainly understand the tortuous path you've taken to this point and the potentially even more tortuous one that lies ahead for you.

You have the right attitude towards learning and the appropriate passion for your craft. Your head appears to be screwed on straight. :grin::icon_eek::Surprised:

I think you'll do OK.:Thumbsup:

Keep us posted.

clicktrack
March 6th, 2007, 05:43 PM
While I'm sorry to hear of the demise of Blind Fish, I am happy for you that you decided to make the move you're making for yourself. Well done.

It can be a hard road, and just when you think you "got it" on one little minute aspect, someone else will show you a better way that's been in front of your face. This thing shows you that no matter how far you've come, there's always a lot farther to go. It seems that I learn this on a DAILY basis round here.

Having met you, you do have the personality to take the lumps that this stuff gives ya and learn from them.


Good on ya, fellow Leafs Fan!!!


Cheers
Click

Tim Halligan
March 6th, 2007, 05:53 PM
Dave,
You seem to have your head screwed on straight...and yet you want to go down this path? Is there a history of insanity in your family?

:lol:

Seriously, best of luck with this bold new endeavour...I've no doubt that you will end up kicking ass and taking names.

It's moments such as these that define our lives.

Cheers,
Tim

Aardvark
March 6th, 2007, 06:00 PM
...I expect that it will be significantly easier for me to get investors and/or a business loan from a bank to start a commercial studio if I can prove a formal education and certification in the field.

Just a guess, but I think a bank might take me a little more seriosuly with the education under my belt from an accredited institution.

Go to school and get business degree.

The bank will take you far more seriously than if you arrive with a recording degree. The bank won't give a flying fuck how good or bad your recordings are...it's all about business baby. Besides, getting the bank to lend you money is much easier if you know how to talk bank to them. A well researched and documented prospectus from a business point of view is what you need to go along with an investor.

Here is a little thought for you to also consider.

Had you and your band spent your money in the greater metropolitan area you live in, as opposed to going out of town with the budget, you might have been in a very good postition right now to go to a decent sized shop owner and negotiate an apprenticeship.

Oh well...

HEhehe



If you are dead serious about learning to record then skip school and get into a shop pronto. Work the hours nobody will take, be the best coffee maker and cleaner the place has ever known. Show your self at every chance and be ready to help with a grin on your face and a spring in your step. Make yourself invaluable to the better vibe and operation of the place.

Record whatever you can whenever you can with whatever you can. Record live shows, kid's recitals, Church choirs and talent contests. Make friends every single time you string up a mic. Record folkies at the local pub, music school auditions on home pianos...record voice overs for your Mom's home videos, record yourself practicing guitar, record the sound of a great storm outside your window some night.

Record every day.

Learn how to work in a proper shop.

Learn that owners rarely do a good job of both business and art.

Learn that in five years time your business degree will still get you a job.



Cheers,
Aardvark

:Wink: :Thumbsup: :Thumbsup:

Azraphael
March 6th, 2007, 06:17 PM
Good thoughts, Aardie, thanks.

As for staying local when we did our thing... well... for the budget we were on, the only connection we would have gotten was at Frankie's Recording Studio and Hot Dog Stand.

Hence the decision to go out of town. Either way, it was certainly an experience I won't soon forget.

You're absolutely right about getting into a shop as soon as I can. The trick there is that I've got to find a way to continue to make money while I do this for the next little while. I still have a lot of planning to do on that end.

Like you've said, though, I've got to record anything i can, every chance I get, and record something every day. Hence my other thread today, regarding the setup I'm planning on building, to help me do exactly that.

With regards to the business degree, you definitely have a valid point there. Talking to banks in their own language and putting together a formal proposal and prospectus isn't that daunting for me, due to my professional background thus far. However, the degree would be good to have just the same. Something to think about there.

And, while you make a fair point about the business degree helping to secure another job in the future if it's necessary, I have a slightly different approach. I simply can't afford to dive into this head first at this point, so I'll continue doing what I'm doing for the time being, and getting better at engineering evenings and weekends. The goal is to work towards the day when I can leave this current day gig for full time AE work, with some reasonable guarantee that I won't starve doing it.

It's a tough road ahead, I'm well aware of that. All I've done so far is take the first very small step.

Cheers,

Dave

MacGregor
March 6th, 2007, 06:20 PM
Go to school and get business degree.


Hate to agree with this ant eating guy from the north but that's
actually a VERY good advice you should take very serious.

If you want to make a living with something you must be a good
businessman first.

Mac

leester
March 6th, 2007, 06:29 PM
Hate to agree with this ant eating guy from the north but that's
actually a VERY good advice you should take very serious.

If you want to make a living with something you must be a good
businessman first.

Mac

With my own toes curled 'round the end of the high-dive, I gotta agree.

Unfcknblvbl
March 6th, 2007, 06:48 PM
Go to school and get business degree.

The bank will take you far more seriously than if you arrive with a recording degree. The bank won't give a flying fuck how good or bad your recordings are...it's all about business baby. Besides, getting the bank to lend you money is much easier if you know how to talk bank to them.

If you are dead serious about learning to record then skip school and get into a shop pronto. Work the hours nobody will take, be the best coffee maker and cleaner the place has ever known. Show your self at every chance and be ready to help with a grin on your face and a spring in your step. Make yourself invaluable to the better vibe and operation of the place.

Cheers,
Aardvark

:Wink: :Thumbsup: :Thumbsup:


Holy fuck, this needs to be a sticky and referred to anytime a newbie joins the Womb.

emtou2u
March 6th, 2007, 07:33 PM
Go to school and get business degree

The bank will take you far more seriously than if you arrive with a recording degree. The bank won't give a flying fuck how good or bad your recordings are...it's all about business baby. Besides, getting the bank to lend you money is much easier if you know how to talk bank to them. A well researched and documented prospectus from a business point of view is what you need to go along with an investor..

ProfessorVark is right - in my experience - the banks will look at the following things:

1) credit rating

2) assets

3) business plan - especially the prospectus

4) management team - including their educational background

5) experience / expertise in the industry

your biz plan and experience won't matter a flying *&^% if you don't have credit. i would spend as much time fine tuning your credit history and personal balance sheet as gaining other education and experience. (btw - paying off credit cards completely is NOT the way to go)




If you are dead serious about learning to record then skip school and get into a shop pronto. Work the hours nobody will take, be the best coffee maker and cleaner the place has ever known. Show your self at every chance and be ready to help with a grin on your face and a spring in your step. Make yourself invaluable to the better vibe and operation of the place..

DITTO- a few years a guy (the husband of an employee) came in to 'volunteer' to see if it was an industry he wanted to get into. he showed up earlier, worked harder and accomplished more than people making $50k/year...i made him my director of operations within 1 year!


.....
Learn that owners rarely do a good job of both business and art..


this is by far one of the most valuable things i have seen on this site - if you don't understand why than don't ever open a business - if you want to know why than get the book e-myth.



Learn that in five years time your business degree will still get you a job..

classic segway to introduce the book rich dad, poor dad and the general concept of owning a business vs. working at someone else's business.

jerryskid
March 6th, 2007, 09:55 PM
Wow..I'm gettin a good edumacation......great thread!!!

clicktrack
March 6th, 2007, 10:13 PM
ProfessorVark is right - in my experience - the banks will look at the following things:

1) credit rating

2) assets

3) business plan - especially the prospectus

4) management team - including their educational background

5) experience / expertise in the industry

your biz plan and experience won't matter a flying *&^% if you don't have credit. i would spend as much time fine tuning your credit history and personal balance sheet as gaining other education and experience. (btw - paying off credit cards completely is NOT the way to go)


There are some smart people here..thats for sure.

You are sooo right about these five points.

This is now bringing me back to a few years ago...you guys are making me remember the dancing we did to get the funds to complete our mobile.

When we did the dance, we got put through the ringer on all accounts. They especially don't like music related businesses, so be prepared to bend over that much more.

W.r.t the business plan, plan to spend at least 6 months to a year getting it done. Don't even think of putting it in front of someone's face for at least that time. It takes that long to research EVERYTHING that you need to know. Once you think its ready, go through it again with someone you know and trust who is involved in the financial world. Its amazing what you don't consider that should be done.

Also, I found that the business plan writing software (Business Plan Pro) was very good, because it takes you step by step through writing one and asks you questions that FORCE you to do your homework. As well, if the numbers don't add up, it will flag them.

shlampe
March 7th, 2007, 03:08 AM
First off, sorry to hear about the demise of the band, it's alwasy tough when good friends decide that they just can't do it together anymore for whatever reason. Second, congrats on the drive. having the drive to be an entrepreneur is the MOST important thing in any endeavor where you're going to be going out on a limb. I've been in your same situation in a couple of different ways, i've split from a band and really felt the pain where I didn't want to be a part of anything that intimate again. That said, I've been in bands since, and they've been both painful and incredible. I've never really felt that I was a good enough singer/musician/songwriter to be a professional at it, so I made the decision to keep it as a hobby and go in other directions professionaly.

Which leads me to point two (there's a point here somewhere, i promise). 8 years ago, i started my own business, i was working elsewhere making sure that i could pay the mortgage the whole time. Putting in 8 hours (or more) a day and then putting in the extra 8 or so building up your knowledge, networking and customer base is tough. straight up it sucks. you will feel like you're wasting your time, you'll feel like you're losing your shit etc... etc... etc...

3 years ago the best thing in the world ever happened, i got laid off from the full time gig and got forced into "shitting or getting off said pot". I'm not sure whether I defacated or left said bathroom, but I went full time on my own. Since then I've been working 16 hour days 7 days a week and loving 70% of it. It's scary as hell, but it's SO worth it being your own boss and knowing that all of your hard work is going towards something that you're a part of rather than something that you work for.

Now, what have I learned in that time?

When you've got enough experience, trust your gut
know that you've never got enough experience (yeah, i know, it's a catch 22 but that's the way it is)
read everything, even if it's about making ice cream, starting a business is starting a business (and ben and jerry's is a great resource on flying by the seat of your pants)
build a network
build relationships (clients, when they feel it's a relationship will be more forgiving to startups than they will if you're just another jerk)
become a resource (I'm sure, though I've never met him that just because of this forum, Mixerman and others have gotten business by having their name out there)
you can't buy respect, the people with the most money and the loudest voices will likely go out of business (although having read many of your posts, i doubt that you will be that person)
this one's cheesy and oversaid, but brand, whether you're the brand or your company's the brand, needs to be consistent and needs to be conveyed whenever possible.
You'll fuck up. no doubt about it, expect that you're going to do it and don't let it break you
Money, you're always going to have less than you need. No matter what.
trust is the best thing in the world. I may be a dumb hick who trusts too many people, but if I didn't ever put myself out there I wouldn't have people that trusted me.
you'll get fucked, there will be people that you trust that will screw you. Don't let it get you down, and DON'T EVER BAD MOUTH THEM. Sore losers are remembered more than people who honestly say that they got into a tough situation.
have a clear vision of what you want your company to be.
don't trust the MBAs I've known a shitload of people with MBAs, I'm almost one of them. if they say that they've got an MBA in the first meeting, they don't know what they're doing, they're covering for that fact with a degree.
have a 10 year plan and a 1 year plan, make sure they work together, i've seen a lot of start ups that say, "I want to double profits next year", but then expect they'll be able to do that for the next 9...
enjoy it, sometimes not having an umbrella is awesome and if you're lucky, it works out beautifully, if not, you've been able to build the knowledge and you've gained invaluable experience. You're 32, you've got a lot of time to screw up and a lot of time to do incredible things. Good luck.
Know your weaknesses. Being able to know your strengths is great. knowing your weaknesses and finding the people to butress them is invaluable.


Ok, that's it, I don't know if any of it's helpful, but those are some of the things that have helped me over the last few years of building a business. I'm not in music, but general business tenets hold true across whatever business you're in.

AngelBomb
March 7th, 2007, 04:42 AM
I have recently found myself in nearly the same boat as you except the band is still together, it's my day gig that has been taking a hit lately. I'm a residential and light commercial builder by day and the housing market in my neck of the woods has taken a huge shit on itself over the past 2 years leaving basically everyone from real estate agents to builders with no work to even compete for. So with my new found free time I've started really getting my studio and chops shaped up and have started approaching other bands in the area hoping to drum up some extra income. I figure I haven't got anything to loose as I had the luck to spend 3 years in a pro shop doing everything from classical to rap to death metal. I'm in a great area as there are sooooooo many bands and the few studios around just don't seem to put out anything sounding as good as I have been. Not that my work couldn't improve drastically in many ways but it makes me confident that I have a fighting chance. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck in your new ventures, as I'm currently finding my way through owning and operating not only the building buisness but also the recording buisness. It is tough on your own, especially at first, but you seem to have the drive to make it work.

-Josh

DaveC
March 7th, 2007, 10:34 AM
Don't really need to post this because mainly I am agreeing with Aardy's words of wisdom.

Basically, I followed the same path as Az is proposing - set up what used to be called a project studio and recorded bands with no money. Developed a decent rep in the town, and stuck at it for 5 years before moving to a pro shop.

I would say that running your own crappy studio is a good way to start. You learn the really important stuff like how to deal with people, how to take money off bands and still be their friend, you learn how to work quickly, you learn how to bluff as if you know what you are doing, you get time to experiment a bit. Much better than AE school... except you learn by yourself.

2 or 3 years of this TOPS is all you need. I stuck at the small studio level way too long. Move sooner, because:

at a pro shop you get to work with and hear pro gear

you get to work with better/richer musicians

most of all you get to work with more experienced AEs and producers, ones who are making it in the real world and in todays music biz

Nothing compares to what you learn there. A pro shop IS the only and best AE school.