Opt Out – Cherokee EP Update

#progress

Back in June, Will and I announced our intention to do an EP.  Shortly after writing that blog post, we began going over all the old songs. There were a few that I really wanted to do that didn’t make the cut, and Steve (bass) and James (drums) also had different favorites. Given the fact that we’ve never made a musical deadline in our lives, we decided to go ahead and record a full album with all 11 Cherokee songs. This is the biggest project either of us has ever been a part of, and it’s taking about as much time as you would imagine. To give an idea of how our studio time is spent, we made a short little YouTube video for you guys.

#optoutga progress.

A post shared by Seth Centerbar (@sethcenterbar) on

Album Status

At the time of this post, all drums and guitars are done. Drums have been time aligned (estimated 20+ hours went into this). Guitars are tracked. I threw down a quick bass track on one song to play around with Brian Hood’s method for getting heavy bass. We’ve recorded vocals for about two and a half songs. That leaves us with… A lot of work to go!

If anyone wants me to go any further in depth, please leave a comment so we can show you whatever you want to see. I want this album to be as open as possible from a production standpoint, I’m just not sure what you guys would think is interesting.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Opt Out: The Cherokee EP

A catchier title for the Cherokee EP would probably be ‘Reminisce’…

Cherokee was a hardcore band in Columbus, Georgia created by Will Christian. Since 2009, I’ve been recording and producing songs for Cherokee. Will hit me up to record a song, on average, about every six months from the time I started high school into my junior year of College. Given the span of recording time and my personal mixing abilities (or lack thereof), the Cherokee recordings vary pretty greatly in sound quality. It never really made sense to put them on an EP, so for the most part, they’ve been chilling in our personal dropboxes.

As those of you interested enough to be reading this probably know,

some of those Cherokee songs were really, really good. I wasn’t in the band back then, but I get them stuck in my head to this day. We originally wanted to record one or two Cherokee songs as B-Sides to ‘Out of Bounds’, but we were too excited to release the album at the time. After some discussion, Will and I have decided to pick five of our favorite Cherokee songs and create an EP as Opt Out. The goal is to bring the songs to life given our vastly improved skill sets, an record them all at once to get consistent mixes for an EP.

Remember kids, it takes some bad mixes to get good mixes.

I’ll provide some proof. The following mixes are old as time itself, but I thought I’d give you guys a glimpse of the past and a setlist of what will be on the EP. In the new versions, we’ll be using live drums and 5150’s, so expect the Cherokee you know and love to hit harder than ever. Though we don’t have a release date for the EP, I’m stoked to write the final post comparing the mixes. Hope you guys are excited!

Cherokee – Time Trials

Cherokee – The Vicious Cycle

Cherokee – Cardiac Arrest

 

Cherokee – Soul Split

 

Cherokee – Reminisce

A few things about Swelter Sounds

Why not just start a band?

The idea behind Swelter Sounds is to encompass all of the music projects I’m involved in. I’ve been recording since 2010, and I would love to share some of what I’ve learned along the way. Starting a band wouldn’t give me the ability to share content outside of  the music, and starting a recording studio would be disingenuous. About 90 percent of my recordings revolve around personal projects, as I’m employed full time as a database developer. I mostly like to use recording as a way to create something of my own.

So, you’re not a recording studio?

I’m definitely looking to expand my portfolio of bands. I would love to get into mixing bands all across the country, and I hope this blog can help with building connections. I just don’t want to put off the idea that I’m a full time studio with the main goal of making money recording other bands. I really want to focus on the content.

What kind of content will you create?

I would like to state now that I hope the answer to this changes over time. I definitely don’t want to be a stale ‘how-to’ series for the most basic areas of recording, but I also think I could help up-and-comers get started. I really see this blog and my youtube channel being a place full of content that a sixteen year old version of myself would have loved. A lot of the content, of course, will be my personal music projects. I’d love to see a few more hits on my hardcore bands playlist, and if some tutorial based content helps with that, so be it! I’ll definitely focus on home recording, reaper, and pop-punk/metal, as those are the things that I love. I’d like to get into the tech side of the business, possibly reviewing products etc. Basically, anything I find interesting that’s related to the recording process. One of the main things I’m excited to do with this channel is to really dissect the music that I create. I want to finish an album, mix, master, make videos, and then be able to go back to square one and show how I got the bass tone I ended up with. I just know that I love learning from other producers, and hopefully some of you can learn from me.

Anything else we should know?

I’ll have my logo finished Wednesday, and I’ll be putting up my first youtube video this weekend. I’m excited for the future, and I hope this takes off!

 

The past ten years

Before I start putting out content, I’d like to introduce myself.

My name is Seth. My musical journey really started when I met AJ Hirsch. I remember I was skateboarding over at a friends house when his next door neighbor walked out with a guitar case in his hands. I had recently gotten a first act guitar, and was WAY too stoked to talk to this guy. He pulled out his white fender strat and played a few chords. I was absolutely floored. We quickly became friends, and spent the next couple years learning AC/DC covers and watching School of Rock too many times to count. I definitely started as the ‘friend of the musicians’ who played bass, but I held my own.

Next came the metalcore days. Ah, highschool. This is when I really learned about playing shows, building a fan base, and how to sell tshirts (Hint: Copyright Infringement helps! Thanks, Pikachu!) I also played a lot in church band, which really honed my skills with notes other than 1 and 0. Most importantly, this was the time when I really got into recording my own music. BurnDown recorded our first demo in a storage unit with a man named Matt McClellan. He’s kind’ve a big deal now, and I’m really excited to have worked with him. I remember seeing him use drumagog, and I’d never heard of anything like that. The world of recording and recording technology really caught my eye, and I tinkered with some really awful free daws on underpowered laptops for a while.

This next part is going to date me, but after playing a show with a band called ‘The Unsung’, I connected with a man named Toby Rose to make ‘A Wretch Like Me’ a myspace layout. When I went to his house to discuss it, he showed my some music he was working on, and I was completely blown away by his seemingly endless bank of ideas and sound quality. I went out on a limb and asked if I could try to sing on one, and The product was (too this day) one of my favorite tracks.

Eventually, I started recording some local bands for (significantly) less than minimum wage. What I lacked in funds, I gained in experience. Not just recording and mixing experience, but learning how to work with people to get their best work out. Trust me, this is a skill that takes a LOT of work to hone. I’ll drop an extremely poorly edited video of the first recording session I ever did. The quality of the mix was no better.

After recording Nowhere Left to Run with Toby, he talked about creating a pop rock band. At the same time, a wretch like me was talking about pivoting a pop-punk band due to just being overwhelmingly bored with our current setlist. The timing lined up, and Toby joined up as a guitar player and producer. Tricks that I learned from Toby still drive a lot of the production I do now. Working on the first Lost on Lemans EP definitely was the most important part of my music journey so far. I think he even dropped me in as co-producer in the booklet, which was pretty dang cool of him.

Lost on Lemans was the most surreal time of my life. I’d played a lot of shows before Lemans, but having a crowd of 100 kids sing my lyrics back to me was just unbelievably cool. I know that I’ll probably never experience that again, but I’m so thankful to have been able to. There’s a really low quality picture of me getting off stage after a show at gallery, and I think it’s the most genuinely happy I’ve ever been. Peep the gray and yellow flannel. Anyways, this is getting more sappy than I wanted. Point is, Lemans was really cool. I learned a lot.

Lemans ended so everybody could go to college/military. It was a great ride, but after investing 3.5k into our second EP, we realized that the hype was dead and we weren’t making any progress. Our out of town shows became expensive and never really amounted to anything. Nothing came close to the local shows that we played at gallery (which was now closed). Playing the plug house was nice, but even 50 kids watching a show looked like nobody since it was so open, and we definitely weren’t getting 50 people turning out anymore. I’d taken a year and a half off of College to work on my music production career. I rented out a room in the plug house, recorded bands basically every day, and realized that though I had a passion for music, it wasn’t something I wanted to pursue as a career. It seemed to be just like being in a band, where talent mattered, but not nearly as much as luck. I just realized I wanted a more stable life, so I went back to school for Computer Science.

studio

A couple years of living in apartments later, I realized that I missed making music. After talking to my buddy Will (drummer, Lost on Lemans), we decided to get together and refocus on making music. His project, Cherokee, had been recording with me since the beginning, and I decided to jump in the band. We rebranded, and now are known as Opt Out. Because we write so well together, we knew that we wanted to work on more than just the hardcore band, which brings us to now.

Swelter Sounds is just the umbrella ‘corporation’ to all of my musical endeavors. I plan on using this as a platform to start bands, document my experiences, and share some of my experience with new engineers/producers. I have a passion for recording and technology, and I truly believe that we are in the golden age of home recording. I look up to people like Steven Slate and Fabrice Gabriel who are continually pushing the boundaries of what can be accomplished with next to no expensive gear. I also have an incredible amount of respect for Joey Sturgis, who completely turned the recording game upside down at the professional level. I wonder how many people told him you can’t use pod farm on a Gold record. I’m sure he’s laughing his way to the bank now. All this to say, welcome to Swelter Sounds, and let’s get into some recording!