“What if we just take a month and write an album?”

“What if we just take a month and write an album?”

Written by Emilie

Topics: Music

Hi Multipotentialites!

My band’s debut E.P. is dropping today. It’s a project I’m incredibly proud of and I’m really excited to share it with you. You can stream the whole album for free here.

If you’d like to download the MP3s, you can do that for whatever amount you feel comfortable with. All revenue will go toward funding our next album that we’re writing and recording in February, 2014. It’ll help us pay for things like new microphones. We really really appreciate your support.

Today’s post is a reflection on the project and maybe also inspiration to do something big yourself.

**

“We should write an album. We’ve been talking about doing it forever,” I said to my good friend, Rena.

She took a sip of her tea.

“I know… We really should.”

I was only home for a few days. I hadn’t seen Rena much since moving to the West coast a year earlier.

“What if we took a month and just wrote and recorded an album?” I asked. “One month, that’s it.”

“Would we do it online and just send the files back and forth?”

“Sure, that’s pretty easy to do these days.”

“Or…”

She paused.

“We could go to L.A. and do it there…”

My eyes lit up.

It was a preposterous idea. Neither of us had ever been to Los Angeles, though her interest in comedy and mine in television writing had had us pondering the thought in the past.

“Oh my god. Could we?”

In that moment, we both knew we had to do it.

Six months later, on February 1, 2013, Rena flew out to Oregon. We packed up the rental car with instruments and recording gear, set up a bed in the backseat for my puppy and hit the road.

The first song we wrote was about the Yurt we stayed at outside of Ashland, Oregon. The others were written in the apartment we rented in LA, some in the tree house that was built in a lemon tree.

This all might sound dreamy, but it was actually a pretty hard month. We hadn’t written music together in years and we had to overcome serious creative inhibitions. Adjusting to a new environment, navigating LA traffic, missing our loved ones, learning how to be roommates again. It was hard.

But through the sweat and tears, the lyrics that made us collapse in laughter and the botched takes of doo-wop background vocals in our makeshift bedroom studio, we did it. At the end of the month, we had written and recorded a 5 song E.P.

I drove Rena to the bus station on our last day in Los Angeles. She was heading on to Austin while I was driving back to Portland. We had been batting around name ideas for our band all month long and nothing had stuck.

She was telling me a story. I honestly don’t remember what the story was about. I just remember her saying these words: “And it was like, with the tip of the hat we were friends.”

“Tip of the hat.” I exclaimed.

“What do you think of ‘Tip of the Hat’ for a band name?”

“I like it!”

We smiled, big.

“Until next February.”

“Until next February.”

To be a rock star — to be anything — you don’t need a lifetime to dedicate. You just need a small chunk of time to set aside and you need to prioritize your project.

Your Turn

What have you always wanted to do, create or experience? Could you take a short chunk of time and dedicate that time to making it happen?

**

The debut E.P. by Tip of the Hat is available today, November 26, 2013! Listen to it for free right here.

15 Comments

  1. kathy says:

    That is awesome, Emilie!! Congrats! I’m so proud of you!!!!

    I have always wanted to write a book. And thanks to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month- challenge to write 50k in 30 days!) I am doing it! I now have 42,575 words that I didn’t have before November and I’m so close to my goal I can taste it!!! I did it the same way you did: making it a priority, dedicating a chunk of time and space to it, sharing the journey with people and making it fun!!

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Annie says:

    Well done! What a wonderful achievement and such good music! How about a challenge month next summer where Puttylike encourages people to make an album, write a book, create a show… in a month?

  3. Andy says:

    I love it! Definitely playing one of your tracks on my podcast next week. Amazing.

  4. Lauren says:

    Absolutely fantastic, congratulations! I especially love the track ‘Laveta Terrace’. The vocals remind me of a cool little Icelandic band called Pascal Pinon. What was the process of getting it finished and launched from February until now?

    • Emilie says:

      Thanks so much, Lauren! The interim months were spent a) being busy with other projects (for both of us), b) mixing, which took me a while and c) waiting for our genius friend to master the album.

      • Lauren says:

        Sounds great, recording an album is a dream of mine too… once I’ve written a book, developed an app and started a new business of course ;) And thank you for introducing me to Bandcamp too, I’m now totally obsessed with it!

  5. Saul says:

    It would be great to have a more in-depth how-to post on the process. I’ve got hundreds of demo tracks I recorded on my iphone, but have always been intimidated about recording a real “album”. I.e., how to choose the right location, which mics to use, how to mix, etc. I wonder if one of the musically-inclined puttypeep could write a post on recording tips/software?

    • Emilie says:

      I could do this. I’ll keep it in mind for a future post.

      We kept it super simple though. Garageband, a decent condenser mic and a high quality pre-amp. That was literally it. Oh and getting MIKE to master it was a tremendous help! I did the mixing myself, but Mike brought it to a whole other level with his tricks.

    • Saul says:

      oh, I had no idea Mike mixed music or was working on this. he was in town the other day and we were in echo park and walked right by stories. crazy!

  6. Eric says:

    Good on you both!Why L.A.? I wrote a zombie movie screenplay with a friend of mine once. Heck of a hard time getting someone to even read it. We have thought about doing it ourselves, but with families, Time and Money….

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