Monday, July 30, 2012

How can a 'little' band get bigger?

The new album, "Seven Hour Storm" is taking shape already! We've had four days of 'pre-production' sessions with our producer Jeff Kazor, our Sound Engineer Bruce Kaphan, and our full band - Henry Misner (Cloud Season) on electric guitar and Rob Bayne (When the Billionaire Plays Guitar) on drums!

We spent four days over two weeks in Bruce Kaphan's studio in beautiful Niles, CA and came away with some gorgeous demos and lots of amazing ideas for the upcoming album, "Seven Hour Storm".
The first day consisted of deep discussion about the direction of the new album, we asked lots of questions and brainstormed about how we can broaden the scope of our music for this new offering. We also devoted time to mic testing, choosing the perfect mics to capture the sounds of our vocals and instruments. The results were amazing, on the second day of pre-production we recorded demo versions of the songs that are slated to be on the album as it is now in live takes. Then we listened back to what we'd been able to capture. The sound is immaculate, a beautiful snap shot of our full sound as the duo.
Megan Smith & Bruce Kaphan
On the third day we had a four hour session with our full band and captured demos for five of the songs that will be on the new album complete with the full band sound. We had a blast playing with Henry and Rob and after the recording was completed we sat down and had some more thrilling discussion about musical possibilities and arrangements for the new album. The ideas were flying and it continued to inspire and inform our direction with the new music.
Henry Misner & Rob Bayne
The final day was all about deconstructing the elements of our sound as the duo, defining the key ingredients that make the Misner & Smith sound what it is. We broke down the song "Seven Hour Storm" and recorded it in it's separate parts, vocals and acoustic guitar. Then we started to play around with the arrangement, adding more vocals and playing with the feel and sound of the guitar parts. We walked away from the last day of pre-production with the feeling that the sky's the limit for the sound of this new album. Even the small adjustments we made of adding extra vocals onto the title track, "Seven Hour Storm" made the song open up and the result was inspiring! And after four days of intense work we walked away with a really good feeling about the direction the music is taking us.
Sam Misner & Jeff Kazor

So, why is it important to us to do this next album in a studio with a producer, a sound engineer, and guest musicians? 

This is the question we get most about this new album and it's a great one.
Over the last eight years we've put out three full-length albums of original music. Halfway Home and Poor Player were both recorded in a studio as live takes, we played the songs live and the sound engineer captured our performances without any "over-dubbing" or adding extra tracks of instruments and vocals. And of course our live album Live at the Freight & Salvage was an amazing experience and captured a truly unique and electric night of live performance in a state-of-the-art acoustic concert hall with a full audience. It also gave us the rare opportunity to pre-release three of the songs that are to be included on our new album to give our audiences a glimpse into the near future of our musical direction. We're very proud of all our albums and all that we've accomplished because of them and now we're ready to try something new! Our imaginations are teeming with more musical ideas than four hands and two voices can produce on their own. The songwriting and specifically the lyrics of our new songs are filled with stories and characters that beg for musical exploration, these new songs are pushing us to dig deeper into our music than ever before. We're looking forward to getting the chance to really flesh out those musical ideas and bring them to fruition with this new album.

Now it's nearly time to launch our BIG fundraising campaign to get the funds together to make this album the most ambitious project we've tackled yet!

How can a little band get bigger? With tons of exposure and buzz!
We take a lot of pride in our music and how hard we work to craft and shape it into something that music lovers can really enjoy on a deep level. But, it takes lots of money to push through all the information that this modern world has to offer and get our new music above the fray. A well-recored/produced album can make all the difference to a first time listener who has the clout to give us a good review or some airtime on a radio station with a huge listener base like NPR. And with a big push in the promotion department we can make serious strides to getting our music to a wider audience and begin the slow climb to playing larger music festivals, etc...

Indiegogo is the crowd-funding platform that we've chosen to use for our campaign to make our new record. We hope you'll join our team and help us make this recording the best that we can make it not to mention getting it out to the world at large! We'll be launching our fundraising campaign this week and every dollar counts, every friend, family member, and acquaintance you share our campaign with helps us to reach our goal. Be our record company by contributing to "Seven Hour Storm" and be a part of what is to come for Misner & Smith!

Here's a little taste of what we accomplished in pre-production . . . enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The NEW ALBUM "Seven Hour Storm"

We can barely contain our excitement as we plan the next steps towards our newest and biggest project yet! Misner & Smith are now embarking on our fourth full length album, Seven Hour Storm. Packed with NEW original music and crafted carefully, we are pulling out all the stops on this project.
Over the last eight years, we've completed three albums, Halfway Home (2004), Poor Player (2008), and, Live at the Freight & Salvage (2010).

As some of you already know, we began our musical partnership after being cast in a production of the musical, Woody Guthrie's American Song in 2004. That experience became the backdrop of our first notes together. As we sang in harmony during the show we realized our vocal blend was a special one, beyond the everyday, we felt lucky to have found each other and the sound we discovered began to take shape in our own music. But Woody Guthrie's influence is always present in what we strive to accomplish with our own work, songs that tell stories, filled with hope, in universal themes.
Now we find ourselves in another production of this same show and filled with all the same inspiration as before. Performing this piece in one of the best acoustic halls in the country, The Freight & Salvage. Working with some of our favorite artists on this show and singing some of the best songs ever written.

The cast of Woody Guthrie's American Song 2012 at The Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, CA.
Photo by: Ray Chavez Mercury News

We cannot think of a better time to announce the beginning of our fundraising campaign for our new album. On July 25th we will launch a fundraising campaign to record, mix, master, manufacture, and promote our newest offering, Seven Hour Storm.  We will be using crowd funding to raise the funds necessary on the online fundraising platform Indiegogo. The campaign will run just under two months and you can help. This is just a heads up to let you all know about this upcoming opportunity. We are counting on our fans to be our record company. To contribute directly to our music and make this album with us!

And we've already begun the recording process! Though this album will be a long term project, due out in early spring of 2013, we are not wasting any time in getting a good start. We will be working with Sound Engineer Bruce Kaphan who has worked with well-known artists such as David Byrne, The Black Crows, Camper Van Beethoven, R.E.M., and Sheryl Crow. And Jeff Kazor, well known for his work with The Crooked Jades, among others will produce the album. We have already had a handful of 'pre-production' sessions in the studio with great success! The idea behind this album is to push ourselves musically and by making an album with more musicians and a producer, etc... we hope to position ourselves for the next stage of our career as Misner & Smith. But never fear, we are all very aware that we want to keep true to the sound that we've developed over the last eight years. 

So, we hope you'll come along with us on this journey and take this rare opportunity to directly contribute to art that you believe in. Please stay tuned, we'll be writing about all of our adventures along the way. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, we could never do this without you! Here's a little taste of what's to come, the title track "Seven Hour Storm" in it's original incarnation...