When you know, you know.

It has been an amazing journey - years in the making. Challenges around time, distance and schedules necessitated a long gestation period that saw us slowly but steadily shaping and molding ideas. . .basic melodies and lyrics. . . into "radio ready" music.

Throughout the process there are lots of conversations followed by scheduling, recording sessions, editing, more conversations, more sessions, more editing, more conversations. . . .but when you sit the client down in front of the speakers and let them listen to the mix. . .they lean in. . .their body starts to move. . .their head starts to bob. . .without any words whatsoever, you know you're there. What a GREAT feeling!

Give a listen to the entire track, "So Divine" here:

Thanks to the musicians. . .
 - Grammy Award winner Tobias Gebb (Skizm, Lenny Kravitz, Trio West) on drums
 - Darren Lipper (Big Bowl of Soul, Trio Loopy, Kokolo) on bass
 - Roy Dunlap (Wynton Marsalis, John Mayer, Madeline Peyroux) on clavinet and Hammond B3 organ
 - Matt Blanchard (St. Vincent, Ike Sturm, ATL's "Home By Dark") on tenor sax, soprano sax and clarinet
 - Marco Viccaro Bucalone - electric guitar
Finally, yours truly pitched in with some harmonica, claps and vocals.

 

Mastering Wet Mut's "Nightlight"

On Wet Mut's new album "Nightlight", I served as Mastering Engineer.

For those that are unfamiliar, mastering is a process all recordings must go through before their commercial release. Mastering ensures a cohesive listening experience - no matter how widely the arrangements, instrumentation and volumes might vary throughout the course of an album. When properly done, mastering allows the listener to enjoy the entire album seamlessly from beginning to end (otherwise, the listener would be adjusting bass, treble and volume with every new song). 

While working on "Nightlight", I absolutely fell in love with the songs. They poetically ponder life, loss and hope from the perspective of a person transitioning into adulthood during uncertain times. Not only is the songwriting exceptional, but the arrangements and instrumentation simultaneously evoke something familiar and comfortable (utilizing folkie guitars & ukulele) as well as something from the not-so-distant future (incorporating synths & samples) - seamlessly marrying the two vibes. 

I encourage you to give a listen to one of my favorite tracks from the album => "Green Cheese Pie". 

Follow Wet Met on Facebook.

Follow Wet Met on Facebook.

Purchase the album on Bandcamp.

Purchase the album on Bandcamp.

Wet Mut will be touring the new album this summer. Stay tuned for dates and cities.

V.O. Sessions: XPressBet - "We Are Racing"

Few things match the excitement of hearing the bell ring and witnessing 1,000 of lbs of muscle and determination dash out of the starting gate. The folks at XPressBet not only provide a user-friendly way for you and me to get in on that action (legally, online) - they are also uniquely dedicated to reinvesting into the sport. These efforts help to preserve horse-racing's rich history and ensure its future.

XPressBet - "We Are Racing"

The above spot premiered during NBC's broadcast of the inaugural run of the world's newest and richest horse race - the $12.0 million Pegasus World Cup.

It was great fun engineering and recording the voice-over audio for such an epic TV spot at Due South Studios. When working with the talented folks from the creative shop Crush & Lovely and the skilled voice-over actor Jim Haines, it all comes easy. Looking forward to the next one.

For you audiophiles - we used a Neumann U87Ai mic, a Vintech Audio pre-amp and an EL8-X Distressor for the session.

Where are you goin'? Where have you been?

To be successful, you have to be on a trajectory - have a goal, have a plan and execute on that plan. Like a rocket aimed at Saturn, you have to know the direction you need to point yourself and the velocity at which you need to travel in order to be at the same place at the same time that Saturn is. Also - like a rocket ship - you may at some point in your travels realize that you need to adjust your direction or speed. And finally - and most importantly - in order to even begin this trip, you need to a strong and stable pad from which to launch.

Musicians. . . .any musician. . .all musicians. . .unless you're a member of the philharmonic (and even then, I would argue you still have much to gain by embracing this genre). . .the blues is the launching pad for your musical rocket ship.

I've encountered numerous artists over my career who quickly dismiss the blues. Sometimes these nay-sayers are jazz cats that consider the blues to be too structured & limited. Other folks are multi-degreed music-scholars that see the blues at being too simplistic and basic to be worthy of their appreciation. At other times, the doubters are the young-guns that create everything in the box with samples & loops and think of analog instruments as square and outdated.

Admittedly - I too had a similar attitude toward blues music as a young man. After all - I thought - the blues were from a by-gone era. The blues had nothing to do with me, the music I love and the music I wanted to make. . .until I learned better. 

Your journey - if you choose to take it - will be yours. . .so I won't bother you with the specifics of mine. However - the key, as a musician, is not only to be a maker of music but to be a STUDENT of music. After all - when someone wants to be a painter, they investigate the various "schools" and they study the masters. In the end, the best painters surely don't duplicate those that came before them - but they understand the roots of their art, draw on the best of their predecessors and channel it through their own perspective to create something new & unique.

So I encourage you. . .be you a young-gun or a grizzly veteran. . .a jazz-cat and an EDM DJ. . .a singer-songwriter and a pop music producer. . .ask the question "Whose shoulders are those that I and my art stand upon?" And then ask "Who was their inspiration? Whose shoulders did they stand upon?" And then again. . .and again. . .and again. Don't be surprised if this quest leads you to the realization that at the heart of your musical launching pad lies the blues.

And then. . .knowing where you have been. . .knowing where you have been MUSICALLY - long before you were born. . .will you then have a greater understanding and appreciation for where you are going.

Bon voyage!

Sound vs. Music

There are all sorts of sounds that we can create. . . .tapping a pencil against a coffee mug. . .drawing a horse-hair bow across a tightly wound metal string. . .humming a melody. . .recording "found sounds" and playing them back in a sequenced manner. But when do sounds become music?

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Merry Christmas 2016!

Wow - another year has gone by. Here's hoping you & yours had a great one.

This year I'd like to say "thanks for a great year" and "merry Christmas" by extending the gift of an original composition. You're free to listen to the song in the embedded players below or download it (either the CD-quality AIFF file or the lower-resolution AAC file) and enjoy it anywhere/anytime.

You're also welcome to share this song with friends & family. The more the merrier.

This year's song is entitled "The Lamentation of Mr. Claus". Give a listen and you'll get the idea. 

After working this year on mostly pop productions, it was fun to make something intentionally stripped down, lo-fi and pretty much acoustic. It features a kick drum, sleigh bells, upright bass, Fender Rhodes electric piano, blues harmonica (through a bullet mic & tube pre-amp) and vocals.

Please enjoy.

Merry Christmas. . .and have a great 2017.

Because that's the milk we're made of.

Not long ago, when an entrepreneur spoke of selling food that was made from organically-grown ingredients - including crops that were free of pesticides and/or harsh fertilizers as well as dairy-products that were sourced from cows that roamed freely to feed on grass while fore-going growth hormones and the aggressive use of anti-biotics. . .well. . .to most folks, that was just some damn yippy-dippy talk. “Shhhee-ite” the chorus would commonly croon. “Ya long hairs are talkin’ nonsense. Don’t be foolish. This is Business, after all! Just get them ingredients at the lowest price possible - no matter the source - and maximize the profit”.

Well. . . 

A couple of guys went ahead and embraced that silly, hippy-dippy mentality - a mentality that surely could not succeed as a business-model - and turned it into a massively successful company. You no doubt know their story by now - and have enjoyed their ice-cream. If you take a peek in my freezer, you’ll know I am extremely familiar with their ice-cream. 

I had the pleasure of hearing Co-founder Jerry Greenfield speak a few years back at an AmEx Open forum for entrepreneurs on this very subject. I was especially drawn to his focus on the interconnectedness of things. . .suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers and neighbors. . .each one’s actions - each one’s successes - each one’s struggles. . .these all affect the others. The fact that he and Ben Cohen were able to fervently honor their beliefs, bake them them into their corporate philosophy and then into a successful business - this is truly inspiring.

Fast forward a few years and I hear from the folks at Crush+Lovely. They need a studio & engineer to help with some voice-over work for their client Ben & Jerry’s. Would I be interested? Well - hell yeah! And - as it turns out - not only was this for Ben & Jerry’s, but this was part of an effort to tell the story of B&J’s corporate values - what they do, why they do what they do and why that matters. Awesome!

In my studio, we captured the voice-over with Neumann U 87 Ai mic powered by Vintech Audio X73i pre-amp. That signal got a light treatment from an Empirical Labs EL8-X Distressor before tracking in Pro Tools. 

You can hear the final edit and see the beautiful footage shot by C+L here on B&J’s website.

Oh - and find out where to get your free ice-cream cone here.

Nom nom nom!!!!

Thanks to the Academy - and Mrs. Jane Pease. . .

I was recently chatting with an old friend, each of us reflecting on the good fortune that we have often enjoyed - as well lamenting some of life’s near-misses. This conversation got me thinking back to this past winter’s awards season - the Golden Globes, Oscars, Grammys, TONYs and so on.

Naturally, the winners thank their collaborators (directors, writers, producers, fellow actors/musicians), the folks in their “personal operations” (agents, accountants, PR, etc.), moms, dads, spouses & kids. It’s at this time of year that I always think back to perhaps my favorite acceptance speech - one delivered by Tom Hanks for his performance in “Philadelphia” - where Mr. Hanks harkened all the way back to his high school drama teacher, Rawley Farnsworth.

Which got me to thinking. . . .

Mrs. Jane Pease was my 7th grade English teacher at East Junior High School in Tiffin, Ohio. She was a tough ol’ broad (don't worry - that's how she described herself). In her role as teacher, she was clearly determined (by hook or crook) to impart knowledge AND wisdom onto her students. I recall one spring day - seated in the back of her classroom as I steadily lost interest and got particularly rambunctious. Mrs. Pease had her fill of my disruptions and rightfully called me out, insisting that I focus on the task at hand.

Mrs. Jane Pease and her nemesis.

Mrs. Jane Pease and her nemesis.

My retort: "C'mon - really? English is my native tongue. I've been speaking it for over 10 years now. Why dedicate an entire period to it five-days a week? It’s a waste of my time! I've got it, already!".

Stoically, she replied: "Mr. Muñoz - in this life you have thoughts, ideas, wants and needs. Am I correct?”.

"You are correct, Mrs. Pease".

“Yes - off course, Mr. Muñoz. And you wish for these thoughts, ideas, wants and needs to be understood by others. Am I correct?".

"You are correct, Mrs. Pease".

"Language - young man - is the means by which we communicate. Language is the primary tool available to us to express ourselves. . .to be understood by others. So it is in YOUR best interest to make the most of this opportunity. . .so that you might be understood. . .and so you that you might understand others".

Opportunity? Huh? School - aside from the chance to see my friends - had often seemed a burden. But she was defining school as an opportunity! Ding! She rung the bell in my head and put me on the path toward knowledge. . .understanding. . .learning. From then on, I knew that I had to find the best teachers (within the school’s walls and beyond) and get from them all I could. It was on me. This is MY job. This changed my life.

Now, granted - no one is handing me a gold statuette - but it’s never a bad time to say “thanks”.

So - many, many thanks to Mrs. Jane Pease.

Is there someone that put you on the right track? Be sure to let them know.

Welcoming Crush+Lovely

It’s a bit tough for me to concisely describe C+L. They’re not strictly a Creative Shop. . .nor are they exactly a Digital Agency. And while they are partly those things, there’s a bit more to it. They create their own groovy digital products and content but also work with Fortune 100 companies, global nonprofits, leading arts organizations, startups, ad agencies and digital visionaries. Shoot - even a former U.S. President is among their clients.

No matter the client or project, these folks take a unique approach to developing marketing campaigns and the associated creative work. . .while also giving a good deal of consideration up-front to choosing those campaigns that are a proper fit for them, their philosophy and their approach.

Even better (for me, especially) - co-founders Matt Blanchard and Nathan Heleine are musicians. This presents a unique opportunity to operate on a deeper creative level while delivering top-notch production to their clients.

My contributions to their projects are often modest. . .but it’s always fun and satisfying. So. . .whether the session calls for voice-over recording, foley work, music mixing, sound-design or all of the above - time spent with the C+L crew is an opportunity to do good, challenging work. . .while having good a time doing it.

A hearty welcome to all of the talented folks at Crush & Lovely! 


Keep an eye on this page. In upcoming posts, I’ll detail some highlights from past C+L projects. . .as well as on-going & new projects for 2016.

When it was 2015, it was a very good year. . .

I am a maker of music. . .I am a veteran of both Madison Avenue and Digital Publishing. . .I am a conspirator with and enabler of others in their making of music.  I am also a collaborator - using the power of music and sound to draw the full significance and meaning from clients' moving images. But what I am not is a blogger or social-media titan. 

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