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Me VS. RPM

by Archives February 17, 2009

ST. CATHERINES (CUP) – I remember February 2007 quite well.
I started the month with good grades, good attendance, a good group of friends, and a good relationship.
By the end of the month, the only thing I had was an album – one that I, to this day, won’t admit to having a copy of.
February, for those musicians out there that aren’t aware, is Record Production Month.
The kind people at the RPM Challenge invite all musicians to attempt recording an album, consisting of either 10 songs or 35 minutes of original material, over the course of 28 days.
The website will host all completed albums free of charge; all you have to do is register.
Now, let me tell you about my experience with it.
So there I was, on the first day of February, with a plan. I bought a new microphone, recruited my roommate Kyle on guitar and my old friend Dave on bass, and set out to complete the RPM Challenge with an album that I could show everyone I knew.
Boy, was I unprepared for what was to come next over the course of the following 28 days.
“Remember when you threw your guitar at me?” asks Kyle, as we reminisce in preparation for this article.
Truth is, I don’t remember any specifics from the month. A haze of 28 sleepless, alcohol-fueled days and nights is all I can muster in the face of this conundrum.
The end result – an album of 12 great ideas turned into terrible songs.
“I think it would have been different if we had a full band and a full month,” Kyle says, making note of the fact that we lost 10 ten days because of Reading Week.
The only thing I can say I’m proud of is the fact that we finished, even if no one will ever be allowed to hear it, others have folded where we succeeded.
Kerri Breen, a fellow journalist/musician from St. Johns, N.L., recalls her experience as being “mostly frustrating”.
Her album, under the moniker Project Blasty Bough, was never finished.
“It was just supposed to be me and my guitar and whatever gentle percussion I could improvise,” said Breen. “I had songs floating around my head that needed to be ironed out and I was confident I could do it by deadline. Boy, was I wrong.”
“I was going to write as I recorded. I couldn’t get my mic to work and Garageband was unexpectedly quitting up a storm, so I gave up and intended to start again next week. I didn’t – I think I had other stuff on the go, predictably.”
So why have I been writing about this terrible experience that has wielded negative, frustrating results for myself and countless others? Well, because it’s a great excuse for all you musicians out there to put your foot down and start writing.
The RPM Challenge brings the musician out of you. You’re not afforded the chance to slack or to wait for inspiration to come to you; instead, you must begin writing about whatever you can, as often as you can.
It’s also a great exercise in recording. Many of you, like myself in 2007, may have never recorded songs before. The RPM Challenge is, again, a great excuse to gain some experience – to learn the ins and outs of your music as best, and as quickly, as you can.

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