Happy 4th of July 2017 – Running our own business we often have to remind ourselves that WE ARE THE BOSS – BUT WHO is the real ‘boss’? Bruce Springsteen of course.

Sabine and I have done a number of covers over the years, and lately, we’ve been thinking of doing them more often.  Why, you may (or may not) ask?…..because  we have fans who seem to like them, and also, we have been producing music for licensing (TV, film, etc.), and it seems that there is often a call for cover songs these days. Further, it’s always been a pleasure of mine to take a song everyone knows and do something a little different with it. In the case of ArtemesiaBlack, the goal of course is not to do a ‘Zappaesque’ cover Styx song, or a ska version of ‘Roundabout’, but rather, to take songs and fit them into our special somber zone.

I’ve never been a huge Bruce Springsteen fan per se, though I’ve always totally appreciated his spirit, his longevity, and his unrelenting dedication to his fans/performance/music. I’ve always enjoyed his songs when they come up on the radio (or updated radio replacements), but I don’t really know any of them intimately. However, for some reason, Bruce’s song ‘Dancing In The Dark’ kept creeping into my head as a good possibility for the ArtemesiaBlack treatment. Maybe just a few lines that I knew kept popping into my head, maybe just the melody….not sure. Once we gave it a listen, I was surprised how appropriate the lyrics actually were for us—much more bite to them than the pop presentation of the original gave away without a deep listen. We hope you enjoy our boss version of the Boss…. and if we ever play it live, we hope Courtney Cox will come dance with us onstage.

It took us just a day and a half to conceptualize, record, and mix this song. There were some other parts I recorded too, but we ultimately felt it sounded best really stripped down. If any of you singer songwriters out there ever want to record a cover and get some help arranging it into something a little different, or… if you have any originals you’d like arranged and taken to a magical place – Basement 3 Productions is your place so call me, get hold of me— it’s what I love to do… you’d be surprised what is a available to you…

hugs, Kenny and Sabine

Basement 3 Productions is proud to announce the release of Mike Drew’s new album, ‘Dreamin’, the full length follow up/extension of last year’s EP, ‘Maybe It’s The Whiskey’.

This is Mike’s 3rd release produced and recorded with B3P—Mike was the 2nd client we had after starting our business, and it’s been really fun watching him grow and define himself and his music.

LISTEN & BUY MIKE’S ALBUM

BANDCAMP
When I first met Mike through Dale Mungary of South Bay Dub Allstars/Dub FX , he was a pop piano based songwriter who definitely tipped his hat in the country music direction, but wasn’t exactly a country artist. The first recording we did at Hans Heim’s Studio B in Aptos, using Hans’ amazing studio and beautiful Kawaii piano. Hans Heim’s music I had gotten together with Mike for pre-production and gave him my metronome to work with for a few months prior to our recording session, as he was used to just playing music on his own and he sort of just flowed with what he was feeling.

When we got to the session, I noticed his feel was not quite there when working with a click track, but when we turned it off, his songs had a good musicality to them. Since we decided the recordings would be mostly just him and his piano, we turned off the click and just let him get good live tracks of him singing and playing at the same time. Well as it turned out, I added some overdub tracks, and Mike’s mind started racing with the possibilities of further production, so we ended up working drums and everything around these ‘free form’ tracks—we even had drummer Kevin Higuchi play to a few tracks, and I was in the drum room with him directing him through the areas where the tracks sped up and slowed down—in his usual fashion, Kevin killed it and got the songs in 2 takes despite the lack of a click track—those that are familiar with session work know that adding drums to a track that is already ‘done’ in this fashion is no small feat. I still love to listen to the album that came from those sessions: Sean Circle.

At the time we were recording Sean Circle, I’d become interested in country guitar. It all happened when I was on the Dr. Z amplifier (drzamps.com) web site drooling over their amps and I stumbled across a video of Brad Paisley demoing one of their amps. I was so taken with his playing and technique that I googled ‘how to play guitar like Brad Paisley’, and that led me to a guy named Doug Seven (sizzlingguitarlicks.com), who does tutorial videos. To this day, I still practice stuff off these videos. This was to serve me well when Mike came back to do album 2, now fully defining himself as a country artist. Mike used the piano only to show me his songs for this group of songs, and then let me transfer everything to guitar for the main song sketches.

At this time, working with Mike was very different than it had been before—and things went, and still go very quickly when we work on songs. He comes up to the studio with the songs about 85% done, I set up a piano for him, and he plays the basic idea—I quickly grab the chords and feel he’s going for, and in minutes we are playing through the basic song. While having a beer, (and maybe a whiskey), we quickly define the form, often adding the bridge sections and figuring out the last details. Then, we record a version of me playing guitar and him singing, and the songs are born—we chat a little, sometimes I knock out the main acoustic guitar part, have him sing to it(and sometimes, that vocal take even becomes the final vocal!), then send him on his way to let me orchestrate and produce the instrumental parts. I send him mp3s, we discuss, and pretty soon, we have a complete song. I end up doing/creating most of the instruments and back up vocals, along with my wife and business partner Sabine, and we’ve been fortunate to stumble across the great fiddle player Kurt Baumer (fiddletrax.com), who, from his studio in Austin creates super tasty fiddle parts that I can play with and edit to fit to the songs. Working with Mike in this fashion for last year’s EP and his brand new release is a complete pleasure—everything moves so quickly and effortlessly, it’s just a blast.

Mike is a prolific writer, and even as ‘Dreamin’ releases today, we have 4 new songs nearly complete for album number 4! Staying with the country vibe, we are looking forward to some new flavors on the new music, so stay tuned! In the meantime, all you folks who love country should enjoy this album, and those who are just geeky about production/music and still value the art of recording and have an appreciation for sonic quality, well, there’s something here for you too. 🙂 At Basement 3 Productions,  the art of recording/production and high quality visual presentation is our primary focus, and we aim to make all our artists, like Mike, sound and look as amazing as their unique and important artistic visions.

Produced, Recorded, Instrumentation, Mixing & Mastering  by Kenny Schick.
Photography by Kenny Schick.
Design of album covers and web site by Sabine Heusler-Schick

Basement3Productions – we are your ONE STOP SHOP when it comes time to record and release your music!! 

 

basement3productions.com   |   b3pmusic.com   |   mikedrew.co

My first experience in a recording studio was back in the year 1984 — My band Dot 3 went in to record our first cassette release, and immediately I was fascinated with every part of the process—the gear, the sound, the mixing—it was a ‘laboratory’ that meticulously ‘studied’ and produced the thing in life I was most passionate about—MUSIC!

 

At that time, we still recorded to tape, and the tape alone was quite an investment—as I recall, about $300 a roll for 2” tape, and one needed about 3 or 4 rolls to make an album, so a band could be $1200 into a project before they even hit the studio. During this time, I figured out how to use 2 cassette machines to create multi-track recordings, and eventually got a 4 track cassette recorder, but that was all for fun—I wasn’t going to get a studio quality recording out of those devices, and that was the kind of sound I was looking for. Around 1992, Alesis released the ADAT, a digital recorder using Super VHS tape as a medium for capture—I bought one early on, as I knew I wanted to be able to spend countless hours creating music that could eventually be released at commercial quality—I didn’t yet realize it, but I had become an early adopter of the home studio mindset that is so prevalent today, and in fact has put so many commercial studios out of business.


I set up my first 2 studios in the basements of houses I lived in, the first basement being an unfinished dirt basement who’s (is a basement a ’who’?) floor I covered with cardboard, then scraps of carpeting pulled from a dumpster. I built walls with 2 x 4’s and dry wall, and at barely over 6 feet in height, that was the first studio. We moved in about a year, and the next house also had a basement—a bit of a rarity in California. This basement was actually a ‘finished’ basement, so the studio was an ‘upgrade’ from the first one, and this is where I started recording what would become my first solo release. That basement flooded twice during a particularly rainy winter, and fortunately, I did not lose too much gear. At that time, I started what would become a lifelong process of buying gear to make better recordings, and I bought any book I could find on recording/home recording down at Tower Books. In 1996, I moved into a basement apartment that would be my home and studio for 10 years—it had also been the rehearsal studio of my band Dot 3 in the late 80’s, so as the third basement studio, and the rehearsal space of one the best bands I’d played with, Dot 3, I called my solo project, Basement 3. It was here that I graduated from my ADAT to my first Pro Tools rig in 2000.

During this time, I played in many bands playing many styles on several instruments. Because of my interest in various musical instruments and styles, and my indecisive nature, I became a sort of musical chameleon, playing with lots of different bands, usually on either saxophone or guitar. I wanted to find my ‘thing’—what was it going to be? Jazz? Punk? Sax? Guitar? Classical? Grunge? Flute? World Music? Funk? Industrial? Experimental? Because of my obsessive nature, I delved as deep as i could into all my musical interests, and I went equally as deep with the art of recording—I always had a compulsion to take every avenue as far as it would go, and thus, with the time needed to indulge, I was often single…:) I often kicked myself for not being decisive about one instrument or one genre, as I felt the division of focus would never allow me to get to the ultimate destination on one single thing, but I didn’t realize this inability to decide would serve me very well in the future.


Playing as everybody else’s sideman and keeping my own creations in the closet (basement) started to to feel unsatisfactory, so I started to make plans to bring my own visions to life. With plans of bringing a band together continually failing, I decided I might try to present my music as a solo act—and given it’s many layers, that was going to be an interesting challenge. I bought a good acoustic guitar and tried to strip things down to just vocal and guitar, and I took voice lessons as I was not feeling happy with that part of the presentation. To prepare myself for solo performances, I discovered the world of open mics—I knew they existed, but being in bands since the age of 12, I had no idea what a large community was lurking in the world of open mics and singer-songwriters. It was a whole world that was new to me. In usual ‘Kenny fashion’, I embraced this world with a vengeance and spent countless hours preparing solo performances and traveling the entire bay area and beyond in search of open mics and venues for acoustic music as I started to book solo shows. I toured the west coast and started writing songs based in the singer-songwriter tradition, stripping things way back. In 2006, I became restless, and in a complete left turn, I quit all my bands, quit my full time job of 14 years, and went to Australia to meet a girl (Sabine) I met on MySpace while exploring possibilities of playing music abroad. I had planned to stay in Australia for a year and explore music, so I created my first mobile recording rig—a laptop, a small interface, and 3 microphones—all small enough to bring on the plane as carry on. In Australia, I began recording my 4th solo album, and I began to record Sabine’s first album in her Melbourne apartment. Sabine had been a closet song writer, so this whole experience was new to her and a bit of a shock to her system.

My time in Australia had not brought the clarity of vision I was looking for—in fact, I felt less clear than ever, so I came back to the US in early 2007 with many questions. My friends Heather and Dave put me up in their home for many months while I tried to figure out what was next, as I mixed the album I’d recorded in Australia, as well as Sabine’s album. For some income, I started recording an album for Aly Kahn, a fellow singer-songwriter, using an expanded version of the mobile rig I’d brought to Australia—I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the start of Basement 3 Productions. I’d always kept my tools for my own endeavors, and I’d always co produced stuff for the bands I was in, but this was my first foray into using my knowledge of recording, my multi-instrumental skills, and my collection of gear for recording others. A vision started to appear—most singer-songwriters were individuals without a band, and without the knowledge of how to reproduce their music in a way that would stand up in the commercial realm. I could record them well, and even more useful, I could be their ‘band’—here’s where the years of musical indecision would come in handy! There were many studios who could/can do great recordings, but none that could offer to arrange and perform all the parts that would take singer-songwriter’s songs to a ‘finished’ state. It wasn’t immediately clear, but I began doing this for others, and it sort of just—happened.


Sabine came to the US in 2008, and we roamed the country for several months, then came back to the bay area, and I started producing and recording people in their homes/remote locations with my mobile rig to bring in some income. My background in photography allowed me to shoot the imagery for their albums, and Sabine’s background in graphic design made her the perfect person to design the album art. Still not fully clear to us, we’d already become the ‘one stop shop’. We lived for a time in a vacant house provided us by our friends Barbara and Karl, then moved back to my old digs at Lani’s Basement 3 for a time, and Sabine knew we had to find a place we could use for real studio. We needed a quiet location, so I mentioned the Santa Cruz mountains might yield something quiet. Sabine, despite my panic and concern over rent, found a place to check out in Boulder Creek—we went for it, and Basement 3 Productions in it’s current form was born in 2009. The first years were a struggle and were a combination of production work, photographic work, design work, music lessons, house sitting, and working at my friend Mike’s imaging business. Every year got better, and by around 2013, we were starting to have to drop teaching and some of the other things to keep up with the production work. Here in 2017, 10 years after it all ‘started’, Basement 3 Productions has found it’s unique niche helping singer-songwriters achieve their dreams and has become a haven for singer-songwriters struggling to present their art in a fully professional manner.

Kenny

CONTACT KENNY FOR RECORDING

Photography and a visual ‘presence’ is essential in music, it’s as important as the music itself.

Having great photos shows people who you are, in the crowded arena of music how you look is going to get attention and supports the music you make.

Mike Drew – country artist – www.mikedrew.co – has a song called ‘Maybe It’s the Whiskey’ – photography by Kenny Schick

Music is as much a visual thing as it is audio. When I check out new music it is not just an amazing song that grabs my attention first off it’s usually a photo, that tells me ‘who’ the artist is, is it someone I can relate to or be inspired by, are they quirky, unique, interesting and what genre are they. People are drawn in whole to an artist. It’s not just about your music but what you believe in and your ‘style’ that attracts like minded people to you. Your audience wants to relate to you and it might be that you just look like someone who I would want to be associated with or be friends with. It’s simply about making a good first impression on your potential new fan. People want to feel ‘connected’ and that they are a part of something. I like an artist more if who they are comes across in photos and video.

What you’re all about should reflect in your music as well as your ‘image’, your photos, your videos, what you support etc… I guess I’m saying don’t let your music down by not having a good visual representation of who you are.

I don’t know how many albums I’ve bought purely because of the cover or a picture of an artist – by flipping through albums in a music store I discovered Gillian Welch and Blonde Redhead and they are my two most favorite artists now and I consider myself a superfan. Sometimes I found gold that way and other times I felt like the cover misrepresented what was on the inside… ha just like people. Once I’m a fan of an artist, seeing exciting beautiful images of them makes me like them even more and certainly makes me interested in a new song, video or album. It’s another element to them that for me is just as important as the audio of them.

For some musicians thinking visually can sometimes be a challenge, but knowing what kind of photo you should have depends on who you are and what your music is all about. What are you trying to say in a photo and who are you trying to attract. It’s a bit of soul searching but with some spit and polish added to it. Its important to understand and know who you really are and be confident in that, and know who your audience is and then attract them to you. If you’re having a hard time trying to figure it out, then copy the best… what is your music likened to (sounds like….) how are they portraying themselves, and what attracts you to them, then do something similar to that. Don’t be shy about it, push it, go beyond your comfort level, you’re an artist right, a performer so go perform. If people like what they see they will explore you, find and listen to your music, hopefully love you and support your music by buying your music and merchandise.

Good photography and videos give your music a better chance of being heard!

Sabinex

Contact Kenny about Photography

 

Our aim is to empower our clients and fellow artists!

Artist: LeGrand Hutchings – Album Thoughts Along The Way – produced and recorded by Kenny Schick www.legrandhutchings.com – Photography by Kenny Schick

Kenny and I both come from a do it yourself mentality when it comes to… well everything, especially our music career. Kenny wanted to record himself because he wanted to record more and experiment and that gets expensive. So he learnt how to do it for himself and then took those skills to do it for others. He’s happy to pass on his knowledge to artists who want to know how to do things themselves. He loves it when artists go to the trouble of figuring out things themselves like recording themselves and bring him just tracks to produce and mix. We run a business yes, but more importantly we are part of a music community. We are also recording and performing musicians so feel like we really understand the people we work with.

We love the idea of a creative community of musicians who help each other and we can all together find success (whatever that means to you). We encourage artists to support each other by going to local shows and buying local music. If you don’t do it, how can you expect others to support you! It’s a community not a competition! We ‘create’ a music scene and listening to each other not only inspires us but helps us learn to get better.

Venues, especially for singer songwriters and ‘quieter’ acts are becoming more hard to find and if people stop going to see live music the venues will have no choice but to shut their doors. My dream has always been to have a venue and perhaps one day that will happen mean while, there are some great venues in our area that support the local scene.

The Art Boutikiwww.artboutiki.com 44 Race Street San Jose, CA 95126 – they support singer songwriters and have some great singer songwriter nights on their roster.

The Poor House Bistrowww.poorhousebistro.com DOWNTOWN SAN JOSE 91 South Autumn Street, San Jose, CA 95110 – they have a lot of blues there but also an open mic for singer songwriters

There are of course more and you are welcome to add them in the comments! Tell other songwriters about venues!

We have an amazing, talented and exciting music community – do music, love music and listen to others’ music! Learn from others, support others as you would like to be supported, basically treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself and music will continue to be important and vital to our lives.

Some great new artists to check out:

LeGrandHutchings.com

MikeDrew.co

PeterColclasure.com

Sabinex