…so far we’ve made people cry, so ‘my work here is done’!

(drops mic)

My dad introduced me to the Fado Singers of Portugal, they sing songs of love, in all forms, about the country and romantic love. They believe if they don’t make people cry with emotion when hearing them sing they have not done their job.

What a wonderful way to be so dedicated to the craft of music and story telling to feel you must move the spirit totally, not just ‘entertain’. I aim to write like that, I aim to feel like that when I sing. I am definitely not as skilled and amazing as a Fado singer but when I was writing ‘Love Is Slow Motion’ – it made me cry, because it came from the depths of my experiences from my losses and my gains and just the everyday feeling of things.

My wonderful sister made a video for us. She just decided she’d do it, even though she’d never made a video before, she just decided she would figure it out. I think our dad taught us that work ethic. His favorite quote was “if a man can make it, I can fix it” and he could fix anything. He always said if you just put your mind to it, you can do anything. So why not become a performing musician in my 40s (instead of an in the closet one).

This song is about feeling, letting yourself feel, to feel the whole gravity of what you are feeling, despite any fear you have. “We wade in the shallows when the tide is out”. We allow ourselves to feel things when it’s safe but you’re not getting all of what you could get, if you were brave, take risks, don’t fear the unknown. It’s harder, more difficult but worth more.

Watch the video and subscribe to our YOUTUBE Channel BASEMENT3PRODUCTIONS (you’ll get our latest offerings as we put up more videos). LIKE and COMMENT – let me know what you think, be honest, I’ll respond – I love hearing from you. It helps us 🙂

PRODUCED BY: Kenny Schick B3Pmusic.com (who also orchestrated, performed, mixed and mastered)

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Producing and recording ArtemesiaBlack’s new album, Gravity, was a very different process from the first two albums.

This is the chronology of the 3 very different ArtemesiaBlack albums and the way they came together —one can’t simply explain Gravity.

 

BANDCAMP  |  ITUNES  |PANDORA  |  SPOTIFY  | AMAZON MUSIC

 

Sabine and Her Music – the Birth of ArtemesiaBlack

 

Unlike most people who create music, Sabine made music for the pure love of making music—and she made it literally only for herself. In her mind, she did not care a bit if the world ever heard it, and in fact, she did not want the world to hear it; nobody had ever heard her music until she made the brave decision to share it with me. I can’t really stress enough that music was a purely private escape for Sabine—she even played it very quietly in part so her roommates would not hear her.

 

We met in 2006, not in person, but having conversations about music online, and that turned into phone calls, and eventually into much more, obviously. As she recalls, she told me she wrote songs and immediately wished she could put the words back in her mouth. But the cat was out of the bag, and so one day, a cassette tape from Australia arrived. Given how she described her relationship with her music, I was sort of expecting some awkward, quirky, precariously performed songs—but from the moment the warble-y cassette(obviously, the recorder she used had not been cleaned in..well ever)started, my jaw sort of dropped! The vocals were in tune and the tone was amazing. The guitar, though played with a simple finger picking technique, felt deep with a certain harmonic complexity—it was not the typical strumy-strum you hear with a lot songwriters. I told her we were going to make an album of her songs when I got there—I think she was terrified.

 

Going to Australia – Americana Gothic Swamp Lullabies

 

I assembled my first mobile recording rig when I went to Australia: it was a G4 laptop, a Digidesign Mbox 2(a prototype that didn’t even have writing/labels on it), and 3 microphones: a Blue Dragonfly, an AKG 451, and a Shinybox ribbon mic that all fit neatly into one case. I didn’t know it at the time, but this mobile rig was the beginning of Basement 3 Productions and recording people other than just myself.

 

Sabine had a good feel and naturally good time, so I thought we’d record her to a click track, guitar and vocals separate, to give me more editing flexibility—nope—wasn’t going to happen. Sabine was used to recording herself, but to have me in the room, and to be recording a detailed version of her songs with the thought that others would hear this…well, that was another thing all together and it made her extremely uncomfortable. Trying to get her to play to that click was just killing her performance, so I made the decision to just put one or 2 mics up in front of her and just let her go. It was a matter of making her as comfortable as possible and not trying to force her into a way of working that was certainly going to negatively impact her performance.

 

It was great to learn early on that working with others requires flexibility and the willingness to switch gears on a dime in order to achieve a good capture of a song. My years of experience didn’t matter in the least if the methods i was hoping to use killed the art. Me and most of the musicians I’d ever worked with had quite a bit of analysis combined with feeling when we did studio work, and we were fine with doing things over and over until we got the ‘right’ take. Sabine was all feeling, and if she didn’t get a good performance in about 3 takes, it wasn’t going to happen that day.

 

working with others requires flexibility and the willingness to switch gears on a dime in order to achieve a good capture of a song

 

 

So that’s how we rolled: I’d capture her songs as a live take, both guitar and vocal all at once, and then I’d build around that performance. Sabine’s feel was good, but the time definitely moved around a bit, which made adding parts a bit more challenging, but that’s where my determination and analytical skills came in really handy. She’d come home from work and hear what I’d done, and she’d get a big smile on her face—it was fun to watch the thrill of creating produced songs excite her imagination, and soon she was coming up with plenty of ideas to throw in the pot. Aside from adding my (acoustic) guitar parts and back up vocals, I added some percussion elements using both actual percussion(shaker and dumbek) as well as found objects—including the washing machine(good bass drum).

 

Our Very First Song We Wrote Together

 

Trying to write at the same time didn’t work…. Sabine has to go write her words, get a melody(and general chords, though this song was only one chord), and then bring it to me to orchestrate. That is still pretty much how it goes, only the orchestration process is much more elaborate.

 

Our first collaboration/co-write was a song called ’Shipwreck’(a song she wrote that day inspired by shipwrecks at Cape Otway), and we recorded it in a cabin along The Great Ocean Road(Johanna), using the sounds of the wood fire and driftwood for creepy ambience. The initial track was recorded with both of us on either side of the Shinybox ribbon mic…me on guitar, being louder, much further away, and her with her quiet vocals up close…the old wood cabin sounded really cool. This song was also a prelude to the ‘ghost stories’ she would tell at shows later on. It also showed us how we would work best, and still work, in terms of writing, today. Trying to write at the same time didn’t work…. Sabine has to go write her words, get a melody(and general chords, though this song was only one chord), and then bring it to me to orchestrate. That is still pretty much how it goes, only the orchestration process is much more elaborate.

 

 

One thing that came up early on is that writing with a significant other has some some emotional challenges—my time in Australia was fraught with fear of the unknown, self doubt, and indecision—this certainly had a profound effect on a sensitive soul like Sabine, and as she wrote, though it wasn’t directly obvious, I could hear her struggles(that I was causing) in her lyrics, and the songs were beautiful, but difficult at times to work on and listen to over and over… of course, this theme would and will always be part of working with her…within the deeply felt songs she writes are reflections of her flaws and struggles, but also my flaws and the pain I sometimes cause her too, which I often don’t want to face.

 

I could hear her struggles(that I was causing) in her lyrics, and the songs were beautiful, but difficult at times to work on…

 

Ghost Stories

 

 

Sabine came to the US in 2008 and immediately, we got in my car and drove across the US and
back for 2 months—I’d booked shows all along the way centered around a show I got at the Bluebird Cafe in what is now our home town, Nashville. Sabine had played exactly 2 performances in Australia(which terrified her), so this was kind of her worst nightmare come true in a way. But she did it, and did it well, though I couldn’t help but notice that the whole process of ‘being a musician’ was perhaps killing the spirit of what music meant to her. Yet on we went, and she came back from the trip with new songs, mostly inspired by our time driving through the south.

 

Sabine had played exactly 2 performances in Australia(which terrified her), so this was kind of her worst nightmare come true in a way. But she did it, and did it well,

 

A year or so after the tour, we started a band with upright bassist David Sierra and percussionist Rain Cruz—we’d later add drummer Mike Freitas. This was a different era—Sabine had become more comfortable with the recording process and having her songs ‘out in the world’. The band was a fun experience in that others brought their own creative ideas to the table–it brought in ideas we may not have had and the old songs took on a new life while new ones were born of this band dynamic. We had enough songs for an album, so we set up In Hans Heim’s Studio B in the lovely mountains outside Santa Cruz, CA.

 

We cut the basic tracks with the band live, but on most songs, we did it sans vocals so we could do them separately. This album, though still mostly acoustic, started to see me overdubbing electric guitar parts and some woodwind parts. A few experimental elements started to make their way in, and album 2, ‘Ghost Stories’, was born—quite a different experience from the first album.

 



The Apple Falls – Gravity

 

After gigging for a few years, band members moved on as they often do, and Sabine and I were back to being a duo. This gave us a blank canvas again to redefine what we wanted to do. Working with artists and helping them create their dream recordings with Basement 3 Productions had led me down a lot of new musical paths, and I was eager to try some of the things I developed/discovered for other artists on our music—and take those discoveries even further.

 

…we just wanted to make music that we, and our friends, would like to listen to…

 

Sabine and I also wanted to remove the limitations of ‘what could be done live’—we just wanted to make music that we, and our friends, would like to listen to. As we’d also been making music for licensing, we’d come up with a few songs written with inspiration coming from sources outside our own thoughts, and we found a few of these songs were actually really great ArtemesiaBlack songs. Though a few of the ‘ghost stories’ still remained, we found the scope was quite a bit broader this time around. Our normal way of writing had been to figure out how to perform the songs Sabine had written, and then augment the live versions, but this time, we learned the songs just enough to get a basic demo, and most often, the initial part(acoustic guitar) used to start building was totally stripped from the song.

 

…there was also a lot more experimentation with sonics, as I’d built up quite a nice sound library of virtual instruments and odd sounds as needed working with so many diverse clients in the production business…

 

As with so many of the artists I’d worked with, I approached the song simply trying to figure out what might sound cool and unique—there was also a lot more experimentation with sonics, as I’d built up quite a nice sound library of virtual instruments and odd sounds as needed working with so many diverse clients in the production business.

 

Artemesiablack Gravity Sabine Heusler-Schick & Kenny Schick

 

New technology in recording and mixing has made it possible to do things I would not have been able to accomplish 12 years ago when we started Basement 3 Productions. Growing the business and keeping up with technological advances has provided me with amazing tools that are now at my disposal for ArtemesiaBlack—it’s a whole new palette to draw from.

 

Of all the albums I’ve played on(music that I wrote or co-wrote that is), which is so many now, this is the album that I’m most proud of artistically and technically.

 

Early in 2018, we’d completed all the parts, and began mixing the new songs. I also wanted to remix the first songs I had already finished to incorporate new mixing tricks and sounds I’d picked up over the years. Of all the albums I’ve played on(music that I wrote or co-wrote that is), which is so many now, this is the album that I’m most proud of artistically and technically. Even though I’ve heard these songs hundreds of times, I still really enjoy listening to this album because of the great amount of heart and spirit Sabine’s songs embody.

 

It’s all just Geekery to me

 

Some geekery in terms of mixing and mastering the new album: Because so many people are streaming music now, and because streaming services are using volume normalization, a loudness cap for an easier way to understand it, the need to make songs so loud is disappearing, and in fact, is detrimental to how it sounds on streaming. I always disliked what was termed the ‘loudness war’—the competition to make your song louder than the next so it stands out(think annoying loud-ass commercials on TV), so having the ability to leave dynamics in the music, especially this music which is very dynamic, was exciting. A lot of engineers and mastering folks aren’t quite letting go of the ‘loud’ thing, so I made Gravity a touch louder than I might a few years from now, but it was really a pleasure to work knowing I didn’t have to ‘compete’ in a way that was detrimental to the music. I’ve been using this same ‘less loud’ approach with artists I work with both in mixing and mastering, and they have really been enjoying the results.

 

We are really proud of ‘Gravity’. As artists, we continually strive to learn and progress our craft(s), and we are happy this album makes quite a step forward. We wanted to put something a little different into the world—something that can be enjoyed by those seeking new perspectives to inspire them. We hope this will satisfy those with a hunger for artistic heartfelt music as well as audiophiles who like to immerse themselves in sonic landscapes. We hope you will listen and just float free…..

 

 

Photography by Kenny Schick – Kenny Schick is a Music Producer, engineer, singer songwriter & professional photographer, living in Nashville TN (from the Bay Area CA)  (see more photos here)

 

“How can it have a title when it has so many personalities?”

Photo by Kenny Schick – see more photos

I had the privilege to work on this amazing album by DB Walker and his band, a well known and loved figure in the Bay Area Blues Scene!

Photography by Kenny Schick – Kenny Schick is a Music Producer, engineer, singer songwriter & professional photographer, living in Nashville TN (from the Bay Area CA)  (see more photos here)

It was some time in the early 2000’s when I met David ‘DB’ Walker. I was in the house band for a local Bay Area TV show called ‘Stand Up, It’s Thursday Night’, a comedy sketch/music TV show much like Saturday Night Live. We filmed in front of a live studio audience every Thursday night, first from KRON studios in San Jose, then from UPN studios in San Francisco the following season. 

Upon losing our second guitar player in a fairly short amount of time, we were feeling a bit flustered when our drummer brought along a guitarist he knew named DB Walker. We’d really liked our previous guitarist, so we were not super keen on getting going with yet another new one. DB showed up with his waist long dread locks and a big old massive pedal board…we were intrigued by this character… We started playing and knew quickly we’d finally found the perfect member to round out the band—DB was technically skilled for sure, but more importantly, he was creative and fun with a great sense of adventure musically. Our whole schtick was to take cover songs and play them in unlikely styles, and DB was perfect at helping us down our path of tune-twisting. 

DB was technically skilled for sure, but more importantly, he was creative and fun with a great sense of adventure musically

Photo by Kenny Schick – see more photos

DB Walker, as we came to find out, was also a known figure in the Bay Area blues scene, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be a semi-frequent guest at his shows. Consisting of covers and his really great originals, his sets not only include traditional blues styles and songs, but often float off into all sorts of adventurous directions—it is always super fun to see where he’ll go, and we can find ourselves floating between long atmospheric/psychedelic forays that can lead into a Nine Inch Nails tune, then back to road house blues and other really great blues inspired DB Walker originals.

A few years back now, DB decided it was time to release a new album, and it was to be a whole bunch of his songs—16 as it turns out. The initial idea had been to set up at his home studio, record the basic tracks for all the songs over a couple of weekends, mix the puppy, and be done quickly. It was to be both a digital and vinyl release. DB is a pretty meticulous guy, so the initial plans of moving quickly soon gave way to his perfectionist nature—lots of experimenting with cool overdubs and musical ideas ensued.

DB sent along parts to me as he completed them, and I mixed songs over the next several months. As we got close to completion, new experimental songs came along. The album covers a wide range, starting with a more traditional blues vibe, then moving to spacey psychedelic Pink Floyd-like explorations. 

DB is a pretty meticulous guy, so the initial plans of moving quickly soon gave way to his perfectionist nature—lots of experimenting with cool overdubs and musical ideas ensued.

I finished the mixes and DB had to figure out a few versions of the release due to timing issues that wouldn’t allow all the songs to fit on vinyl in their full versions. This task was finally completed, and the album went off to mastering….the masters came back, but then….radio silence. During the ’silent times,’ I’d relocated from California to Nashville, and just a few months ago, I got a call from DB Walker asking if I’d master the songs—so I mastered, thrilled to hear the amazing songs again, sent the masters back to DB, and waited for instructions in regards to changes or tweaks…I didn’t hear back, and soon I saw his release notice on social media—‘no changes’ was my answer!

http://www.dbwalker.com/

The album is an amazing piece of art—DB Walker’s songs are great, his playing is stellar, and the musicians he plays with are always top notch.

Here are DB’s notes for the album and personnel:
“This Record Album Has No Title” Because its more like 3 records in one. It begins with some driving Blues, then edges more into Classic Rock/Blues, takes a stop in Americana then shifts into pounding Hendrix inspired psychedelia before it floats off into a Post Rock/Pink Floyd haze
How can it have a title when it has so many personalities? 

Recorded at Bella Sounds in San Jose
Additional tracking at Basment3Productions Studios 
Mixed at Basement3Productions studios 
All music written by The D.B. Walker Band (Walker, Falzone, Oliver, Kane) (c) 2017 A Wraparound Records Production released November 23, 2018

D.B. Walker: Vocals, Guitar
David Falzone: Bass
Lachlann Kane: Keyboards
Michael Oliver: Drums
Kenny Schick: Producer / Engineering / Mixing / Horns / Guitar / Vocals

Additional Musicians: 
Mumbling Blues; Kenny Schick-Horns 
Wear me down; Kenny Schick-Horns 
Nothings Left; Hershel Yatovitz-Lead Guitar, Kenny Schick-Baritone Guitar, Sabiné Heusler Schick-Background Vocals 
Drive; Kenny Schick, Background Vocals 
A place to rest; Ryan Krage-Drums, Davon Whitehead-Keys 
Coming Down; Sabiné Heusler Schick-Additional voice

Photo by Kenny Schick – see more photos
Photo by Kenny Schick – see more photos

King Thrust Entertainment Presents

Women Rock! A tribute to Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks, Heart, Cyndi Lauper, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin and more!

@ The Basement East Nashville 11/28/18

These photos are of Kristen Dinsmore aka Dinzy & Slider
Proceeds for ‘Women Rock’ benefit Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and Northern Mississippi

A year ago today, we arrived in Nashville.

Though we’d talked about it a bit over the last several years, it was actually a pretty spontaneous move—a decision made just a little more than 2 months before our departure.

Photography by Kenny Schick – Kenny Schick is a Music Producer, engineer, singer songwriter & professional photographer, living in Nashville TN (from the Bay Area CA)  (see more photos here)

A stressful year in California and ever rising rent costs in the Bay Area, an exodus of musicians and artists, and a desire to be around people, who like us, make their living creating music in one form or another, all pointed us out of town. Along with an accident that resulted in us replacing our old Honda Civic with 300,000 on it with a newer, bigger car that would actually make it to Tennessee, and our amazing friend Chris who let us store our stuff in an empty building at his new place, we found ourselves in a position to make a big decision to give Nashville a shot.

Since Sabine and I met online in 2006 discussing music on what is now the ghost town called MySpace, our lives have been about big decisions: from my move to Australia after 8 months of emails and phone calls resulted in us falling in love, to her move to the US in 2008  to continue our relationship, to our 2 month drive/tour across the US immediately upon her arrival (interestingly centered around a gig I got at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville), to our deciding to use my decades of experience as a musician/producer to start our own business, Basement 3 Productions.  Sabine has been an essential ingredient in helping me take thoughts and ideas that might otherwise remain in my head and make them reality. As such, she made me realize that making this big move, like most  big moves, was totally doable.

So on December 2nd, 2017, we packed up our car and left California, and on December 5th, we arrived at our first place in South Nashville near Berry Hill. We’d found it online, and the pictures were quite a glamorized version of what we actually moved into—LOL. We stayed there for the terms of our 6 month lease, and we enjoyed the urban meets rural neighborhood, but we made the move to the ‘hip’ part of town, East Nashville, as soon as our lease allowed, upon finding a house with a separate building for our studio.

I’m proud that we were brave enough to just go for it, especially given we are not 20 something, or 30 something…or….. well…. we did it!

 

Everyone asks what I think of Nashville. I have enjoyed that it is indeed music-centric. We’ve seen a ton of amazing music, eaten great food and made wonderful new friends. I am intrigued by the weather – how cold it gets in the winter, and how hot and humid it gets in the summer. I love all the summer wild life—lightning bugs, tons of butterflies and other big flying critters, and plant growth like I’ve never seen—it is literally a giant green house. I adore the summer lightning storms. Unlike California, there is no watering lawns—just fighting them back—there is visual growth within one day. Nonetheless, I still miss the even, mild temperatures of the Bay Area, of course.

I have surely had an adjustment period, all the while keeping super busy with all my fabulous California artists. I am thoroughly enjoying working and creating music in my East Nashville studio and am excited to dig deeper into the scene here. We’ve really enjoyed hosting California artists and our home/studio is always open to out-of-towners as well as locals! I am eager to keep my focus and see what this musical jewel called Nashville has to offer, and equally, what I have to offer Nashville.

We’ve met some amazing musicians here and try to incorporate as many as possible into our work. Sabine and I are immersing ourselves in the culture and the music of Nashville. We are about to release a new album as our Duo ArtemesiaBlack called Gravity – some songs inspired by our new city – and are curious to see what our second year in Music City will bring. All in all, I’m proud that we were brave enough to just go for it, especially given we are not 20 something, or 30 something…or….. well…. we did it! It’s quite an amazing adventure. We are very excited about the artists we will be working with in the coming year!