Yellowgold

The official website showcasing the music of Yellowgold, produced by Jason Howell.

Filtering by Tag: release

Fever Dreamer is released!! (finally)

Hello everyone! After three solid years of work, I’m happy to finally release my latest Yellowgold album unto the Internet! YES THREE YEARS. Let’s just say I’ve been really busy, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

The new album. Seriously, you should get it!

The new album. Seriously, you should get it!

I thought I’d spend some time over the course of the next week or two pulling back the curtain, so to speak, on the album: Concept and approach of the album, as well as a song by song breakdown because (as you may or may not know) each song has a story! And by that I don’t necessarily mean the story told in the lyrics (although each song has that kind of story too). But I’m sure every musician will probably agree that writing a song usually comes from SOMEWHERE and often its not at all where you might think.

To celebrate the launch of the album, though, I thought that today I’d write about the album concept as a whole, so here goes.

After finishing Ever One in 2013 and receiving such positive feedback from that, I knew that I wanted to go back to the well and hit it again. I also knew I wanted to take a bit of a break. I’ll be honest: The way I write and record can be all consuming. I can go for days or weeks doing absolutely nothing but singing voice memos into Evernote (often on a daily basis… that in itself may sound overwhelming but nowadays, it’s such a part of my routine that I’ve amassed hundreds of song ideas and its growing without effort). And then at some point, I’ll get the urge to sit down at my DAW and start playing around with ideas. If I strike on something that inspires me, it becomes an obsession that I’m chasing and that happens AROUND everything else (Full Time podcast host at TWiT, Full Time dad and husband at home). All this to say that I was a bit burnt out after Ever One, but I knew I wanted to continue working on something at some point, and while I was waiting, I was just basically dropping ideas into Evernote. OK then.

Then we bought a house. This is important for the sound of Fever Dreamer because it messed with my comfort level of production and writing.

The recording dungeon at our rental.

The recording dungeon at our rental.

At our old rental in Petaluma, I literally had a separate (but tiny) office that I produced in. It had a door that I could close which allowed me to be less concerned about the noise I was making late at night and also let me live in the illusion of being on my own while writing, lowering inhibitions.

Recording space in the new home

Recording space in the new home

Well, the new house that we bought DOES have a studio area… the Den where I have all my equipment, sound panels, and guitars hanging on the walls. I did my best to spruce it up and make it an inspiring environment in which to write late at night. The only problem is that the Den has no door to it. It’s open to the kitchen which is open to the stairs which is open to all three bedrooms. This means that I much more exposed while writing.

So when it came time for me to start constructing ideas for a new album, I knew I would be writing the lions share of the music late at night AROUND everything else I do in life. And writing in an exposed room meant I felt like I needed to be quieter during recording than I was at our previous home. Everything at night would need to be done with headphones and contained within the DAW. Thankfully, audio technology is awesome and allows for that. But what I realize in retrospect is that limitation pushed me towards a sound where much of the vocals on the album are whispery and breathy. Being in headphones also brings your ears a bit closer to the subtle details of a soundscape, so I tended to be a bit more experimental with effects and layering.

The other big component was that I was doing much of this writing late at night which, I’ll be honest, is probably my favorite time of the day to record. Now granted, I’m DEAD TIRED when 9pm rolls around and it would be so much easier for me to just plop down and watch Netflix, or just go to bed (give me a break. I'm what my kids would consider to be "old".) But I really had to motivate myself to turn on my DAW and just strum a few chords, or load up a drum set… anything because if I was able to push myself over that speed bump, I’d be golden and spend 2-3 hours cranking away. Sometimes much more to be honest. (many 2-3 sleep-hour nights)

And I’d say the moral of this particular part of the story is that often limitations unlock new avenues of exploration. It would be easy for me to look at the open studio space, the late at night restrictions, and the fear of waking up my family and say “well, this won’t work.” Instead, I literally set out to see WHAT album I would write within those restrictions. As a result, much of Fever Dreamer is whispy, ethereal, effects laden, and not only that, it’s the sound of the entire album. That restriction enabled me to complete a song that followed a very specific and intentional theme in the way it sounds, a first for me to be honest.

OK I’m rambling. And if it isn’t already obvious: These blog posts won’t be heavily edited. I’ll just dump this stuff out and move on cause I ain’t got time to edit. But I hope it’s informative. I REALLY love to read about how people approach their own creative processes and philosophies so I suppose I’m writing what I love to read. I hope you do to.

Ever One is released

Today's the day that I've been waiting for with extreme patience, and it hasn't been easy. But thanks to an incredible amount of hard work, and a Kickstarter that was way more successful than I ever dreamed, I can finally pull the covers off of my latest Yellowgold album, Ever One. The Kickstarter did so well that I was able to get The Mellower along with the previously unreleased Three For You EP mastered into a brand new release too, so I'm unveiling that today also!

I am taking the "put 'em everywhere" approach, so I'm hoping that most of the major avenues are covered.

To summarize the many ways you can get Ever One, here you go:

  • Free download of the 192kbps MP3, un-DRM'd, ZIP'd and ready for your earholes. No holds barred.
  • Pay what you want via Bandcamp, starting at $1 for the album. Think of this as a tip jar, if you feel like you really have to kick down a few bones. Buying through Bandcamp also gives you access to a number of different compressed and uncompressed audio formats. You will also find the double-CDs (Ever One and The Mellower including the Three For You EP) that are left over from the Kickstarter if signed physical media is your bag. And you can order a poster of Scott Johnson's original art there as well.
  • Buy the album at iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon. Each place has the album priced differently, so take a look. Stores like these name their own prices for music downloads, so I'm really at their mercy. Sorry for the confusing price points, it's simply part of playing ball with those services.
  • Stream the album at Spotify,  Soundcloud, YouTube, or right here on this site.
  • Buy a shirt from Slashloot!

To summarize the many ways you can get The Mellower (remastered), here you go:

My goal all along was to release Ever One for free, with the option to pay if you decided you wanted to do that. I hope that these options make it easy enough for you to find a method that works best for you. For me, it's about the music more than anything. So really, I don't care how you find it, just as long as you enjoy it.

Now that the albums are live, do check back to this blog as I intend on following up on the entire process to detail some of the things I've learned along the way. From running a Kickstarter, to distribution, to insight into the making of each track on Ever One.

Oh, and one more thing. I've already started writing material for a new album. Yes, it's a sickness. But one that I'm honored to share with you once the time comes to do so. THANK YOU for your support.

Also, a personal thank you to David Michael who has been a godsend in helping me drive the Kickstarter campaign, and so much more. And, of course, KRAMER, for without his masterful ears and incredible work ethic, these albums wouldn't sound nearly as polished as they do.