For my capstone, I wrote and recorded a 4 song EP. I focused on challenging myself in both songwriting and production. I wanted to make something that was musically distinct, while still remaining accessible and easy to listen to. Everything on the EP was performed by me - drums, banjo, vocals - and by having total control over the direction of the project, I was able to let myself experiment with the music.
All of the songs were composed during the recording process; I would initially start by recording an instrumental idea - a guitar melody, a unique rhythm - and then add new layers on top until I felt happy with the song. The vocals came last - I didn’t write lyrics and vocal melodies until after I had put together the rest of the songs. This was the most natural songwriting method for me, since I could focus on giving the songs as much depth and complexity as I wanted, while still giving myself room for exploration. This project was the first in which I spent a lot of time mixing. After everything was recorded, I spent hours mixing each song, listening to them in a variety of formats (headphones, speakers, car stereos) to make sure that it sounded good wherever I listened to it. After finalizing the mixes, I mastered the EP.
I learned a lot about home recording, and how scientific and technical the recording process can become. Overall, the main thing I took away from my capstone was that there are so many components of producing music - especially your own - and that it can easily become a stressful and overwhelming process. The end result, though, makes all the effort worthwhile.
Link to EP:
Annotated Bibliography: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ktdFIk44ID4R4t4lpu_L38cZLi3CJ5csFaHBN-1vZ7-34/edit?usp=sharing