BY: Huge ShARK

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: *Waves a fin* Hi folks! Huge Shark here. Thought I’d share a little about the process of crafting with cross-continental collaborators! My three-song single “He Dared Me” ( saw me join forces with a bass player and a sax player in/near Toronto and a producer in Effingham, Illinois.

The title track came from my last album, ‘Everything, but the second song, “One Day,” is new. I first wrote and recorded “One Day” in 2017, but it didn’t fit well with my last album, so I put it aside until ‘Everything’ was in the can (fancy phrase for “sent to the mastering engineer, so I couldn’t mess with it anymore”). Re-listening, I realized that the song was too long.

Musicians often have trouble hearing their recent work objectively. This can lead to insufficient pruning: ten-minute self-indulgent solos and outros, or too many repetitions of a beloved chorus. I took a scalpel to the song, shaving a full minute off. I also recast some of the vocal phrases an octave lower, re-recording the verses. But the song still needed something to pull it together and make it resonate. I recruited a talented bass player and drummer, Pete Nickerson (Standard Electric, Spanned Canyons) who lives about an hour outside Toronto. He delivered a vibrant bass part that gives the song needed momentum and, magically, illuminated the emotional arc of the lyrics.

To hear my music through someone else’s ears, I petitioned Bil Hooper (Paraquat), not only a great musician but a great mixing engineer, to create a remix of the title track, “He Dared Me.” Bil’s in Illinois, and he’s friends with another frequent collaborator, Gary Gahan (Spanned Canyons, Deuxpeche Mode) in Toronto. Bil added some instruments, tapped Gary for a sax part, and mixed it all into a dreamy, echoic whole that takes the same song and presents it with a very different mood.

Some of us are on Macs and some PCs, and we are all using different DAWs (music workstation software), so we manage this by transferring files for the individual parts using Google and Dropbox, pulling them into our DAWs and mixing/recording new parts there, then exporting just the parts we need to send to the next person. Standards for music files (like WAV and MP3) make this possible. When I first started recording music, it was on a multitrack physical recorder using cassette tapes. Trying to do this by sending cassettes back and forth would result in terrible sound quality; remote recording like this makes the world a whole lot smaller — and gives musicians access to many more collaborators!

Until next month,

Huge Shark