THE SONIC RECYCLER
PREPARED & PRESENTED JULY, 2016 BY DAVEY JAMES
Defining A Sonic Recycler - A “Green” Musician: The Methods And Techniques Used In The Creation Of Environmental Friendly Music.
This document is designed to act as an accompaniment with the recorded body of work called ‘Delica’ by Davey James. Listening to Delica gives this document a reference point to better understand a ‘Green” Musician’s approach and techniques in creating music. Here is the link to Delica: https://thisisdaveyjames.bandcamp.com/album/delica
The Sonic Recycler – Green Musician
What is a Sonic Recycler you might ask? It means to be a ‘Green’ Musician. Now, what does it mean to be a “green” musician? This is a musician or an artist that creates with sound that chooses to reduce their audio consumption and music creation footprint within their performances and recordings. The Green Musician’s main intention is to help reduce waste and NOT impact the environment by producing more needless waste. “Choose” is the main word to focus on throughout this document.
There are lots of musicians in the world that just don’t have the financial resources or the technological means to conduct performances and create recordings, so they find anyway possible to complete their visions. This is just a part of being a musician. A “green” musician chooses to use second-hand, up-cycled and recycled physical and digital items not based on money or the quality of gear. A green musician chooses NOT to use new equipment and other particular sounds tools because of how that equipment’s footprint affects the environment. Green musicians are conscious of their energy, product and waste usage to the point that it alters their sound, approach and music creation process. With this in mind, the green musician will choose to use creation and recording avenues that could be deemed unusable, uncommon or unlawful practice, finding anyway necessary to reduce their impact on the environment.
Example: The use or sampling of pre-recorded material and found sounds already released as the musician’s instrument sound source to create music is an approach that a Sonic Recycler would entertain in the right reduction scenario in substitution for a sound creation device they found to generate too much waste. Waste can be in the production and use of the instrument.
One could say this is stealing, but to a Sonic Recycler or Green Musician, it helps: save lives, natural resources, the earth, the local environment, preserve energy and reduce waste. Being a Sonic Recycler uses less energy to create a music project from beginning to end than the traditional way of making and recording music. Also, one might ask, “why not just use a solar powered studio and continue with what the artist is already doing?” Yes, one could choose that avenue as a great start in becoming a Green Musician. If this is all a musician would ever do in their musical lives, it is still better then not doing it for the environment. The downside to solar based studios is there are not many out there and those solar studios are not showing enough profit to invest the kind of capital needed to continue off the grid and re-vamping their power systems to stay off the grid. Also, the amount of waste produced in a traditional studio is no longer acceptable in today’s environmental standards, whether the studio is solar based or on grid. So, a Green Musician would likely choose a direction that would reduce their environmental footprint more significantly than just using a solar power studio. The recording industry as a whole is not making the kind of money they used too and are mostly surviving by the skin of their teeth. So, the industry invites a more cost effective way in recording and producing artists, especially as the quality of sound is no longer a major issue like it used to be. To a “green” musician it is not enough to continue to create more waste using traditional studios.
A “green” musician will look into a studio (mobile or permanent) by considering: what the gear was made of, where it was made, why it was made and what impact the gear has had in its creation. Also, a green musician will look into the history of the gear, the building of it, the workers involved with the gear or with a studio, what made the gear (machine or man), and if the people who made the gear did so oversees in forced labor or it was locally made. The entire footprint is researched to help in reducing one’s sound footprint. We “green” musicians as a collective do our best with the knowledge at hand to create music without affecting our local communities, environment and earth in more negative ways and not continue to sacrifice the environment at the cost of crafting artistic vision. The art comes second or the art is a bi-product to the “green” sacrifice. Yes, it is a sacrifice but the result is often better than if no sacrifice was taken. From the personal artistic point of view, this approach produces interesting sonic results for the artists that choose to go down this avenue because creating in a green manner will introduce techniques and crafting methods that would otherwise not have been seen before. Being a green musician is a lifestyle choice and there is always a greener route to choose in our daily lives.
The Millisecond Sampling Method For The Sonic Recycler
What is the millisecond sampling method? It is when you sample from an existing sound that is under a one second (1000 milliseconds) time frame. It could be 1 millisecond up to 999 milliseconds. More often than not the samples end up in the 200 – 500 millisecond time area because the closer the sample time gets to one second the more recognizable the sample becomes. The more recognizable the sample is, the more it becomes identifiable and the more a copyright claim can become a reality (that is if your piece of work is a financial successful, otherwise no one cares). One has to be able to identify where the sample came from in order to claim copyright infringement. Keeping the samples short is important to this method to stay out of the way of possible copyright issues. Or pick a note that the artist you are sampling hits a lot! For example, Neil Young hits D in 80% of his recordings; most of his work is centered on D. Therefore it would be very hard to pinpoint where it came from. Most copyright is based around melody and lyrics, and not texture. In millisecond sampling, texture is most important.
Using popular music, millisecond sampling creates sonic identification on a popular level without truly understanding where it came from. One can recognize the sound but at the same time can’t place where it came from. Using this method not only helps reduce waste and help the environment but also a way to tap into the pop culture subconscious without having to re-invent the wheel. These already successful artists you would be sampling have paved the sonic way for future musicians, not unlike how Bach did with four-part harmony. Is Bach’s family getting a cut of money or acknowledged every time someone uses a four-part harmony? Nope! And 98% of popular music is based from Bach’s approach to music. Using popular music as your source helps in creating music that is already identifiable. This is why using four-part harmony has become a bench marker in modern day music creation. Also, using the magic moments of others to produce your own music is not a new concept; take the sampledelic movement made popular in the 1980’s with groups like De La Soul and Beastie Boys. One has to ask the following questions to see if there artistic vision is worth the creating from scratch: Can it be done better? Can the gear be better? Can the musicianship be better? Why would one truly try to re-create an era of music that has already been deemed perfect by society? Example: Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin is covered and re-created over and over, but is it ever as good as what Zeppelin did?
Out of all the questions I get asked about my work, the “copyright” question is asked the most. This is why I address the issue head on. There is this fear around the use of copyright material that has plagued cultures in the west for years, not unlike your credit and debit score. Bad credit and living in debit will not land you in jail, it is just a way for ‘higher up’ people to keep the mass population in line. Most of all, it is a way for banks and moneylenders to make more money. Copyright holders operate the same way. Thus, the illusion of something bad happening to you if you are to use someone else’s work to create something of your own is deeply embedded in the modern artist’s psyche. Copyright operates on fear. They say it is to protect the artist but we all have heard countless stories of how the label got rich and the artists got not much to nothing. The people who claim copyright infringement just want money. The big fear on the sampler side is you will owe money forever, never get to make music again, and be looked at in a negative light. Who invented this propaganda and why did it come to be? People with control and who desire more money. This is not new and the creation environment has taken a huge beating because of people like this. Sadly, in recent years it is the mega-rock stars that are mostly leaning on copyright infringement like Tom Petty. These already successful artists are not happy with the way the music industry has turned and are attempting to keep the old ways and hang on to what money avenues they have left. Duke Ellington is commonly known for “borrowing” other artist’s ideas to use in his own work and is he called a thief? Is his legacy bombarded with lawsuits? No! The art community as a whole is built on sharing ideas with each other. Without this, you don’t have inspiration and cannot create forward movement towards innovation. Thus, popular music as a whole is at a stand still, consumed in remakes of past successful work. With no inspiration, there is no drive to create. And with an industry riddled with fear in the aspect to copyright, the future of music looks grim. Something has to change. Something is going to change. If you have an idea that is inspiring then it spreads like wildfire. Nothing can stop that. Just put it out there. Don’t sweat the copyright and you will get yours in the end. Look at it like this, by using other people’s copyrighted work you not only save the environment a little at a time but you help boost them up as well in a popular light. And if money can be made then all parties involved will be happy. You are helping the other artist in the long run and in turn, reducing your waste; you are helping the environment and pushing forward in music creation and innovation. The millisecond sampling method is an approach that breaks down the walls of copyright fears and in turn embraces a way of connecting to listeners with familiar sounds.
Using the approach of sampling other people’s recordings in millisecond sample fashion is not unlike using electricity with an oscillator. In the beginning of the era of the synthesizer, the sound source is coming from somewhere else that somebody else generated, which is generated from someone else’s invention. There is an argument to be made in the modern copyright issue that who ever created electricity, whatever sources the electricity and whoever controls energy plants should actually get a cut of music you create because it takes that electricity and energy in order to make and record the music you create. This is true of the synthesizer, for every oscillator and every sound coming from every synthesizer ever made is based off electricity and that source ultimately ends up with who created electricity. Why is this not copyrighted? Because it is under a different system known as a patent. So why doesn’t the Moog Corporation get a cut every time a Moog item is used? Tough questions to answer and something to think about when you practice the millisecond sampling method.
A unique approach one can take towards millisecond sampling can be a looked through the lens of a “film score” sound designer. For example, take a single vocal sound from these three singers: Michael Jackson, Adele and Lenny Kravitz. Sample 300 millisecond of each and stack them together to create a new type of vocal stab. This is not unlike the approach to achieving the Jurassic Park T Rex roar by stacking many different animal sounds to create one. A unique sonic identity can be achieved in sampling other’s work and falls upon the creativity of the artists using the samples. Also, with this approach, it will be near impossible for copyright identification while creating a sonic identification in popular culture without being able to particularly identify it.
I arrived at using other people's music to sample for a couple of reasons. The first and main reason is becoming a green musician and doing my part to reduce my impact on the environment. This has become very important to me. Plus, I know that I will never have magic moments like the artists that inspired me and I want to harness that inspiration and passion I felt when I first heard those artists. Second, I want the best sound source for my vision as possible, not unlike a guitarist wants the best guitar for their performing use. Music is sound and sound comes in all kind of ways. There is no right or wrong within sound, sound is just sound and it is up to the artist to decide what is best for them. The third and final reason, I use pre-recorded material as my source of creation to challenge the music industry system of greed. Copyright started back with written music in the 1800's. And before that, the way musicians got paid was to perform or write a piece of music for someone or something (like God and church), and whoever hired the musician normally had expendable money to give. Before this 150-200 year period it has been 1000's of years of known human history that there has been no "copywrite-able" music. Plus on top of that, music was mostly given freely and meant to entertain and inspire people. So it can’t be all that shocking that people paying for recordings is falling out of fashion and that the music consumer controls the process again.
If an artist were to come after me using their ‘copyright-able’ music in milliseconds sampling (most likely they would not be able to identify where the sample was recycled or up-cycled from) then I would welcome the lawsuit. First off, the lawsuit would mean that my music was indeed making enough money that it would require popular culture to pay attention to it. Second, this would mean I generated enough money to cut a check. After all, what is the point in spending thousands of dollars in court and legal fees when I don’t have any money generated from my creation? Plus in this day and age, all one has to do is change their name, incorporate that name to protect their personal credit and re-release that material under a new name. Third, I would welcome a lawsuit to argue the opinion of recycling music, to not only protect the earth and local communities but that recycling music falls in favor of popular culture and that the message of using green musical methods is an approach that resonates in today’s standards. The fourth and final reason is free marketing and PR from this type of lawsuit would propel the concept of sonic recycling into the forefront of popular music consumption consciousness. Hints of it are already there and sampling has been done before, which has proven that music consumers want this type of music. The current death of the “old school” money based music industry and how the industry was murdered by Napster is proof enough that sampling in the future holds a place for this type of artistic expression and thus should be deemed free to use at will.
12 Tips On How A Musician Can Become More “Green” In Their Music Endeavors
- Use rechargeable batteries versus “on grid” plug-in AC wall power supply. Explore DC versus AC and products that use DC. Most solar power stations are DC based which in turn makes using DC products easier without AC conversion packs. AC is also more “dirty sounding” than DC and will clean up your recordings and performances without even trying. Having one big rechargeable battery that recharges all your technology and batteries for portable recorders is a goal to meet.
- Charging the rechargeable batteries with off grid power sources. Example: bike, car, skateboard, solar panels. Explore options!
- Stop buying “new” items, period. If you do not spend another dime on “new” your footprint will have helped. It helps in not only reducing new products created but also the influence you have on other musicians you play with. If you play guitar, make your own from used guitar parts. People who see you play with your own unique instrument made from second-hand or discarded parts changes the view of you, which you are attempting to bring more good into the world for future musicians. Check out the back of a music shop dumpster once a week, the day before trash pick up. You would be shocked at what they throw out!
- Reduce your energy consumption footprint. For example: drumsticks. Get the wood yourself! Find a tree with lots of branches and break some off. If you cannot break the branches yourself then use a tool. If you can’t create the tool then try to find the tool or items to create a tool from a junkyard. This takes education into the manufacturing world to understand how and why things are made, what they are made from and how they arrive at their place of sale to the consumer. If you don’t know this information then Google it and begin your green journey. But in order to be more ‘green’ in your research, Google it using someone else’s power, internet, computer or phone or even go super deep and go to the library, read a book, talk and interview people about the manufacturing subject. Energy is a big part of creation for recordings unless you are recording to a an old wind up Edison photograph machine, but even then one has to consider how that was made and where. Once you have the tools needed to create drumsticks then twiddle away to create the stick of your choice. Remember to try to use trees that have already fallen to the ground and not to kill something when there are a lot of branches all over the ground. There is always a greener route to choose.
- Use second-hand equipment or gear made from recycled elements. One will find they’re using what is categorized as “antique” more than vintage gear. Vintage is often just as expensive if not more money as new products. Explore more “off the beaten path” antique shops, weird inner city pawn shops, and garage sales in richer neighbourhoods. For example, one could end up stumbling upon drums from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s for super cheap. Antique shops also like to sell and give deals in bulk as well. Keep in mind that used recording gear often will end up being called “portable products” but they are not limited to that. For example, right now an Alesis ADAT recorder can be found all over the place for fewer than 100 bucks when they used to be thousands of dollars. The quality of these machines are high-end, more so than most interfaces sold in stores today. Once a ‘new’ green musician has accepted the fact that they will not be crafting their vision in a traditional professional studio the door opens to possibilities of recording anywhere. With this psychological switch, one then begins their journey towards finding unique and fun spaces to perform and record in. I have arrived at the point I am beginning to flirt with building my own drums and exploring the technology that goes into an Apple computer for building a “hack-a-mac” using cheap throw away parts. Not easy tasks I tell you!
- Stop using studios and recording equipment that takes a lot power. This traditional “high-end” studio uses an insane amount of power and these studios leave their gear on all the time. A huge waste, plus the very high-end studios build their own power supply to clean their power. The big bad almighty “pro” studio is already on it’s way out, so no need to give them hope with a little bit of money. Once the big producer and big budget labels or stakeholders die out the big studio will be dead. Then you, the more green and portable recordist will be the leader in a recording approach. If you can’t carry your recording studio on your back then something is wrong.
- Starting busing, biking, carpooling...even walking. Yeah, I said it! Hump your gear! You will begin to see what a waste all the extra stuff is. Plus once you begin walking or biking you will be inspired to find the venues and places that have backline. Drummers make a kit for the bus and after you began to bus more and more you will see that you don’t need all the extra bells and whistles. The theory of less is more really forces you to be creative in ways that you couldn’t see before using the bus. Living by the theory of “if I can’t do it in simple form then it is not going to happen in complex form.” Will help in becoming a green musician.
- Copyright: Stop thinking of music as owned. Those days are over. No one owns any art anymore. It is all being moved around from one place to another by millions of people for nothing. Sharing is human nature and will never be stopped. If you are in the music business to make money off your recorded music then get out now. Your music is worth very little compared to your live performance. Even after you sign a bunch of papers with labels or a film or a game or whatever, most copyright cases are settled out of court. Plus, as a green artist your best move is to give it away for free. Build a digital community behind your work and focus on capitalizing on live events with your digital community. With that being said, sample and use everything you can! I mean everything. If you are lucky enough to come across someone who wants to sue you then that means you are doing something right in your creation.
- Millisecond sampling of music versus loop based and over one second samples. It is close to impossible to claim a 200-millisecond sample of a Michael Jackson vocal sample, especially when it is blended in with other millisecond samples. For instance, sample the same word from YouTube videos of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy saying the word freedom, you record those moments from YouTube and then layered them all together in a DAW you would then have a new type of identity that has never been done before using all found sounds. Then place that stab of the word freedom within your music wherever you feel fit. Using sounds already out there reduces your energy footprint in untold amounts. Think about the process in recording and the amount of energy it takes to get you to record. Example: this is just recording before you mix, master and distribute. The following item have the questions “How was it made, where, shipped to, who made it and at what cost?” attached to each category.
- Computer or recorder
- Software or item to record to
- Power Supply to turn on and run the computer or recorder
As one can see there is a far amount of waste involved in recording from scratch, and using found sounds from the Internet would save energy and reduce waste.
- No more paper: Go digital with all notes and writing down of music or production notes. This goes for printing product. Yeah I know...vinyl is hip and there is still a market for CD’s and traditional merchandise but it is killing us slowly. Not only by the useless use of plastic but it is prolonging the “old school” music industry and their ways. Their ways do not have the environment first in mind and if we don’t have a place to live that is safe for us then music and art won’t matter anyways. Keep in mind when you print vinyl it is not analog. You are using a digital copy of the music that is printed to the vinyl. Plus the recorded players being sold today are based on digital technology and packed full of cheap plastic. The next time you print to vinyl go visit the factory and see with your own eyes the plastic in use and what gets wasted. Research what kind of material is in vinyl and record players and how long it takes to decompose in the environment.
- Start bringing your own water and food. Use containers that are reuseable that are not plastic. The amount of water bottles I see used on tour at festivals is disgraceful and are for a one-time use. One of the major environmental problems right now is the amount of plastic water bottles sitting in dumps that will not decompose for 1000’s of years. If you didn’t use another water bottle for the rest of the year you would be my hero!
- Share with others! Help other musicians to become “green” in getting their vision accomplished. Share these concepts. Start with something as simple as touring or performing with other artists in the same van and trailer. Tour via train or bus, even carpool. Share the gear and book shows in non-traditional places that support “green” events and consume less power than standard event venues. Lets face it: the traditional venue does not pay what it used to and unique places have become more fruitful than the standard old school places. For example, book houses. Reach out to fans and set up house shows, do three or four week residencies in one place. Begin to book week long stays in one town versus one night. This will help cut down on waste and energy use, plus give you time to engage new fans and the community you are performing in.
The Sonic Recycling Methods Used In The Recording Of The Album Delica
First - Performance
- Small guerrilla drum kit: Kick, Snare, Hi-Hat with accessories – hi-hat stand, snare stand, kick pedal, and seat. Kick = 20 X 9 (cut down from 14 by handsaw) and snare = 14 X 4, both mahogany 3 ply with small maple in-lay hoops. Warm sound happened after the application of cleaning and placement of coconut oil. Because the drums where old and beat up by weather and time all metal was taken apart, boiled, then re-oiled. I also oiled the hi-hats, placed them in a recycled paper bag, and buried them in a backyard for two weeks to let the oil heal the quality of the cymbals in a moist environment. I watered the ground where the hi-hats were buried daily using recycled rainwater from a portable barrel.
- The kit was assembled partly bought at a pawnshop and a series of garage sales. The drums are early 60’s Sears Gretch knock offs made in Japan. The hi-hats are an unknown brand but most likely a Zildjian knock off. All the stands were taken apart and cleaned with vinegar, recycled vegetable oil and handmade coconut oil to remove unwanted overtones and improve the usability and sound of the equipment. Other essential oils were used as well to bring out the tone in the wood and cymbals. The heads were hand made from goatskin I bought at a local farm (Mennonite farm – a culture of farmers that do not use electricity). The sticks were wittled from birth trees from my back yard (Roughly 7B size). Tape and glue were also reused from the farm the skins came from. The skins ended up cracking so I bought used Remo heads.
- Total cost of the guerrilla drum kit and accessories – 160 dollars
iPad – Air 2 (64 gig)
- Bought at a garage sale – Cost 125 dollars
iPhone – 6S (64 gig)
- Bought in a shady place (most likely stolen, but to his defense he said he found it in a cab. I found him on craigslist) – Cost 35 dollars & 20 bucks to unlock
TC Electronics effect pedal
- Donated from TC Electronics – Worth used 150 dollars
Vox mini bass amp
- Found on side of road – Worth 25 dollars used
Torrent and Pirate Bay
- Internet sites - Free
iTunes account – Source of transforming sound into IOS apps.
- iTunes and App Account - Free
iMPC IOS Application
- All sounds were downloaded via Torrent and uploaded into my iTunes account on a laptop computer. Then processed in an app called iMPC Pro that was given to me for Beta testing from the company. Doesn’t hurt to email an app company and ask to be on their Beta testing team! The songs and sounds were then uploaded to iMPC Pro for my iTunes account to then be sliced and crafted to what was used for the Delica recordings.
- Roughly 20 seconds of sound was used for the entire record that came from the Internet, 8 seconds of which I recycled from music and field recordings that I had recorded in the past. Thus, outside of my pre-recorded 8 seconds, 12 seconds were used from a source that was not from me. They are: Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Daniel Lanois, Little Richard, Rocco Deluca, Muddy Waters and Kevin Myles Wilson.
Total Cost for Recycled Performance Equipment and Accessories = $340
Second – Recording
A. Recording the Drums
- Kick: CAD Kick Drum – Garage Sale 15 bucks
- Under Snare – EV RE20 – Garage Sale 40 bucks
- Over Snare - SM57 – Found in trash behind nightclub
- Over Head – AEA 88 – Donated. Worth 400 dollars used
B. Recording the Amplifier
- Left Speaker: Royer 122 – Donated from private gear collector. 900 dollars used
- Right Speaker: Audix D4 – Engineer gave me the microphone because he did not like the frequency range at a venue I played. It pays to be nice to the sound guy and help him out!
C. Recorder: Zoom H6 with XLR adapter – Rechargeable batteries and SD card
- Bought used from a College and worked off the debt with teaching. Cost 250 dollars
D. 6 XLR cables
- Stumbled upon a variety of cords from different garage sales – Total cost about 5 dollars
E. 6 Microphone stands
- Bought a bulk of 11 different stands from an antique shop in Sarnia, Ontario. The stands are all from different eras in audio history and I had to rummage through a huge amount of backroom items to piece together ones that could work together. Cost – 25 bucks (bought as parts not as whole items)
F. Rigs and fur – To dampen sound for less bleed over and enhance the vibe of the room and recording stations.
- All of these were from trash on the side of the and were pretty ugly to start. I took them to a river nearby and scrubbed them out with sand, rocks, leaves and branches as my soap.
Total Cost for Recycled Recording Equipment and Accessories = $85
Third – Mixing
Laptop, iPad and iPhone - Apple
- The Laptop was a loaner from a College I work at and the rest of the Apple technology was explained before.
Headphones: Sinn 280
- Bought used at a pawnshop – 30 bucks.
- One could also use whatever they have or can borrow: after all there is software out there that at the push of a button will master your music good enough to present online. The “make it better” mix button software is not here yet but is coming soon. The paint by numbers approach to music is here and getting better everyday and most of all will not be going away. There are more people who do not know how to craft a piece of music then there are people who do know in the music field. The people who don’t know are not going to spend thousands of dollars and year’s worth of their time to learn the art of recording and mixing. They just want it done. So, use whatever headphones you can get your hands on. The rest will work itself out.
Headphones: Apple Ear Buds
- Garage Sale – 1 dollar
- Downloaded via Torrent (ilok key was donated and for an older version of PT. Which is easier to torrent) – Software Free
Ableton Live: Download via Torrent – Software Free
- Plug-ins: Now I know I could have torrent'ed a ton of killer plug-ins but that kills my vibe and I really enjoy the limitation of one of something, so I stuck with the stock plug-ins that came in the DAW I used that day. Having too many choices stops my creative flow but could be very different for you. Do what works for you.
All of my mixing was conducted outside in a couple of different parks using only headphones. One time I choose to mix on top of a building downtown to attempt to bring a more floating feeling into the mix. The whole mixing process was pretty much a straightforward mixing because the recordings were focused mainly on the performance, not after effects. If I didn’t have the magic in the performance it showed in the mix and the recording was discarded or used as practice for something else. I chose to mix outside to be closer to nature and use the limitation of the battery life in the laptop or iPad as my clock to finish the blend of the day. When I did mix on my iPad I used the DAW Auria.
Total Cost for Recycled Mixing and Mastering Equipment and Accessories = $31
Fourth – Distribution
All uploading was done via laptop, iPad and iPhone. Apps used: Soundcloud, Dropbox, Bandcamp, and Google Drive. Once I had the tracks completed I uploaded to Tune Core for worldwide distribution using credits acquired from donations. I believe it is 40 dollars to have Tune Core distribute an album, plus they do mastering for a fee as well.
Cover art, photos and video were completely done on my iPhone 6s and the photos and video were taken by me using a variety of different free apps. The cover art is a photo of an X-Ray of an animal I found in a child museum. This photo was processed using free apps downloaded from my app account. I made it a point to not use cellular data to create this record, Wi-Fi only from coffee shops, local library and anywhere I could reduce my footprint. I did try to not use satellite based Wi-Fi when I could.
All the items used in the recording of this project were found, bought used in pawnshops or garage sales and/or donated. Nothing used in this recording process was purchased new and all music was downloaded from the Internet. The total time taken to make the record was roughly one and half-hours a day over a course of 40 days. I recorded either late night or early hours in the morning. A day was not missed and a total of 40 recordings were completed. I started with 20 – 30 minutes of recording then directly to mixing and mastering a day. Mixing took 30 – 40 minutes, 10 minutes for mastering and uploading to Internet for testing of material. I left the recording stations, as is for the 40 days, making set-up and sound test time a one-time event. After I was done with recording for the day I took my SD card, headphones, laptop and iPad to a park to mix. No power from the grid was used to create this record. I powered my technology and batteries from a portable battery bought at a garage sale that was typically used in a camping environment. I left this portable battery outside connected to 5 small portable solar panels used to light lights in a garden. I found these solar lights on the side of the road on garbage day in a rich area of town (you would be shocked at what the rich throw away! I walk or bike around once a week on garbage day in these high-end areas to find little treasures). After my session was over for the day I would plug in all my technology to the main battery outside to charge in the next sunlight day, thus recording at night (plus the magnetic field is less at night and early mornings, so I would get less radio waves for cleaner recordings.) When I do this again I am going camping in an area that was far removed from cities and magnetic fields.
Total Cost of Recycled Equipment = $456
Total Time Making The Album = 70 hours ($1,050 @ $15 an hour)
Total Cost for Creating a Green Album = $1,506
Goal to recoup the $1,506 = 20 shows at $75 a show
To Recoup $1,506 from recorded material would be = 1,500,600 steams or 150 downloads @ $10 each
Tips In Gear Hunting To Begin Your Green Musical Adventures
- One has to look a lot in places and avenues that are not typical to music gear to find great deal after great deal. If you are always going to music stores or buying online you most likely will never find the deals that you really want and need! It is a cost of time and energy, but worth it in the end. Remember, it doesn’t hurt to ask companies, charities, and people for donations or loaners to do your recordings. You would be stunned at the kindness people have towards art and creation of art. It hurts you more to not ask then by asking. I had a deal with Zildjian many moons ago where they let me into the used cymbal room and I could pick whatever I wanted. I would use them and bring them back and pick different ones. This is a great endorsement to hunt for and it doesn’t cost them anything. Most companies have a used or damaged department and do not do anything with that stock. It is a win-win for both parties involved.