New songs and a new site

Posting has been slow here lately, but not because I haven’t been working on any music. Kate and I decided to create a new site for the songs related to her novel, which you can now find at We just added two new songs: “You Never Knew Me” and “Can’t Let Another Man”.

You Never Knew Me

This was initially written back in January towards the end of my two week vacation, and was the fastest song we’ve written yet. One morning I decided I’d try to write one or two completely new songs, and this one popped out. I wrote the first verse and the chorus, and then Kate helped with the second verse and the second two choruses. It was probably done in a couple hours.

The recording took much longer even though I worked out the arrangement relatively quickly. I probably recorded each part at least 10 times—it took me a while to really lock into the groove that I was going for. As much as enjoy doing all the parts myself, sometimes I do wish for a band—things would move along much more quickly.

Can’t Let Another Man

This song was in a sketchy form for quite a while. We had the basic form, and Kate was tinkering with the lyrics. As Kate writes in her post, the major influence on the arrangement was Jenny Lewis’s Acid Tongue. Once we listened to that I knew exactly what I wanted the song to sound like.

The background vocals here are a total of 12 tracks—it’s four part harmony with each part recorded three times. For each of the three takes, I stepped back further from the microphone so that when they all stacked together there would be more a sense of lots of people filling a room.

One thing that struck me while working on this song is how much I’ve come to love playing the bass. One of my favorite parts of arranging is coming up with bass lines, and it often dictates the overall direction and feel of the song. For this song, I wanted a mostly understated bass part, but I also knew that I wanted to go to a higher counterpoint part for the last verse. It works really well for contrast and helps to add tension and interest.

Recording notes

Both songs were recorded and mixed completely in Auria, which continues to be the most robust audio software that I’ve found on the iPad. Final mastering tweaks were done in Final Touch.

You Never Knew Me

  • There are three ukulele parts—a doubled strumming pattern, one acoustic and one electric, and also a quarter note stab part. These were processed using both ToneStack and JamUp.
  • The bass was processed through JamUp.
  • The drums were programmed in DrumPerfect, which I’ve been starting to use more and more. I find the interface frustrating, but it is incredibly powerful and especially good for acoustic drums.
  • The shaker was recorded live (and not looped!). I usually fail at live percussion recording, but it works here.
  • The piano sound is from iGrand Piano, the electric piano is from iLectric.
  • I’ve been mostly using the reverbs from Auria, but I also used AuFX:Dub as one of the send reverbs.

Can’t Let Another Man

Aside from the layers of vocal, this arrangement is pretty simple.

  • The electric piano sound is from iLectric.
  • The bass was processed using JamUp.
  • The organ sound is from Galileo.
  • The percussion was a last minute addition. The bass drum sound is an 808 sample from FunkBox, and the tambourine sample is from DrumJam.
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