Author Archives: ryandscott

Recording in the Digital Age

Recently, our band Snowdragon has been recording a ten-song LP to be used as a demo reel. We have a large show coming up this summer and the venue requested we send a small collection of the type of music we play. This would be nearly impossible on our collective schedules if it weren’t for the evolution of digital recording within the last couple of decades. Being able to record near-perfect audio signals into a desktop computer is a huge technological accomplishment, and something I love doing every day.

Personal computers have made a huge impact on the way we all live our lives. Whether it be for entertainment or starting your own career, they’ve changed the way many, if not most, things work in America. Ryan “Fluff” Bruce, a producer/audio engineer has founded his career and lifestyle with digital audio recording. His website (http://www.blackmetalbicycle.com/) highlights his roles in his field as well as his current projects.

Another producer from Oregon’s own Eugene, Billy Barnett of Gung-Ho Studio (http://www.gunghostudio.com/) has been in the business since tape and vinyl, but has comfortably made the transition to digital in recent years. When I asked how well he took the switch, he answered,

“In the beginning of the digital era, things were not very good. Most software was extremely expensive and didn’t record with very high fidelity to the source. In the last decade or so, it’s streamlined so many processes and has much higher quality sound.”

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I’ve been working out of my own home studio for the last few years now. Be it recording my own projects or a local band, I’ve always had fun with it and have always been interested in challenging myself further.

Below: A short video of a simple little song recorded in my studio in two hours.


P6 – Contemplation

 

This is my video for P6 – Final Project. I am honestly very proud and surprised with how it turned out. I’m lucky to have friends that were willing to help and happily cooperate with me on this project, and even help with the writing process.

My favorite part of making this video was either the filming or the writing process, both of which were really fun. The filming process was fun because I got to make my friends say the stupid things I wrote, but the actual writing process was fun, too, because we all got to contribute jokes and ideas.

One of the hardest parts of this project was holding ourselves back and not making the video South Park-levels of inappropriate. We wanted to make it as safe-for-work as possible while still being universally funny. I don’t think there’s anything in here that’s considered offensive or mean/malicious, and we’re very happy with how it turned out. There were plenty of points that we thought it would be funny to just drop it to shock horror where everything is calm and out of nowhere Jesse or Briar would say something outrageously inappropriate or offensive, but we knew we wouldn’t be able to do that.

I would love to continue to make things like this. I still think it’s funny every time I watch it and I think plenty of people will find it funny, too. I want to be able to grow and improve my skills in the video field, especially in the comedy department.

  • by Ryan Scott

Studio In The Snow

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I chose to interview John Whitker, an old friend of my dad’s and the head engineer of his own recording studio in North Dakota, over Skype. The first thing I asked him outside of the average niceties was how long he had been recording music, whether it be his own or someone else’s. He told me at least 25 years when he started out on reel-to-reel machines in the late 80’s. I then asked him if he had a favorite kind of music to record or produce.

    “Rock and metal,” he replied. “We don’t get much around here being in the paradise state of North Dakota, but when we do it’s always extremely fun to work with. I just love the energy, y’know?”

    I laughed in agreement as that is what I expected him to say, seeing as though he is and old friend of my dad’s, and because we share that interest in common. I then asked him what got him interested in the first place; what made him want to become and audio engineer. He told me when he was younger, no one around there knew what an “audio engineer” was; you were just called a “record producer.” But nonetheless, he simply loved music and every aspect of it. Whether it was playing on stage, at home or just listening to it, it was his favorite past-time.

    He told me one day he was interested in seeing how all of his favorite music came to be a reality. So he took a trip to Fargo with his bandmates, their instruments and a setlist of 3 original rock songs to the only recording studio (at the time) for about a 200-300 mile radius. After about 2 hours, they finally arrived at the studio and were a bit dumbfounded at how small and run-down the place seemed.

    “We all stepped inside very slowly and quietly,” John told me. “All of us mouths agape.”

    “Was it super impressive or something?” I asked.

    “No, the place looked like it jumped right out of the 1960’s, y’know?” he said, laughing as he recollected.

    But, nonetheless, they stepped passed the small “lobby” area and found their way to the control room. John knocked on the door and they could hear crashing sounds on the other side.

    “He clearly wasn’t expecting company! But the front door was unlocked, it was still a business, y’know!” John laughed hard.

    A man opened the door, surprised and a bit flustered, and asked them if they had made an appointment he had forgotten about. They told him that that wasn’t the case and that they were there to make an appointment. They made their appointment for the following day, as the man was cleaning and redecorating that day. So, the band got a couple motel rooms, came in the next day and got started.

    “And it was basically from that moment on,” John said, “that I knew recording was what I wanted to do.”

    They all recorded their parts together, except for the singer which is relatively common practice to get as much clarity out of the vocals as possible. As they recorded their singer, John and the band sat in the control room. The other members were watching their singer do his takes, but John was fixated on the recording equipment itself.

    “It was the first time I had seen anything like it!” he said. “Nowadays you can go to a pawn shop or a secondhand music shop and pick up a lot of this stuff for relatively cheap, but back then it was a very rare to see!”

    He told me that, since then he knew that he wanted to be an audio engineer. Seeing how his favorite thing was made ultimately decided it and he’s been doing it ever since. He studied under Michael Abbing, the engineer from that studio, for a few years when he could afford to make the trip. Eventually he moved out to Fargo and worked in his studio for about 8 years before finally starting his own business.

    “And here I am, y’know?” he said, calming down from his story. “I wouldn’t call myself a huge success, but I’m comfortable. And that’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. As long as I can help a musician make their musical dreams come to life, I have a purpose. Otherwise, I don’t know what I’d be doing, y’know? But there’s always a demand for music, meaning there’s always a demand for an audio engineer and producer; and that’s what I’m here to do.”

    I had a few more questions for John, but after such an interesting story (that I actually had to cut quite a bit out of) I figured that would be good and entertaining enough. We talked for a bit longer about unrelated things, made some jokes and talked about the differences in Oregon and North Dakota and I thanked him for his time.

    “Today is a different age,” he said, just before ending the call. “But the rules still apply. Work hard and stay very determined and there’s no way you can fail in this field. It’s all about making your own path without running through someone else’s, y’know?”
-by Ryan Scott


Brief Continuum – P5

 

This is my video for P5 Image Editing. I wrote this song just for the video, and had a lot of fun doing so. The song itself is a bit slow and sombre, but I feel it was a subconscious thing in the writing process. I guess I’ve been in a bit of a depressive mood lately and this song kind of reflects that. I’m just happy it came together the way that it did.

The song uses a 5-string bass to coincide with the “five” theme of the assignment. The other video clips within the video that aren’t of bass-playing are shots of things in my backyard and house. I feel as though they get a bit brighter (or “happier”) as the song progresses and resolves. “Brief Continuum” is an oxymoron in the same way of saying something is a “contained infinity,” but it may also be a subconscious thing; depression doesn’t typically last long, but it feels like an eternity.

What I was trying to accomplish with this was a sense of emptiness in the beginning of the song (maybe not in the very beginning of the video), as it’s just one low, slow instrument playing. It then picks up a little bit with drums and a second bassline, then resolves with a long, low root note, fading to a shot of sun and flowers. I just wanted the song and video to be a reflection of how things can seem grim, but will always be brighter in the end.

by Ryan Scott


Theater At Home Advertisement

My project is a fake radio advertisement for Theater At Home, a fictional service that sends people to your home to watch movies with you to give you an “authentic theater experience.” I used Audacity to record everything and used my preferred DAW, Reaper, to edit all of the clips.

I found some royalty free music online (thank you, Kevin Macleod) and used one small sound clip taken from a livestream by two of my favorite YouTubers/Animators, OneyNG and Psychicpebbles re-enacting a made-up scene from Back to the Future. Everything else was recorded within about an hour, as procrastinating is my forte. The only issues I had during the project was starting it late at night. There’s a bit of yelling in it, which I had to wait until the next day to record so as not to wake up anyone in my house.

Overall the project was fun to do. It’s an idea I’ve sort of had floating around in my head for a while and I’m glad I finally had the outlet and medium with which to execute it. I hope you enjoy listening to this mishmash of stupidity I’ve uploaded to the internet! Prepare to be made slightly uncomfortable by it!

 

-by Ryan Scott


Metal Injection – Blog Search

Metal Injection (http://www.metalinjection.net) is a blog about news in the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music world. They post things like tour dates for bands, album announcements, album reviews and any other news related to metal bands, their members and their stories. The article featured in the image, “Dave Grohl Joins Members of PANTERA, SLAYER, METALLICA, MACHINE HEAD On Stage At Dimebash” talks about the singer of the Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl, joining fellow musicians on stage at the Dimebash event.

The other article featured in the image, “Grindcore is Love!” talks about the history of the sub-genre of death metal called “grindcore,” which a very fast, somewhat sloppy but to-the-point rendition of metal. It showcases a few videos of very talented drummers playing some of the more intricate pieces of music in the genre and showing how difficult it is to play, even if it just “sounds like noise” to some people.

I feel as though the content on this site is written and produced really well. Everything is fact-checked, accurate and everything is entertaining to some degree. All of the tour dates are accurate and they keep on top of any schedule changes or show cancellations. They also have professional music and gear reviewers write pieces on new albums and shows, always unbiased and never too negative.

I used to frequent this website but do not have the time these days with school and work. It’s a very entertaining site and I would recommend it for anyone who is into rock or metal music and wants to keep up-to-date on anything in that realm.

 

by Ryan Scott


Resources for Media Arts Students at Lane

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The Equipment Checkout desk

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The Blue Cyc Wall

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The Center for Student Engagement in the Center Building

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What I believe to be the main art gallery on campus

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The Reference counter in the Library

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The silver sculpture that sits outside of the Health & Wellness building

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Christina Salter’s office in Building 1

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Our Indie Lab in Building 17

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Turkey Shot!

I’m missing a few images, but I honestly don’t know where most of the locations were, even after going here for three and a half years. Whoops.


Written By Yours Truly

Well, hi there. My name is Ryan, welcome to my first attempt at this whole blogging thing. I don’t particularly like writing about myself, but I’m going to give it a shot.

As the title of the site suggests, I am a musician, gamer, and an avid vaper (e-cigarette user). Music has been a huge part of my life since before I could even walk. My dad is a guitarist, bassist and a singer so naturally I grew up to love music. He raised me on -70’s and -80’s rock/metal, and I own my own self-build home studio. I mainly play guitar but also love to play bass, drums, some wind instruments and as of the last few years have been really into singing/vocals.

Video games are one of my biggest passions in life. I love all sorts of games, but mostly grew up with the amazing things Nintendo had to offer in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. One of my earliest memories is watching my parents play Super Mario World for the Super NES in our living room, so it’s been with me almost as long as music has. Video games are how I met most of my friends in elementary school, especially through Pokemon Red and Blue versions. Video games are still how I make most of my friends, but it’s mostly online these days through games like Team Fortress 2, Counter Strike: Global Offensive or Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire.

In the last few years I have taken up a new hobby that appeals to the tinkering/building part of my brain, which is vaping or using electronic cigarettes. It’s allowed me to make a lot of amazing friends and keep m away from tobacco products. If you smoke and wish to quit without the harshness of cold turkey, I and many of my close friends would highly recommend looking into vaping. It’s overall cheaper, much healthier and proven to be much less addictive.

Thanks for taking time to read the ramblings of a boring madman!

by Ryan Scott