Yesterday began the start of our new lives as smarter entrepreneurs and more focused music makers. We’re so excited to bring this new music to your ears very soon, but for now, here are some photos from yesterday’s epic final day at Zoo Labs. After a listening session of the newly recorded songs, we presented our business plan, and followed that up with a live performance during the release party. (We call it a release party since Zoo Labs is releasing us back into the world with all this new knowledge.)
More details after I’ve recovered from sleep deprivation.
Tomorrow we’ll be pitching our business plan and newly recorded songs to the Zoo Labs community, then playing live for the release party tomorrow night. Wish us luck, we’re nervous. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done on the pitch, but I think we’re getting close.
I feel like a bad blogger for not sharing more stories with you! Gosh, there’s so much to tell. I must have made the wrong decision in trying to post each night instead of each morning, since at night I’m super crazy tired after a full day of work (15 hour days!!). You know that feeling, right?! When your brain shuts down? That’s what’s happening to me right now.
So, I’ll be brief. Sunday was a day off and we got to catch up with some of Jimmy’s family out here, and Ellen got to hang with her family, too. Awesome. Monday brought a chat about the dollars and cents of generating income, or some kind of data/return when there might be no actual income. Today we worked with a rhetoric coach to help us prepare our pitch for Thursday. Have I mentioned we’ll be pitching our brand concept to Zoo Labs and other industry professionals on Thursday night? Yep. It’s a big part of the Zoo Labs experience and I’m trying not to over-think it, but um, I’m over-thinking it. But don’t worry, Ellen and Jimmy are reigning me in.
On the recording front, Johnny Duke came out to track some mandolin and fancy guitar stuff for a day and he’s already back home tonight in Nashville playing the Ryman. Vocals are DONE, thanks to an epic day of vocal tracking yesterday; we went well into the night (um, 2 AM) to get it all done. I’ve never pushed myself so hard vocally, but it paid off. Man, it all sounds so gorgeous.
Alright I’m falling asleep!! More soon. Promise.
Well, the tracks are DOWN, y’all. After a morning workshop about understanding our fans, we went into Studio A and knocked out the remaining pieces of goodness these songs needed. Somehow in two days we tracked what we needed, and all that’s left is vocals, mandolin (Johnny Duke will be here tomorrow!), and mixing! Crazytown. Brad and Andrew, our engineers, are super awesome and allowed us to move really quickly.
Hmmm, what else. I am super tired, and am definitely having a hard time putting these sentences together. But thankfully today is a day off and we’re gonna rest up. I should also work out. Then I’ll be guilt-free when I eat the fancy brunch currently being prepared by our chef Mikaela, who consistently knocks our socks off.
This morning went to BandPage’s offices in downtown San Francisco to learn from the very smart Ivan Cash about engaging campaigns and how to approach the market in smarter ways. So cool, so invigorating. There was an idea brainstorming contest to get our creative juices flowing… a prize went to the person who created the most ideas in 5 minutes, with no judgements about whether the ideas were worth anything. Guess who won!? (Ahem, I am very competitive.) Contest aside, it got us thinking in super quick ways about brand new things. yay.
Straight outta that morning workshop we went into Studio A for hmmm, we’re almost done — 10 hours so far. Andrew on drums, Rich on guitar, and Jimmy on bass. Those guys KNOCKED IT OUTTA THE PARK, Y’ALL. You won’t believe the amount of musical magic being made!!! I cannot wait for y’all hear these songs.
Tomorrow… we’ll learn how to understand our fans:), then we’ll have a bunch more time in the studio. Our piano player Mike Cassedy gets here tomorrow, too!!
Our second full day at Zoo Labs was the best yet. Workshops on digital strategy and team dynamics, and lunch with an artist endorsement manager from Dunlap had us engaged and excited. I even had my first moment that brought me to tears during the team dynamics workshop (I’m an emotional girl, but you already knew that). Stuff about how uniquely original we are, how no one else in the world has the same traits as you. What a gift to be reminded of that, and how we should embrace our strengths and focus on nurturing them instead of giving credence to our weaknesses.
Our drummer Andrew Laubacher arrived tonight and added such a great warmth to the tunes during pre-production. We’re now ready to start tracking tomorrow! yaaaaay tracking.
Tomorrow we visit BandPage’s offices in the morning and head back into the studio where the magic will be warmly invited in.
Value Proposition. Why does what you do matter to the market you’re serving? What about it provides the solution to the problems your fans might have? Without these answers, we might be forever lost in the abyss of marketing confusion! Today we started the conversations within the traditional business model canvas. It’s very different to think about music in this way, but actually it makes a LOT of sense.
Rich got here today for pre-production! Man, it feels awesome to have him here. We met Rich back in 2007 when we were working on Sugar – he played on that record, then on Tattoos & Bruises three years later, and we’ve played a whole heap of live shows together, too (before Sara Bareilles snatched him up!). You’re gonna love the sounds that he and Jimmy came up with in the studio today. It’s sounding so good already, and we haven’t even started tracking!
Here are some shots from the morning’s workshops, and the evening’s pre-production time in Studio B.
First, the best news! We welcomed a new baby niece into the world today. Congrats Ennis and Jodi!
Note to self (ahem, reminder to self): stop trusting your frequently inaccurate sense of direction, especially in a new city. We went our for breakfast this morning and I got us turned around… but then we found this fantastically animated graffiti wall that took us back to Brooklyn.
Later in the day, our Zoo Labs experience officially began with a workshop on evolution vs. revolution. Fascinating stuff, and it’s gotten our wheels turning. At the end of this experience next week, we’ll be presenting our strategic plan to the group. Each day that passes should further inform our business plan through these workshops which are already shedding a lot of light on things.
Tomorrow, our guitar player Rich Hinman will arrive and pre-production will start as a band. cannot wait!
Um, dinner tonight was a fantastic experience, too. Mikaela the private chef made just the most ridiculous meal for us, and they’d invited some Zoo Labs alumni to come and join us. Met some very cool people!
sayonara for now,
3:30am wake up call, 6:45am flight, a layover at LAX, a subway ride and a city walk (for old times’ sake!), and finally, arrival at Zoo Labs in San Fran around 3pm PST. They call this day negative one, since tomorrow is day zero. I’m so thankful we’re here with a day to rest up before the magical mayhem ensues.
Jimmy and I spent some time on pre-production tonight after a fantastic meal here in Oakland at a place called Hopscotch. There’s a lot in common, I think, between a great restaurant and great music. Learning, developing a concept, preparation, execution, and of course, sharing with the world your own original take on something beautiful, which is what we’re gonna aim to do here…
It’s probably been just the tip of the iceberg, but we wanted to dig in as much as we could before day 1 next week. Here’s a little peek. We’ve got one day left here in Nashville before heading to California, and things have been nutty around the house. Song tweaks, practice, business-y stuff, savoring our time with the little pup. You know, the usual.