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Credits | Listen to Samples
The “New Day” CD is a compilation of songs written over a 10 year time period dating back to 1990. In many instances, I would start a song and continue to rewrite it until I was satisfied with the result, and even then there would be the requisite anxiety over whether or not the song was as good as it could be. Certain songs such as “Love Don’t Lie” actually took many shapes a nd forms over many years before the current version was settled on. All in all, the CD represents a snapshot of my creative writing efforts during the aforementioned time span and at the same time closes a chapter in my songwriting career. As a songwriter, you are always trying to grow and improve your craft, and yes, songwriting is a craft not unlike writing, painting, sculpting, or any other myriad of endeavors which require years of effort to try and perfect...and it seems like that perfection is always just out of reach. Despite popular myth, most serious songwriters simply don’t wait for inspiration to strike before writing a song. Rather, the craft of songwriting can be likened to that of a flower which requires a certain amount of nurturing before it will eventually grow and blossom into something beautiful. Only through constant reflection, trial and error, and constant rewriting does a song stand a chance of reaching its full potential, and even then it may still never reach the public’s ears.
The songs on the “New Day” CD were produced and recorded in a variety of settings. Some songs were recorded solely in my home production studio while others were full blown productions which required the use of an outside studio. Two of the songs, “Life’s A Game” and “Love Don’t Lie” were produced and recorded by the band Strawberry Jam, of which I was a member, and previously released on our CD “Spread The Jam”. Other songs such as “Learn To Give”, Thief In The Night”, and “Lost Without You” were pre-produced in my home studio, taken to an outside studio to record additional tracks, and finally ended up at a third studio for mixing and mastering. Due to their inherent simplicity, titles like “New Day” and “Thank You For Your Love” were completely finished in my home production studio.
Since Piano is my primary instrument, I tend to
take a pianistic approach to songwriting and production. One can
hear the strong keyboard influence on this CD with piano playing a strong
role in the songs as well as a full palette of synthesizer sounds. Certain
songs were produced with me programming and playing the drum sounds on
my keyboard. I would always try to think like a drummer would while
doing this in order to give the drum tracks a more realistic sound.
The other technique I like to use while recording drum tracks is to always
play the sounds live from my keyboard and in ‘real time’, in other words,
no step programming
or heavy quantizing. I always felt that this gave my drum tracks a ‘human feel’. I often find it amusing that sometimes musicians will view the use of synthesizer drums or keyboard bass with a certain amount of disdain. For me though, it’s simply another tool I use to help realize my creative vision. The decision to use outside musicians or to simply record the parts myself is usually dictated by the song itself and the style and feel I’m trying to convey. For example, the bass line in “Palestine” was performed by myself on the keyboard. I knew going in that to try and find a bass player that would be able to cop the feel and handle the
complexity of the part would be a challenging task requiring many hours. It was easier and more convenient for me to play the part myself. So really what’s the difference whether a bass player plays the part from a bass guitar or I play the part from my keyboard ? In my case, they’re both going to be live tracks, just different delivery systems.
Often times, people will inquire about the process
of writing a song, such as which comes first, the lyrics or the music ?
With me it’s a combination of both. Although I usually find it easier
to write from a finished lyric, there are many instances where I will start
off with a set of chord changes and work from there. I will eventually
add a scratch melody and then begin recording the various parts of the
song, adding the lyrics after the basic tracks are recorded. In the
case of starting from a finished lyric, I like to find a melody that fits
the lyric well and then apply the chord changes. Writing an effective
lyric is a whole other ball game and is
deceivingly difficult to do. The main obstacle in writing lyrics seems to be not becoming too complex and sticking to your main theme or story line. It really is a life-long learning process.
Another challenging aspect of producing the CD was deciding which songs would be included and which would be victims of the chopping block. This is one of the more agonizing decisions musicians have to make when releasing an independent CD. If you are signed to a major label, the producer usually makes this call. In my case I had to try to put the blinders on and be as objective as possible...never an easy task when you’re talking about your own creations. As a result, I left off about 5 songs which I felt were worthy of being released.
I hope that you enjoyed this mini essay on the “behind the scenes” work that goes into writing and producing songs. Hopefully it will enable you to better appreciate the CD and understand the process behind it. In this day and age when a major label CD can cost anywhere from $250,000 - $1,000,000 to produce, I’m happy to say that by applying a lot of hard work, creativity, and self-education, I was able to produce an independent CD for far less money and one that I hope you will enjoy just as much as one from a major label artist. As I said in the beginning of this piece, this CD represents the closing of a chapter in my musical career. It also opens up a new chapter and ,as I write this, work has begun on a new CD. Stay tuned.
Life’s A Game - Recorded at The Menagerie in Saylorsburg, PA by Jeff Boyer and Sound Investments in Scranton, PA by Tom Borthwick and Joe Wegleski. Mixed at Sound Investment studio by Tom Borthwick and Joe Wegleski.
Thief In The Night - Recorded at Brighton Recording in Plains, PA by Bill Roditski. Mixed at Iris Sound in Royersford, PA.
Learn To Give - Recorded at Brighton Recording in Plains, PA by Bill Roditski. Mixed at Iris Sound in Royersford, PA.
Hip-Hop Blues - Recorded and mixed at Damon St. Studios in West Pittston, PA by David Chaump.
Love Don’t Lie - Recorded at The Menagerie in Saylorsburg, PA by Jeff Boyer and Sound Investments in Scranton, PA by Tom Borthwick and Joe Wegleski. Mixed at Sound Investment studio by Tom Borthwick and Joe Wegleski.
Thank You For Your Love - Recorded and mixed at Damon St. Studios in West Pittston, PA by David Chaump.
Open Doors - Recorded at Damon St.Studio in West Pittston, PA and at R&J Music in Williamsport by Tim Breon. Mixed at Damon St. Studios by David Chaump.
Party On Down The Line - Recorded and mixed at Damon St. Studios in West Pittston, PA by David Chaump.
Palestine - Recorded and mixed at Damon St. Studios in West Pittston, PA by David Chaump.
New Day - Recorded and mixed at Damon St. Studios in West Pittston, PA by David Chaump.
Lost Without You - Recorded at Brighton Recording in Plains, PA by Bill Roditski. Mixed at Iris Sound in Royersford, PA.
Eulogy - Recorded and mixed at Damon St. Studios in West Pittston, PA by David Chaump.
Additional Musicians : Rhythm, Lead, and Bass Guitars : Tim Breon, Terry Cummings,Lee Matchett, Ryan Riley, and John Shemo.. Percussion: Ron Blight.
Mastering: Sound Investments in Scranton, PA by Tom Borthwick.
All songs composed, produced, and arranged by
David L.Chaump except “Life’s A Game” and “Love Don’t Lie” - produced and
arranged by Strawberry Jam.