Keith Everette Smith

Producer, Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist

Filtering by Tag: Me

The Beatles

OK. I have an unhealthy obsession with the Beatles. When I was a kid I had a toy record player and I would play my dad’s records (I’m 26 and I DO know what a record player is!). One record I remember was a 45rmp of “Help!” I recall being totally fascinated with that song. I loved that I could sing it (I learned all the words). I loved how energetic it was! I loved everything about it.

My dad was a music minister at our church. We had drums and other fun instruments there. Every now and then my dad would let me bring the drums home and play them. This was always a treat and it rarely happen. I remember one time, I was in 4th grade (right about the time we got our dog, Abby) my dad surprised me and brought home the drums. They were a beat up Tama Royal Star kit… bright red. My dad set them up near the stereo and put on all kinds of records for me to play along to. Among them were The Beach Boys, Elvis, ELO, Elton John and The Starland Vocal Band. The Beatles were played often those few days too.

It’s worth noting that this is one of the few memories (one of 2 actually) I have of my dad sitting down to play the drums! I mean he was no drummer but I recall that he could keep the beat… he’s musical of course. It’s funny thought, I told my dad, “Dad, if I worked at a church where there were drums, I’d never get anything done… but you never play them?” I literally did not understand why he didn’t stop every hour to go play all the fun instruments. But I didn’t understand why my dad listened to talk radio either. ha!

Well, thanks for letting me reminisce about my childhood for a few minutes.

Oh yeah, the reason for the post. Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading books and watching DVDs on the Beatles. It’s been a fun departure from my normal day-to-day arranging and recording. One such book I read was “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording The Beatles” by Geoff Emmerick and Howard Massey. Emmerick was the engineer that recorded much of the Beatles work. It was REALLY great. Tony Guerrero got it for me as a Christmas present (it’s actually an audio book so I actually listened to it.. I didn’t “read” it). If you’re into recording you’ll like it. It’s really interested to hear the way things were done in the 60’s. If you just like the Beatles you’ll love it too just because of the cool stories. Go on. Go get it.


Keith Everette Smith and Timbaland

Hey guys. I just had a chuckle to myself. I’ve recently begun working with a company called Open Labs. These guys make fantastic keyboards! Their Meko and Neko series keyboards are actually fully functioning studios based around a powerful PC computer. Anyway, Saddleback used our new custom Neko during our Christmas special for the Fox Network. I was interviewed for their website.

I logged on to openlabs.com and this is what I saw… my face next to Timbaland!!!


Timbaland is writing hit after hit these days with artists like Justin Timberlake, One Republic, Madonna… the list goes on.

I just thought I’d share. Click here to read the entire article. I can’t recommend these guys enough!

My blog, my opinions

Hey guys. I feel that this is important. It’s important and it’s my blog so I can do this. I think Christians (especially the non-crazy ones) need to voice their opions (so the world doesn’t just see the crazy Christians).

I am a Christian. That is my world view. I believe that God the focus of everything. Jesus is my Savior. Jesus is everyone’s Savior. If you don’t know that, email me. It’ll change your life… promise.

As a Christian I vote my convictions NOT my personal comfort in life. I feel this presidential race is being fought on the basis of everyone’s comfort. I personally believe that America is long overdue for a wake up call about the way we live, the way we over-spend, the way we fight for self. We are not going to fix our economy the way it needs fixing if we are appealing to everyone’s need to be comfortable. We need to plead for people to have dignity, respect for one-another, integrity, charity, patriotism, and for people do be the opposite of greedy.

I will be voting for McCain. I think Clinton and his de-regulation of banks got us into this mess and then the greed upheld by EVERYONE kept us there. Conservatism is necessary for getting out of debt. Small government and the trust of Americans to build a strong economy is key. Taxes are fair when they are even. Business owners should not be punished for building strong businesses that work. This is what keeps the economy going. It is good stewarship and good leadership to REWARD and ENCOURAGE people in this situation… not punish them by taxing them more. If you want to fuel the economy, encourage these people to give back on their own. This will do more for the economy. It’s called delegation.

OK so I rambled a little bit… I’ll be voting for McCain. I care about our country. I care about my children and my grandchildren and the country they will inherit. I think we need to guard our values, vote our convictions and get to the core of the problem, not focus on symptoms. Please vote McCain. Do your own research and get informed, but I’d encourage you to vote McCain.

It’s my blog, that’s my opinion.

Keith

Birthdays and Music That inspires

Yesterday was my birthday. It was a good birthday. I went up to LA and played in a reading band… it’s a big band where musicians come sit in and play through music… jazz, funk, contemporary stuff mostly. It was a lot of fun and a good way to spend the 26th anniversary of my birth! Without going into details, the circumstances surrounding the rehearsal were a little difficult.  You know how that can be… tense and frustrating. After spending a few hours in my car (without AC!) I was greeted by my friends and family and we had a great evening!

I mention this story because it illustrates something very powerful about music. That is this:

music is much more about tension than it is about perfect harmony.

You don’t notice blissful moments without some tension to remind you that you are actually in a blissful state. Tension is the reason why I love cluster chords rather than simple triads, the reason why I love distortion, the reason why I love an emotive performance and the reason why

perfection is the enemy.

Creating tension can be especially hard in Christian music. I mean, the end result is a Savior who loves us and would do anything for us. We have to look for creative ways to add tension to our music in order that it is something compelling. Christian music is BETTER than it was 20-30 years ago, not just different. Christian musicians, I believe, have become better artists and have found ways to add tension to music. Music in the 90’s was GREAT at this. It was raw and edgy and bands like Audio Adrenaline, Jars of Clay and DC Talk were creating great music that included tension.

Here’s the problem… digital editing has allowed us the “luxury” of releasing too much tension from our music. We can perfect every hit and tune every note until a very important part of our music is tension free. It is the element of human performance. The answer to this is to

use your ears, not your eyes

when editing. Musical tension does not happen with your eyes anyway, it happens with your ears. To use your eyes while editing is pretty ridiculous. When you listen, you will listen for actual mistakes and fix those instead of sucking the life out of your music.

Now, I will say that there are some times when you will say, “I’d like to tighten this up more.” The feel is not flawed, but certain genres call for a tighter feel. Electronic and Pop music is pretty rigid these days… on purpose, though it can be very FRESH to infuse live performances unaltered within your electronic or pop songs. That’s what many producers have done with R&B and Hip Hop. You’ll hear a lot of groove on R&B albums these days. Very cool!

WAYS TO KEEP THINGS TENSE!

  • don’t over-tune vocals
  • don’t over-time align vocals
  • don’t alter your groove too much
  • take the time to record GREAT performances
  • Never say “I can fix it in the mix”
  • Don’t over-compress
  • DO over-compress sometimes
  • release the tension every now and then so you notice it when you’ve got it
  • make music that inspires you to sing along, bob your head and dance!

Check out

Tristan Prettyman’s song “Hello”

for an example of a song that would have been utterly RUINED had it been auto-tuned to death. An amazing vocal performance!

I’m off to over-tune some vocals :)

How 'bout a new blog!

Hello world!!! Well, hello blogger! I’ve been blogging semi-regularly for a few years using Myspace.

I love to teach! I especially love to teach about recording or anything music. I’ve decided that this blog should be at least partially devoted to recording tips, tricks and tutorials. I’ll be posting articles, links and videos on all kinds of topics. I don’t necessarily want to teach you all of the ways to record, but I do want to teach you the way I do it. You in? This should be fun!

Oh yeah, I also spend a lot of time arranging and composing. Guess what? I like to teach this too :) I hope to offer lots of resources for using Finale Music Notation Software too.

Aside from all the learning you’ll be doing, you’ll read about new happenings in my studio, fun facts and complete randomness.

Until next time…