In case you haven’t noticed (along with the rest of the waking world) that my band Cruise Elroy has released new music, I emphatically recommend our newest little masterpiece. You can buy the first release of five songs, called EP1, right here. It’s only five dollars, and you immediately get .mp3s that you can download and keep! In case you don’t know the record release schedule yet (and I haven’t really even spelled this out yet, so… yeah) EP1 is being released now, with EP2 coming out over the holidays, and the debut album from Cruise Elroy, which represents TWO YEARS of our most inspired writing, playing, and engineering, comes out March 20, 2014.
The tracks include
1. Shorty – one of my favorites from the new album, and the only album track on EP1. The rest are exclusive to the EP! Shorty is pure, big piano rock. With a bizarre synth solo section.
2. The Fever – the single of EP1 – you can check it out here! Produced to be a single – and a hip-hop-esque chill-out ode to wonderment, love and strangeness. Please spread it on Twitter and Facebook if you like it. There’s also a clean version with no F bombs included with the EP!
3. Tarmac – Chris Merritt fans will recognize this track! My friend and bandmate Jake Thro has diligently tightened, remixed, and remastered a handful of Chris Merritt tracks.
4. Feminine Mind – another re-produced Chris Merritt track from Hoverers I! Updated, tighter, louder, shiny and new.
5. Rain King – another Chris Merritt track, with an added ending that I daresay rocks heavier than anything we have ever done before. It’s so intense, you have to hear it.
I want to share my perspective (based on personal experience) on our struggling music climate and general culture, just to give you an idea of how difficult and unnatural producing a group like Cruise Elroy is in today’s world. Let me first say that I could be wrong, as always, and I’m open to alternative explanations. And as far as my strictly artistic/musical journey is concerned, I have never been more positive and energized. I’m positive about the future, and optimistic about people. But I believe that the internet has been such a powerful technological advancement for the human species, we just haven’t quite acclimated to a new set of rules, or accepted the great potential for new modes of wealth creation and human happiness. Any attempt I make at a genuine description of the current music economy is met with friction. They usually amount to emotionally charged attacks on my character or downright denial. Even my own parents and friends question my interpretation of the current music climate, despite my own personal experience. The rhetoric is very strong right now – it has more and more of a calcifying effect on people’s minds. I’m met with passionate cries of how Spotify opens doors, or how “music has always been hard”, or that there’s still plenty of great music out there in our culture (all of these ideas I will try to write about more thoroughly on the blog, and they can logically be dismissed). There’s this pervasive idea (in America anyway) at the moment that the internet has opened up a free ride for musicians and creative people who, with no help from oppressive capitalist record labels or corporate agency, can now produce and market their creations with little overhead and a good chance at reaching their audience. I argue that this is completely false, and has no evidence. Most “evidence” consists of rare exceptions. But I do think this ideal is within reach of the human species, just that we need to make some minor tweaks to how we do things. Which requires some open-mindedness and positivity!
I posted something about my newest Glade commercial on Facebook, the YouTube video of which now has over a million views, and had over a hundred ‘likes’ from friends and family on Facebook. It’s a pretty commercial with quick, cute piano stuff happening. But… just a commercial, super corporate and committee-designed. Our newest Cruise single on the other hand represents what I think one of the best things we’ve ever done, and had a few listens and ‘likes’ on Facebook but not many. This is hard! No one has room in our current cultural context for new, challenging, artistic music. Help us get out there!
Here are some real true facts about the making of the Cruise Elroy album (I’m focusing here on the gritty, real facts, but of course, the journey and the music have been infinitely rewarding… being around this music and around great people has been uplifting and joyous):
- the Cruise Elroy album has cost us thousands of dollars from our own pockets to produce, and in my life, it’s meant giving up everything from a girlfriend to free evenings to my physical health to see finished.
- producing a great rock album (which is what we were aiming for during creation) took immense amounts of experience and skill, as well as countless hours acquiring and refining new skills – mixes, remixes, remixes, re-record it, remixes. We also had to reach out to many other experienced people for their skills in engineering or many other things, which required lots of money. We also had lots of luck – I landed a job in an New York advertising music studio with great equipment, but even then, there were lots of super late night, weekend recording sessions, and many times plans changed on a dime, so scheduling anything was near impossible.
- There’s a perception that you can use new digital technology to produce great, huge sounding tracks, but I’ve found this not to be the case. Great mixes that we’re used to hearing on our favorite albums were usually done with enormous budgets (or some budget) and people with 20, 30 years of experience engineering, producing, mixing, etc, and they also usually used expensive, high end, pro recording gear.
- Mastering the album alone costs around $125 a track… if you’re unfamiliar with mastering, it’s the final process of album production. A niche and experienced mastering engineer must compress and EQ tracks to get them sounding modern, dynamic, loud, and sweet, as well as make the tracks sit well together. The frustrating part about all this is that the public demands a ridiculously high level of production lately, with no tolerance for natural or simple-sounding tracks, but has delusional ideas about how their favorite albums were actually created.
Anyway I could continue, but I won’t, though I hope to go into more depth soon. My point is this. We really worked our asses off to make something special, so if you like what we do, please buy EP1 from us. All the EP money will be used in releasing our debut record. So…. thanks a lot! And stay tuned, because this is step one in a big process full of lots of new music from Cruise Elroy.