Last night I had a chance to hang out with some composer friends here in Nashville. We get together every other month or so and chat about what's going on in our lives and with our music, talk a little bit about TAXI (as that is the reason this group began in the first place), listen to some music and just really spend time enjoying each other's company.

After I got home from the hang I noticed that the latest issue of Recording Magazine (Apr 2013) had arrived. As I flipped through the pages a familiar face caught my attention. It was my own... while I knew that eventually that was going to happen, didn't know which month, it was still kind of a shock to see myself in the magazine. And then I saw they also included the first part of the transcript from the Road Rally Panel I was on as well. That I was not expecting, so that was a neat surprise!

I've tried to think of a clever segue into the Milestones topic but I'm not coming up with anything so I'll just make a cold transition... Milestones... :-) As I was updating my web site today with the latest placement news which you can see by clicking here I realized that I have now received over 700 cue sheets and my music has been used in over 100 different productions! And while I'm nowhere near where I want to be with my career, I know I'm heading in the right direction and I'm making forward progress each and every day.

Another milestone that I'm hitting this week is the one year mark of when I made the decision to take control of my personal health. It was March 15, 2012 when I went to go watch Kentucky play basketball in the opening round of the March Madness tournament. I'll never forget that day. I never would have imagined the impact on my life that one decision was going to have. I'm happy to report that after reaching my goals a little over four months ago, I've managed to maintain my goal weight. And while I'm very excited to have passed the 700 cue sheet mark, that pales in comparison to how proud I am about keeping the weight off for the past four months.

It was also eight years ago today that my grandfather passed away. That was a very pivotal moment in my life as it was on my way back home to Nashville after his funeral when I decided to get back into music. I wish he was here to see how things have gone for me.

Time to get back to the studio, I've got some new shows that I'm writing for at the moment and the deadlines are coming up soon!

I guess I'm a Cubase guy after all

When I first got into the world of digital recording the DAW I was using was called Cakewalk. I can't remember the version but I think it was either 1 or 2. At that time I really didn't know what I was doing. I only had two things that mattered to me at that time. The first was just recording my guitar riffs so that I wouldn't forget them. And then that eventually grew into doing demos for songs for the band I was in. But that was pretty much it.

When I decided to get serious about my music career I decided to upgrade my system. I ended up going with Pro Tools, version 7.3 at the time. Then there were some huge improvements with the MIDI aspects  made in version 8 and I eventually upgraded to Pro Tools 9 and was happy with it, for the most part.

But as I began to grow and evolve as a composer and move towards doing more virtual instrument type compositions, I began to run into the limitations of Pro Tools being a 32-bit application. I was hoping very much that when Pro Tools 10 finally got released that it would be a 64-bit application. Instead, I found that it was still 32-bit, they introduced a new plug-in format, and my hardware interface was not going to be supported beyond PT 10, and the upgrade cost was $300, for an application that didn't seem to have, in my opinion, $300 worth of improvements over the software that they had just released less than a year before in PT 9. I was disappointed about that and decided to start looking around at other DAW software.

I use a PC and had no desire to switch to a Mac so that took out a few choices right away. I had a copy of Reaper 4 that I had tried for awhile but I just didn't like the GUI of it so that wasn't going to be the one for me. I reached out to a couple of people who were also frustrated with PT and had moved to Cubase. I ended up downloading the trial version of Cubase 6 and by the end of the weekend I was up and running and recording at nearly the speed/ease of use that I had with PT 9, mostly because Cubase lets you customize your shortcut keys so I spent a couple of hours trying to get it to emulate PT as close as possible. That made it really easy to hit the ground running.

One of the big appeals to me about Cubase 6 was that it was 64-bit. I created a test session in which I added 20 instances of Kontakt 4 with a violin ensemble patch, 15 instances of PLAY with a cello ensemble patch, 3 instances of Stylus RMX and 3 instances of Omnisphere each with one instrument loaded, and then an instance of Ivory with a grand piano loaded. I imported one midi track to all of the various instruments and then record enabled the piano track while using a buffer setting of 128. It played back and recorded flawlessly. I wanted to cry :-) That was just not possible with my Pro Tools setup. Not even close. 

So in November 2011 I took the plunge and moved over to Cubase. The only real issue I had with Cubase was the mixer. It just wasn't as user-friendly to me as what I had in PT. I eventually got used to it though but I was always longing for it to be more like PT. Then late last year Cubase 7 was released with the brand new mixer they dubbed the Mix Console. When I saw the previews I felt like it was going to be the answer I was looking for.

So on the day it was released I got my copy. After a painless install I opened up an existing session. I was a bit disappointed to find that this software really didn't seem release-ready. There were some issues with VST performance as well as some audio drop-outs but the biggest disappointment was with the new mixer. Whenever I would try to view the new mixer, I would only be able to see portions of the faders. I wasn't able to see the track labels at all. Needless to say, this made the mixer unusable for me. I was very disappointed.

Then last month they released a service patch for it. Unfortunately, that didn't resolve my problems. So I thought I would try the trial version of PT 10 to see if I should have given it a try back in the day. I affirmed one thing and discovered another by doing this. What I affirmed was that even with the new extended disk cache feature in PT I still ran into the 32-bit limits when using a lot of VI tracks. And what I learned was that after using Cubase for over a year now, I actually PREFERRED it to Pro Tools now. Mostly because of how much work I do with MIDI. Cubase is just so much further ahead of PT in that department. 

And now I'm happy to report that with the most recent patch (v7.0.2) that Cubase released this week I can finally use the new Mix Console window! There are still some bugs they need to get fixed but I'm at least able to use the software now. The new mixer is definitely an improvement over the old one. So it looks like I can finally say with certainty that I'm a Cubase guy :-)

Satisfaction from a job well done

Last night I wrapped up my latest music project. It was a for new client that I just started working with a couple of months ago. The project was titled Ultimate Aggression. You can probably guess by the title what the project sounds like. I had an absolute blast working on it. In fact, I'd say as a whole, it's one of the most satisfying projects I've worked on. Not just because I really enjoy writing heavy aggressive music, which I DO, but also because of the reaction I got from the client today when I submitted the last few tracks - "Thanks for the great work here. Fantastic job..." They also said to let them know whenever I'm ready to do another project for them which also made me smile. All in all, a good way to start the day.

It wasn't long after that when I heard from another music library that a composer friend/colleague of mine referred me to. After a quick email exchange I was offered a deal to be a composer for this library and my first gig is writing music for a couple of shows, one on VH1 and the other on A&E. More details to follow in the coming weeks :-)

And to top it all off today I found out that I had some new placements as well. There were a couple more episodes of Dr. Oz, another episode of Abandoned and then two new shows, both of which air on NBC. The first is the TODAY show and the other one is The Voice! Very excited to find out about that one! They used my cue "Tension In The Air" that I highlighted in my last entry. That's the seventh different production that has used that particular cue.

Until next time..

An (Overdue) New Placements Update

To say I'm a little bit behind on posting updates about my most recent placements on here would be a bit of an understatement. I'm also contemplating a slight redesign of my site, nothing major, but a slight change in focus of a couple sections. But in the meantime, I'll go ahead and use this post to get caught up.

So I'll start with the shows that cue sheets showed up for from November of last year until now that I've had previous placements in. Those would be Access Hollywood, All On The Line with Joe Zee, Barter Kings, Dr. Oz, Nate Berkus Show, Fatal Encounters, Style Special, Colbert Report, What Not To Wear, Toddlers and Tiaras, My Big Redneck Vacation, Oprah's Next Chapter, and Super Soul Sunday.

Now for the shows that were new for me that had cue sheets show up in November and December last year... That Metal Show, Abandoned, I Almost Got Away With It, Shannen Says, Texas WomenTotal Blackout, Made, American Colony, Brooklyn 11223, Best of The Oprah Show and Cheer Perfection.

And finally for the new shows that I've learned about so far in 2013... Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, How Booze Built America, El Rostro De La Venganza, and Sand Masters.

Just a couple of notes about some of those shows... The episode of I Almost Got Away With It had the most placements in one single episode I've ever had with 8 placements that totaled over 4 minutes of air time! The Spanish soap opera El Rostro De La Venganza used my track, Tension In The Air (posted below) a total of 11 times over 8 episodes with one use totaling 1:45 long! So far 2013 is off to a good start :-)

2012 Year In Review

I did a little bit of reflecting over the past year and thought I'd do a little wrap up of 2012 so I can start moving forward with 2013! Without a doubt, 2012 was one of the most rewarding years I've ever had, both personally and professionally. From signing deals and building new relationships to growing and strengthening existing relationships to even having to say goodbye to others, last year was a very significant year for me.

The year started off with the premiere of It's A Brad, Brad World on Bravo, my second main title theme. I was happy to find out a few weeks ago that the show got renewed for a second season.

The in March I was able to take some time to attend some Kentucky basketball games during the NCAA March Madness tournament. I had no idea that going to see them play in Louisville was going to completely change my life. See, it was the walk from the parking lot to the arena for the first game in which I finally got to the point concerning my health that I knew I had to make a change.

That change began one month later when I started the RevAbs program. My goal was to lose 100lbs in 6.5 months. By the time I stepped on the flight to head to L.A. in November for the TAXI Road Rally I wanted to be 100lbs lighter. That was my goal.

During the next 6.5 months I put most of my focus and attention on losing weight and getting healthy. And while I did some music during that time, it really did take a back seat in my life. But it was worth it as I was able to reach the goals that I set out to achieve with the weight loss. I'll never forget the moment after I boarded the plane and got in my seat of when I put my seat belt on. For the last 4 years that I attended the Rally, it was always a struggle to get it latched together. Not this time. I remember looking at all the slack that was left in the belt and then I became overwhelmed with emotion and tears began to flow. It was at that moment that I finally felt like my goal had been achieved.

The destination for the flight was the TAXI Road Rally. This was my 5th one and 2nd time as a guest panelist. And of all the Rally's I've been to, this was by far my favorite one. I'm sure it had something to do with the "Barry?!?!?!? Is that really you?!?!?!??" type moments, but I think it had just as much to do with me being able to give back to the community that's been so giving towards me over the past 5 years.

I finished out the rest of the year working on an alt rock project in the style of the Black Keys as well as trying to enjoy the holidays while trying to rest up and get recharged for the new year. If 2013 is anything like 2012 was then it's going to be an incredible year.

Until next time...