Departing the Friday before break, senior Zach Gospe, accompanied by his business manager senior Riley Soward and his mom Mary Gospe, flew down to Los Angeles to record his first professional EP with renowned music and entertainment producer Mark Mazzetti. The trip came after a successful five and a half week Kickstarter fundraising campaign in early December that raised $606 over its $10,000 goal.
In preparation for the trip, Zach and Mazzetti completed the artist and repertoire (A&R), or song development, stage of record production by communicating via Skype a “couple times a week”. They meticulously planned out each song and its corresponding arrangement, with Mazzetti choosing the final six songs that would comprise the professional EP.
On Saturday, Zach spent his first day in the studio settling in and trying out the three different guitars that he had brought along with him.
“We went in, took the guitars out, tested them with the mikes, [and] everything worked perfectly,” Zach said. “That first day was getting acquainted, trying to figure out which guitars were going to play what part. And we fiddled around with some parts as well.”
Sunday and Monday saw Zach recording and doubling guitar tracks, which is when a musician plays the same part twice and then layers the two identical tracks to sound like one instrument, thereby doubling the sound and creating a “bigger and fuller” resonance.
Over the next five days (Tuesday through Saturday), Zach recorded and edited the vocals, with Mazzetti and sound engineer Anthony Brodeur guiding him along the way.The editing process demands the arduous task of listening to each song line by line to find the best parts.
“We took six to eight takes–just singing straight through the song–again and again right in row,” Zach said. “And what we do is something called vocal comping where you go through all eight of the tracks and you take the best words or the best lines of different tracks and you splice them together…It takes the pressure out of singing everything perfectly in one take and nobody can really do that.”
As an observer in the studio, Riley noted that despite the immense pressure of the whole trip, Zach remained focused and consistent.
“A lot of money was being spent on this, so I was amazed how Zach stayed cool in the studio,” Riley said. “Even from day one, he was on top of things, he was recording quite well.”
Both Riley and Zach credit Mazzetti’s warm personality and Brodeur’s sound engineering talents for streamlining the entire recording process and developing the EP to its fullest extent.
“Anthony [Brodeur] is…so musically talented, [and] that helps him with sound engineering because he can coach Zach through the individual parts and songs such as chords and individual vocal lines,” Riley said. “[And Mark Mazzetti] did a fantastic job…carrying out his vision and our vision for the EP and really coming out with something that Zach and I could definitely not have done on our own.”
Though dates are tentative, Riley estimates that hard copies of Zach’s EP will be available by the end of May or beginning of June. The EP still has to be professionally mixed and mastered, which means that its audio effects will be optimized through the use of various techniques such as compression, equalization and stereo enhancement.
“Mixing is one track [where] you take a look at each song specifically and make sure all the are the same,” Zach said. “With mastering, you take more of a look at the EP as a whole…Instead of just a collection of songs, [the mastering engineer] makes it sound like it’s a whole EP. Everything runs together smoothly, the volumes of each of the songs are pretty consistent, the sounds of the song are the same [and] there’s a distinct Zach Gospe sound.”