Well holy crap! Hard to believe it has been another 6 months since the last post. I figured it would be a good time to recap some of the things YourEnvy has been doing so far this year. Not very much!
Since the beginning of January, we have been routing and installing all studio wiring, putting together the sound booth, a custom booth window build and installation, and then catching up on some major maintenance on the amps and guitars that haven't seen daylight since a couple years ago. I should also mention there has been little time to practice so need to catch up on that as well.
Aside from building a studio (....and taking a very long time), I think the new YourEnvy album is ready to roll. There are enough demo songs to get started on the album recordings. I'd like to say its going to begin tonight, but realistically..... the recordings will likely begin this fall.
What else is on the go, you don't ask? Well let me tell you anyway....
Currently on the agenda (my mind) is of course the YourEnvy album, which I started writing immediately after the release of Darkside (2015). This album recording will begin shortly, as I'm currently just going through the song layouts and making some final decisions on the songs.
I've also got a death metal album in the works, under the band name ARCHERY, which has been pending since we started playing together as a band in 2001. Originally, this was a compilation of YourEnvy metal songs, and you can still find mention of these songs online from 10-15 years ago if you search hard enough. Most of these demos are completed (as of 2006) and ready to record the final album versions. The biggest thing holding us back all these years were lack of quality gear and production, which is no longer an issue, and lack of a full time dedicated vocalist. Really hoping to get started on this within the year. Long time vocalist and bassist Andrew K has currently rejoined to help get things moving along again.
Last thing i've been wanting to get started on, is a back-to-basics blues album. Again, this is completely separate from YourEnvy, but figure i'd make mention of it here, as YourEnvy is really just another personal project of mine.
I need more of it!
Big plans and little time - another year is upon us!
Over the last 6 months there really wasn't much time for recording or writing new songs, but as a result, the new studio is almost finished being built (just working on the sound booth still). Once we get this all finished up, then recording of the 2017 YourEnvy album will commence! I am very pleased with the songs we currently have, which are clearly turning into a huge step forward in almost every aspect. It will basically continue where the last album left off. Mostly hard rocking songs, and a few "hard" acoustic tunes in there as well. In addition, there will be a possibility of multiple guest appearances, and a new lead vocalist. We actually never tried to make another album this quick, but the songs are just flowing right now, and I have to embrace it!
Aside from the new album, we have another side project in the works, featuring long time YourEnvy vocalist Andrew Kiiskila. Once upon a time, we recorded a death metal demo with poor production, unfinished songs, and just screwing around basically. Over the course of 15 years 2001-2016, we had a chance to hone these songs into something more. The time has come, where we feel this album should come to life, as the ideas have dragged on for a decade and a half without ever being completed due to every imaginable scenario getting in the way. We feel that there are enough resources to finish this long-time project, and over the next year or so, we will be working at getting these songs recorded.
There you have it. A big year ahead of us. Two albums in the works, both VERY different from each other.
Fall 1996 - Age 12
Bought first electric guitar and amp, a Samick sunburst Strat style guitar, and Fender Frontman 15 amp. Began practicing with friends and began the formation of what would become YourEnvy.
1998 Bought Epiphone Les paul from my dad and a Crate mini-full stack amp. At this point Tylr Wladyko on drums and myself on guitar were jamming Green day and Judas Priest songs that we learned over the previous year or so.
1999 Sold everything and bought new Epiphone Les paul studio and Marshall Valvestate 100 head and JCM900A Cab half stack. Recorded our first three YourEnvy songs during a practice session onto a Wolco cassette tape though one single computer microphone. Tylr Wladyko, Tim Nosworthy and myself.
2000 Attempted to record our songs again onto the computer - single track live style through some new cheap Sony microphones into a simple 3 input mic mixing box.
2001 Experimented with multitrack recording into a 4 channel rack cassette recorder borrowed from my dad. Was difficult to figure out, and after a few months, moved onto recording on 16 channel multitrack DAW computer software called SAW PLUS. After I got the hang of it, Andrew Kiiskila and myself recorded an 8 track album. Guitar and vocals were recorded direct through a ZOOM effects board. Drums were recorded with mutliple mics through a 3 channel mixer. This was our first multitracked demo titled "15 Minutes of Fury". Back in 2002 there was a website called MP3.com, in which one of our tracks peaked 13th on the Doom Metal charts.
2002 We further progressed our sound with a new drum kit, recording techniques, and recording gear. A few casual months of recording yeilded the next full length 2-CD demo titled "DARK TIMES" which was a continuation of where we left off the year prior.
2003 Diving a little deeper into the realm of multitrack recording, we now had a better PC and more advanced DAW multitracking software which enabled us to experiment with loops and up to 128 track depth (although the computer lacked enough memory to actually utilize all 128). New microphones, recording techniques etc really helped push the sound quality of this new demo well beyond what we had done in the past. Aaron Molly provided the drums in one song, Andrew Kiiskila on most of the Vocal tracks, and I had the ability to track and mix the rest of the album tracks, mainly guitar and drums (both acoustic and loops). This resulted in the completion of our 2003 full-length demo titled "Escape The Undertow". I also recorded fun a song with a friend under the band name "Straight Metal Injection".
2004 Andrew and I relocated to Thunder Bay for college, and put YourEnvy on temporary hold. During this time I solely began recording an extreme death metal demo project under the name "Dayblind". A four song demo was finished but never officially released, although an old guitar tab can still be found for one of the songs online if you search. Later in the year, I moved back onto the YourEnvy songs on my own, but never accomplished much due to lack of a proper recording space.
2005 Moved back home to Dryden and began writing and recording a new demo album, but was unable to finish recording vocals due to lack of proper recording space, so I decided to just move on.
2006, 2007, 2008 Not much happening in this era, just some jamming with friends and light casual recording - mostly live stuff, covers and older YourEnvy songs.
2009 Acquired (bought) some new guitars, amps, drums and recording gear. Began re-recording some of our previous demos from the 2002/2003 era.
2010 Andrew kiiskila rejoined and provided vocals for the re-recorded demos. This year, I also started a death metal new project with Rob Chrest under a different band name in which we completed 5 instrumental demos. We did not get to record the vocals before disbanding.
2011, 2012, 2013 Built a new studio and worked on improving sound and production quality, while recording various new ideas for what would hopefully be an YourEnvy debut album. In Late 2013, began recording the first song "Hotroddin'" would would end up on our debut titled "Darkside". Although I have a long time love for heavy metal, I was getting a bit tired of that "sound" after 10 years of recording, shifting the focus to a more blues and folk driven album, which I found very comforting and a big change from our previous sound.
2014 - Over the course of the entire year, and dedicating the most time I had ever put into an album - every song was written and completely recorded, while Andrew Kiiskila provided the initial vocals for this upcoming album over the spring and summer months, although they were not used for the final album. Clint Gottinger came on-board and took over vocal duties in the Fall and Winter of 2014 while simultaniously mixing the songs as they were completed.
2015 We mixed, assembled and released our official debut album "DARKSIDE" on April 1st, after over a year of hard work.
2016 Clint Gottinger and myself began practicing the new album with some other local musicians as a 4-5 peice lineup, but had to abandon the idea of touring while focus was shifted when the opportunity of moving to a perfect studio and location arose. Began recording new songs for the next album until completely relocating in June to a new location that would allow a much larger studio to be built. Starting in August, we began building "Darkside Studio 2.0" which is currently in progress. Once the studio is finished being built and properly setup within the next couple months, the next album recordings will begin. Over the course of the last 5 years, I had acquired a LOT of new music gear, some of which will certainly be used on the new album. Cant wait to get this thing rolling!! The current demos are sounding GREAT! So, it has been a great 20 years! Can't imagine what I would be doing without a guitar in my hands for all those years. I look forward to recording and playing music more now, than I ever did. Hopefully theres at least 20 more great years of playing ahead of me becase I'm just getting started!
It has been a very long time since the last update (April, I think?), so figured I would post some updates on the status of the new album and music studio build. As some of you may know, we recently relocated and as a result have to build a new studio, I guess you could call it Darkside Studio 2.0.
Fully designed and built by the hands of YourEnvy guitarist Shawn (myself). Although contracting the build to other hands would be a lot more convenient, I wanted to save costs and spend extra time on every aspect of the build, including electrical, sound proofing, isolation booth design, and ultimately the entire layout of the studio itself. Unfortunately as a result of all this work, there has been zero time or space to play any guitar, or music period. If I remember correctly, it has been around 2 months since the day we started the build.
Making the most of my time to complete these projects, I will not ramble on for too long. Without further ado, here is the progress of the studio build itself, in visual form....
Stay tuned for more updates, as this project is finished up over the next couple weeks.
Hey, I'm back with another gear of the week article, this time its my Marshall half stack, purchased back around 1998. Originally it was a Valvestate 100RH/JCM 1960A cabinet, but the Valvestate head was later sold and this JCM2000 TSL 60 sat in its place, as shown in the photo (right) since around 2009.
All of the original YourEnvy recordings between 1998-2009 were performed on the original Valvestate head, while the newer JCM2000 TSL head is used 2009-Current.
100% original, including the tubes. This 1960A slant-cabinet features the higher wattage 75-GT modern Celestian speakers. I can usually crank the total gain/volume up to about 3/4 level when recording, and typically use only the LEAD channel on medium to full gain depending on the application. Not a big fan of the CLEAN or CRUNCH channels.
Most of the 2016 "hard rocking" demos are currently being recorded on this rig, typically with my Ibanez RG1570 running the show. Although this amp was not used for the 2015 "DARKSIDE" album recordings, it was featured in the background for our "Dirt Hill Woman II" music video.
There are certain guitars that you just know are keepers. Picked up this 2005 Fender USA Highway One Strat around 2012/2013 with the HotRod Deville amp also shown in the photo.
You could almost say, this is the guitar that kick-started our debut album, seeing how shortly after purchasing this combo, I had already recorded the first few riffs of "Hotroddin". Nothing else in my collection had this particular sound. This guitar has very low action (string height) allowing for some very fast playing. The tone of this guitar resembles the "twang" sound of a Telecaster on the bridge pickup. Huge difference in tone compared to the other Strats that I've had (or have).
This thing is bone-stock, as with most of my guitars. I feel that guitars of this quality should not be modified. If the tone isn't suited to a particular playing style, find a different guitar!
This is the first generation "Highway One" strat (2001-2005?). As far as I know, the bridge is Vintage style Fender stamped saddles with classic 6 screw mounting. This guitar does not have the shiny finish, usually associated with the standard Stratocaster, but rather, a thin and wearable matte finish is was applied to these models which I really like. These older Highway One models have much better pickups, and the classic 50s headstock design, although I'm not really one to memorize guitar specs. If it sounds good, play it! Aside from a string change, this thing was basically ready to rock the day I got it. You should expect to hear this guitar on some more upcoming songs.
That's all I have to say about this one.
Hard to believe it has already been one year, although many things have happened during this time. I (Shawn), started writing this album in 2013. I decided to leave behind the heavy metal songs that were lingering for many years, seeing how I could not find a suitable vocalist, and focus on something a little different.
In 2013, I picked up a Fender Hot Rod Deville & Fender Highway 1 Strat. and our first debut album recordings were under way. Lets see what this Clean Channel can do! "Hotroddin" was the first song that was completed.
Throughout 2014, the recording sessions continued for most of the year, aside from the summer months which left us with all of the album tracks completed. If I had to guess, there must have been 1000 hours of recording and writing time during this year. Most of the Darkside album was recorded through a Blackstar HT Tube amp, purchased specifically for these songs, and driven by various Fender Strats and Ibanez RG for the dirty tracks such as End of It All (II) and Dirt Hill Woman (II). A simple pedal board consisting of a Crybaby Wah, and Ibanez TS9 Tube screamer were used sparingly.
Originally, vocal duties were being performed by long time YourEnvy singer Andrew Kiiskila on all of the earlier demo productions. Upon his departure mid-2014 to persue other interests, Clint Gottinger came on board. He is known for works in various cover bands in the area, most notably Black Jack.
You may wonder why this music takes so long to produce.... Well, YourEnvy is essentially a one-man band (plus a vocalist!). Unlike most studio production albums out there, we did not have a team of engineers, producers and outsourced recording studios. Im sure if I could focus on JUST playing the guitar for YourEnvy, there would be some pretty amazing songs out there, but instead I have to divide my time among every other aspect of music production. Although I would rather be playing some guitar and catching up on some overdue practice time, somebody has to write, record and produce our new music. Its a balancing act where every second counts. I should also point out that we have families and full time careers outside of music as well. Its all about TIME! If only there was more of it. Enough excuses! Moving on....
December 2014 - Let the mixing begin! After a great year of recording, and 11 new songs completed. Its time to get a CD printed!... oh wait, no... At this point I have the task of mixing and mastering the entire album from beginning to end. Again, since I am the band and the studio, mixing duties are up to me :)
This is a good thing. I can get this album sounding exactly the way I imagined. Mixing and mastering can be one of those situations where you can't please everybody and every sound system. After spending and excrutiating amount of time on the mixing stage, everything is sounding spectacular (I think...), we are now ready for the next step - physical CD production.
I must say, this area was very new to me. Little did I know, that there is some serious computer editing involved to build the CD production templates. We (or I) decided to go with a basic single fold booklet insert for the album. Originally, I tried to place all of the lyrics into the booklet, but decided to upload them on our official website instead, anticipating that the digital sales would be sufficient to warrant this decision. Again, I spent well over a month building the CD templates for the printing stage. This is a talk that most musicians would sublet to somebody else, but I felt compelled to take on this task and understand the process involved. I felt this to be the most difficult portion of album production.
The album was printed by a Canadian printing company in early March 2015, alongside a large run of logo T-shirts and a few other promo items to get things rolling. On March 15, 2015 "DARKSIDE" was officially released on compact disc. Following the CD release, DK Records took on the task of publishing our album in the digital world on April 2, 2015. You will find this disc on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Spotify and all of the other big name digital music ventures as a result.
We were overly impressed at how well the album was received and accepted by the fans and critics. Shortly following the album release, Q104.5 FM provided us with our first feature interview during their morning show, and played the opening track Blue Ale for the first time.
Over the summer months, we took a little time to focus on musical direction, now focusing on music video production, photo-shoots, and live shows.
We gathered a few great musicians for the drums and rhythm guitars - Susan Traini & Glen McDonald. Practiced through the album a few times. It was difficult to get a 4 or 5 piece band together as we all have full time jobs etc outside of music. Not to say this was the end, but more of an awakening to the subtle difficulties of playing live. At this point we shifted our focus toward production of our first music video to accompany the album. This was now the priority.
With a pretty decent idea in mind for a music video, we began production and filming over two days for the "Dirt Hill Woman II" video. Spent about 6 hours recording all of the footage through multiple cameras. Clint was pretty happy to use his '67 Thunderbird extensively in the video shots as well. Unlike my 18 years of music production experience, I have little to no experience making a music video, so the computer work and assembly of the video literally took 3-4 weeks to complete. We were all quite satisfied with the finished product. We all had a lot of fun during the filming process and can't wait to start the next video adventure.
Things were relatively quiet for a couple months until we came across the great works of photographer Alan Woodworth, who was generous enough to allow us use of his footage for the next YourEnvy video. I spent some time assembling various time-lapse footage, and synchronized it with one of my personal favorite songs from the album, called "Oceans". It was a perfect fit in my opinion. This video, as well as the previous one can be found on our YouTube channel.
The next photo-shoot was underway, and luckily Clint Gottinger has a new hot rod - a '67 Challenger! As much as I was compelled to do another music video with this car, he was just over for another photo-shoot. Thanks to two great folks - Renee for the photography work, and Lisa for creating some digital masterpieces from those photos. These photos will be needed in the near future for some promotional work.
Gone, are the days of Much Music, MTV, and any sort of notable TV exposure for music videos, and YouTube is just too damn big to ever be noticed on there. ShawTV Dryden to the rescue! We are very thankful they took the time to feature us on their cable channel in high frequency for the entire month of December. Great exposure!
Word of mouth can only reach so far, so it was time to tackle some worldwide promotion of the album. Social media works great, but it doesn't get your music heard. Not an easy task, but we were able to get our music established on some notable radio stations in North America. 365RadioNetwork, Midwest Broadcasting, Lonely Oak Radio, to name a few. In addition to radio play, there were some great album reviews by notable music magazines.
We are now into 2016, and have begun rehearsing for some upcoming live shows. Stay posted for more news on this.
All said and done, it was a great year! Every aspect of this album went far beyond my expectations when it all started in 2013. Thanks to everybody who supported us in any way over the last year or so. We have already started writing the next album, so we can do it all over again!
YourEnvy began playing together in 1996/1997, formed by Shawn Sherwood (guitar) and Tylr Wladyko (drums). Sometime in 1997/1998, Tim Nosworthy (bass) joined the group. In 1998 the first live demo was recorded, but due to poor sound quality, it was recorded again in 1999, and contained three tracks plus one remix.
A year later, Tim and Tylr departed to pursue other interests. Andrew Kiiskila (Vocals/Bass) joined, and the first studio demo "Fifteen Minutes of Fury" was recorded, containing seven tracks with a run-time of 15 minutes, and released as a very limited run in 2001. At the time of its release, the album was considered by the band to be a form of "experimental death punk", just for the sake of labeling it.
Moving forward to 2002, YourEnvy took another step ahead, and released another full length demo titled "Dark Times", containing 23 songs. The dark, chaotic atmosphere, and general tone of this album was very similar to that of the previous release. Limited copies were printed.
During 2003, the band recorded their third album titled "Escape The Undertow" utilizing a mix of electronic and acoustic drums, clean and harsh vocals, and a much better overall production quality. This album also included a guest appearance with drummer Aaron Molly. As with previous releases, listeners will discover a vast blend of musical styling within the 18 tracks on this album. When "Escape The Undertow" was completed, the band was again put on hold so the members could pursue other interests. 2004-2009. Although during this time, Shawn continued to write and record music on his own, most of which was never used, and generally categorized as melodic death metal.
During the summer months of 2010, a four song death metal demo titled "Forgotten Past" was recorded with Andrew Kiiskila on vocals, and Shawn Sherwood playing on all of the instruments in studio. This demo never ended up getting printed.
Most recently in 2014, while recording the bands first official worldwide album release, titled "DARKSIDE", Kiiskila performed all of the demo vocals in studio before his departure that same year. Clint Gottinger joined the band in 2014 as lead vocalist, performing the final studio vocals on "DARKSIDE" and will continue with the band as they record their follow-up album which will likely be completed by 2017.
Source References & Track List: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Your_Envy/43230
Status on the next album:
Things are off to a good start, at the moment we have two new demo songs finished; hard rocker, and dark upbeat acoustic. A third is song ready for vocals.
Here is the first in a series of Q&A for those interested.....
What did you use for guitars/amps on the debut album "Darkside"?
As far as I remember, all of the tracks were recorded with a Blackstar amp (clean and distorted), we may have also used a Marshall JCM TSL half stack for some of it. Guitars were a couple USA Fender Strats and a couple Ibanez Prestige RG's tuned to Eb or D standard. The only effect that was used is a Crybaby Wah pedal for just one solo I think
New music on the horizon.
Currently the studio is buzzing at 60hz with a few new songs in the works. New Song #1 was created shortly after the release of the DARKSIDE album back in the spring (2015). It was left as a rough mix until August, when we spent some time in the studio re-recording this song a couple more times. This will be its final form until the album is recorded (maybe late 2016?).
The next song, we will call song number 2. This tune is acoustically driven, upbeat, and resembles some of our earlier work from Darkside. Vocals will be completed by Clint G soon.
Not sure if this will be an EP or Full Length album....
Still a long time to decide.
Although we would rather work on music than spend 3 nights building a new website from the ground up, but now that its almost fully assembled, it was worth the move. Our contract with the previous web-hosting company expired and the price was 500% higher to renew, so we left. As you can see, this website is about 15 years more modern in appearance, and is actually up-to-date. We will keep on with that trend.
We are still setting up the web store, but if there are any additional items of interest that we should order and add, please tell us and we will try to get new products on the virtual shelf.
This concludes my first ever blog post.