Joe Giddings – Better From Here (Q&A)

Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Joe Giddings about his new record, Better From Here. All in all, it took 6 years to finish. But it turned out to be a great record! A GREAT RECORD!

Always proud to answer ‘I am a musician’ to the question ‘what are you doing?’

I would never be ashamed of saying I was a musician. As a musician, I was able to get jobs outside of a band, including movie promos, TV show soundtracks, and radio commercials. Do I do those things all the time? No, but it’s always a joy for me to get in the studio and create whenever the opportunity arises. I teach guitar at School of Rock and another school in LA so, even though I can’t play shows now I’m still able to learn, create, and work and proudly say “I’m a musician.”

How did this record come together?

It was a long time coming. In 2000 my band from Atlanta, Star Collector, had broken up and I wasn’t keen on being in another band. I started working solo on what would become “All The People Some of The Time” (under the name The JTG Implosion), for Notlame Records. That came out in 2003. I was in a number of bands including The Pinx, King Friday, Gonzalez, The Seventh Ring Of Saturn, and a few others from 2004-2011.

In 2011 I moved to Ohio. I recorded almost all the songs on the new album “Better From Here” in my basement studio in GarageBand in 2014. I recorded all the guitars through a Pod 2.0 and all the drums were played live with my fingers on a keyboard while I listened to the guitar tracks I laid down with a click track. Bass went direct using whatever preset sounds were available in GarageBand. Vocals were recorded through an Audio Technica 441 mic. I recorded my backup vocals sometimes using 9 tracks: three tracks for each harmony. That’s the tech side of the story.

I had been disenfranchised with the music business and was feeling like I needed to say something so I wrote “Irrelevant” and then wanting to add a dash of hopefulness I wrote “Better From Here” and then all except 4 songs on the album, as it is now, were written and recorded over the next 4 months. I had a couple of songs on that version of the record that didn’t end up on the most recent release. I released it, unmastered, and after a week I pulled it from Bandcamp. I wasn’t happy with it. I tweaked it a bunch and a few years later released it again on Bandcamp only to pull it down again. Even though it sold a few copies I knew it sounded like demos.

Finally, after moving to LA in 2014 and during the last 6 years I continued to record new songs and tweak the older ones. I talked to Ray Gianchetti from Kool Kat Musik about releasing it on CD when I did the second released version but I decided against it. Once I had the new songs added to the older ones and got it mastered correctly I then got ahold of Ray and he was super excited about finally getting to release it! So, the whole process took 6 years and two moves from recording, mixing, remixing, and mastering to its release on Kool Kat this September. Phew.

Cassettes are back. Which 5 five songs would definitely make your first mixtape?

Good one… I made many mixtapes and discs over the years. Thinking back to my “go-to” songs for many of them:

“Joining A Fanclub” by Jellyfish

“Now I’m Here” by Queen

“Love Her All I Can” by KI77

“Voices“ by Cheap Trick

“Worst Band In The World” by 10cc

Recording music. What’s all the fun about?

This is one of my favorite things to do. Even more than performing. It’s the excitement of knowing that you just laid down the drum track(via my keyboard), for a song I can hear fully formed in my head. All the parts are just waiting for my hands to figure out how to play what I hear internally. When that happens and it all comes together it’s like the feeling folks have when their child is born, or their child graduates or their hard work pays off…its rewarding to the soul to record and mix and finally release the creation to the world.

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