Even during a pandemic, the show must go on.
Pressed In Black, a reggae rock band from Kokomo, Indiana, spent Sunday afternoon in the recording studios of the Music Instruction Building, working with members of Cardinal Music Group (CMG) to record their newest album.
“I've worked with a ton of people over the years and work with some really great people and work with some really bad people,” lead singer Kit Haymond said. “Fortunately, everybody up here has been super cool, and they care more about their craft than anything. They just go above and beyond — I've never seen people work so hard in my life.”
CMG, a student organization of 10 student music producers, videographers and audio engineers, has been producing Indiana-based music since the organization was founded in May, including one physical vinyl and 40 promotional videos on YouTube, all at no cost to the musicians.
Adam Fonacier, senior music production major and executive producer of CMG, said that though the work is pro bono, the experience in the audio booth, behind the camera and during the promotion of the album is essential to becoming a better producer.
“I think it helps broaden your perspective of everything that goes into promoting music and just different aspects of music business in general,” he said.
Heading into a recording session, Fonacier said, he and his team first select the artist for production by listening to their music and looking through their social media, as the artist’s presentation, dedication to the work and overall sound are important to their viability as recording candidates.
On the production side, he said his own taste in music, particularly in the genres of R&B, jazz and musicals, has been an influence in how he approaches music production. However, he added that he maintains a neutral view on all music genres when it comes to producing professionally.
Fonacier also said his appreciation for music began at a young age, and he soon found an interest in designing music and storytelling. Though Fonaicer is an experienced producer, he has only produced a few of his own original works.
“I think a lot of [my music preference] is what inspires my approach to mixing and production in general, taking into account how musicians can interact and how the music changes with how they're feeling a certain day or how their performance goes,” he said.
On Sept. 13, Pressed In Black recorded all eight songs for their fourth album, “Green Coffee,” while shooting the music videos for the songs, which will be released on YouTube.
Senior telecommunications major Hunter Schaffer, who was the videographer on the shoot, used a variety of cameras and angles to bring the music videos to life. He said CMG’s new lighting and recording equipment is to thank for their ability to produce more interesting music videos.
“We bought all new camera gear and lighting equipment, and part of my responsibility last year was helping put together that list and making sure that things were up to snuff,” Schaffer said. “A lot of the stuff that we're using today is actually stuff that we own and specifically had set up for these kinds of scenarios.”
Drummer Cole Bettner said the studio space in the Music Instruction Building was the best the band had ever used and was an upgrade over the recording setup in Bettner’s basement they had used for their last album, which Fonacier said was his first experience with the band.
“The drummer and I were actually former roommates,” Fonacier said. “Pressed In Black would come and rehearse in our basement, and their music is just so nostalgic for me just because I loved living at that house with them. I saw how they ran rehearsals, and I knew that they took themselves seriously as a band.”
“Green Coffee” is set to release sometime in the next semester, during which Fonacier said CMG will be editing and mixing the recordings and music videos as well as promoting the release of the album and its music videos on YouTube.
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