Music Rewind welcomes Audio Engineer Demetrius Milton to discuss Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes.
A very personal episode for our guest who talks about the album that was the soundtrack to his divorce.
Album: Sound & Color
Artist: Alabama Shakes
Our Guest, Demetrius Milton, is an audio engineer based out of the Atlanta area. His outfit, DCB Audio 360 Productions can be found here: @dcbaudio360 on Instagram
Transcript as follows:
Hello and welcome to season two of Music Rewind, a podcast where we look to tell the stories behind our favorite albums. I'm your host, Steve Epley, and in each episode I will invite a guest on them to tell us about their favorite music album, how they discovered it, and what makes it special to them. Musicians, podcasters, audio engineers or anyone with a passion for creating quality audio content needs the right equipment to make it happen. Look no further than Zounds. Zounds is the perfect place to get everything you need at a good price, delivered right to your home. Guitars, keyboards, microphones, amps. Anything you need, zones has it, please use the link in the show notes for the best music equipment sales online. Joining me today is an old friend whom I've had many music conversations with around the world, Demetrius Jamal Milton. Jamal is a man of many talents. From his days as a SATCOM engineer with me and the government game to logistical wave planning in the three PL world. His passion is audio engineering through his work with PCB Audio Productions. Welcome Jamal, and thank you for being on the show. Good evening. Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here. It's good to talk to you again, man. Way too long. Yes, it has been way too long. Good to see you again. Good to hear your voice. Yeah, you too, man. Before we get into any else, what's DCB Audio Productions Delta Charlie Bravo, which were at the time, as the initials for our dogs was on, one was DC and the other one was Bebop. I was wondering where that came from. Yeah, so it was originally named after our dogs that we had at the time. And then the Audio Production 360 was just done in the recording and mixing phase of my business. So that's where the name came from. So what all did you get into with that in the Atlanta scheme? I had originally started out recording and mixing out of the house or just mixing out of the house because I didn't want anybody coming to my house. So then, I don't know, I think you were going by the time I think we got bought out again or whatnot. And the old company? Yeah, yeah, the old company. So they have someone in my position, actually, and they were like, well, you can go. So I left and Roger for me to get a little buy out. So I took the buy out and I went back to school for audio engineering. So when I went back and took that course and then I started interning and ultimately I ended up in a place called The Artist Factory, which was a pretty well, high profile studio down off of How Mill. So I had a room there. I managed the building form. The trade off was I managed to build. They gave me a room. And so out of the room I just recorded a mix, got a chance to record well, be a fly on the wall. Let me be all the way correct. I was a fly on the wall with Cisco, who was a lead singer Drew Hill, a Kelly Price, Angie Stone. Is there something going on in the background? That's me. That's me in my hand. I'm sorry, I don't think the microphone picked that up. But you work with Drew Hill and Angelo? Yeah. By work, I mean, it was intern status. I had a studio, but it was more like one of the other producers that had a room there. He was just kind enough to let me sit in because I want to see how all the other producing engineers ran sessions as opposed to how I ran sessions. So I was like, Hey, what do I got to do? And so everybody always thought I was security because I'm like 64, so they always thought I was security, and they were like, they never thought I was engineer, so they were like, Hey, can you get us water or some chips or whatever? And I was like, Oh, no problem. And then I just sat by the door and then let them think whatever. They kind of got to the business, so I got to see the differences or learn the difference between how an engineer and a producer runs a session and how roles are defined and intertwined. And so I just took that with me. And then I got into podcasting. I started recording some podcasts, and I do podcasts, and I'll record podcasts, and then I'll do audiobooks. So I got a couple of clients that record for audiobooks. That's really cool. That's amazing. From when we used to work together to where you're at now, it's 180 degree change. That's awesome. Yeah, man. It's kind of crazy just to see where we all ended up and where we're going. I don't say ended up or definitely where we're going or where we ended up. So it's definitely learned to enjoy the joint, enjoy the journey a little bit more nowadays anyway. All right, well, let's jump into this album. What album did you bring to the table? And tell me why it is special to you. So I brought Alabama Shakes sound and color.
I'm not a huge rock person or rock. I'm not even sure what genre they really or subgender they would be defined under. But I discovered this album the same day that actually we're listening to another album, which was Beyonce's Lemonade. So you may or may not remember, but Beyonce's Lemonade, when it came out, it was a whole visual album. It was a whole experience. Anything Beyonce dropped, anything was the whole experience. So at the time I ended up listening, a bunch of friends that wanted to have a party watching Lemonade. Okay, so watch the album or watch the visual album? Watch the album
album. It was all videos, all ten records was all different videos, which all intertwined. What a concept. They should have like a TV channel just for that. It's crazy. Yeah, crazy. They really should, like I don't know, man, I should have one of those in our youth or something. Yeah, so these kids these days, we get done watching that and somebody had the album, but it was in plastic and I was like, what is this? And they had just got a vinyl, a record player. And so I asked the host as I can open it and they were like, Yeah, cool. And so I turned it on and they had a high five system, some already in love. And I just turned it on and let it play and I was just blown away. Britney Howard's voice was like something I had never heard. And once I got past that and finally, for me, like, the lyrics, but I was just blown away with the album. Like the arrangement, the sound, her voice, everything. The way it sounded on vinyl was like it was just something I had never heard before. So that's how I discovered it. So you had never heard their previous ones, like Boys and Girls? No, I didn't discover them until I just happened to see that album sitting there. I got lucky enough. I called them at Bonneroo in 2011. I knew of them, they had a couple of hits off that, but this came out after that. And I had heard some of these songs, but I never listened to the album all the way through. So this was truly a gem. And I'm glad you brought this one in, but I was struggling to categorize them too. It's a wonderful mixture. It almost sounds like Otis Redding and the Black Keys and I don't know, you could throw on Janice Joplin or edit James. Like, I'll mix it together and you've got this fantastic band. Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly. And Black Keys is probably the closest thing that I could probably equate it to just because I'm a fan of the Black Keys. So when I hear some of their arrangements and some of their progressions and whatnot is who I associate with them would be Black East. That's definitely something that I kind of see. But they don't fit in that same genre. Exactly. But could you have Bernie Howard sing the Black Keys lyrics? And it would probably sound fantastic. Absolutely. I wholeheartedly agree. She just has that raspy Southern I've been through some stuff type of vocals and I love that. And she plays, too. Yes, and she's a phenomenal player. Phenomenal player. And I don't think she gets enough credit for playing ability, but yes, absolutely. Yeah. I think you called this earlier because we were supposed to do this in season one when we got scheduling conflicts and whatnot, but so I'm glad we got you in for season two. But I think at the time you called it the best mixed album you had ever heard. Yeah. Every mix I've ever done, I compared to this album. Just because what he was able to accomplish, not even just the gear he did on, but the emotion that he was able to capture and evoke out of every record, every note, was to me, it's phenomenal. I see why one best engineered album of the year that year, just because from the equipment to how signal chain, I try to get all the way in the weeds or whatever, but everything I've done and do, I always compare back to this album. Because if I can't get that or capture that type of emotion and then that's what I'm striving for. I'm not going to say I fail, but that's what I'm striving for. So when I take it a little deeper than that steve this was a soundtrack to my divorce. Ultimately, this was the soundtrack to my divorce. This was like when I listened to it, because I listened to it in the car yesterday. Now it just sounds like a breakup album all the way through. And I don't know what she was going through because I dissect the lyrics or whatever, but I hear we started out at one place and then ultimately we ended here, and now it's over. And so it's like it's like a breakup problem for me or my soundtrack. Anyway. I can completely see that just going with my notes that I have for all the tracks. It definitely seems like a personal journey from front to back. Yeah. And how she carries it even in almost like seven stages of grief, like everything that I went through, it's never a straight line, right? So it's not like you go through level stage 12345, six or seven. Sometimes you go to two, jump to four, back to three. It's never straight. Not necessarily joy, joy on the surface, but there's something else in the undercurrent, I guess would be the best way for me to put that. So walk me through the album, how you listen to it, my feelings, by the time or when I'm in the mood to reminisce, I think I'll throw it on and I literally just start at our start track one, and I let it ride. I'll let it play out until you get to the other side. When you get to the other side, you get your journey to the other side that is. So it's kind of like how she's happy or she's playing with emotion and happiness in one record, but if you listen to the lyrics and then where it's placed, their undertones in it are emotion or whatever I'm at at the moment, I let it come to me. So, like, even just starting at the beginning with sound and color, you got me thinking about this in a different light now, as far as the journey of a relationship and say I'm staring at my notes and I'm looking at all the tractors for them. And it's literally I'm sorry that you relived it when you listen to it. I'm not cool now. It's all right. And on that note, even when you get down to the end, the ending tracks, it is acceptance and being cool with the situation. Right. And I don't know if that was her intent, because I think she wrote all the lyrics. Yeah, she wrote them all. Yeah. Sound of Color in track one, I've got it as a song about the beauty all around us. If you just have to look, you got to find it.
Yeah, I felt like it was like the initial, like we found each other. We found each other through the muck and the storm, and we were here. We understand each other, I guess. Not the less phase, but everything. The sun looks shiny, the sun is shining brighter, the birds are chirping. I always felt like it looked like it was like that phase, we're just falling in love phase, I guess. And it does contrast well with track, too, because Sound of Colors, everything is a beautiful song, and especially if you've got, say, the high fi stereo or the headphones on it's all around you. Everything is wonderful. And then you go into track two, Don't Want to Fight, and just a couple of seconds in, you've got this whale from Brittany Murphy, which is fantastic. And the whole album kind of changes from there. Yes, that's a good point. You know what Sound of Color sounds like to me before getting to that intimacy, there's an intimacy to the record. Like, before, you notice a red flag or whatever. By the time the whale comes in, the rip comes in, and you're like, listen to the words. Okay, now we've had our first fight, and now we're into the mix of actual having a relationship and developing this. And you know what? You I forgot the exact bar that she says it in, but she kind of, like, throws her hands up in the records. I don't want to be the one to fight anymore. Yeah, it's got that great line of, why can't we both be right? Right. Why can't we both be right? Exactly. And then you're fighting human nature. You're fighting your person, your own little demons, to be right. And that his home.
Like I said, it just hits home, because I don't know anybody that hasn't been in that situation. I always had this feeling that she was writing this as if she was in the mirror reminiscing and reflecting on what she did wrong and what she did right. When I closed my eyes and listened to it, that's how it felt, like she wrote like she wrote it. And that's how I looked at it with my relationship for our marriage for a long time. What did I do wrong? What did I do right? Because I didn't want to fight. But, yeah, I still find myself fighting, what am I fighting for? And then just the emotions that that carries. And that whale at the beginning was just like I was everything. Sometimes you feel like that you've been married one year, ten years, whatever. Sometimes you feel like that and that's behind weird, because then it goes straight into track three, Dunes, which is about someone who is lost, confused and overwhelmed reaching that breaking point. Yes. But it's almost like you I listen to that and I feel like you felt like I had found my pathway out, like I found my path. I was like, this is what recovery looks like. My recovery from grief looks like or Mercedes of grief looks like it looks like, okay, there's light at the end of the tunnel, but then somebody shuts the light off and then they block off that path. And now you got to feel around the walls and find another way to get out. That's how I feel when I listen to Dooms. It's probably the second toughest record for me to get through just because I listen to record and I feel a sense of hope, but then I feel a sense of despair, and the despair wins. To be honest, that's just how I felt when I listened that record. So it's a tough one to get through, but it's probably, like, not even on an emotional level on that deep. To me, it's like one of the best produced records that Ryan did just because it's how it's arranged and how everybody gets to shine on that record, from the guitar to Brittany to the bass line, it's just a phenomenal record. Probably my second favorite record on the album, for sure. Man, it's really amazing how it's every single album that gets brought to the show. I have something in mind, whether it's just musical or lyrically, and then it's the stories that make me look at the albums in a different way. One of the things I love about this little project we're doing, I always come away with even higher appreciation for the album and all the thought that goes into making these things. Yeah, I know you've never sat in on Get On, Get Sidetracked or whatever, but in the same vein, I've had the opportunity to record and mix four albums for artists from beginning to end. And where they start out and where they end is never where you expect. Never where you expect. I have a hard drive full of records from people that they thought they were going to go one direction and end up going somewhere entirely different. So I have a different level of respect for a finished product because it's so hard to get a product out there or to get what your vision is out there as an artist and having so many outside influences that to get something of this caliber and it's through. And I'm sure even with I think it's Pink Floyd or anybody that it's incredibly difficult, especially in this day and age of I released a few singles that's great and they may be great tracks, but creating an album is something special, especially one that obviously hits at this level. This album is your baseline for what you do. There's just so much more that goes into it. I would love to be a fly on the wall in a recording session. I think that would be phenomenal and would broaden my understanding of the process. I've only been able to view the end products. If you ever have a chance to bring a guest in, if you're ever in that situation again, give me a call. I'm there. Without a doubt. Without a doubt. I definitely want you to see that. I think on YouTube with this particular album, I think they had a couple of videos of them in the studio actually working, and I think they had a video I think they were recording they were doing a video of them actually recording Dunes, or maybe it was Future People. You can just see it in her face and in her vocals when she's singing it, that it's coming from a different space.
When you can translate and get that through, it's like, it just hits me in a way. Like, man, this album forced me to process, to look at and process a lot of things that I hadn't done emotion wise in a long time. So Future People, I think it's a real hidden gem. Like, it took me a little while for it to warm up to me, but Future People is a record that definitely gets me it definitely allows me to, I guess, still have a little bit of a smile on my face when I hear it and then look through some things.
Future People Jumped Out Of Me is one of my takeaway tracks in that from a music perspective, I love the guitar intro and then some heavy guitar change about the midpoint, but I enjoyed the lyrics on subsequent listens, where they're talking about some people want to talk about only the past. They're just focused on the past, whereas some people are only focused on the future. And there's got to be an in between. I mean, I think when you agree with anything, you're focused on what that past may be, whether my marriage was the death of a marriage. So I couldn't help but look back at it and I felt like I'd be doing myself a disservice if I didn't. Future People, like, you write the guitar change and how it changes towards the second end. That kind of me encapsulates how my emotions will be when I reflect on it. Like, you know, it'll be happy, it'll be happy, and the next thing you know, I'm going to smash the glass on the wall because it's like, damn, you did this. Like, you did this and you didn't help in this situation.
That's how Future People hits me. Just to give you put in a greater perspective. I just started working in the warehouse, and I was on the floor. I was loading pallets, and they got these blue pallets to, like, £50. And I was working. Everything was fine. I just started I was smiling, getting to know people. And then it's just like just like when that guitar change comes, that kind of comes out of nowhere, hits you. It's like a rush. That's how it was with my emotions at the time. So something triggered some memory, and I just threw one of these 50 pound palace across the warehouse floor. Damn. And I broke down right there. Like, right there on the floor. I was like, I know it's going to be tough, but it was debilitating. So the Future People just reminds me of that particular instance when it was just like it was completely debilitating, where I couldn't move, I couldn't breathe. And there was a guy not to jump forward, but give me all your love.
This is a turning point for me, and respected that. In that instance, there was a gentleman that walked up to me. His nickname is Dmanny. I didn't put his real name out there, but his nickname is D Money. He's a little younger than me, but he walks up to me. He doesn't know me from anybody. And he was like, Hey, man, there's only one thing to make a man throw a 50 pound pallet 20ft across the warehouse floor, and that's the woman. He's like, I don't know what your story is. I don't know who you are, but I know you're going through it. And, hey, look, Minnie, sorry. You're going to be okay. You didn't know me from nobody, bro. And it was my first time actually talking about my divorce out loud. And I'm a big proponent. Like, if you can say it out loud versus when you're just talking about it, like, it's a different level of mental of acceptance. You know what I mean? We worked overseas when we heard people all the time, I'm a quit. But when they actually came out their mouth and said, hey, I'm thinking about quit, then you knew that you have to take that seriously at the time. So that's how I approach it. So this is my first time actually saying it out loud, like, I'm getting a divorce. Like, this is happening, and there's nothing that's going to stop it from happening. But this guy was willing to let me open up and then talk to him about it from the man to man. Not for me to my therapist, but it's on the man to man love. And he had been similar. That's cool that he helped out that way forever. I love him forever. For that to help bury your body one day, I don't know. But the fact that he took the time to do that was crucial. And ever since then, I've been to advocate just for mental health and mental awareness anyway, from a man's standpoint because we don't really get that opportunity to have that level of openness, I guess, all the time. So
Give Me All Your Love is heavy. It's filled with emotions on both sides of what that person is thinking and feeling. And that comes out it's really hard to explain. Obviously it's not playing right now, but to explain her emotion that comes out in her vocals, I can totally understand. Yeah, I may listen to it again after we get off and have something entirely different come up. But that's what sticks out to me the most, is that I found no God's real because that man had no reason to, but had no business to, but he took the chance to do that, and so for that I'll forever be grateful. What that invoked in me was to do the same thing and pay it forward to somebody else, even if it's just to be a sound board, because you don't know what they're going through or whatnot. And that's what I get out of Give Me All Your Luck. You don't know what they're going through. And it's like there's so many layers to it and it's just what you want from somebody and they can't give it to you. What they want from you, and you can't give it to them. And how that manifests could be a million different ways. That's emotionally overwhelming, like I said, in many different ways. Yeah, that record is well, then with track six, the next one, this feeling, all that pent up emotion, they slow it down. It's like taking a breath. Yeah. And it all came out on track five, which on the side, track five always I got a question for you to deal with. The side thing is track five, like an industry thing that it's always a great tune. Like, that's kind of the goal. I had a conversation with a gentleman who did a lot of production for Alcat and Dungeon Family, Goody Mob, a whole bunch of some serious action in the land, and he does a lot of work with some RBX and he actually brought this up. He said that it almost like the goal not the goal, but how a lot of people approach it is it's kind of like you want, like, a roller coaster, like you want a crescendo or get to the top at five or six and then kind of plaques up a little bit and then take them through the right again. Like a little dip in either end on the high or you want to end on the low. But five or six is generally like the halfway point on a long play. Right. So you generally want that to be kind of the highest issue. That's what he said. That's what they always try to do. Doesn't always work out that way. But he did say that it's like usually six, actually, six or seven, but they kind of want the roller coaster. As you look back on all the albums we've done on the show, track five always seems to be granted, the albums that are being brought to the show are excellent albums. They're not in the $2 bin. These are high standard albums. And track five always seems to be that peak of the first rush of from the intro to number five. Boom. I don't know if that's the I don't know what I'm thinking of there, but, yeah, track five, it just always seems to be like, got to put a hit on track five. Yeah. Well, look at the average or the age of the album. This one here doesn't predate the digital streaming or whatnot, but this album was not geared towards streaming platforms. This was meant for vinyl or for that scenario. You look at the age of the albums that you've gone through up until a certain point before streaming and before they changed over the rules for streaming and how royalties are paid off and stuff like that. Totally different ballgame when it comes to where to record placement is on the album and how many records are on that album. That's true, that's very true. So when you look at it in that respect, yeah, the way that they're arranged and whatnot is completely different. So, yeah, these right here are more, like you said, complete bodies of work, not singles. It's not like you're looking for a high record and then hope that that single sells because no one's going to buy your album because they think it's going to be trash because you don't have a complete body of work. It's a complete body of work through and through. That's an excellent point because almost all of the albums that we've done have been geared towards either vinyl or cassette, where you're flipping that tape at a certain point or you're flipping that vinyl. I've been real deep into quadrufinia lately, so I'm way skewed on track. That's going to be a wild conversation, but it all kind of changed to me, and this is just my point of view, with about seven, with RadioHeads and Rainbows and I'm speaking in the game of the show, that's when they changed up their digital download strategy. They made an album, but then they transferred it for digital downloads in a different way. They gave it to the people for free if they wanted it. That's like a turning point. And this is definitely the newest album we've done on the show. Absolutely. This one is the newest one. Okay, yeah. Got you. Yeah, like I said, but this particular album, the way even just it was distributed to, was told this was not what you can get on digital. This was made for vinyl. Like, this was made for a specific subset of people that want to listen to it. A certain way and everything from the way it was recorded to its delivery, because I couldn't find this. It wasn't until recently that I could find this digitally. So it was just meant to be presented different. But I agree. I never actually thought about that. But I will go back and look at all my albums and be like, track number five. Five or six. Let me see this. Okay, you might be on some the only one that breaks that trend is Animals. But Animals only had five tracks. That one's a cheap. Got you. The key is to make all your songs over ten minutes. How you doing, man? I like the focus it requires. It's pretty yeah. Imagine engineering those. But that's a whole other conversation itself.
No. All right. Tangent gesture. I think the track seven is Guess Who? And this was like a reprieve. Like, this was kind of like it's. Quiet song. Yeah, definitely quiet. A little bit of reprieve,
man. I have my note as everything is complicated and they just want it all to slow down. Yeah, that's about how I feel. That's pretty accurate.
And in the event of a relationship that is going off the rails, I could see everything that is happening. You can't control it, and it's just kind of going wrong. And you want it all to slow down, so you can control it. Yeah. Even if that's impossible,
this was like, well, maybe if I do X and Y, I can get back together. Like, what do we do here? What can I do different here? Maybe it's another apology with a letter or whatever. Like, I can get this back and with that faint hope, but not really. That's the call. But I was like, Yeah. And I definitely see as saying The Greatest Year, which in my opinion, is the best song of the album. Love the greatest. But remember the good things, the greatest points that we had, and if we can just do that again, everything will be okay. Even though that's a complete glossover of all the problems underneath. Yeah. And we haven't addressed anything. I haven't addressed anything. I didn't even know this was about the time I started listening sound heavy. By the same time I started, I took my butt to therapy because I just didn't want to carry I wanted to make sure I address what issues I had because I can't worry about the other person. I had to take care of myself, and I had to make sure that emotionally, that I was doing what I needed to do emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, pretty much in every facet to move forward. So when I hear those, it's like me procrastinating against what I really need to do and kind of hoping that we can go back to the way it was. And that was never the case, but it was me kind of living in a fantasy world a little bit and not being honest with myself
when I hear those, especially The Greatest. But it's like I can hear a shoe stamp, like, a timestamp where I was and what I was doing. That's why this is probably the single greatest album for me in a lot of respects, one of my three. But, I mean, it's just in what it represented at a particular time in my life, even though, you know, it's a couple of years old at that point in time. But those records in particular was a turning point because it forced me to be a little more honest with something I was being. On a side note, though, I do want to mention that The Greatest, as I mentioned before, to me, is the best song on the album. And that's just me, in my opinion, loving good dirty blues. And it comes out of nowhere because the previous couple of songs were low key acoustic and quiet. And then this one comes in I don't want to say it comes in like a wrecking ball. That's terrible. It comes in like a freight train. How's that? You can try to edit that out later. Then I'll always know. But even just taking out the context of the whole album, it's a good Southern blue song and I love it. How about The Greatest? Yes. Okay. I always envision, like, remember at your wedding, the night of your wedding? I don't know if it will. We went to the different bars. Was that the night of your wedding? Well, it could be.
After the wedding, we hit a bunch of bars on Bourbon Street, but we went to one of the main ones was the Funky Pirate with the big L Carlson, the Blue Singer. Yes. I was envisioned, like, that record being played there. Absolutely. You know what I mean? Like that one and didn't look at one. And Harry Cotton Jr. Was on the piano. Or was that just I might have been. Oh, no. That I would know if someone went to a bar and Harry was on the piano and didn't tell me. I'm pissed now. I had tickets to see him and I got canceled because of Covet out. But to the point, though yeah. I always envision that record being played in a place like that where you could just walk in and be like, Okay. It just has that type of vibe to it. You're thinking of Princel's Jazz Club, which is right next to the Funky Pirate. And they have a bunch of older white guys playing jazz there. And I could totally see the piano player being mistaken for yeah, okay. We're pretty hammered. That's probably the case. Yes. And that's definitely the place right next to it. Yeah. Fritzels is awesome. I need to get back there. New Orleans is a vibe. I definitely need to get back there. So next up we've got track nine, which is shoegaze, and I can't remember what that sounds like off the top of my head. It's a smooth Southern rock melody. Okay. Got you. And it's basically a song about the value of friendship. So this is kind of getting into that acceptance realm.
Yeah. What were your notes? I'm curious now. I just read them.
That's a record that I can drink a beer, too, or a glass of wine, and I can smile. Like, if I don't do nothing else, I can sit and smile and I can appreciate all the times, everything, and then not feel some type of way. I don't even know if that even makes sense, but, like, I kind of makes perfect sense. It does. Never try to be bitter or anything. I can't help what comes up sometimes. But I could definitely sit and I could just sit with it and start to generally develop or look at the scar and then not pick up the scab, if that makes sense. Yeah, that's pretty accurate. That flows into track ten, miss you, which goes down even slower. Yeah. This is where you get to the straw that broke the camel's back. In a sense, I think it took me like, about four times just to even get past, like, I'm going to miss you. This is almost like signing the papers. And it was like there was nothing left between us in respect to anything outside of our dogs, but there was nothing left for us to discuss. I'm going.
And even though, like, we're on great terms, the finality of it was like, I buried this. I buried a loved one. Even though it's been well over three years, it never seems old, I guess, like that instance, I don't know. It just never seems old. But it's like once I got past the first lyrics or whatever, honestly, it becomes a blur because all I can think about is what my journey was like after that and rebuilding the rebuilding of myself emotionally, mentally, I had to move forward. I'm trying to think of a movie scene or something. Because you're a movie buff. Like I'm a movie buff where it's like the fingers, like they drift apart, and then all this left is, like, the clouds. You know what I mean? That's it. You're out of each other's orbit. There's no more me looking in the sky and thinking, I'm going to see that particular star. That star is gone. Like, it's out of my orbit now, and I need to find somewhere else to be and find something else to orbit around. I'm never going to see that star again. So if that metaphor makes any, it does, and I apologize. But the first thing that came to my mind was Fight Club. And
apologize to anyone who's never seen Fight Club. But what's wrong with you? After he rids himself of Tyler, he's never going to see him again because that's the love story. Him and Tyler Durden, right? Absolutely. So once that is no more. That was his toxic relationship, and that was his problem. Now he's looking towards the future, which just happens to be with buildings being demolished.
That's pretty accurate. He's got that you met me at a very complicated time in my life, he says to his other girl, you know what I mean? Yeah, but he's now looking out the window and the buildings are exploding and he's just that's his okay, what's next? I got to move on. Right. And that's very accurate. That's what it was. I was like after he did that. And then everything blew up, and then there's nothing left and you have to rebuild brick by brick. I know I did. I can't speak for nobody, I know I did. But that's how I had to move forward. Very similar to that. And that's kind of what that reminded me. I was like, I'm going to miss you. I'm missing the old me. Ultimately, it didn't even about her anymore. I was just missing the old me because the hardest part is to create new habits and put myself in a new space to move forward. So when I got there, that's what Ms. You represents to me. It ain't really about her. It's about ultimately trying to create a better version of myself in all aspects, to be better for the people around me and to attract the type of person, the people that I want to be around. Honestly, that's the healthy way to look at it. It sounds like this album was amazing therapy to help you with this whole thing in that outlook of at that point, it's no longer about you two together or her. It's about you looking forward. Yeah, because eventually I had to stop wondering if she was looking for me, you know what I mean? Because that's not happening. And this was like, okay, you need to look out for you and create the best version of yourself. Get back in the gym, do whatever you got to do and get there and get there and learn from it and then just be better from it and for it and just be a better man for it. And that's kind of where I got to. Now. The next record, Gemini, there's not a time I can't listen this without probably without shutting a tear, because this is like the culmination. If you could encapsulate everything, the whole relationship into one record is Gemini. And when you get to the subtle way that she sings the lyrics hang on. First of all, what were your notes on Gemini? I have a weird one. A great tune with unexpected melodies, very spacey.
I didn't have anything on the lyrical content because I was at the time just more focused on really the music. And I can't remember the bar. I can't remember bar for bar, but basically Honey suckles on the Tennessee. We should be together, just you and me for in this time
it was like if there was an in credit scene. That was it. And it's like the cut scene probably not like a marvel, but there's a cut scene in between where we were standing in a field of lilies or lilacs or something, and then we're walking back, we're walking away from each other saying, I love you, but we got to go. It didn't work out, but there's no I don't hate you. You don't hate me. And it's like, that's what that first verse represents to me. Like, hey, we're on good terms. We made it. We're here. And then when that guitar comes in, man, when that guitar comes in, bro,
that's like the realization, the gut punch that is over. That was me throwing the palate. That was me entering therapy. That was me saying it out loud for the first time. That was me waking up and knowing the straw that broke the camel's back. And that guitar was crying. Like, that man made that guitar cry. I don't know what he was going through, whatever, but I felt that that hit me on a level. Like, even now, I get tear ups of thinking about this, because that was everything. And then when it cuts off, and then it gets back into her saying and she's still talking about it together, just you and me, as I see you. And it's everything. Like, I always envision, like the end of, for lack of a better one, like the third bad man where I'm out for coffee, whatever, and I just happened to see her walk by, and she's happy, and it's like, okay, cool. All right. Bet that I don't feel any type of way, because it was at that point I started yoga. I went to therapy, and I started yoga. Yoga was instrumental for me because it allowed me to almost be supplemental to therapy in a way. Like people you may or may not know, some people, they go to therapy and they never graduate from therapy. Like, they stay there. And so you don't ever put into practice what you learned in therapy. So I had to cut off therapy after a while and just be like, I have to put this shit into practice. There's no more practice time. Like, it's game time. And so for better, for worse, I know I'm going to take some bumps and bruises, but I have to put the education that I used into that and put in a game time. Yoga allowed me to give me different avenues to put those theories into practice in real time. So learning to meditate and proper breathing and control your emotions and work through your emotions, acknowledge and work through them, that's what yoga did for me. And one of the things that we ended when I did yoga was you pray for somebody, right? It doesn't matter who. You keep it to yourself. And then you pray for them to be happy, whole, safe, and healthy. And so that's what I was praying for. I was like, I want her to be happy, whole, safe and healthy, even without me. And I knew I was recovered or I moved forward when I could see her in all four of those and not feel anything but happiness for her. Does that make sense? Yeah, absolutely. So when that actually happened in real life and I saw that her happy, whole, safe and healthy and prospering, and I didn't feel any type of way or whatnot it was like, Jim and I represents her vocals represent that from me. Like, okay. Bet that I see you walking on the street on the other side. Sheng got to see me, but I see her happy, whole, safe and healthy, and she doing her thing. And that's all I wanted. I'm not asking. They try to get back together. All the other shit is over with. I just want that for her. That's good. And so the second time, when the guitar comes back, it's like that to end off the record, that's it fade to black and I'm in a different space moving forward. And it's not like something that I want to revisit all the time, but that's what that record represents. For me, Gemini is the encapsulation of everything, my whole journey from front to back and everything in between. There is, like, timestamps on that journey. Jimmy, to me, is the best record. Probably one of my favorite records of all time, if not my favorite record of all time. And to me, it solidified. Brittany as being one of my favorite vocalists, male or female, of tack her in this. When you do this and be like, my friend said, you're the goat, she's one of the goats for me. But this record, that's what this record represents for me, man, it's spacey, but it just takes me to a place it just takes me to a place of fulfillment and completion. My journey, this part of my journey is over, and it's okay for me to move forward. I'm sorry if I rambled, if I was talking too long, I apologize. Oh, no. That's why we're here. The stories and memories of our favorite albums, it doesn't get more succinct than that. Yes.
Over my head. I don't know if I ever listened to all the way through, to be honest with you, bro, I don't know if I ever listen, to be honest with you. I hear it in my head. Loving so deep I'm in over my head. My note for it was enjoying all life well, that's bad English. Enjoying all life without ever coming to an understanding that you will experience at all. That's the way I read the lyrics and listen to it. You're going to experience many different ups and downs in life, but you're never going to experience everything. So enjoy life to the fullest where you can.
Yeah, I don't know if I got that, but that's the way I heard it, I felt like for me it's like I don't know, man, I can hear it in my head. But by the time I get to Gemini, to be honest with you, by the time I get to Gemini, I'm so emotionally exhausted that I really can I don't know if I had anything left. Like, I think Over My Head just becomes a record that I kind of that's my cool down record, I guess. Yeah, it's a great record and I wish I had some more for it, but Jim and I just always forever just take it out of me and Over My Head just kind of got skipped over. But I like the synopsis of it though and I feel like I can hear it in my head. But emotionally it's not doing nothing for me. And it's not because it's not a dope record. It's just because Gemini is in the vein of the emotional roller coaster of this album. I would say that final track with track eleven, Gemini, you're metaphor of the field of lilies and the hands leaving and that's that final departure, that last one is the turn with your back to you're leaving. It in the past. Now you're moving on to experience life and whatever is happening next. Got you. Yeah, that's great. That's a great analogy. That would be it. And I think that it's all about not forgetting, learning from it all. Your experiences make you who you are. Absolutely. And to the people that will blank it all out like it just never happened, then you're doomed to repeat whatever mistakes you made before. You're not growing as a person, but if you learn from it all, if you talk it out, you got your therapy and your yoga and this album and everything, you're acknowledging the ups and the downs so that you can handle and enjoy whatever comes next. Even better. Yeah, man. You can hit it right on the head, man. It's hard for me to even I think this is the first time I ever talked about without shedding it here, to be honest with you, just because it's so personal for me. But I'm glad that was my biggest fear above everything else was carrying that hurt forward. I don't want to carry that forward because I don't want that to infect anything that I do moving forward. Because I've seen what happens when you do that. My dad was like that, unfortunately. It was like he carried a lot of that forward and affected relationships with all his children and family and stuff like that. And I could not let that happen. I just couldn't let it happen for a hell of hot water. I wasn't going to let it happen. As I said, as my sister would say, there's a silver line and everything. And that was it. I'm better mentally for it and how I convey my emotions and things like that moving forward and this album was really the soundtrack for that. This was my crutch. Like, there was nothing else being played for about six months. There really wasn't, man. I remember and it's creepy, but I remember I was sleeping on the couch in the house before I moved out. And then we had an Alexa dot. And then randomly, Annie was sleeping on the end of the couch, like 230 in the morning. The dot came on and was playing the sound and color. And I was like, Alexa, turn off, then turn off. And I promise you, brother. It was so surreal. It was like I unplugged it after that and I threw it in the backyard. But it came on because I was playing it earlier that day. But I was knocked out, like I was sound asleep. And then it came on and played, and it was like everything happened for a reason. If the thing came on for a reason, you just say it's going to be okay, or acknowledge or whatever the case may be. But yeah, this was it. This was it. And when I originally discovered it, like I said, it was just more from a perspective of a mix engineer, but just from a phenomenon, from an aspect of, damn, how can I get what I do to sound like that? I wasn't in a million dollar recording studio that looked like a barn. I'm working out of basically redesigned bedroom, but I know I can achieve that. And I've always approached everything that I do, every mixed contest I've ever entered, any area, from the amateur artists to people with budgets. When I approach it, that's my gold standard. And it's not even in truly, like the vein, like R, amp, B or hip hop where I only put a label on like that. But it was at that time such a landmark, such a landmark album for me. And then when I went back and listened to it and I was going through my divorce, it was a whole another level. And then I can unlock a whole other arena for me. And that one was painful and uncomfortable. It was painful. It was uncomfortable. But I'm grateful for the growth and what this meant for me. It sounds like you found some catharsis in it. All yeah, that's the word. Definitely some catharsis in it, man. Definitely. I can't wait to get again on vinyl. Don't be jealous. Oh, I'm jealous. I'm jealous. Mine got ruined. Mine had in my storage unit, and the storage unit flooded, so I lost all my vinyl. Yes, it's still on my record player. There beautiful purple and black. It's awesome. I was hurt.
So Sound of Color made your top spot for this. What albums were on your short list? Kendrick Lamar, Dam and the Pimp of Butterfly, jay Z, the Blueprint, Lauren Hill, the Miscommunication or Mis educational oriole and the Rose Royce album. And I forgot the name of the album. But Rose Royce, they were my top five because I had the Kendrick is two A and two B. Those albums are phenomenal. But, yeah, those may be the Blueprint all the way and obviously I listen to Lauren Hill, but I have not listened to Kendrick Lamar. That would be a new one for me. Come back on season three, man. I'd love to come back. I hope you invite me back. But yeah, those definitely one I could talk about. What were your thoughts on what are your thoughts on the album overall with this was a great album to me. Listen to it now many, many times, which I do for all the albums. But this one is definitely a highlight in that I really love good blues and that soulful voice mixed in with that blues, it's not something you hear anymore and I can't find a good comparison for the past. I could hear her voice singing, like I said earlier, like Eddie James orma Thomas sort of stuff. I could see her with the scratchy voice. I could see her doing that in a very soulful, beautiful way. But then you add in that black key style blues band and it's just something magical. Yeah, I hope they keep going and make more albums of this nature and I hope they keep making complete albums that you talk about, not just a single here and there. I hope they keep going because this was really a good listing. Straight through. Bring his voice, man. It's like Whitney Houston and Brittany Howard for me and then are just like two voices that are like, well, forever and always to stand out for me. Like it's in their power. And Britain doesn't have a super strong voice. Her voice is kind of soft, but when she hits falsetto, falsetto hit a vibrato, it's like nothing I've ever heard. And so it's just something different for me, man. Her voice tastes different for me because when I think of Aretha Franklin or even back to say, edit James, I don't want to keep focusing on Eddie James. But they could lean more into gospel and I could see them singing. Well, they have, obviously, but any more gospel vocal range. Whereas I can't picture Bernie Howard singing gospel. Maybe she can. I'm not saying she can, but just because I can't picture her at this time, I picture her more going into the funky pirate and just taking the mic from Big L Carlson and singing lead blues to whatever he's playing. Yeah, that's fair enough. Yeah, definitely Big L. God rest of Sony password about a year or two ago. Oh, wow, I didn't know that. Yeah, that's a shame. Yeah, well, I mean, I think we need to make a date on the season four or whatever. We're just putting it out in the atmosphere. We're going to do it in New Orleans, like on the deck somewhere, on the napkin somewhere. We're going to do this in New Orleans and then go drink afterwards or whatever you want to get into that'll work, get a balcony hotel room over bourbon and just kind of talk about an album, and then we'll go hit the town. Absolutely, man. We'll put that on the wall. Put that on the wall. We'll make that happen, man. And then I don't know if you have a patreon by then or whatever. We have a behind the scenes. I've seen it all. I've already envisioned the whole thing, man. It's going to be late. It's going to be crazy. Well, before we wrap this up, please tell our listeners if you're working on anything where they can find you or anything you want to pitch. Yeah. You still reach me at Dcbaudio 360 at gmail. If you're looking to get an audio book or record or mix, have a concert studio to work out of. Right now, I'm working on just three audio books for two different clients, and so I'm really big on that. That's happening. And that's it, man. Thank you for your time. I appreciate it.
Well, Jamal, I want to thank you for your time today. It was a pleasure to sit and talk with you about sound and color from the Alabama Shakes. Thank you, man. You good night, bro. I love you, man. I appreciate it, man. Thank you for listening to music. Rewind a podcast from the Sidereal Media Group. As I always say, listen to the full album. Until next time time,
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