The new Popkin-Salvador album is almost done.

Now that we’ve finished recording, my collaborator finally gave his consent to my publicly announcing the details behind our project for the RPM Challenge 2014. I don’t need his consent for anything but as he’s one half of the group it was only fair.

Failing Pleasantly Cover

For anybody who has been reading the blog right along or anybody who knows me personally, it should come as no surprise that my friend Mike Thornhill and I have recorded a new album this month under our band name Popkin-Salvador. He and I have both worked RPM Challenge albums in different projects in the past. I’ve mentioned my two Shadows of Immurement releases already. Mike has recorded with DJK (I contributed guitar to one song on the first album), Sultry Dessert, and last year under his own project Human Hitman. We developed our musical skills together since adolescence so it only made sense that at some point that we worked together on an RPM album at least once.

Recording the album has been an interesting process this time around as we live in different parts of the country. I live in Kittery, Maine, whereas he lives in Seattle, Washington. We had to send files over the Internet. This isn’t a new thing, but as we had to record the album in a month with each of us working a full-time job we had to make sure we were on top of things. During the work week we don’t have the luxury of having the same time of day off, considering I work early mornings. On top of that, there’s the time difference. This meant we couldn’t receive each other’s files immediately.

The process usually, although not always, started on my end with a guitar part and maybe a drum track which I would send to him. He would add tracks and send back a rough mix to me so I could add to it. All of the production and mixing happened (and as I write this, still happening) on his end. I could write out a lengthy post when the album is released in case anybody is interested in who did what exactly, but roughly speaking the line-up is thus:

Mick Marston: vocals, guitars, bass, drum programming
Mike Thornhill: vocals, guitars, keyboards, drum programming

We are looking into our options to promote ourselves and the album online. I think we’re generally only going to sell downloads instead of physical copies. It’s a lot to look into. I personally prefer to have a CD but there are costs involved in making those. It’s still early to commit to anything anyway. I will say that it’s one of the best musical projects that I’ve ever worked on. I think Mike put it well:

I’m very impressed we were able to get this much done and at this quality.  To me it doesn’t sound like SOI at all or HH, or anything either of us would come up with solo, so I think we accomplished something cool.

I do slightly disagree in that one song called “Spacetime Calling” does sound a little like it could have been a Shadows of Immurement song at one point, but then again, it didn’t when I first sent him the guitar and bass tracks that everything else was based on. Nonetheless I agree with the overall statement that working together we came up with something that we couldn’t have done on our own. This isn’t the only project for Popkin-Salvador. Granted, the only other things we have released in this band was an E.P. over a decade ago and one song online since. Still, I get the feeling that we’re not going to let go of this experience.

Playing these songs live, however, could be tricky. He performs live often whereas I do not. I now have something to play but the only open-mics around here that I know of don’t agree with my work schedule. I’ll have to come up with some way around that. I can’t think of most of these songs performed by just one guy, either. I would be more comfortable with a band. One thing that came to mind was putting together a band here on the east coast, and when Mike comes over he would perform with us (and likewise when I go visit him in Seattle). Then again, we could be a studio-only band. It still feels early to tell what we’ll do. For now, I will say that we should have the album online within a month. Of course, that can change, too, depending on what the two of us agree on.


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