#078: Ryan States – Remote collaboration

As we head into the next decade armed with faster internet connections and more bandwidth, it’s exciting to see the innovative ways artists are starting to collaborate with each other.  Entire albums are now being recorded by exchanging files across the web which has allowed incredible access to musicians who were formerly only available if you were in the right town.  Ryan States got a job playing keyboard in the circus, which keeps him out on the road constantly, and in years past, many musicians were faced with the decision of whether to stay in town and pursue their own music career, or go out on the road for someone else and get paid.  Even thought Ryan is often in remote locations and makes his home on a train, he’s had some pretty amazing musicians play on his new album, just by exchanging files over the web.  Is this how the album of the future will be made?

You can hear Ryan’s new album here – http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ryanstates

  • Thanks for the podcast, I found these about a week ago and have listened to about 15 of them since then. I liked getting to hear the recording and how good a quality Ryan was able to get on a train. It helps me to stop stressing about the imperfections in my studio (my garage). Thanks again for the great info! Sincerely, Luke

  • Excellent interview!

    Ryan seems much too humble for his accomplishments. Refreshing in this age when so many puff out their chests in self importance while describing their craft.

    I must say, I have heard Fish Out Of Water (Immigrant) before, wether it was a film or television show I cannot say. But heard it, I have. If the rest of his album is like that song, he has a major winner there.

    Very Dave Mathews kind of vibe.

  • I enjoyed this podcast. Ryan’s poop bucket story stuck in my head the first time I heard it so it was good to hear about the more ‘serious’ side to his music.

    I’ve also taken part in an internet collaboration at a recording forum called The Womb. They put entrants together in groups and you swap files, chat on Skype and eventually end up with a finish song. What I got a real kick out of was the fact that I never met the people I was on the track with. I’m in the UK, the keyboard player was in Sweden, others were scattered around the US.

    You can also sign up with various websites to be on their books as a session player, something I really should get round to doing. If you’ve got a talent why not use it and if you need a ‘talent’ on your record (ie. a drummer) why not book one online? Might consider that for my next lot of solo work…

    Look forward to the round table guys, I hope there are some festive fun and games!

    Thanks for another great year of news, advice, occasional plugs and controversial name-changes; long may it continue!


  • Robert, I’m sure Kevin’s played Fish Out Of Water before – maybe because he plays acoustic on it? Am I right Kevin? 😉

  • I don’t think I played it before. I can’t remember. But yes, I did play acoustic guitar on the song. You’ll hear more about that in the roundtable episode coming up.

  • The last CD I released was a joint effort. I live near Green Bay WI any co-artist Monty Harper lives in Stillwater OK. We wrote songs by email and had real time face to face song writing sessions on Skype using a web cam (to see each other) and cell phones (better, quicker audio). He recorded is parts on a MAC, I did my tracks on windows. We sent MP3s back and forth and the larger final WAVs using YouSendIt. We did finally meet up in OK to do the final mixes and additional tracks. The CD was a huge success and still sells well. You can see the final product at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/montybilly

    The project went so well that I am currently recording my next CD with various artists from all over the USA. I haven’t tried any of the new collaborating services but I am looking forward to experimenting with all the new technology in 2010.

    Keep up the great work, long live INDIE and CD Baby 🙂

  • This was a fun ‘cast. I’ve done some recordings with long-distance guest vocalists (with a similar approach of swapping MP3s and WAVs over the web) but not with instruments. Might have to try that this year!

  • Even the mastering ‘session’ was long-distance. It’s best to be in-person with musicians but long-distance mastering is ideal. There’s no rush to finish in one day. I can listen on my familiar monitors while referencing my entire record collection. I highly recommend Justin Bonnema at Mayfield Mastering in Nashville.

    Brian McRae, of http://www.drumoverdubs.com, sent me 30-second mp3 clips for me to approve his snare/kick/mic selection before beginning to track. Peter Bufano wore 3 hats — audio engineer, string contractor, and he handled mistakes in my notation effortlessly. I was thrilled to get Mark Nemer (Nashville) whose drum credits are very impressive.

    Bill Leary did all the solo sax work on four songs. The power generator on the train kept failing every time we started to record. I forgot to transpose the key for his instrument. I offered to take 15 minutes to chart the chords for him, but he said, “No problem, roll tape”!

    My (UNT) college buddy and former bandmate, CameronMorgan.com, happens to be one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever met. He grew up in a Texas record store. He did six songs for me! Put his heart (and ears) into it. He plays in a band with Deon Estus which is how I got him.

    And if you’re looking for a solid guitar track… I know a guy. But first you’ll need to drag him away from his podcast… LOL!

  • Hi – belated reply but on the subject of remote recording, I’m a harpist (the kind with strings, not harmonica!) who records at home for remote artists (as well as in L.A. studios). I read music, play by ear or from lead sheets. (Most classically trained musicians can’t play by ear or from lead sheets, but I’ve been involved in pop music and arranging for years & years). Interested parties can get in touch with me through the contact page on my website, harpworld.com. Thanks!!