July Greetings and Updates!

Greetings from the desk/studio/coffee bar of D’Flo Productions,

Hope you enjoyed your 4th of July! I spent it with my fam, eating lots of guacamole and setting off—I mean, watching fireworks. Life back on the proverbial “ranch” has been amazing; June proved to be the most eclectic month so far this year!

To begin, my wife Claire just left her job at Chicago Public Schools.  I am elated to announce that she will be working with me full time!  We’re expecting epic, comic-book-worthy adventures to come of this union, and can’t wait to share them with you.

Apart from doubling our workforce, June has been pretty crazy for D’Flo Productions!  I recently finished up an extensive commercial shoot in Mexico.  My co-star Anne Acker and I were on set for a week, shooting over 25 commercials for travel company, whose identity I am not yet at liberty to unveil (top secret spy business—you understand).

The company also asked me to write, produce, and record the music that will underscore the commercials!  I had a crazy 6-day writing and recording process where I composed 3 songs, recorded them, and mixed them for client approval.  I had to pull 2 all-nighters over these 6 days to meet the deadline; it was an adventure to say the least, but I am happy to say that the final song has turned out beautifully.  We’ll be posting links to the videos and the final track when they are released later this summer, but until then you can check out the other two mixes I submitted here.

Be on the lookout for a new youtube vlog this Friday! We’ll be posting on here quite a bit, and I’m excited to share some new ideas and songs with you here.

Have a wonderful July my friends, and thanks for all of your support,

-Dennis Florine + Mgmt
D’Flo Productions

How do you make an album as an Indie Aritst? Part 1/6 – The first steps of Pre-Production

SongwritingWith a new album on the horizon, I get a lot of fans, friends, and family asking me about the process involved in making a new CD.  I wanted to answer those questions in a blog, but there is too much to discuss in a single sitting.  This said, I have decided to split it up into three phases, each with two parts: pre-production, production, and post-production.  Here then is part 1 of 6, the The First Steps of Pre-Production Phase.

The first question to ask is, Do you need to make an album?  For some the answer maybe no, and you can save yourself a lot of money, time, and stress by taking another route.  There are a lot of musicians around who are releasing EP’s, singles, music videos, etc.  For example, one of my favorite musicians is Ryan O’Neil of Sleeping At Last.  He hasn’t released a full length since 2009, but he’s creating TONS of music.  Check out his Atlas series…

All albums begin and end with the music; there is a whole bunch of fluff in between (budgeting, financing, packaging, distribution, etc), but as an artist the heart of any new CD is the songs.  This is always where I begin and where I suggest my clients start, with the songwriting.  I feel, as songwriters, it is our job to put out great tunes with well polished lyrics.  Spoken-word World Champion Buddy Wakefield helped me establish my writing habit when he told me that he will spend up to 6 months on a single 3 minute poem; he told me he rakes through each line and removes any cliches he can find.  This is essential!  If you find yourself using phrases or words that are in every other pop song, change them.  Don’t settle for less than perfect; if a song needs to be re-written, don’t be afraid to scrap it all together and start over.

Once you have your songs written and ready to go, you need to make a few decisions.  What are you going to do with the album?  Do you want to try and get your songs on radio/television, or is it something you’ll give away to your fans at shows and online?  What you plan on doing with the album will determine your next step.

For my newest album, “Diggin’ Into Grace”, I wanted to put together a full length album that was radio ready, with the potential for licensing and nationwide syndication.  This said, I knew that I needed to find excellent engineers, musicians, and a great studio with the best equipment I could afford.  Although the cost of production has decreased significantly in the past 10 years, with the release of cheaper Digital Audio Workstations, Plugins, Interfaces, etc., it is till expensive for an indie artist; $10,000 may not be pennies to a record label, but to the average Joe Shmo that is a lot!

Next you’ll want to put together a budget.  In the next blog, I will break down the specifics of a budget using my own as an example…

Until then,

– D