This week I had the opportunity to experience heartbreak, helplessness, and humility on a level that I've only experienced a few times in my life. The "Of Precious Value" project (and my recording business in general) suffered significant setbacks this week when over 100 gigabytes of critical data was lost, along with a lot of other miscellaneous data. Normally, we'd just pull out our backup hard-drives and be out no more than a few hours or at worst a few days work, but in what can only be described as a highly unusual, freak incident - our backup drives were also lost. 4 months of hard work, gone in an instant.... In nearly 20 years of doing this, I've never seen something quite like it. I take many precautions to prevent this very type of incident from happening, but unfortunately, this was the perfect storm...
Since the initial incident, I've spent about 60 hours working on data recovery options, using multiple tools and approaches, trying to get back as much of the lost information as possible. (And I'm still working on it as we speak...) During the first 30 or so hours of data recovery efforts we were only able to recover about 2 gigabytes of data, and nothing that was meaningful. Over the last 30 plus hours we've managed to recover a massive amount of data, but unfortunately many files are still missing and others are corrupted... worst of all though, the file names and file paths of all the audio files are gone, making re-assembling them into songs a nearly impossible feat.
Imagine if you would, 8 puzzles that should each contain 3,000 plus pieces, and they are all mixed together. To make it worse, the 8 puzzles have many similar features. To further complicate things, you should probably have about 24,000 pieces but you only have 17,000 to work with... next, imagine that of those 17,000 pieces that many thousands of them actually don't even go to any of the 8 puzzles at all - they look like they should fit, but they are actually extra pieces that don't quite fit in anywhere. Now, imagine that on all of the puzzle pieces, there are key parts of the picture that have been colored over with black paint...so you can really only see part of each piece. It sounds more than simply challenging, it sounds virtually impossible - right?
Unfortunately, this is the position that we are in with the Of Precious Value album. I have over 17,000 little clips and snippets of audio, some as short as a single note or less, and they are randomly named and organized. Reconstructing the recordings from what data we have is impossible, and even an effort at partial reconstruction would be virtually impossible.
While its over-simplistic to say that we've lost the entire project, all 4 + months of work gone, that's basically where we are. In reality though, much of that 4 + months was spent writing, rehearsing, and experimenting - much of this work does not need to be duplicated or recreated. The songs still exist - I have rough recordings that I've made, such as the samples we've posted on this site. I have the songs in my head and a few notes on paper about their arrangements. Rebuilding the basic arrangements of Bass, Drums, and Primary Guitar parts will be time-consuming, but straightforward as these parts were well rehearsed during the writing and pre-production phases. Some of the other parts will be extremely challenging though as they were the results of brief moments of inspiration that were caught on tape. These magical moments often come during a time of experimentation and can be nearly impossible to recreate.
I have literally countless hours of work that I must go back and do again. With the release of the first single supposed to be just a week and a half away, this is obviously discouraging. With a commitment already made to a national advertising campaign (that can not be stopped or rescheduled without significant financial loss) kicking off at the end of the month, the timing and the financial aspects involved are frustrating. With being forced to postpone or turn-away other jobs in order to catch up on this project, the economic impact on my studio business is also significant. With some of our marketing, album design, and website content that was in development being lost as well, to say we have a lot to catch up on is an understatement.
Now, we have a choice...do we throw up our hands in despair and quit? Absolutely not! While we've had a moment of understandable heartache and have experienced losses of emotional, creative, and economic significance - to stand and wallow in that frustration and loss is useless. From the day this project started, we have been plagued with problem after problem that has drained our financial resources and caused delays and distractions. I have a testimony that stumbling blocks are being placed before us to try to prevent us from our effort to do good things in the world. If just ONE person is truly touched by the positive media we create, it will all be worth it. I know that what we are creating will have an impact, we've already had 2 youth provide us inspiring feedback about how our efforts have touched them and we haven't even released anything yet.
We will carry on. We will continue, and as we redo everything, we will make it even better than it was before!
I need your support and encouragement now more than ever.
I will spend most of the next week first attending to the needs of 2 of my clients who were also impacted by these projects - luckily, with them none of their work was lost, just many hours of my work. Over this next week or so I'll also begin reorganizing each song, and putting together a plan to aggressively attack this project so that as soon as I take care of my clients, I can devote my full energy and resources to this and hit the ground running. We will not take months to rebuild, we will take weeks. We have a marathon to run, but we are going to sprint the whole way, and in spite of that we will make the album even better than before.
I have no idea now when the first single will be out, but it will happen. As for the album, we were shooting for a release at the end of May, and while that would be extremely challenging, I firmly believe that we can have the album out by the end of June, if not before. I have always said, I may not be the smartest, fastest, strongest, or most talented - but I have the work ethic of a mule and the ability to work my way out of pretty much any situation.
I thank you and all who are involved in this project thank you.