When compiling songs for this EP, I wasn’t only looking for songs I liked. I wanted the songs to have a central theme. I’ve said before that albums are like a time-stamp of when they’re made, and I wanted to document a lot of the positive change that’s been happening to me over the last two years. Together, these songs chronicle positive experiences and lessons from a specific time in my life.
Originally, I had a picture of just the piano and guitar for my album art, but for the final version I added the ferret. Why a ferret? Well, my previous CD had a picture of a dog on it, which was based on this picture of my friend’s dog smiling at the camera while I performed.
One of my other friends owns ferrets, and she always said I should put her ferret on an album. I wasn’t going to initially, but since she’s moved back to town, she’s been to just about every one of my shows, so she’s earned it. I’m actually really happy with how it turned out. Her ferrets are pretty photogenic, and they even have an Instagram.
My previous EP was professionally printed using Copycats, a media duplication company in Minneapolis, but this time around I decided to go the home-made route. I burned the CDs from my laptop, and for the artwork I used this company called Avery. They allow you to upload your design onto their template, and with their custom printing paper I made CD stickers and CD inserts. This was perfect for me because I knew that most people wouldn’t buy CDs, but a few people would love them. I could accommodate those few without having to order a lot of product I didn’t need, and I can always make more later.
This is my third independently released singer-songwriter EP, and I’m always trying to improve. I had these songs professionally mastered by a friend of mine, and distributed through CDBaby. That means they are available on Spotify and iTunes as well. I hope you enjoy this.
All songs written, produced, and performed by Luke Smith.
Mastered by Anssi Tenhunen.
Artwork by Phillip Lasfroh.
My first EP was released in 2015. I recorded it in my parents’ basement with affordable equipment and my own limited tracking skills. It’s not great, but I have a fondness for it. It’s a timestamp of my skill level at the time, both in writing and producing. The album art is a shot of me playing at the Contented Cow, a bar in Northfield I frequented. It’s a perfect cover because back then I was playing at the Cow about twice a month and the regulars were constantly subjected to my originals.
My second singer-songwriter release was in 2016. I wanted to expand on the sounds of the original so I added MIDI piano and strings. I also layered in electric guitar and harmonica. I was happy with the outcome and decided the artwork should be more professional. I got in touch with an artist I know and gave him a picture to work off.
I was very pleased with the outcome. High & Dry was sold on homemade CDs, but for Fade Away I got them professionally printed. I used CopyCats, a CD and DVD duplication company in Minneapolis. I opted for the cheaper, paper sleeves rather than jewel cases.
The sales have not been great. It took over a year for me to break even on the cost of printing and artwork, but I think it was worth it. The important part for me is that I created a piece of art I’m proud of and have a tangible way of sharing with others.
I’m currently working on a new EP and will be releasing it in two parts. Part one will be available digitally on January 18th, and part two later in March. It’s being recorded in my home studio, and I’m utilizing musical skills and production techniques I learned in school. Here is the first single:
If you’re looking to record and release your own music, I highly encourage you to do so. It’s incredibly gratifying, and it doesn’t matter if your first recordings aren’t great. You’ll get better as you practice, just like with your instrument. And it’s okay if the first song you publish song doesn’t get a lot of traction. Take it from someone who’s released albums on Facebook with only two likes, the joy is in the making.