Seegers Explains How to Make a CD

As he listening to the radio when he was young, Jesse Seegers ‘05 wondered why the volume on the radio always seemed to stay the same; it would never get noticeable quieter or louder. Seegers discovered the cause of this phenomenon was compression, which made the loud parts sound quieter and the quiet sounds become louder. Throughout his Abbot Scholar presentation on Tuesday night, Seegers discussed his relationship to music, as well as the trials and tribulations of making a CD. Seegers wrote original songs for the CD. He performed the songs, recorded them, and packaged them into a professional CD. Seegers finished composing the songs for CD in winter term. Seegers incorporated varying genres of music into his CD, including classical music, rock, acoustic, electronic, and ambient. To give the audience insight into the music-making process, Seegers presented audio clips from his song “Down to the Bayou” at each different stage of composition. Seegers pointed out how each stage built upon the previous one. Seegers made a guitar effects pedal to process the sounds on his CD. During his presentation, Seegers demonstrated a series of warbled chords, followed by high-pitched guitar chords that sounded similar to those used by Jimi Hendrix. His demonstration showed how the effects pedal could distort the sound from his guitar and give a radically different effect. In addition to writing the songs, Seegers also recorded, edited, mixed, and produced his album. “Recording is probably the most tedious step,” he said. Seegers spent many hours working with equipment at Graves Hall and at WPAA, as well as with his own personal equipment. Seegers said that every individual part of a song should work well on its own, as well as when incorporated into a complete song. During the process of producing, the sounds of the song begin to blend together. Seegers said that in the production process “the song goes from raw to polished.” At the end of the presentation, the audience listened to four of Seegers’s songs from his CD. The first was “I try,” sang by Julie Min ‘05. The second, “Simple Memories,” featured Nathan Greenberg ‘05 on vocals. The third song was “Goren Jams,” and the fourth was “Down to the Bayou.” For the last song, Seegers played the guitar on stage. Seegers said of his experience, “The most fun part of my project was probably getting positive feedback on the songs after the first few rounds of mixing; I mean really honest positive feedback, when you can tell someone digs what you’ve done.  The most challenging part is probably producing, because after the tenth hour of listening to the same 30-second segment of a song, everything starts to sound the same and your ears themselves feel tired.” As for his future in music, Seegers said, “I do plan to do much more writing, recording, and producing in the future.  I have an internship at a recording studio for the summer, where I plan to learn as much as I can, and as soon as I settle into college next fall I plan on starting some kind of band or performing group. I’m not sure exactly what genre yet, but I’m open-minded.