How I Made My Self-Produced EP

For those who don’t know me, I am Shane Foxx, an independent singer-songwriter from France. I am an outsider. And today I’m going to tell you my story about my original music and how I ultimately made a CD of my personal songs, exactly the way I wanted it to be.

sane + zakFirst, you have to know that I don’t come from a musical family. Four years ago, I started going to some concerts because one of my friends really liked independent music. He made me discover a whole new universe. I fell in love with music at this time. I enjoyed watching the bands performing live, everybody was very nice, and the musicians made it look so easy. I especially liked a local unknown band called Coming Soon. They had a 14-year-old drummer, Leo Bear Creek, who sang some tunes on the ukulele at the beginning of their show. I was very impressed and envious and I collected all their self-produced albums.

Soon after this, I met Zak Laughed, a 12 year-old local singer-songwriter. He encouraged me to start playing the ukulele too. That is how, 3 years ago, I bought a ukulele and taught myself how to play it while covering the songs of Zak Laughed, Coming Soon, and some other unknown bands, as well as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash…etc. It wasn’t long before I started to think, if they could write songs, why not me? So I started writing and composing my first songs and it turned out to be fairly easy for me. I naturally chose to write in the English language because I was shy and I didn’t want my friends and family to understand the lyrics. Also because English songs were the kind of music I was listening to. My parents never got involved in my music. In fact, they are not interested in my music, so they don’t even listen to me. It’s something I’m really glad and thankful about, because it helped me stay down to Earth, and they never discouraged me from continuing.

It wasn’t long before I made a YouTube account to upload some covers and share my humble videos with my mates. The nice comments from the community encouraged me to continue. I also started saving to buy a guitar. I finally bought one that was perfect for me, taught myself how to play it, and never stopped writing songs, having jams with my friends, and covering my favorite music on YouTube. To be honest, I didn’t like my songs much. I always preferred playing others’ songs. I also did some gigs in my city.

One year ago, I thought I had enough songs that were worth including on an EP. For those who don’t know, an EP (Extended-Play) contains too many songs to be considered as a single, but not enough to be called an album. I had plenty of songs to make an album, but I wanted to select the best ones only. Also, I saw my friends making EPs before producing whole albums, so this provided a good example to follow. Plus, albums are so much more work!!

By not being signed onto any label, and by not having a manager or anyone else that would restrict my creativity, I was totally free to express myself and ensure my lyrics were not censored. I never would have accepted changes to my songs anyway, although I am aware they will shock a lot of people. I needed to tell those stories, somehow, somewhere.

theou + shaneI asked my dear friend Theou Mounoukou to help me record and produce the EP. He is an amazing musician, I admire him so much, and I knew that I could trust him to follow my ideas about how I wanted the music to sound. From start to finish, it took about three months and it was a tremendous amount of work. I had to select the songs, work with Theou to arrange them (because of course they were pretty raw), and then we recorded them with Theou’s home-studio equipment. I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to record my EP with Theou, because the sound was as clean as it could be (considering it’s recorded at home). I never was worried about the quality of the tracks, because many amazing artists that I admire such as Stanley Brinks, Daniel Johnston..etc produce great lo-fi albums. It was the sound I was searching for, to be honest. In the end, it had to be something very humble, very true, that fit my goals and my personality.

We recorded all the songs during the summer 2010, as I was very worried about my imminent voice change. Usually we recorded my voice and instrument at the same time (many artists would tell you that’s a sin) because it captured my emotions, and was much easier for me. Then we recorded all the additional tracks. We did some try-outs. My friend Sleipnir recorded his parts on one duet song and sent them to us via Internet! Mixing and mastering the recorded tracks took a lot of time. Theou did the most of it, while I gave him my opinion on what I liked. I’m very blessed to have had Theou included in this project because, without him, nothing would have been possible.

As the EP was being finished, I created the cover design. It was ‘my baby’ so I had to do it myself!! I was satisfied with the self-portrait drawing I used because it expresses the feelings of the songs very well. As for the order of the songs, we looked at the instruments in them, and their key, so the listener would not feel like they are all the same. Here again, I’m probably not the best judge about my songs because I don’t especially like them and I think they all sound the same (but after all it’s my style/signature). We eventually settled on a good order.

Ep coverFor the title, my EP is called The Last Memories of My Youth for several reasons. It is indeed a big shout-out to my friend Zak Laughed who influenced me a lot through these years. His album is called The Last Memories of My Old House – I suggest you get it!! The title is significance for another reason. As I mentioned earlier, I needed to make this EP before my voice changed, because the songs are quite ‘old’, as I wrote them between 2007 and 2010. I really wanted to have a proper souvenir of my treble voice, something I could keep like a family picture, something personal and beautiful. Music is very important to me now and I was afraid I would lose my voice and be unable to sing in the future.

This EP symbolizes a new start in my life. I can turn the page and start a new chapter, looking forward to better things. I will no longer get bothered by some things in my past that I wrote about. Now I hope to obtain a banjo, a piano, or a violin and teach myself how to have fun with them. I’ll give myself some years to mature and to write new songs, and maybe in the future with my grown-up voice, I’ll record an album – which will be very influenced by Chris Garneau or Scott Matthew music I am sure.

I am no longer afraid to lose my voice because I’ll always keep singing no matter what. Before it happens, I’m gonna record another home-made CD with covers of my favorite artists and it will be available for free on my website. I will also continue uploading covers on YouTube on my personal channel or on my music collaboration channel every Tuesday.

To conclude I would say that I’m not really an outsider. I just followed my dreams the way I wanted. I wouldn’t accept signing a contract. There are many young independent artists like me out there. I could name my mates Eric Bradford, Robert Borden, Jessarae, Lex Lamber (and his band: Throw Television), Luke Paul Jackson, Ryan Cassata, and many others! My message to every young singer who wants to get started is that no matter the number of fans you have, if you are not signed onto a label, if you don’t have a vocal teacher, or anything… as long as you have a passion, just go for it! Nothing should stop you!

The article above was written by Shane Foxx himself. You can find out more about him and his EP by visiting his website and/or reading the exclusive interview he gave for theskykid.com in June , 2010.

11 COMMENTS

  1. For every 1,000 wannabees in the world there is only one young man like Shane! He has proven to all of us that you don’t have to swim upstream to be popular. Shane has a great following of music lovers who recognize not only Shane’s musical talent but the very fact that he is an artist who is standing alone not following fame, fortune or popularity. His greatest desire is to be expressive and share with the world his impression of life through his music. Knowing Shane as I do is a real pleasure because we have become friends as well as a myself being a follower of his You-Tube video productions. You will soon see a follow up article on my site if for no other reason than to show respect for his passion for music, his creativity, and his very sensible approach to music in general.

    Skykid don’t be surprised if this comment actually becomes the conclusion to my article not yet published and thanks for sharing Shane with the world. My complements to Shane for a very well thought out and assembled group of thoughts that help create this wonderful article.

  2. I looked up the definition of outsider. It’s someone who is excluded from or not a member of a group or mainstream. I would even add that it’s someone who doesn’t follow the crowd just to be cool or liked.They do things their way and are proud of it. They have a mind of their own and do not change because they think it’s what others want or to fit in. I believe in this respect, you are an outsider. But outsiders are usually very creative and want to be respected for their work and way of thinking. They think that to be satisfied with their creative work is more important than to be popular and cave in to the main stream.
    I am amazed reading this post. I have learned more about you and it’s all good. You are never selfish and give most of the credit to your friend. I certainly thank him for being the person he is, to help you put your music out for all of us to enjoy.
    I don’t want my comment longer than your post, but i could write a book about you and how wonderful you are and i don’t think you even know it. For me, being American and speaking English, the most amazing thing is how well you speak and write the English language. This post is a perfect example. It is so well written and thought out. English is a tough language to learn. You are amazing at your knowledge.
    I love this cd. I cherish it and when you do have a voice change, you will still be the same artist, with the same creativity, the only difference will be a different key to sing in.
    And i am very excited you are going to put some covers out there for us. I know you say free, but I think you should at least take donations.
    I hope i didn’t get off the subject too much, just know this is a brilliant post and any young singer would do well reading this and following your example The artists you mentioned are all great and i follow nearly all of them. Music is life. It really can get you through so much
    and you are a fine musician, but an even greater person.

  3. Not sure if my first comment made it up. You are an amazing individual Shane. I will be ordering your EP and please look for that IZ cd I promised you before Christmas season starts. We are proud of you and I am proud to call you a friend
    Take care
    Lonewolf

    • Hello there Lonewolf,

      Just wanted to say that all comments make it up. Its just the policy of theskykid.com that they have to be manually approved first .

  4. I will be ordering your EP soon Shane and sending you the IZ cd. Your will and independence is something to be greatly admired. I am proud to know you and prouder still to call you a friend

    Lonewolf

  5. Excellent article and it actually seems to spark the motivation of others to begin enjoying and perhaps take part in making their music. Having gotten your EP, it’s safe to say that your dedication and will to put yourself out on the line for everyone to enjoy is abundant, and that you can easily make it much more than just a project, and take it as far as you want, even to a full time career. Thanks and keep on making your music.

  6. Ever since I first met Shane – I have been admiring him on his will to do things his own way – to the things he enjoyed . I never know much about the independent scene out there – the ones that have inspired his creativity and now reading the wonderful article he wrote I see that he is not shy of giving back – inspiring others on his own. I

  7. A beautiful story of a stubborn teenager. You can be proud of you Shane. I also recommend your EP of course. Do continue on your path, you are unique Shane !

  8. This is so awesome and inspiring – you are awesome and inspiring. You have acomplished more than you know. You have overcome much to be where you are and you have shared your music and your love of music with your fans and your friends. I am fortunate that you have done this – it is because of you that I have rediscovered my love of music and discovered so many new and amazing musicians. I am glad that this EP symbolizes the start of your new life – there is no time lke the present to start fresh and new. Thank you for all that you have done and all that you will do – you are awesome. <3

    Ron

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here