Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The RPM Challenge

The saying, "In for a penny, in for a pound" refers to the fact that a criminal in the UK would get the same sentence no matter what amount he stole. So why go small? Beatnik Turtle took the same attitude in tackling the RPM Challenge. Only in it's second year, the challenge is for bands that sign up to write, record, and produce an album of at least 10 songs or 35 minutes in 28 days, during the month of February. It's an idea that comes from National Novel Writing Month, which challenges writers to write a 50,000 word novel in November.

We at Beatnik Turtle figured since we were doing the Song of the Day, why not try to meet the RPM Challenge too, which seemed almost reasonable in comparison. It turned out to be a lot harder than we thought, but a very satisfying project. The result is our latest album, "All In A Day's Work." We're very happy with how the album came out, and we really enjoy listening to it. You can hear the album by going to the main page and clicking on the "latest album" link. It will be for sale on all of the digital music stores as soon as we finish the artwork and upload it to CDBaby.

Although we started the project in earnest with only 19 days to go, we completed the album in time, mailing it by noon on March 1st, 2007 to the RPM Headquarters. We managed to write 13 songs, and the finished album was just over 35 minutes. We decided, since we always write about "whatever we feel like" for Song of the Day, that we'd add a theme: all of the songs had to be about working. The released album has three additional songs that weren't written in that month, for a total of 16 songs.

The reason this turned out to be difficult for us is that we had high standards for the songs for the album, and we even left one on the cutting room floor. (Don't worry, you'll get a chance to hear it at We also added a lot more parts than the average Song of the Day song, using four different lead singers, and added all of the horns that we could. I even was able to get out one of my favorite horns, my bass clarinet, and add it on two songs. But there's also trumpet, trombone, saxophones, clarinet, and flute parts. We also have a huge host of backup singers, including Cheyenne and Carrie, who have been helping us on Song of the Day.

The workhorses again are Jason and Tom, who did all kinds of mixdown, incidental parts, guitar parts, background vocals, and the "finishing process" for the album. They didn't get a lot of sleep in late February. Not that Jason expected much sleep, as he has a newborn on top of everything else.

We'd do this again in a heartbeat, and I wouldn't be surprised if we decided to do it next year. We are going to be attending the listening party for it, and meet the other bands who participated in the RPM Challenge that are located in Chicago.

We hope you enjoy the new album! Go ahead and give a listen at the Beatnik Turtle homepage, at the Latest Album link. Coming up in another entry very soon is a story about one of the songs on the album: Mason Rocket (Spy Extraordinare), track 4.