The Sharptone Story (Pt.1)

“Death & Discovery at the Wade Studio” 

First off, let me just take the time to exhale & say this is news that has been incredibly hard to keep under wraps for what seems like ages! (But realistically has only been a few months.) So please excuse the personal gratification and enthusiasm I’m about the spew over the next few posts. 

The easiest way to explain the significance of this & all that it means for the band & I is to give you the crash course of our history & the path we took to get here. If you’ve read past entries you probably already know that the band started out primarily as a hobby and a outlet more than anything else for me & things grew organically over time.

We played our first show show together at the start of 2013 & soon after that it was clear that this ambition was no longer just a hobby but a investment & a commitment for  ourselves in the true pursuit of  a music career. Consequent months were filled with lots of trial & error. “Bad music, lineup changes, empty venues & self doubt” about sums up the inception of Across the Atlantic.  But all that began to change, the first time we went to Orlando.

Undoubtedly, the single biggest event or decision I can attribute to the inital success of this band was recording with Andrew Wade.

Making the decision to record with Wade always seemed unrealistic. I remember looking up his contact information and thinking surely we won’t get a response… We got a response & were immediately forwarded over to his agent. Then I thought surely he’s not going to have the time to fit us in his schedule during our Spring Break… Again I was wrong. It was only then that this apparent “Pipe Dream” actually seemed like it might have a real shot at being made a reality.

After discovering that recording with Andrew was actually a option the decision to go to Florida was unanimous. Undoubtedly, this was our #1 choice of studio in the world. We briefly thought about staying closer to home as most bands do- Of course, there were great producers and engineers in our reigon but no one that we felt suited us and our style of music as well as Andrew. So we decided it was the Wade Studio or bust.

The biggest concern and challenge for us now was funding the investment. Shocked by the opportunity and intimidated by the cost my focus immediately shifted to what had to be done to pay for all this. Wade already had a extremely established name & track record for putting out many of the most successful acts in the genre, so we anticipated the cost we just never really anticipated actually how we would actually gather up the money. We immediately started hustling in anyway possible. Selling merch, picking up extra hours, taking on loans. Whatever it took to make it happen, it was game-time.

I remember the build up & anticipation to actually recording was so short it seemed like we were nowhere close to being ready to record a song, let alone 4. Regardless, eventually the day came & somehow someway we made the money required. All 5 of us squeezed into my Mistubishi Lancer and we began the 16 hour trek to Orlando. We drove direct on limited sleep but I wasn’t tired. Mile marker after mile marker I became more and more nervous. I actually had hoped a spontaneous hurricane would just flood the road or stop the trip but alas we arrived in front of the studio. I was absolutely nauseous. I can still vividly remember parking the car, turning it off and literally just sitting there scared out of my mind, so many emotions so many doubts. This was the producer responsible for recording so many great bands, what if we weren’t ready? What if we got thrown out & had to drive back to Texas empty handed?

 Reluctantly, we got out of the car and rang the door bell.

Promptly & nonchalantly Wade answered. This was it. I remember his initial demeanor being quiet but confident. Immediately it was business, We showed him our demos, talked briefly about the band, the direction of the music and off to work he went…

Keep in mind, those songs were absolutely terrible with zero structure- we had a song with 5 bridges and 1 chorus…

Somehow, someway Wade had managed to piece together absolute trash and formulate it into pretty damn good songs. The instrumentation was drastically better, melodies were much more fluid and overall for the first time ever these songs actually had life. All that was left was recording the vocals & putting actual lyrics over it all.

You know how sometimes people say in fights or in much more appropriate intense moments in general they just zone out and cant recall what they did or anything that happens they just “black out” . Well, this was my blackout moment, for sure.

I remember two things being sweaty & being hungry. But other than that OUT.

After vocals were done I remember listening to the songs off that EP for the very first time in Andrews studio & being completely overwhelmed. It’s hard to describe the transformation of the band that happened over those 2 weeks we were in Orlando but for the first time ever it felt like we now had a true direction & foundation to start building from.

We came back home & studied everything we could from our experience with Wade. From the recording techniques to the formula of the songs & the valuable insight he had shared in marketing the band. The months after recording were probably some of the most prominent in terms of growth inside the band. Not only this but we now had a EP we could be proud of! We paid a professional artist & had true casing and we were surprised at how well it preformed after being released.

Over the years we’ve made to trek to Wades a total of 5 times. To work on various things from new albums to cover songs and still after every experience we are always left with invaluable takeaways and information that we have used to make ourselves that much better and that much more prepared for the next time. He constantly has pushed us to improve & helped us find a identity and pace that has kept us as relevant & productive as we could hope at this stage in our career.

The relationship we have now is still very much collaborative. We are fortunate in that his vision is so well-aligned with ours that we can often entrust him to take all creative liberties necessary to shape our songs into their best form. But we also have the respect & comfort with one another to openly discuss and debate changes that may or may not be best for the songs.

I cannot tell you how many times he’s reworked a melody or we’ve brainstormed a new lyric that makes a song 1000X better than previously.

As far as Wade’s significance to the record deal & the partnership with Sharptone, I can tell you this. Without him we would of never gotten the offer, period. He is the equivalent of what 6th member to this band would be & he’s been through enough with us over the years that I truly believe we could not of asked for a better producer/engineer/advisor or friend than Andrew Wade.

In my opinion, the new album is a capstone representing not only the evolution of our band but the evolution of our working relationship with Andrew throughout the years. Over a month of hard work was put into this record & I can only hope that it can give back a sliver of the credit that is deserved to Andrew Wade & do some justice to the support he is given us for the better part of 5 years.