How “Real Thing” Was Born

When HIVE first was formed we created a Spotify playlist so that all 5 of us could share the songs that we love and thought could be a good fit for us to cover. It’s a GREAT list of tunes and it helped us to get to know each other’s musical tastes.

Lisa had added Real Thing by Tune-Yards to our playlist and we all agreed that it was a perfect song for HIVE to cover, both musically and lyrically. So Lisa arranged the hell out of it and we were off to the races. Everyone had their Real Thing parts learned prior to our first rehearsal retreat at Sea Ranch along with a hand full of other songs to sing together. This Real Thing arrangement has some serious twists and turns that took a lot of work to make shine, but we were feeling really good about it after just our first session together.

We knew that having a single and music video was a top priority in our first few months together and decided that Real Thing was a strong song for our first release. We also knew that in order to get it done we would need to record it where we each live and not wait until our next retreat where we’d all be together to record it.

Here’s where the story gets technical for you audio-files out there (and if you’re not into the tech details, just skip this paragraph)…. First Lisa provided everyone with the midi files of her written arrangement which she originally did in Finale. We kicked off recording at my home studio, Raze The Maze Studio, with me singing a scratch lead vocal, which just means it’s meant to be a placeholder for others to sing along with. Then I engineered a session with Lisa singing her bass parts, all tracked in the program LogicX. I then uploaded our files to our Google Drive so everyone else had access to them. Christina and Nina were next. They downloaded what Lisa and I recorded and then recorded their parts along with the support of Christina’s husband, Jesse who engineered the session down at their studio in Los Angeles. Next it was Courtney’s turn to lay down the vocal percussion in Salt Lake City, Utah which she did at her friend’s studio. Lastly I went back in and recorded a final lead part and we were good to go on tracking! So all of this was done for free at our own studios or with friends who love and support our work which is a huge cost savings from having to go into a professional studio for tracking. (Note: If you’re interested in more detail on our recording process just email us at and ask - we’re happy to share more with you or answer any questions you may have).

We then sent off the files to Brianne Holland in Los Angeles for mixing. After just 2 rounds of providing notes and edits we had our final mix. The last step in creating the track was sending the final mix to Piper Payne in Oakland for mastering. Real Thing was now recorded and ready to hear… but wait, there’s more.

HIVE’s own Nina Kasuya then handled uploading the track to DistroKid for digital distribution so it could be listened to on whatever your favorite platform is (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.).

At our second retreat at my home back in October, we shot the music video. 2 people at a time went into my studio, one to be filmed and one to work the camera, take notes on best video takes and also play the recorded track through speakers for the performer to sing along with. We used just a plain white backdrop, a few lighting rigs, and Courtney’s iPhone 8 to shoot the video.

Over the next few weeks I created both a teaser video with a 30 second clip of the song to let folks know that the video was coming soon, and also edited together the full official music video. Both feature the beautiful logo that HIVE’s Courtney Jensen created.

I developed a full publicity timeline and the whole group each did their part to make sure that people knew the song was coming. We got quotes from prominent members of our musical community, reached out to blogs for reviews, and shared far and wide on social media.

The Real Thing video and single officially released back on Nov. 11. Now that track one is out, we’re gearing up for our 2nd single and video. The next will be a cover of Laura Mvula’s Overcome, also arranged by Lisa, featuring Nina on lead. Get a taste of what is to come here:

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