Close Enough To Taste It

This week I reached a milestone that means a great deal to me.

On Tuesday, I finished recording the final lead vocal for the long-awaited James Dempsey and the Breakpoints album.

There is still work to be done—some backing tracks to record, final mixing and mastering of each song—but all the lead vocal and core instrumental recording is now complete.

This album is the realization of a dream fourteen years in the making.

As you might imagine, all of this has me on a sort of euphoric emotional tilt, bouncing from joy to gratitude to relief to excitement and even fear.

Joy

There’s a real sense of joy towards the end of a long journey when the destination is finally in sight. An exuberant psychic “Land Ho!” rings out through your entire being.

This journey began with writing that very first song fourteen years ago.  I had always hoped to get the chance to record my material and record it well. It’s been amazing to have the opportunity to take the time to produce a fully realized version of each song.

Listening to the rough mixes, I am incredibly happy with the results!  I usually reserve my exclamation points for tweets and exhortations, but wow!  I am absolutely beaming! I can’t wait to get these tracks out into the world!

Gratitude

I am very grateful to everyone who lent their time and talents to the album. Having the privilege of working with some wildly talented musicians on this effort has been humbling—as has been witnessing them add their own magic to the songs I’ve written.

A dozen or so musicians have contributed to the album. Among them are three who perform on the lion’s share of the tracks: Gordie Freedman (@modenaboy) on guitar, Darren Minifie (@minofifa) on bass and our producer Russell Bond (@russell_bond) doing all sorts of percussion and drums.

Hearing the tracks, it’s often the little things that make me smile the most—a guitar riff from Gordie, a subtle bit of bass from Darren, a drum fill laid in by Russell.  For a sampling, you can check out their handiwork on our single, Almost Dropped My iPhone, but just wait until you hear what they’ve done on the rest of the album!

Relief

This milestone also brings with it a sigh of relief—there were a few times when it felt like this project might stop dead in its tracks.

When we first went into the studio back in early 2012, I was very excited to have found a great studio and a great recording engineer and producer: The Annex Studios and Russell Bond. Both already had a long and storied past with Apple and the Mac. (Read more about them here)

Big honkin’ console in Studio A at The Annex Studio

Big honkin’ console in Studio A at The Annex Studios
Photo by Adam Tow

Three months into recording, the studio building’s owner dealt a harsh blow.  The building was sold and The Annex Studios had thirty days to vacate the premises.  After a nearly 40-year history, the beautiful space where we were working on the album was suddenly no more.

Our first single, The Liki Song, was the last thing recorded at The Annex Studios before it was dismantled.

This derailed progress on the album, but much more disheartening was watching our friend Russell go through this major upheaval in business and life. And now, a big part of the relief I feel is knowing that he emerged from that tumultuous time with his well-being intact.

As for the album, after a hiatus, we resumed recording at HowlingPoint Studios, high up in the Santa Cruz mountains.  This is Russell’s in-home studio, a much more intimate space. Gone is the giant mixing console, but now Julius the studio cat keeps us company while we make our music.

I know that I won’t breath that last sigh of relief until the album is up on iTunes, but this week I’m feeling great.

Julius the Studio Cat, an orange tabby

Julius the studio cat, listening to the meow mix.

Excitement and Fear

It’s an understatement to say that this week I’ve been experiencing a lot of excitement and a healthy dose of fear.

This time of year always gets my adrenaline pumping—anticipating the barrage of WWDC announcements, prepping for the big show on Wednesday night (details here), looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.

And now, knowing how close we are getting to release throws all of that into overdrive.  I’m so excited by how it is progressing, it’s hard to contain myself!

But there’s also that fear.  Over the years I’ve written a bunch of code and now I’ve written and recorded a bunch of songs.  What I’ve never done before is promote an album.

My fear is that I will not succeed in getting the word out to the wide world of iOS and Mac developers who might enjoy the fun of this album.  I am very open to thoughts, suggestions or any opportunities to spread the message.  Feel free to tweet them at me or, better yet, email me at info@jamesdempsey.net.

And, of course, when the album is released, if you enjoy it, please don’t keep it to yourself. Let other developers in on the fun.

Almost a Wrap

If you’ve enjoyed these songs in the past, I ask that you please join our mailing list so we can let you know when we cross that finish line and the album is released. I’m really looking forward to getting these songs out into the world, and I think you’re going to enjoy how this all turns out. •

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James Dempsey and the Breakpoints, LIVE near WWDC 2014, Wed 6/4!

James Dempsey and the Breakpoints will be performing Live Near WWDC 2014 on Wednesday, June 4th at 7:00 PM.

The show is just a few blocks from Moscone West at 50 Mason Social House. Admission is free—no cover charge and no ticket required. We provide the music, you buy the drinks.

Join fellow iOS and Mac developers for an evening of humorous and informative songs including favorites such as Hold Me, Use Me, Release MeI Love View and Model View Controller.  And don’t miss the live performance of our latest song, ripped from the headlines, Goto Fail.
(View Full Show Details and Map Here)

Night Of A Thousand Breakpoints
(Well… at least four or five)

This year, the show features a lineup of Mac and iOS indie developer luminaries and maybe even a special guest or two. The Breakpoints include:

They will be joined by the incomparable Victor Alexander (@victoralexander) on slide-advance keyboard.

Stage and lounge at 50 Mason

The joint will be jumpin’ at 50 Mason

No WWDC Ticket Required

The show is open to all—no WWDC ticket required—making it a great event for all developers in town for the week.  There’s not even an NDA, so tell your friends and come on out to James Dempsey and the Breakpoints, Live Near WWDC 2014. •

View Full Show Details and Map Here

ics file Download event to your calendar.

 
For James Dempsey and the Breakpoints news:
Sign up for email updates.
Follow @jamesdempsey on Twitter.
Logo for 50 Mason Social House
50 Mason Social House
50 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 433-5050

March of the Breakpoints — ‘Goto Fail’, Chicago, DC

March was a busy month for James Dempsey and the Breakpoints, with a brand new song and video (ripped from the headlines!) and Breakpoint Jams at CocoaConf Chicago and Washington DC.

Goto Fail

Goto Fail is inspired by actual code, the code that caused a big security issue in iOS and OS X earlier this year.  Not that Apple has a monopoly on SSL issues in 2014 — The recent Heartbleed Bug only drives home the last verse in the song:

Don’t think your own code is some bug-free oasis,
It’s probably screwed up in a couple of places.

With Jonathan Penn (@jonathanpenn) of Rubber City Wizards on guitar, here’s the video of a live version of Goto Fail:


Chicago Breakpoint Jam

Chicago has been the home of a few firsts for James Dempsey and the Breakpoints — the inaugural Breakpoint Jam in 2013 and the debut of a new song “Goto Fail” in 2014.

Not since Murph and the Magictones has a Chicagoland Holiday Inn rocked so hard.

Joining in on the jam in Chicago were a number of familiar faces:


Washington DC Breakpoint Jam

The spring tour rolled on to Washington DC, where we played our set, managing to avoid the world-famous DC gridlock and partisan bickering.

Most of the Chicago crew was also in DC, with Jonathan Penn on guitar and Daniel Steinberg on slide-advance keyboard.

Keynote speaker Mark Dalrymple (@borkware) of Big Nerd Ranch sat in on Modelin’ Man, bringing a trombone solo to the blues tune for the very first time in its long history.


More to Come…

The next Breakpoint Jam will be at CocoaConf San Jose on April 25th.

Also save the date for ‘Live near WWDC 2104’ on Wednesday, June 4th, details to follow!

If you’re a fan, sign up to get email updates.  The next month or two will have some announcements you will not want to miss!

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Breakpoint Jam Atlanta—Virtual Fireworks and iPhone Slide Guitar

The fall tour of the Breakpoint Jam wrapped up at CocoaConf Atlanta with some memorable moments including some iPhone slide guitar and a newly-minted Breakpoint.

Amidst bursts of virtual fireworks, Daniel Steinberg (@dimsumthinking) of Dim Sum Thinking was formally inducted into the Breakpoints.

Daniel joins the fabled group after his stellar performances on slide-advance keyboard as a Conditional Breakpoint during jams across the country this past year.  Congratulations Daniel, thank you and welcome!

Brandon Alexander (@balexander) of Black Pixel brought along his electric guitar and his Mesa Boogie to amp up the jam more than the usual acoustic performance.

The ever-versatile Jonathan Penn (@jonathanpenn) of Rubber City Wizards played guitar, sang backing vocals and played percussion on the cajón—all in his trademark rockstar glasses.

Also sitting in was Conditional Breakpoint Rusty Zarse (@levous) of LeVous and the Atlanta iOS Developers group.  On The Liki Song, Rusty improvised a slide guitar, with his electric in his lap and the edge of his iPhone as the slide. Never have laser-chamfered edges sounded so good!

The performance in Atlanta was the final Breakpoint Jam for the year. We had a lot of fun and would like to thank everyone for the support.  The jams will continue in the new year—we hope to see you at one! •

We are planning Breakpoint Jams at CocoaConf in Chicago, Washington DC, San Jose and Raleigh. Come join the fun and check out the early-bird pricing.

In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to find out about live shows and music releases. Or show your support with a download from iTunes.

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

Some Sweet Atlanta Jam

Breakpoint Jam Boston — Fall Tour Continues

On an October evening conveniently situated between World Series games, the fall Breakpoint Jam tour continued at CocoaConf Boston.

James Dempsey sings while Daniel Pasco, Ben Scheirman and Jonathan Penn play guitar for the Breakpoint Jam at CocoaConf Boston 2013

The Breakpoints were out in full force for this jam playing a set of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs for the crowd:

The evening was also a reunion of old friends with composer Tony Angeles dropping by to sing backing vocals as a Conditional Breakpoint. James and Tony sang together at Penn.

The fall tour rolls on to its last jam of the season this Friday night at CocoaConf Atlanta.

Thanks for all the support so far—we’ve been having fun and hope you have been too! •

In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to find out about live shows and music releases. Or show your support with a download from iTunes.

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

A bit of Breakpoint Jam

Breakpoint Jam Columbus — Fall Tour Begins

The fall Breakpoint Jam tour kicked off last week at CocoaConf Columbus.

A mix of full and conditional breakpoints joined in to play a set of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs for the crowd.

Jonathan Penn (@jonathanpenn) of Rubber City Wizards was inducted as a full Breakpoint following his stellar performance at the Live Near WWDC 2013 show in June.  In Columbus, he donned some shades and jammed on guitar and backing vocals.

The jam also included a few Conditional Breakpoints—folks who jam in the pickup band when they happen to be in town.

Nathan Sjoquist (@nathansjoquist) was on hand, taking a break from iOS development for some guitar and backing vocals.

And finally, on the all-important slide-advance keyboard was keynote speaker extraordinaire, Daniel Steinberg (@dimsumthinking) of Dim Sum Thinking.

The Breakpoint Jam fall tour rolls on to CocoaConf Boston later this month and then CocoaConf Atlanta in November.

Thanks for all the support in Columbus!  And if we’re coming to a town near you, I hope you can join us in Boston and Atlanta!

In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to find out about live shows and music releases. Or show your support with a download from iTunes.

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

A bit of Breakpoint Jam

Breakpoints Live Near WWDC 2013, Wed 6/12! Save the date!

Update Jun 9, 2013: Daniel Pasco will be joining the Breakpoints on trumpet and guitar!

I’m excited to announce that James Dempsey and the Breakpoints will be performing Live Near WWDC 2013 on Wednesday, June 12th at 7:00 PM.

The show is just a few blocks from Moscone West at 50 Mason Social House. Admission is free—no cover charge and no ticket required. We provide the music, you buy the drinks.

Join fellow iOS and Mac developers for an evening of humorous and informative songs including favorites such as Hold Me, Use Me, Release MeI Love View and Model View Controller.  And don’t miss the live performance of our latest single, that modern tale of momentary loss and redemption, Almost Dropped My iPhone.

Stage and lounge at 50 Mason

The joint will be jumpin’ at 50 Mason

Night Of A Thousand Breakpoints
(Well… at least five or six)

This year, the show features a lineup of Mac and iOS indie developer luminaries and maybe even a special guest or two. The Breakpoints include:

They will be joined by the incomparable Victor Alexander (@victoralexander) on slide-advance keyboard.

No WWDC Ticket Required

The show is open to all—no WWDC ticket required—making it a great event for all developers in town for the week.  There’s not even an NDA, so tell your friends and come on out to James Dempsey and the Breakpoints, Live Near WWDC 2013. •

ics file Download event to your calendar.

 
For show updates and James Dempsey and the Breakpoints news:
Sign up for the band newsletter.
Follow @jamesdempsey on Twitter.
Logo for 50 Mason Social House
50 Mason Social House
50 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 433-5050

Almost Dropped My iPhone Available on iTunes

Cover art for 'Almost Dropped My iPhone' by James Dempsey and the Breakpoints. A black and white photo showing an iPhone in midair.

Almost Dropped My iPhone, the second single by James Dempsey and the Breakpoints, is now available in worldwide release on iTunes.

Inspired by actual events, Almost Dropped My iPhone captures the full emotional range of this modern tale of momentary loss and redemption.

Listen to an iTunes preview of this fun song that gives voice to an experience shared by millions of people around the world.

Here’s what people are saying about Almost Dropped My iPhone:

“★★★★★ – Fun song about that instant of observed panic when your digital life flashes before your eyes.  Encompasses coffeehouse acoustic folk to barroom guitar licks in just under 3 minutes.  Go ahead, give it a try.  It’ll put a smile on your face, and you might catch yourself humming it later.”
Common Rob

“★★★★★ – Who among us hasn’t been there? James Dempsey and the Breakpoints capture the moment beautifully, with the musical playfulness we’ve come to expect. A great and worthy addition to your Breakpoints collection!”
illium

Almost Dropped My iPhone is available on iTunes.
For more details about the song, liner notes are available here.

Breakpoint Jam Dallas

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

The spring tour continued in Dallas with our second Breakpoint Jam.

There was a mix of ‘conditional breakpoints’ old and new joining in to play a set of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs for the crowd:

Next jam is next week at CocoaConf San Jose!

In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to find out about live shows and music releases.

Nathan Sjoquist, Ben Scheirman, Nathan Eror, Daniel Pasco and James Dempsey at microphones, with instruments, performing.

Dallas Breakpoint Jam with Nathan Sjoquist, Ben Scheirman,
Nathan Eror, Daniel Pasco and James Dempsey
Photo by Solomon Klein

Chicago Breakpoint Jam Recap

A jar of Breakpoint Jam

Last Friday night at CocoaConf Chicago, we had a lot of fun at the first Breakpoint Jam.

Thank you to those who stepped up as ‘conditional breakpoints’ for the evening to play a set of James Dempsey and the Breakpoints songs for the crowd:

The next jam will be at CocoaConf Dallas in early April.  I hope to see you there!

In the meantime, sign up for our newsletter to find out about live shows and music releases.