Data backup and protection is typically seen as a must for businesses, but they aren't the only ones that have a lot to lose when it comes to data. Musicians, videographers, photographers and other professionals depend on data protection to keep their passions (and careers) running smoothly.
Comasoft, an electronic pop-rock band from Chicago, goes to great lengths to protect the data behind its music. Band members Jay Ramirez (vocals), Chris Palmerin (drums), Adam Savin (guitar), Chris Polinski (bass) and Jimmy Wineman (keyboards) produce a lot of data throughout the creative and recording process. And it's all important since there's no telling where a riff or early demo will lead.
Comasoft deals mostly with audio files, which the band members constantly create and record on their mobile devices.
“These files are paramount for us,” Ramirez says. “We wouldn’t be a band without them.”
To write new music, the band begins by brainstorming and recording ideas individually on their iPhones, computers or iPads before sharing those files with the rest of the band for inspiration. Ramirez says he sings melodies and lyrics into his iPhone throughout the day and passes those files on to Palmerin, who creates beats to mesh with the vocals. After trading the audio files, the band members will get together to create demo material in their home studio before paying for professional studio time.
Throughout the creative process, the band members save ideas and demo tracks that they've recorded individually to external hard drives or wireless backup devices.
“You have to back up just in case you’re working on a session that’s important,” Palmerin explains. “You can’t really afford to jeopardize that.”
The band doesn't take any chances. Comasoft's last record took so long to mix that at one point, when the producer stepped out of the studio, Ramirez copied all 110 gigabytes of audio files onto his personal hard drive because he was anxious it wouldn't be backed up properly.
It's second nature to the band to save audio files to an external source, but Comasoft takes its data protection a step further by making multiple copies of every audio file.
“Backup is definitely important, especially in a recording studio, because that’s where our money is,” Ramirez says. “We can’t afford to lose files if something goes wrong. We always want to have a backup of a backup.”
Technology isn't foolproof — and things can, and will, go wrong. At the recording studio last summer, the band dealt with several software upgrade issues. Their audio program could still open old projects, but none of the plugins, such as reverbs or delays, carried over with the software update. The problem? The band wanted to use the same sounds in its new music, so Ramirez and his bandmates had to sift through backups of old projects, find the specific sounds they wanted and transfer audio to the new tracks. It took some work, but they were able to recover the sounds.
Biggest Data Disaster
When it comes to protecting digital memories such as photos and music, people often learn the hard way. Count Comasoft's vocalist among them.
“The first time we recorded a new album as a band, I lost everything we recorded one night," says Ramirez. “Even our producer, who has some intense system of backup that bounces between three to four different hard drives, still loses some stuff from time to time.”
A sound backup method is essential to the band's livelihood, and its members have learned to cover their own backs.
“I think the name of the game is to live and learn,” Ramirez says. “If there’s any way to circumvent pulling out your hair and crying that you lost something amazing, do it. You could always use one more drive.”
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