Collaboration was decades in the making

Still Life is a Dayton-based home recording project featuring Scott McKinney and Renee Dubis, who were classmates at Centerville High School in the late 1970s and performed together in Borderline in the mid-’80s. CONTRIBUTED
Still Life is a Dayton-based home recording project featuring Scott McKinney and Renee Dubis, who were classmates at Centerville High School in the late 1970s and performed together in Borderline in the mid-’80s. CONTRIBUTED

Old friends reunite for new album

“The Why & How” is the recently released debut album from Dayton-based home recording project Still Life. It features new material written by Scott McKinney or co-written with singer Renee Dubis but, in many ways, it’s the culmination of a lifetime music-making.

McKinney and Dubis were classmates at Centerville High School in the late 1970s and performed together in Borderline in the mid-’80s. However, they hadn’t seen each other in decades when he approached her about collaborating again.

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McKinney recently discussed the musical reunion that led to the new acoustic rock project and the first album release of his musical career.

Do-it-yourself: “I always wanted to make an album. I had been in the studio a couple of times over the years with limited money. I’ve recorded stuff with various people, but nothing ever got off the tape. I decided to do it myself, so I got into digital home recording and started throwing money at it. There was a lot to learn so it took a while. I did some other tracks. I’m not a singer so I had other people come over and sing. I also re-recorded a lot of the Borderline originals as I was learning how to do all of this stuff.”

Starting from scratch: “I hadn’t talked to Renee in 25 years. She lived in Chicago for a while and was in Florida for years and then I heard she was back in town at the end of 2015. I showed up at her place one Sunday morning after church. I asked her if she wanted to work on some music and she said, ‘OK.’ I wanted to do the re-recorded Borderline songs but she said, ‘I don’t want to sing those,’ so we started writing.”

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Finding a groove: “Renee hadn’t been singing for a long time so she had to get her voice back in shape while I was still figuring out my stuff on the recording end. We had to redo a bunch of stuff because I botched something or whatever so it took about four years.”

Musical reunion pt. 1: “Renee means a lot to me. She was a big part of my life for a longtime. It was very cathartic for us to reconcile personally and some of that shows in the songs. All of what I call the syrupy music is on this record. The idea was to get all of that stuff out first and then do a second album with the faster stuff, but we haven’t had a chance to do that yet.”

Artist info: www.stilllife-music.com.

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

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