Tropic Bombs (sort of a reggae, funk, classic rock, hard rock hybrid) just dropped their record today. I was in charge of sweetening, mixing, mastering and authoring the record. It was hard work but very rewarding and the record is just awesome.
Essentially, the record tracks were recorded at the singer’s studio on a Roland VS-2480. After the tracking was done, we brought the board over to my studio and dumped the stems into Pro Tools and started chopping away. Not a whole lot had to be done on the guitars other than a little eq’ing and some compression. Most of the clean guitar parts used a similar delay and reverb patch that helped keep things sounding consistent between tracks. The Bass was recorded purely D.I. so we built a custom patch using Ampeg SVX which really helped the bass come alive. We added a little overdrive as well to warm the tone up a bit as well. The bass was recorded with a p-bass so the combination really made for a cool tone. Drums were a bit of a challenge at first but after some ducking of toms and some eq sweeps they turned out great. The kit used was only a 4 piece so that cut down significantly on the clutter and extra noise. Vocals used the same preset patches: 7 band eq, compression, a little tube saturation for warmth, delay and reverb. The vocals are hot and airy while still maintaining they’re aggressiveness in harder rock parts.
The mastering took a few passes before everything was sewn up, and after track order was sewn up the final product was a gleaming success. Check out Tropic Bombs when you get a chance or download the album on iTunes. You won’t be disappointed.
Recently recieved an email that a piece (music) I wrote for my friends Cannes Young Lion entry was featured today on AdvertisingServed . Check it out here! http://on.be.net/LuBhA1
It was very cool to be a part of this project. Congratulations to everyone involved.
29 years ago today, I was born. Not a big deal except I just realized I began recording and producing audio since I was 11 – pretty much 66% of my life. It almost feels like audio/music has been a close childhood friend that has grown up and experienced things with me. So cool.
Not an important blog post, I know. Just kind of interesting/touching.
These dudes are having a great time.
The recording process is what you make of it. Depending on your preparation as an artist, and the knowledge of the studio personnel, a session can get done in record time (and under budget)…or can be a mess. I’ve had the opportunity to see both, and everything in between. Here are some quick tips that although seem obvious, are the most overlooked (and the most common causes) of inefficiencies in the studio. I always share these with my friends, fellow musicians, and friends who operate studios.
1. Bring extra supplies.
Although it seems like the most obvious thing ever, bringing extra supplies to a session is a must. I’ve been involved in producing some pretty big projects that would commonly go over by an hour or two per session because the musicians couldn’t remember to bring supplies. Nothing is worse than recording drums, breaking a stick and realizing you have none left. Even worse, I’ve seen drummers only have one stick left and it completely affects the way they play. They tend to get plenty more conservative because they don’t want to break that last stick. This is not what you want in your recording. This takes me to my next tip…
The cover of Derek Siver's (CdBaby) new book, "Anything You Want"
it was written by the founder of CDBaby. If you’re a musician and aren’t aware of CDBaby, then you are truly missing out. It has and continues to revolutionize the selling of music for independent artists for years, and it’s digital and physical distribution programs are awesome! The founder of CDBaby is Derek Sivers, who in his book “Anything You Want”, discusses his path to entrepreneurial success and the failures that he has “accomplished” on his path.
If you are an artist in any form, a business owner, an entrepreneur, a creative, or just a person looking to build their personal brand – I highly recommend his book.
If you’re a musician, I more than want to encourage you to sign your music up with CDBaby.com. It’s just as fun working with them as it is getting royalty check from them every week. Truly one of the best in the independent music scene.
Let me know if you sign up with Cdbaby, or read the book. I’m curious what you think.
Until then, keep rockin’, writin’, and recordin’!
There is nothing better than building things with passionate people. My client (and now good friend) Raine Wilder is as passionate an artist as I’ve seen come through my studio, and it shows. He came to me with huge expectations, and every intent of exceeding them, and I think we can both agree he has. I can’t put into words how impressed and proud of him I am. I truly believe he is destined to do great things through his art…and some big names (Jaywan, Yelawolf, Kuniva of D 12, and many others) have already recognized his talent.
His new record is entitled “Birthplace of Aviation” just released yesterday (for free) and people are already eating it up and curating it into mixtapes. As far as the recording process went, we wanted to make sure everything remained raw, powerful, and emotive. Songs like “I’ll take Everything”, “Famous”, and “The Countdown” are a great example of real emotion living through production. Most producers will tell you how hard it is to maintain feel, artistry, and emotion throughout the tracking of an album. Raine came to every session with all three.
I also want to give Raine a nod for being every producer and engineer’s dream. A dude who comes so prepared he can knock out a tune in less than an hour. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t give a shit about efficiency – I give a shit about effectiveness. Raine Wilder was effective in the studio. Instead of having to stop in the middle of takes to remember words, we spent more time on production i.e. phrasing, technique, velocity, and delivery. Ask any producer and they’ll tell you that’s what it’s all about. Our time in the studio wasn’t spent trying to learn lyrics, fix issues, and compromise on quality. It was tweaking, perfecting, re-purposing, and mastering his art. It’s all about building the perfect structure, and the foundation needs to be there before you move on to the roof. His was.
Raine Wilder built something amazing with “Birthplace of Aviation”, not only in his genre, but in the landscape of art, and more importantly in his life. I’m just glad I was able to be a part of it. I can only imagine where he’ll be and what his next album will be like.
By the way, you can download his entire album for FREE…and I recommend doing so.
Also follow him on Twitter, and like him on Facebook. He’s a cool guy.
About five years ago one of the biggest concerns a lot of my clients had was having their project sound “loud”. Of course, most engineers are familiar with the “loud wars”. If you aren’t, Google it, but for now I’ll give you a very brief rundown. Somewhere along the line, record labels (particularly in the pop genre) thought it was a good idea to squeeze the crap out of every mix their artist produced. That way, the music was perceived louder to the consumer. And unfortunately, the average consumer DOES seem to perceive louder as better. It was a bad idea then, and it’s a bad idea now. What was ever the problem with having to turn the volume knob up? Over-compression from the loud wars demonstrates that dynamics are an important subtlety that can easily be neglected. But I digress.
Fast forward to now, and volume isn’t so much of an issue for my clients. I am often now not giving them .wav files, but high-res MP3′s…which is weird for me. Call me crazy, but I think the mp3 format may have killed the loud wars. Music downloaded on the internet seems to be acceptable at different volumes and qualities, because hey…it’s cheap and easy. But is it better? Plenty of cars, stereos, and iPod docks are coming with built in digital compression. This a minimizes the need for fighting for ever decibel possible. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t trust built in compression, but I almost guarantee it sounds better than some over-compressed and excited .wav file. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying we do away with mastering…quite the opposite. But what’s worse than no mastering…bad mastering – I’d rather it not even be done…because my car stereo will level it out anyways. OK…I’m done ranting…maybe I’ll update this post, I don’t know. Just something I’m thinking about right now.
So, are you hearing what I’m hearing?