Not Been Here For A While………

Ok so, this seems to be a recurring theme on my blog but, I just wanna apologise again to my surely depleting audience. This is really no excuse but since the beginning of the year I have been incredibly busy and just thought I’d share a few things on here to let you know I’m not dead or no longer doing music. Quite the opposite in both regards in actual fact.

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2014 in music so far….
Early January saw me working with whispering dolls.  3 songs recorded over 2 days that turned into a bit of a mission if truth be known…..not from the bands or bands music point of view but from my own! These were/are great tracks full of energy and ballsy, bluesy riffs, great vocals and strong steady drums. I’d worked with all the members of this band in various forms over the last few years so thought I knew what to expect…….

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Recording went pretty well, everyone knew their parts etc. The vocals were actually recorded a little while after the main tracking due to illness but even those were pretty painless.
The issue’s started when it came to mix time. Things I actually hadn’t anticipated started to really screw with the mixing. Primarily there was no bass guitar! Now, that doesn’t sound like too much of a problem on paper….but, when trying to get enough bottom end from guitars and drums alone that where the fun begins. (unbeknown to me!) I had a mental picture of how this band should sound: pretty much as I described above…ballsy, sweaty, punchy but with enough clarity and definition that the mix was able to translate the desired emotions.
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I just couldn’t get it to do that!!! Back and fourth I went…..rebalancing and EQ-ing, riding levels and adding distortions and harmonics…..nothing was working! It just sounded to me like a big old mush of nothing. I had to get this finished as I’d been squeezing in revisits to the mix after sessions and I could feel myself getting fatigued and also had a considerable amount of other work to manage.
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Eventually I found half a day to really get stuck in once and for all. This friday afternoon found me ready for the challenge. I brought up the session and as I usually do started with the kick…….urgh! What had I been thinking? It was WAY too processed. When recording drums particularly I often find that I’m enjoying the sound of them but by the end of the day when everything and the kitchen sink has been piled on top they just don’t cut it anymore and end up having to use copious amounts of compression and EQ to ‘bring them out’ again….I was particularly guilty of this because I was trying to convey a sense of power and solidity but with a natural edge……well, the natural edge went right out the window! I peeled back the layers expansion, compression and EQ and all of a sudden was a Kick drum! Right, do that for everything. Which I did.
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Now there was clarity, a space which in turn gave some depth. I tried a couple of new parallel buss techniques and I started to feel like I was getting somewhere. I applied a similar philosophy to the rest of the instruments and hey! presto! a mix that was much closer in my mind than it was before.
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Ok, so that was just one of the many projects I’ve worked on so far this year. I have a bit of time off for the next few days so I intend to write one of these a day detailing some of the trials and tribulations in a day in the life of me.
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Tomorrows instalment will be about recording the brilliant Samuel Taylor‘s debut album so it may well take me a couple of days this one as it was recorded over about 10 days.
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Thanks for reading.
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Dave.
x

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