Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mali Mali - Recording "The Ramp"

Today we recorded another song for the Mali Mali EP called "The Ramp" Ben and I thought it would suit this song to have the guitar and vocals recorded live. Because I had the luxury of having all my channels free I setup a few more mics than I've used in the past recording Guitar and Vocals live. I think when we were playing it back the Nady Ribbon and two KM184's in combination sounded the best.

The Beta57 was there incase we opt for a dirtier guitar sound and then Kiwi incase we want a cleaner vocal sound but for now I love how that Ribbon sounds with Bens voice, I will definitely have it up for later vocal recordings. I don't think we'll be using the room mic much.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ruby Frost

The lovely Ruby Frost came round to record some demos today, it was pretty fun. I haven't really delved in to programming much in the past year or so so last night gave myself a quick refresher on logic and worked out how protools works these days. Oh man I <3 Protools 8 so much. The MIDI edit window is sooo great I didn't end up straying in to logic at all.

We recorded some vocals to a backing track that had been programmed by someone else and then programmed from scratch all the parts for 1 song, some of the parts for another and got Vocals done for both. Pretty productive day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And it Rained.

Following from yesterdays post I recorded a very convenient shower we just had. I quickly stuck up the Studio Projects C4's with omni capsules again and let them record away!

Rain - Check.

Now back to mixing.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Great North - Finishing Touches

Hayden came round to re-track an acoustic guitar on one song where he'd knocked the guitar with his pick a few times, its funny the things you hear when you start mixing something.

I wrote a few weeks back about how I'd recorded my amp making noise to put on one of the songs, well it wasn't quite perfect. This evening I tried adding the sound of Oratia at night.

I stuck my Studio Projects C4's out the window, dropped them down a bit so they didn't pick up my various hard drives whiring round and sat tightly for about 6 or 7 minutes. I decided that maybe making a tea would be too much noise, even from the other room. Cars sounded incredible when they passed! Fortunately after the first couple passed I had a good 7 minutes worth uninterrupted.

I was planning on replacing the amp noise but the pair of them together are sounding quite nice, I might try recording some rain if it rains later. A few months ago I had recorded some rain but I can't remember where I put it now, annoying because this is exactly the circumstance I had thought about when I recorded it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mali Mali

Ben came round and we tracked some more bits and pieces for Mali Malis EP. We re-did guitar on one song where Ben decided he wanted a tempo change and fortunately I was able to refer back to the blog I made from the original recording to see where I had mics sat. (Woo, my blog has been useful!)

We recorded the whole song at 140bpm and then I got Ben to play the slowed down part after the recording at 127bpm and moved it in to place. I put tempo changes either side of the moved in part so that the outro would be in time with the click for when we come to record drums.

We also recorded some guide vocals on the songs so when we get people in to play guitar and drums etc it will help them for reference as to the song structure. We had planned on recording the actual vocal takes today but found it really difficult to be inspired about anything without hearing the rest of the song sounding more like the final product.

We also recorded the loops that Ben has been playing his songs with live. We just recorded right from his boss loop pedal (except one song where we're going to re-make the loop in protools in time with the song, the other loops are more noises that don't have any impact on timing) They might get a bit of treatment in the mix to make them a bit more interesting but we wanted to keep the loops sounding quite lo-fi still.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pink Pound Experience - Mr Happy Chappy

I had the Pink Pound Experience here again recording another Demo "Mr Happy Chappy" they recently got an NZ On Air Grant to make a video for one of the songs I recorded "Easy Come Easy Go" in November last year, so expect to see them on your television in the not so distant future!

This time they came with new drummer Dan. Those more observant may notice I used a hi-hat mic in this instance, which I hardly ever do, this was due to the drum beat revolving mainly around kick and Hi-Hat and occasionaly a cross hit on the snare. I opted for an SM57 on the Hi-Hat, I could've used one of my other pencil condensers but I wanted less of the tops and more body from it and I've been seeing quite a few SM57s on Hi Hats recently, worked ok but as I say I am not a big Hi-Hat mic fan and I am still not sure if I'll use it, but its there if I need it!

I am pretty envious of Simon's new SIB Mr Echo, its very nice peice of gear. (I do enjoy a good peice of gear) The other week I put some heavier guage strings on my Musicmaster and adjusted the action of it etc, it sounded so great today that we used it for all of Simon's parts while Stu went tele for his guitar parts.

I (somewhat begrudgingly) ended up showing them how my new telephone mic sounds and it inspired a vocal part over the bridge. I don't like using tricks or gimmicks just because I have them and at first I was really not very keen to use the phone. However, when I thought about how I would effect the vocal in the part it was used if we didn't use the phone I knew I'd be striving to get back that sound. So I let it past.

(I am just wary of the fact that I often get very excited about new peices of equipment and try and use them on everything!)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Toy - Phone Microphone

I just made myself a new toy for the studio. I had seen an easy way to turn an old carbon button phone in to a microphone and stumbled across this phone in a junk store for $7.50 and found the parts (an AA batery clip, XLR panel mount socket and some cable) in an electrical store for $10.00.

Total Cost - $17.50 (I don't mean to belittle your maths abilities, I just wanted to make sure you realised that this was a bargain!)

I put it together today in about 20 minutes. I couldn't fit the battery in the reciever so put it in the base unit. I had planned to wire in the switch to turn off the battery when you put the handset down, but after scratching my head as to why it was making so much noise I realised the circuit would only close when you plug a cable in anyway and cut the switch idea out of the equation.

Anyway here it is, great for when you need that authentic vintage phone sound. It sounds really horrible and looks really cool. Perfect.

Where I fitted the XLR socket

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mali Mali - Piano Recording

Ben from Mali Mali and I headed out on a field trip today to Northcote Baptist Church who just so happen to have a rather nice Yamaha C3 Grand piano. I took with me my laptop, Digi003, Neumann KM184 Stereo Pair, Blue Kiwi and headphones, cables etc. We spent a few hours working on getting the right feel for his beautiful instrumental track Neice, which is going on the EP we're working towards.

The recordings are quite raw sounding, you can hear cars passing and children playing at the school over the road in the background and various creaks from the piano snuck their way in, but I like them.

While I had all my stuff with me we headed back to Bens house and recorded the synth outro and a kinda ambient loop he created for the song with his loop pedal. What a fun Day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mali Mali

Ben and I started work on Mali Mali's second EP this evening with recording acoustic guitar for 3 songs, we have plans to possibly record another all live and another with piano. I am looking forward to seeing how these songs evolve over the coming weeks.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


More vocal tracking today. Dan and I were both a bit (very) tired, which made for interesting recording times. But we got lots done and are happy about their album being SO CLOSE to being all tracked.

Tomorrow I have some time to catch up on some mixing and then in the evening I start on some new stuff with Mali Mali.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cutlery Drawer

I just put a very quiet layer of bells on a Great North track to give it a bit more drive. But then I wanted it to step up a notch halfway and have a thick percussive sound (but still very quiet) almost like people marching. I put down a couple of layers of bells and tambourines and had almost given up when I thought of sound of a cutlery drawer closing...


FYI; Cutlery drawers are REALLY HEAVY.

another item on the list of odd things I've recorded;

My amp turned up full making noise. Had to record 10 minutes worth (5 min track, I could hear the fades when I tried to loop it) of this while sitting silently, not moving

I sat for about 2 mins and then went to make a cup of tea. Now we have a nice sounding bed of noise for the track, in stereo too. Yes I have plugins for this but they weren't the right noise.

Great North Tracking - Finishing Touches.

Today we had planned to just track some tom overdubs on one of Great Norths tracks and that was all. Last night we got almost all the piano done, so left it in my room to finish the last song. While we were at it we got the others to come round to record some group vocals on a couple of songs and then some harmonica and guitar parts. A very productive day and I think we're done with tracking.

I am so glad to have real piano on the songs now instead of the guide keyboard I've been listening to for weeks. The songs have started to feel alot more organic than they were before and everything is gelling together better.

I guess its time to start mixing them now.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Great North Piano Tracking

We moved the piano to my room successfully. Woo!

It actually sounds pretty good, its not perfectly in tune which actually really suits the almost honky tonk piano sound we want with Great North, we were looking at hiring spaces with grand pianos etc to record at but this turned out better than we expected.

In keeping with the semi lo-fi I opted for beta57's on the piano instead of condensers or anything more delicate (although I stuck the Kiwi up for detail/if it ends up being in mono) they ended up sounding really great (if they didn't I would've changed them!)

We have more things to do tomorrow; drums, piano, harmonica, guitar, group ooo's. Its almost all tracked though, which is exciting.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Percussion Obsession.

Percussion is something I can never have enough of.

I recently hired out all my tambourines and shakers etc to Ben from Kingston when he was tracking their albums percussion which has inspired me to expand my collection. I bought a few bits and peices yesterday (more than is in the picture) I got the bells and the seed pods at tradeaid. The seed pods sound incredible, we used them in the mess at the end of Autumn by Artisan Guns. I am on the look out for more bells though.

Kingston came back Wednesday and Thursday and we got heaps done, but still more to do. Once everythings tracked we'll send all the files over to the US for mixing and mastering. Its kinda nice to be involved in a project where I know I won't need to obsess over how the mix sounds for months afterwards.

Tonight Hayden Dale and I are going to try and move the piano. This should be fun.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kingston Album

Woo. More Kingston Vocals today, this morning we did some gang vocals, my Kiwi set to wide Cardiod works really well for this. Then Shohan dominated her parts on "Miss You" before Dan Scott and I spent the rest of the day working on "I'm Gonna Be With The King" which we finished.

Now I am working on comping up the doubles and harmonies and doubles of harmonies and everything else we did today!

Everyone's voice seemed to be on form today, some really great singing, especially Shohan and Dan. The song is sounding HUGE, Brandons doing a great job on it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Titirangi Tatler Article

So I got interviewed for the Titirangi Tatler, a local newspaper. There are a few confusions (these probably happened when Tony and I went off at tangents discussing all sorts) nothing major but just for anyone that reads this blog I thought I'd make clear that its not me thats confused about all this err so some slight corrections (again not really a big issue and the article is great thanks Tony if you read this)

1 - I have Sisters too. (please don't be offended Esther and Rachel!)
2 - I started on guitar, taught myself bass a couple of years ago
3 - The Debutantes didn't release these (rough) early recordings as an EP, their EP was only released recently and features excellent recordings from the talented Djeisan Suskov and maybe Shane I think? I helped master it though.
4 - $20k
5 - We recorded Artisan Guns first EP mostly live at my house, for their as yet unreleased second EP we went to Dobworld.
6 - I stopped working on Bearcats Album ages ago but have recently been playing bass live for them.

Again all little things and corrections are for my sanity only.

Still, I am pretty excited about having my own full page article in the Tatler. Woo.

Kingston Album Tracking

Kingston are so close to finishing their Album. They've been over in Canada and New York tracking Drums, Bass and Guitars. They came back to New Zealand a couple of months ago and their producer Brandon Friesen has been over for the past 3 or so weeks finishing off Vocals and adding more guitars and synths etc out at a batch they've been hiring at Piha.

Brandons headed of to Australia and New York before returning to Canada and I've been left to track 3 songs worth of vocals, plus some doubling of vocals and harmonies and some more guitars.

Today we finished the Vocals on "Miss You" and Scott put down a fair bit of guitar pieces here and there.

What I've heard of the album sounds HUGE. Can't wait for Brandon to give it his final touches so I can see how its all going to sit in the mix.


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