The next couple of weeks we are doing a bit of pre-production for going into Gung Ho Studios. As always, it’ll be a blast, and we’re looking forward to working/playing with Lav the engineer. Anyway, Lav has come to several shows and is excited to work with us, too. (Yeah, it’ll be really fun!) We have a huge body of work awaiting recording, and we’re very happy to have the opportunity to get a few more songs out.
Since people often ask about recording, I’ll give you a little idea of what’s involved in pre-production. Time is always of the essence when you record at a studio “on the clock” (rather than at home) so all musical parts should be dissected and arranged before you go in.
In the “olden days” in studios in LA, we used to see some bands with a huge budget come in and screw around with arrangements while paying the hourly rate – to basically rehearse in the studio. Sometimes you can capture something great that way. And if you remember I rewrote the lyrics to “Ring That Bell” in the studio last year just prior to the final vocal – so I can’t say that it never works. But usually, it’s just financially wise to get every bit of a song tight before hand.
Sometimes things that work great live just kinda suck in the studio; we tend to do a lot of fun stretching out in a live format, and I think that’s what people like best about our shows. But recording is a bit different. In our case that means that songs need to be trimmed down in length as well as reigning in some of the wild antics of each of us – yet still preserving the energy of the band and the integrity of the music.
That generally means getting to the best “core” elements without the extra stuff: less vocal acrobatics and screams from me, less crazy bass jamming, less wild drumming, and less freeform guitar riffing. Instead we’ll focus on capturing the essence of the song with more focus on the performance from each of us: expressing the emotion of the song with a powerful yet somewhat simple vocal delivery, more tight bass lines, solid drum parts, and well crafted guitar parts.. . with no unnecessary clutter.
First recorded are the basic tracks: bass, drums, rhythm guitar and a scratch vocal. We usually do a couple “takes” and keep the best feeling/sounding one. Then we overdub instruments like guitar solos, keys, percussion parts, and the real vocal. Lastly usually is the vocal harmonies, and in this band I usually do all the harmony work.
Then we work on the mix, blending each instrument with panning, EQ, effects, etc. Getting a good mix is the most challenging part for us at home, because although we each know a pretty fair amount of stuff, admittedly none of us are studio engineers and there’s lots of tricks we don’t know. Recording is pretty easy for us, and it’s always fun. But the mix slows us down quite a bit. The difference between a homemade mix and one that’s done by a qualified engineer can be huge! We’re feeling good about working with Lav and you should be able to hear the difference in quality when we post the songs.
So, look for the new songs hopefully soon to be available for download – Woo-hoo! The timing depends upon how long it takes to track and mix…
So, with this stuff going on, our next live show is not until Friday, November 14th at Goodfellas. By then you should have some new songs to sing along to. 🙂