Vocal Effects for Marmalade Moonlight

I wanted to post a little bit about the mixing to illustrate what’s going on with it – knowing so many people are waiting for the next song to be released, hopefully this will give you an idea of how it’s coming.

So far the guitars, bass, and drums sound awesome on this tune. Brian does most of the mixing overall, although like in every band, each musician wants to tweak his/her own instrument. I’m no exception, I’m pretty picky about the vocal sound on each song, and it doesn’t escape my notice that most engineers have their patience somewhat “tried” by my wanting stuff “just so”. We’ll probably go to Ben’s to complete these mixes, luckily he’s quite patient. 🙂

Note that the guys usually just leave me to tweak my own vocals because I know what I want to hear – even when I don’t know exactly how to get it! So I can spend many hours at the studio computer before I realize how fast the time goes. These are the times when it would be great to have a real engineer doing this and just let me produce it, it’d be so much faster – but having the gear here, I’m just happy to get in there and play around with the sounds.

Anyway, last night I was playing around with the effects on the lead vocal for Marmalade Moonlight, as I want a somewhat psychedelic effect without going totally over the top with it. I’ve already recorded an analog keyboard sitar doubling some of the guitar chords for that dreamy-weird vibe, and I think it really works.

The melody line is simple, almost lilting in places and this time, where you’d expect it to get louder in the title line, it drops down to soft instead. I was going for a spacey, playful delivery, but I wanted to make sure it didn’t slip over into “poppy.” So I needed to give it a little something different, effects-wise.

I used a plug-in DSP flanger and tweaked a “slow leslie” preset a bit to get a nice spacey flanging effect on a track, keeping a duplicate track dry. Then I cut just a little bit of the high end frequencies out just to make the flanged track more subtle, and finally bled in just a little of this flanged track. With just a bit of delay and reverb mixed in with the dry, it sounded good – but I decided I didn’t want this effect on the entire song. So next I just faded the flanged track in wherever I wanted to hear it.

Finally, I doubled the harmonies and put a similar flanging plus delay on them, making them sound kind of weird but cool. There were too many harmonies in too many places, so I cut a bunch of them out. Keeping them mixed in the background, and using them minimally, I think they’re adding something special.

Since this song should capture a kind of magic-psychedelic setting, I think it’s doing that. I’ll be really looking forward to what you think about this one… it’s not as heavy as some of our other stuff, but has a personality all its own.

Posted in News, Recording, Vocals.

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