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Not not blogging

posted Jul 14, 2011, 2:55 PM by Frank Adrian   [ updated Jul 14, 2011, 4:08 PM ]
Just busy for the next few days.

The day job is a bear right now. The good news? I'm not going to be there the first two days of next week. Instead, I'll be at The Vault studio from Sunday through Tuesday tracking the first (and eponymous) This, Not This! EP. The songs? Bittersweet, License to Fly, Bringin' It, One Hit Wonder, Takeaway, and (the fourth version of) Flotsam. They are the pick of the litter. I'm a bit excited, being in the studio with the band, but not that excited because I've been in studios before and I've been in this particular studio twice before. Frankly, another room with mikes, monitors, a mixing board, and a bunch of AD/DA converters doesn't actually faze me that much anymore (especially when I'm in the process of setting up something similar).

The main point of nervousness is the unstructured nature of the session. Right now, we have a set of days, a song list, and that's about it. If you've checked out the studio page linked above, you know I'm a fanatic on pre-production and having a plan. But we don't. Dave, our drummer, has set up this thing and we've had limited (read no) discussion on a schedule, who's going to be there when, etc. Now granted, we have until Sunday to get this together. And, by now, we can play these songs forwards and backwards in our sleep so pre-production isn't an issue. My main concern is that we've not set up a long enough time for vocals. This is problematic. Our singer can only make the last day of tracking. She won't be able to sing all of the songs front to back in one take. In addition, it's a bad idea to try to track backing vocals before main vocals are tracked (otherwise, you can't match timing well enough).

The other point? We really haven't discussed the mixing process. I don't know how decisions will be made on which parts to mix, how they're mixed, etc. Dave's always been pretty loose with this stuff, mainly leaving it to Brad, the engineer at the studio. Now, I like Brad. He's made Dave sound pretty good. But having mixed us all, I know some things... Dave doesn't need a lot of vocal tuning. Tia needs some. I need even more. In addition, I've always been pretty hard core when I've mixed the band, automating levels pretty severely, editing vocals to within an inch of their life, getting rid of string squeaks, etc. I remember hearing some of that stuff on AMA's and Dave's CD's. And I don't want that. When I went into a studio to mix and cut vocals for my solo CD, the guys at the studio were uninterested in going to the level of effort I'd been taking with my home-recorded stuff (for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that we were operating under a fixed-price contract). So much so that I needed to swap out the studio-recorded vocals in a couple of cases for the vocals I'd recorded and edited at home. So much so that a couple of songs ended up sounding worse in some respects (in my opinion) than the mixes I did at home. So I'm a bit gun-shy here. I'd like to come out with a CD that is the best representation of my band's music up to this point. At the very least, I'd like the two songs we home-recorded for the Rose Festival promo CD to sound better in the studio recording and mix. Otherwise, we're wasting our money. The alternative would be to get a usable set of tracks from the studio and then I take them home and remix the whole shebang. But I don't actually have time for that. I also don't have time to sit and watch Brad mix. So I'm going to have to trust him with the band's baby.

But I swear, if the CD doesn't sound good, it's not going out. And I mean it.

I'll keep you posted...