Indie Rock Pop Metal
RECORDING YOUR BAND
Let's say that you have a band and you love playing live. You rehearse with everyone playing together and you perform with everyone playing together, yet the recording studio wants you to all play your parts separately. This prospect is daunting for so many bands. Will you lose the very thing you've been working on and have finally achieved? We've created a sound, and you don't want it to end up like a clinical studio recording with no soul.
Recording as a live band works perfectly at Soggy Dog Recording. The goal for the recording engineer is to capture the sound of the band and have enough separation to control each instrument in the mixdown. The goal for the band is to remain authentic. It's possible to have both!
When your musicians arrive, the microphones are already set. Around 14 for the drums, various miking options for guitar amps, a direct feed if you use an Axe FX or similar unit, and a choice of mics for the singer (depending on the genre, style, and timbre of the vocalist). We take a direct feed from the electric bass as software amp emulations sound great and give us mixing options and flexibility. Keyboards are also fed directly into the system.
You are welcome to arrive 45 minutes before the official start time to bump in and warm up. This time is not charged and gives us time to set headphones, place mics more effectively, and complete a line check.
The clock goes on at the official start time, and we begin the soundcheck. Drums are first and will take between 5 and 30 minutes. We're listening for inconsistencies in the drum sounds, matching tones from the toms, squeaks, rattles, nasty resonances, and phase correlation. Then find the very best microphone positions for the style of the first song and set the drum headphone mix.
While we soundcheck the drums, it's an excellent time for the band members to grab a quick refreshment and be ready for their soundcheck. There's coffee, tea, and biscuits available in the lounge area adjoining the control room.
Next, we check guitars, then bass, keyboards, then the vocalist's microphone.
We're ready to record. Of course, every band and every recording is different, so here's a typical recording session.
The band should spend some time rehearsing through the first song, getting used to the headphone sound and mix, and hearing everyone in more detailed fidelity than the rehearsal room. It's vital to let the engineer know if you need a different headphone mix. Finding the best balance between you and the other band members can make the difference between a good recording and a great recording. The warm-up is often recorded and can deliver surprising and useable tracks.
Record two or three takes of the song concentrating on cohesion in the rhythm section. Typically, a workable band recording will be made in two or three takes. This will give us a working take that will generally need some patching.
We record the band with as much acoustic isolation as possible, so re-recording or patching individual instruments is easy. For example, we can also cut and paste a guitar part or bass part from one chorus to another.
LAYERING AND ADDING
Layering is an excellent way of achieving a bigger sound. So the mix can sound wider and more significant, a doubled guitar in the song's chorus is standard in many rock and pop styles. There are many common reasons to double that give predictable results, but experimenting can create some fantastic effects.
It's time also to record guitar solos, keyboard solo, or if you have a clarinet player, then definitely a clarinet solo.
THE VOCAL TRACK
Most singers prefer to treat the 'live' takes as a guide to help the band record. So, after all the instrumental parts are tracked, we concentrate on laying down the best possible vocal performance. A single take or a compilation from many takes will typically be the best approach. We can even re-record individual phrases or individual words.
When the lead singer is confident that their recording is final, then we record backing vocals. Of course, backing vocals must match the phrasing of the lead, and we've noticed how often phrasing changes between takes, and sometimes even the lyrics get tweaked.
We've had so many great bands at the studio and can't wait to have more, and the range of styles and musical genres has always kept us on our toes.
$96/hour studio inc. engineer for tracking (recording)
$88/hour for mixing