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Welcome to Gothy-Music-Land (Part 6): Come Together

July 13, 2008

Neil’s Blog Post

We are deep into vocal recording and mixing on the new record. I have taken some vacation time and am devoting it to the record. I have set up a little studio in the upstairs bedroom and while it gets pretty hot in the middle of the day, it’s been a nice place to work.

The studio consists of two Genelec studio monitors borrowed from work, a Miglia Harmony Audio interface, sound mixer and, of course, my laptop. As mentioned in an earlier post, we’re using the Blue Baby Bottle microphone to record vocals and I am so in love with it’s sound. In fact, both Laura and I love the Baby Bottle so much that we have recently purchased it from Dave (our guitarist). Thanks, Dave!

A normal recording session starts with Laura warming up a bit while I check all the levels and tweak all the knobs and technical kinda stuff like that. We’ll then record a take. Laura wants to get into the emotion of the song as much as possible, so we’re recording in long takes whenever possible. If we feel a line or two needs re-recording, we’ll just punch that one line in and keep the rest of the original take.

Once we’ve recorded the main vocal lines, we’ll go back and do backups, harmonies and overdubs and stuff. Then I’ll grab a pair of headphones and do a rough mix of the song. I know… I know… Headphones? You should never mix using headphones! I know, but what I’m actually doing is arranging the vocals within the song. I’m not all that concerned at that point with how they sound – more so with where they are in the song. Plus, like I said, it’s gets hot up in the bedroom/studio and because I’m using headphones, I can go downstairs and work where it’s much cooler.

Anyway, once Laura and I have OK’d the rough mix I go upstairs and start working on the final mix. And let me tell you: mixing is a bitch. I have so much respect for those who are sonically skilled in that particular area. I am pretty much making it all up as I go – although my friend Tony has given me some tips on frequencies and spatial relationships and all that kinda stuff that makes my head hurt. All that said, though, I think the songs are coming together very nicely and sounding great.

And speaking of sounding great, I have to tell you all that Laura sounds fantastic on this record. Her voice just sits so beautifully in the music, and there’s a lovely quality to it that I can only describe by saying “this is what it sounded like in my head when I wrote the song in the first place.”

As of this writing, I have four of the possible eleven songs completely finished and ready for mastering. But long before that, I’ll have Tony and Dave give their creative input on the mix… besides, I am still narrowing down my list of possible mastering engineers (although I’m pretty sure I’ve made up my mind).

Still with no pithy catchphrase,
Neil

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