The week after half term I recorded drums for Jacob’s song ‘From First To Last’. We recorded the song in several different takes, instead of one take as I did for “Breakup Therapy’. This is because I didn’t know the full structure of the song. We ran through the different parts as we recorded. For example, we he would show me the intro several which was an 8 bar intro with the same beat. Then he’d show me the verse and then chorus and so on. We finished recording in around 2 hours, with good, strong recordings. The song was based of ‘The Libertines’ song ‘Horror Show’ (link down below). Jacob was not going for the most clean recording, therefore it didn’t matter if the take came off a bit messy. You can hear this most at the end of the recording. For the rest of the week I engineered for other people, helping them setting up amps, microphones and stands.
During week two, we proceeded to record drums for Breakup Therapy on the Monday. Rory, Joel and me spent about twenty minutes running through the song, so that I have an idea on what to play. We then spent around just over an hour setting up the drums with microphones. Instead of just recording the drums through the pre-amps, we sent them through the compressor to give it a more punchy sound. I also decided to put an SM57 inside of the bass drum to get more of a punch on top of the D112. After sorting out levels, we ran through the song a few times. Then recorded drum on the third run through and it came out with a good strong sound. However, i felt like the structure of the song was very odd and too repetitive. Therefore, We agreed to cut out the third verse as it wasn’t need and the last chorus. We ended it with just a double chorus instead.
During the first week of Unit 8, we had a pre production meeting to discuss the different roles that people would take, how many songs would be on the album, what songs and who will be taking part in each of the songs. Georgia decided to get started on the cover of ‘Happier’ by ‘Ed Sheeran’, so in the morning of that session Jack recorded a rough version of the guitar track. Then later during the evening, we decided to record drums. However, the song has orchestral drums, so I had to improvise. I used the bass drum, floor tom and a crash cymbal. As we only discussed doing that song in the morning, I didn’t have time to prepare for this recording. Therefore, I had to think outside the box and decided to se two bass drum beaters as sticks to get that orchestral sound, even though it wouldn’t sound as well as a real orchestral instrument. The floor tom still managed to get a good enough sound. I used a D112 on the bass drum, D40 for the floor tom and a c1000 as an overhead. I got my recording finished in around an hour and a half.
Tuesday wasn’t a very productive day. Our aim was to record drums for ‘Breakup Therapy’ a song that Joel and Rory wrote, however, I had never heard the song before and as it is more complex then ‘Happier’ I struggled to play along to it. We wasted three hours out of our four trying to set up to get the best sound, however, in the end this did not give enough time for me to learn and record the song in full. We used the full rhythm pack (D112,D40’S, C430’s) alongside a Pro- Series on the HI-Hat
The November lessons were based on completing the assignment due in December. The assignment brief was:
Work as a production team to produce a demo recording. This recording must feature microphone recordings and should also include some basic mixing techniques. You should record your performance piece and this must be radio friendly.
Session objectives: 1) To have completed the studio test
2) To have chosen a track to record
This lesson was quite basic as we didn’t have to record anything as such yet. We spent the lesson discussing what song we would do as a group. By the end of it we had decided on doing ‘Fools Gold by ‘The Stone Roses’.We got a basic Bass recording for the demo. I also completed the studio test in this lesson. The reason for the studio test, is to make sure you know the rules of the studio and to know how to use the studio, even if it is just basic
Session Objectives: To have made progress with recording/production
We spent this session recording the guitars for the demo.We recorded using a D.I. (Direct Injection). We got the rhythm guitar recorded first and then the lead guitar. After we had finished this. We re- recorded the bass track.
How Direct Injection works
Direct Injection reduces the risk of interference by turning an unbalanced into a balanced signal. For Example a bass guitar, acoustic guitar or synth has an unbalanced output signal. Unbalanced signals pick up buzz and radio frequency interference. Balanced connections and cabling combat this problem.
Session Objectives: Have experimented with different techniques.
Have made progress with recording
In this session i recorded the drum track for the group performance.It was a basic recording as it was only a demo, we didn’t worry to much on getting the greatest sound. We only used a total of four microphones. We used:
-AKG D40 for toms -Shure SM57 for Snare-AKG D112 for Bass Drum-AKG C430 (Overhead)
Sessions objectives: 1. Demonstrate the ability to power up studio safely
2. Demonstrate the ability to record found songs
In this session the main objective was to record a short piece of my music with an instrument using a Shure Sm58 microphone. We did this in a group of four. Part of the session was also dedicated to just practise studio set up. We recorded a short piece with vocals and sounds of tapping through input 9 on the desk into Logic.
Session objectives: 1. To have listened to recordings made
2. To be introduced to the assignment
3. To have used the Patchbay
We spent the time in this session to edit the track through logic. Adding extra reverb and delay through logic. We also practised using the patch bay.
How the patch bay works?
So instead of plugging the microphone straight into the desk. The mic is being run through the TL audio( pre- amp), which is then run though the patch bay and the patch bay is then plugged into the desk.
Session objectives: 1. To have formed working studio gear and decide on a track
2. To know about 2 different mic types
In this session we learned about the differences between dynamic and condenser microphone. The advances and disadvantages about the them. The microphones we compared was the Shure SM58 and Rode NT2a.
Shure SM58 (Dynamic)
- Has a built in Pop Filter. A pop filter is what reduces the ‘popping’ sounds caused by the mechanical impact of fast moving air on the microphone during recorded speech and singing.
- It has a a tougher and thicker Diaphragm. Tougher meaning it is durable and Thicker meaning it is less sensitive to bleed.
Rode NT2A (Condenser)
- Needs phantom power (48 volts) in order to power it up
- It is much more sensitive, not just to volume but frequency. This means it will pick up much more frequency
- It is used more in studios
NOVEMBER PERFORMANCE SESSIONS
Performance – 07.11.16
1. Print of chord charts for songs
2. Rehearse some of the songs
Although we had decided on 5 songs the previous week. 4 of the song choices ended up changing. It wasn’t the most active session. Most of the session involved the guitarists learning the tabs/chords for the song and discussing the tuning’s of the piece. However,we did run through The intro up to the end of the verse for ‘Misery Business by Paramore’.
Performance – 14.11.16
Session Objectives: To rehearse the songs for the gig
Once again we ended up changing the song choices for the gig. This is because as a group we felt as if we were trying to push to much in the short amount of time up to the gig. Also, because we did not know the song structure well enough and therefore thought we should choose songs which we know the structure better.
With just over three weeks till the gig our final song choices were:
Neck Deep – December (this was one song choice that we hadn’t changed)
Kings Of Leon – Use Somebody
Gloria Jones – Tainted Love
We roughly ran through The beginning of December and the whole of Tainted Love. It needed a lot of work at this stage.
Performance – 21.11.16
Session Objective: To identify areas of your performance that need work
This session was completely practical. We spent the whole lesson to run through the songs for the gig. However, instead of just playing our instruments like normal, we set up microphones as they would be for the gig. My set up for the drum kit was:
OCTOBER PERFORMANCE SESSIONS
Performance – 03.10.16
1. Identify elements of genres and apply them to our performance
2. Identify ares of our performance
In this session we run through our vocal performance song as a group which was Mr. Brightside. We learned the importance of doing vocal warm ups and the affect it can have on our voice if we do not warm up. We also performed as an ensemble,playing different genres again.
Performance – 10.10.16
Session Objective: Establish two ideas for an original composition.
In this lesson we were split into a group of three and we had to come up with a basic song idea. We managed to come up with a simple song with some basic chords and structure
Performance – 31.10.16
1.Identify a schedule of work for the half term
2. Come up with song ideas for the December gig
This session did not involve any practical and playing any instruments. We each suggested a song we would like to perform at the gig. Therefore, once we had all suggested a song, we listened to all the songs and discussed them. Things to consider for the gig was: If the song is appropriate. Did it include any explicit language? Would the audience enjoy it?
We then narrowed down the set of songs to 5 songs and throughout the week we had to listen to the songs.
SEPTEMBER PERFORMANCE SESSIONS
Performance Session 1 – 19.09.16
In our first Performance lesson, the session objectives were to:
1. Identify areas of our musical skill set that need developing
2. To understand how and when we will be assessed on our skills
3. To identify possible hazards in the musical working environment
This session wasn’t practical at all. This is because having to go through all the health and safeties of the performance area. However, we learned about different genres of music starting from 1950 and so on, we learnt how different genres evolved and ended up forming new genres. We also set out a personal target that we would be able to achieve. This is shown on the sheet below:
Health and Safety work sheet –
Performance 2 – 26.09.16
In this Session, our objectives were:
To perform together as a group and run through different genres.
This sessions involved a bit of practical. We all played as a group for the first time. We decided to play Seven Nation Army by White Stripes, as it is an easy song and we all knew it. We also played a song in the style of Reggae, learning how to play Reggae and different techniques. As a drummer i had already had a small experience with playing in that genre, therefore i didn’t find it a much struggle. I was playing a ‘One Drop’ beat. This is when the snare and bass drum both play on the third beat, with the hi-hat on every beat, leaving everything else empty. Hence it is called a ‘One Drop’ because everything plays on one beat.
SEPTEMBER RECORDING SESSIONS
Recording session 1 – 19.09.16
In our first recording session the main objectives were to:
1.Discuss the importance of safety in the studio
2. To observe and try and power up the studio as a whole class.
In this session i understood the importance of safety in the studio and what risks there could be. Also, by powering up the studio i learnt that you have to power up the studio in a certain order. For example; It is important that the monitors are the last to be turned on as you may damage them otherwise.
Recording Session 2-26.09.16
In the second recording session it was more of a practical lesson. We completed a Studio induction sheet. This sheet was for us to try and write down the order in which we should power up the studio. It was also to teach us the Studio Signal Flow.
Power up procedure of the studio:
1. Turn the computer on
2. Turn on the Interface – Motu
3. Turn on the midi controller (this is the keyboard and unitor)
4. Turn the desk on (In studio 1 & 2 it is made by Maci. In studios 3 & 4 it is Allen and Heath)
6. Finally, switch on the monitors (In these studios the monitors are passive)
The studio Signal flow:
As a group of four we powered up the studio. We then managed to plug a microphone ( SM58-SHURE) into the back of the desk and recorded into logic.