This week is a great example of why I started this project in the first place, keeping myself accountable. I spent hardly enough time working on this the past week BUT it’s Sunday so I had to get something up.
When I first sat down to write/record this week’s song I was greeted with an overwhelming feeling of “holy shit, not again”. There were soo many frustrating painstakingly time consuming learning curves last week that the first night I sat down to start this track after a long-ass day at work I ended up saying “nope, f*** it, I’m watching House Of Cards”. I’m glad I did because I’m now writing this post, uploading a song I’m not very happy with, and have learnt a valuable lesson early into this project – put in the goddamn time. I’m frustrated at past-me for being lazy because I’m not happy with this weeks song. The song itself isn’t too horrible but it doesn’t sound how I wanted it to (production wise, better vocal takes, guitar solo, etc.) and I think with just a little more time (maybe 3ish House Of Cards episodes) I could have it at a place I’m happy with. Anyway… biggest lesson this week is if I don’t want to feel ergh with what I’m uploading this time next week, put in the time.
The main struggle this week (on top of running out of time) was not feeling motivated. Last week programming the drums took so goddamn long that this week it felt overwhelming to start it all again. That being said I learnt a fantastic trick. Now, this might seem obvious to anybody who’s spent more than 5mins playing with a DAW before but when programming the drums I swapped ProTools from ‘slip’ mode to ‘grid’ in the upper left hand corner. Not sure what it’s technical name is but it made anything I copy/pasted (e.g. a kick sample) snap to the grid/beat. Holy shit it’s time saving. I also found a workflow that seems to work: record a dummy guitar track to a click (to get the layout of the song and BPM) then program the drums. Recording guitar/bass to the drums gives it a much more “real” feeling than recording to the click and programming the drums after I believe.
I also started to have a play around with some plug-ins. I absolutely LOVE the way Alex Turner’s (Arctic Monkeys) voice is produced so started mucking around with slap delay and slight distortion but alas I didn’t have enough time to make it sound nice, so it sounds… like it does. Also, because I left everything so last minute I completely ran out of time to record vocals properly so what you’re hearing is a shitty once-through I did about an hour ago. Side note: I’ve been sick the last few days so my voice really wasn’t playing nicely this evening. Oh! I found the volume automation thing (changing the display from waveforms to volume) which meant I could adjust the vox through-out the song rather than them being super loud the entire time like last week, that was rad.
Another trick I was shown this week was once the drums were finished, I bounced them down and re-pulled them back into ProTools (I know you can do an ‘internal recording’ but I have no idea how, this was the next best way). That way they were on one track as opposed to like 8 (one for every drum thing [kick/snare/toms] yes ‘drum thing’ is the technical term), meaning I could throw on some compression and muck around with that.
The main gains this week were learning I really do need to spend a chunk of time each evening on this, the bouncing down of drums, snap-to-grid for programming drums, and that plug-ins are awesome. I’m very keen to learn more about using plug-ins to affect/effect/whatever different types of audio (vocals/drums/guitar).
Jesus this was a long winded post, apologies, I’m quite tired. I’ll see you next week.