Wednesday, November 24, 2010

(11/24/10): Posted "The Divided Son" last night

Since we reached our 1,000th facebook fan milestone, we put up a demo of a song from the new album, previously referred to as TDS. This is the first time I actually mixed an entire Suspyre song; I used to sort of pre-mix stuff, then Rich would finish it up, so it was a big jump for me to do the whole thing. I've done lots of mixing before, but on much different music that didn't have much stuff going on. Just for posterity, I'll try to remember the process of how we recorded this song, and what actually didn't get changed when the mix was done.

  • Drums: Recorded Gabe's playing with 15 mics originally, but by the end, it was much fewer. I wound up using two overheads, an occasional hi-hat mic during the more fancy hi-hat parts, at least three snare tracks (top, bottom, then another with a trigger on it for the crack-ier sound), three toms, and a few kick tracks (the main one is a trigger, then another track for the softer sections is another trigger sound, and there is also a natural kick sometimes).

  • Bass: Sam just DIs Andrew's Carvin six-stringer and I apply the AmpegSVX plug-in. Simple and easy.

  • Keyboards: April's keys were DId as well, but I also recorded a MIDI track just in case I wanted to run her playing through a softsynth as well. It wasn't necessary, since I really liked the sound of all of her patches. My piano sounds are way too epic; hers was lighter and more present and fit the song better. The synth sounds are sometimes a combination of patches; for the lead near the end I ran her patch through an amp-sim to give it some grit. Only the string parts were programmed; all the other synths were played, which is pretty much a first for Suspyre!

  • Vocals: Clay sang into a Shure KSM44, like we used on the last couple albums, even though I have some nicer mics now. Verses are only single-tracked, but the choruses are triple-tracked and then there are about 6-8 harmony tracks. Lots of Clays, like always.

  • Guitars: This was the experimental, yet stressful part. Andrew and I originally were going to play our respective parts through our respective amps. It sounded way too unbalanced. Ultimately, I got a DI Box and started tracking everything while capturing the clean signal as well. It also sped up the process when Andrew would borrow the DI box and track his parts at home, then bring his ENGL PowerBall to the studio and re-amp it in my live room.

    - Clean guitars are my Ibanez JPM through a Mesa/Boogie TriAxis / 2:90 rig, miced with an SM57

    - "Rhythm" distorted guitars are Andrew's Carvin through the ENGL, doubled with an Amplitubed track, and sometimes my Ibanez JPM doubling it through the Mesa. We used an SM57, a Royer 121, and an AKG 414, but I think I only kept the SM57 track for most of it

    - "Lead" guitars were either Andrew's ENGL (the smoother and brighter tone) or my TriAxis (the grittier and darker tone)

    - My solo is my custom Manne guitar through my Mesa rig.
The word "miced" means "to record with a microphone," not to throw a rodent at something. Hmm.



Sunday, August 01, 2010

(07/31/10): Some more vocals

We tracked vocals for SotC today. After doing a verse, we noticed that we're going to have to mess with the drums a little more; Gabe's beat was awesome with the guitars but when we added the vocals it just wasn't working the way we had hoped. Every album had something happen like this, so I'm not surprised! Besides that, we had fun layering harmonies and doing some vocal improvisations during the (now previously) instrumental sections.

We have one song pretty much ready to go, but we're waiting to hit our 1,000 fan milestone on Facebook before we post it. So, spread the word for us!

Side notes:
Today is the first rehearsal for our shows in September, and a BBQ at April's.

I also recently rediscovered 70's progressive rock; I can't stop listening to Jethro Tull, Genesis, and Yes. I love when I pull out old music and hear it with more mature ears; it's like hearing it for the first time again. I'm sure some of these "classic" influences make it to this record we're doing.


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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

(07/24/10): More guitars

Andrew and I messed with more guitar sounds, and I tracked most of my parts for SotC. I realized we've been going about the guitar tracks the wrong way; I should have been using a DI box to capture the clean guitar signal, then re-amp it later once we get the perfect sound. Our philosophy on this album was to complete one song, then make any changes in sound and re-track the parts whose sounds were significantly altered. If we had a clean track for everything, we could have just re-amped it all instead of re-doing the parts. I'm currently looking for a deal on the Radial Re-amp kit. Once I get that, guitars will move much quicker.

We have some shows coming up in September, so I've been polishing up the old songs and learning the new ones. There's lots of notes to remember!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Here are some photos and videos to go with Gregg's last post on Clay's recording session.

Who ever said a singer's job is easy?

If only adding effects were as easy as expressing them vocally...

The Singer.

Gregg feeding melody to Clay.

Stay Sane - be silly.

The rig. The Composer. The Petrucci. The Veggie Phad Thai.

Redlining alert!

The Singer sings with his voice and speaks with his hands.

Click (Gregg) and Point (Clay). Anyone that gets my corny jokes wins.

"You talkin' to me?"

And that's all folks! I would have taken more photos, but apparently I fell into the habit of not dumping my camera memory card.

Stay tuned!

Suspyre Recording Catch Phrase of the Day:
Let's get that 'I'm the.'

(06/10/10): Vocals

Clay came down to do vocals for the first song we're going to release. April was kind enough to snatch up some vegetable Phad Thai and take some videos and photos.

We worked really efficiently and actually kept most of the first-draft vocals we did weeks ago; we started around 8 and were done before 11, when Andrew got there. This song is really catchy and even radio-friendly...but then again, with the advent of Sirius XM, I've heard progressive and fusion bands on the radio on a regular basis.

Now it's my job to clean up all the tracks and do a preliminary mix on the song that makes it listen-able. Maybe we'll release it early next week!


Monday, June 07, 2010

(06/06/10): Bass, keyboards, guitars

This was almost a 12-hour recording session....still exhausted! I am officially getting sick, so I'm going to take it easy this week.

Andrew, Sam, and April all arrived at the studio around noon and I didn't get home until almost midnight. We started by doing the bass tracks for SotC, TFD, and TMMoS. That's over 23 minutes of music, so we have almost half of the bass done, besides editing the parts.

April began her keyboard tracks for TDS around 7pm; it was her first time recording for a release and Suspyre's first time recording an official keyboardist (all other "keyboard" parts were programmed or just a small section to add a little something to the song). We had a lot of fun with all her sounds that I don't have to program anything. Also, since she prepared the parts with a metronome, her playing was spot-on, so I really don't have to edit anything either! That's another great thing about recording keyboards, there is no noise at the end of the tracks (like on distorted guitars) that requires me to split the tracks between every rest and fade out each clip. Very tedious indeed.

After she finished this one song, which will be released in a week or so, Andrew did his parts for C1. We used a different guitar micing scheme, but I won't know how it worked until I track my parts and mix things. Still not sold on the guitar sound we're getting, but a lot has to do with the plug-ins I decide to put on them.

Anyway, Clay is scheduled to come sing on Thursday, so keep reading for updates!



Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Final Day of Drums (05/31/10):

Andrew arrived with Gabe at about 1:00pm on this hot Memorial Day. Our goal was to finish all drum tracking for the new album and get some new footage for the DVD. I gave an awkward tour of the studio, but I'm not sure we will leak that video just yet. As always, if Gabe is happy with some of the video he captured he'll post some to his YouTube channel.

After we finally finished setting up / got food, we started the beefy track, TaS. It took until almost 6:30 to get this one down, so then it was time to track the final song, C (or should I say C2; there are two songs that are currently one-word-titles that start with C). He finished that song by 6:45; obviously the easiest song on the album.

Now it's my job to edit and mix the drums, then this weekend we're planning on getting more bass. I will do some guitar recording as well, and we will leak the first song mid-June!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 21st: Andrew did all his parts for SofC and I attempted to fix some of mine for TDS. I am in process of getting my guitars set up now; my Ibanez Petrucci had terrible intonation issues and a broken jack (finally got those fixed), and my Manne goes completely out of tune whenever I bend or use the tremolo, so that's being sent out tomorrow to get looked at. Hopefully next week I will be up-and-running in the guitar department and can get more of my parts tracked! We keep forgetting to get videos of these guitar sessions, but I promise we will start doing that soon.