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  • My first 'album'...help

    Hopefully this is on topic enough for this forum, the main point is addressing the song writing for an album idea I've had in mind for awhile now and up until recently have only been squirreling away ideas here and there for. If not, mods feel free to move it.

    I'm a guitarist and have been working on vocals and song writing the last few years while doing the cover band bit (still in one ) and an originals band I recently left.

    I'm just not sure how to approach this with what I have, and where to draw the line so I guess I'll state my goal first and see if anyone has any insight how to get up and running without overloading myself.

    As the title indicates, this is a concept album of sorts...so far anyways, whether it ends up that way is not the main point. The point is though I want to self write, produce and record ( not necessarily master though ) an acoustic album. I want it to be simple, yet have an impact. Organic, some ambience, but strong. The Division Bell is a huge inspiration of mine and kind of the mood I'm shooting for, but there's obviously a lot more going on there.

    I'm wondering if I should just do vocals and guitar, and w/e else I can creatively come up with in my home/field studio. I would like to have full band arrangements down the line but it's not a necessity just yet. I'm looking to get a keyboard/midi controller hooked up to my laptop, which I'm running in to via a firewire solo in to Cakewalk M4. So I could whip out some synth type stuff, tastefully......piano bits, etc.

    Should I enlist the help of a good engineer for production once I have all the songs worked out? I mean, really READY to record (show up, tune up and hit the button...). Or should I try and do it myself and capture the elements I'm looking for myself? I have plenty of tools at my disposal, the biggest weak spot being that I live in an apartment so getting the vocals and acoustic stuff recorded just right might be an issue...and since it's central to the whole project, I may have just answered my own question.

    Anyhow, maybe I'm just needing some affirmation, suggestions and or tips on how to approach this. I have probably 8-10 SOLID ideas/arrangements already, and about 1/4 those have lyrics.

    Thanks for any thoughts you might have on the matter.
    '07 Lp Standard
    '04 JV Strat
    Martin D-15
    DRRI
    Handwired custom 10 watt amp
    Vox V412BN
    Genz Benz El Diablo 60c (currently dead )

    & stuff

    www.synikalproductions.com

  • #2
    Figured I'd come back and post some updates. Maybe I'll turn this in to a journal of sorts so others can see the progress.

    Last Friday after posting this, I ended up taking a half-day from work. I went home and I messed about a bit with some recording setups as far as capturing the 'best' sound from an acoustic with what I have. It's getting a lot better, and I'm really getting a good handle on this new software I've been working with. (Cakewalk Music Creator 4).

    Right now my main recording rig is a Firewire solo, with that software as well as Pyro. GREAT clean sounds. I'm also using an Sm57, 58 and this EV condensor mic that's squarish in shape, similar to this popular Sennheiser model...neither of which I can be bothered to dig beyond the nominal digging I did on Google thus far to get you specs. Maybe down the road.

    Anyhow, I also talked to my old drummer/good friend of mine from a band I still play with about this project and doing some 'creative' percussion. THAT was my biggest hang up, but he's down and that really makes me feel better about some of this.

    So I'm still organizing and rounding up all my material. I have to hook up my old PC here and get some of the notes I had on there as I've recently moved that out of the workspace and fit the rest of my stuff in just so, so the setup is just right for now but I'll need some of that info. I figure I'm working with 10 solid ideas right now in various stages - from chord progressions w/ cool cadences and a few lyrical ideas, to just a little melody, to full on fleshed out songs.

    Next I want to get my guitar synth hooked back up, and a keyboard controller or keyboard. Basically I want some piano sounds, which I know are on the guitar synth but I got that for other reasons and it's just not the same...+ I don't think it would set me back too bad. For now I'm just trying to get all the elements together on the same page and if worst comes to worst I'll record what I can how I want it, and take it all in to a studio and have it done up properlike. Gotta get to the bridge before I can cross it, so there I am. I think it's just up around the bend. Or the next one...

    So I've got all the guitar parts covered for recording/writing purposes. Bass as well, any synth/misc/elemental type stuff. Paul's got the drums/percussion covered between myself and him. Vocals, I might want some backup type stuff and I have a few people with some great pipes I can tap for that. I think right now I've got enough to work with and start getting the vision realized.

    Here's the trick to all of this and maybe I'm taking a bit too much on at the moment - This is supposed to be more acoustic based but I also wanted to have full band type arrangements. I want to be able to pull off playing all of this stuff live in a solo setting, in which case I'm not going to worry about the other elements so much. I just have to be careful. I want to retain the organicness, but I really really have to polish up these songs so that they really stand by themselves.

    So I think I will focus on the arranging, writing and polishing of the songs first and foremost...maybe that's a 'duh' statement for some but this will be my first proper recording project and I want to do a pro job at it the best I can(afford).

    Anyhow, thanks for reading and if you want to chime in, feel free. If you have some pointers, that's cool too.
    '07 Lp Standard
    '04 JV Strat
    Martin D-15
    DRRI
    Handwired custom 10 watt amp
    Vox V412BN
    Genz Benz El Diablo 60c (currently dead )

    & stuff

    www.synikalproductions.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Sounds very cool. I'm surprised you only have 1/4th of the lyrics, though. Any demos available?

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks mpeddle. I do have a ton of stuff I've written, even in the last year or so but most of that was poetry based. (long story and a major inspiration for this project)...so I may tie in some of that stuff, I've already started looking at a few of the key items I wrote. Basically I'm really self-defeating in this area and working on song based lyric writing and trying to get more comfortable with it.

        I do have some stuff, though nothing with vocals on it up online yet. (actually I'm wrong, if you go to my main page that's in my sig, there's a soundclick player with a real crappy version of Fairytale Pretty...) If you go to www.myspace.com/synikalproductions and listen to both the songs Transcendance and Skin Deep, they're electric based instrumentals but have a lot of the vibe I'd like to get on the full band side of things. Transcendance is just me messing around with the guitar synth, but at the very end...very very end, there's a killer sax solo type thing. The middle part I was lost a bit and didn't want to lose the vibe so it is kinda deadish...but it's worth it if you can make it until the end, imo. ;-) Mostly done live with no overdubs, etc.
        '07 Lp Standard
        '04 JV Strat
        Martin D-15
        DRRI
        Handwired custom 10 watt amp
        Vox V412BN
        Genz Benz El Diablo 60c (currently dead )

        & stuff

        www.synikalproductions.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi, I'm the mod here and I think you're on topic and doing fine. I think your diary-type idea is a good one and I encourage you to keep updating it!




          With regard to your general game plan... sounds fine. At least as long as you keep things in perspective and don't pour more money into something that you intended.

          Commercial studios get expensive fast -- though you may find a lot of good deals since there is so much competition and so much price deflation -- but the downside of that is that a studio that cuts a too-cheap deal may be already circling the drain and could end up closing down before you've got your project finished. Big, famous studios have been closing with distrubing frequency.


          But whatever you do, I definitely like the idea of prepping at home, at the very least demoing out things so, if you do go into a commercial studio, you can get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

          That said, for a project of the scope you're talking about, it really could be done on the cheap, for the most part -- your noise restrictions being the biggest problem but it may well be possible for you to move your basic rig to another location to record some louder elements -- or you might simply use the gear that is there at a collaborator's house. Even if, say, you're on a PC and your percussionist is on a Mac, if he's got a performance space and a basic recording rig, you can export his tracks and fly them into your own DAW, with relatively little trouble, as a rule.

          ‚Äč
          music and social stuff

          Comment


          • #6
            Dear Johnny,

            I'm with blue, prepare prepare prepare (aka, the Carnegie hall joke). I'd feel very uncomfortable going into a studio with only 4 'finished' songs of a proposed 8-to-12 song album, but when you're recording at home, it's a different ballgame.

            At home, you have the freedom to tinker, to try different mics, different distances, signal chains, whatever. You can demo your demos.

            In the In-a-Similar-Boat dept....I'm recording at home after having done a full-band all-me album recorded in a proper studio. I'm now working on songs for market (mostly instrumental) and for a possible next album.

            My songs are generally centered around acoustic guitar, but no matter what I record, I'm literally learning with every new song I work on. As blue says, I'm starting to believe it's really possible to record ALL at home---my only remaining question is whether to take it to a studio for mixing or not (but don't even THINK about not getting your project properly mastered).

            So, pick one of your songs, set up a mic, and:
            1) Record acoustic guitar as your guide--think of THAT as your click track, and a scratch at that
            2) Add parts as you see fit, and think about whether or not your acoustic guide part needs to be re-recorded or not

            Now take a break, watch a dvd or something, and go back and listen. How's the groove? Does it work, and does the acoustic sound like it's the heart of your track? If not, maybe you do need a proper click track. No one method works for everybody.

            Good luck!!
            "It's the har-moan-ee in my heh-eh-eh-ed."...The Buzzcocks
            GW, folkrocky blues ordinaire: singer/songwriter/guitar/bass/drums & earl grey tea
            www.geoffreywelchman.com

            Comment


            • #7
              I checked out the myspace. Very cool guitar on skin deep

              Comment



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