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Language difficulties and impossible people

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Hi Guys,

 

I play in a band where there is no common language that everybody understand.

I proposed that I will setup a home studio, using only hardware that we all already own.

 

I invested several months reading all the user manuals, getting info (which mics, headphone amps, audio interfaces, mixers).

Then I came up with a plan how to connect it all to be able to record 20 tracks to a PC in parallel.

Then I started recording trial takes with other band members and it all went just fine.

 

Now comes the singer and says, I know nothing about all this technical stuff.

Therefore I appoint a friend of mine who tells me he's an expert sound engineer, and he will manage you and everybody else on my behalf.

 

I've set up a WhatsApp group and since June I'm writing there what are we planning, how we will connect the equipment etc.

To date, the guy hasn't written a single word, even though he's reading it all.

Also when I address him in person, he is silent and consistently keeps ignoring me.

 

Recently the singer told me "the guy said we are all set up and ready to go".

No information is available what is going on and what the guy is planning.

 

Most likely, by the little info I've got, he's planning to use a mixer to put all instruments into one stereo mix and that's it- like in a rehearsal room.

Man, am I frustrated or what?

 

Every attempt to communicate is a failure.

THIS: I explain what's the difference between taking 20 instruments and committing them to a rough mix versus having 20 separate tracks that you can mix later on.

It all falls on deaf ears.

No one has enough language skills to understand that one sentence (where I wrote THIS).

I think it adds insult to injury when the singer says "why do you have to be so bitter about this? Just shut up and play when you're told to".

 

My next step is to explain all this to a guy who can talk to all these guys in their mother tongue.

It that doesn't help, I guess I will leave the band.

 

 

 

Edited by OnKeyboards

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That is certainly a difficult situation.

Try using an online facility like google translate [there are better ones, but typically one language specific].

With all the work you have done, why not just record the tracks the way you want, and forget about this guy the singer wants, and get things done? You said you had done sample tracks with the rest of the band...forget what the singer wants. Singers should never run a band anyway, IMHO, unless they are either well trained, multi-instrumentalists or phenomonally naturally gifted and serious.

Your singer sounds like a real jerk, too.

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Thanks Daddymack,

I will try to somehow get this situation under control.

The singer is a mystery to me. Still not sure if a jerk or just stupid.

 

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either one would be enough for me to clock out...in your case, produce everything except the vocal, and then let him sing it. Period.

 

 

Also, who is financing the recordings? If it is the singer, then I would just let him have his way with it so he has no one to blame but himself if it turns out less than he hoped. :thu:

Edited by daddymack

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I do have one millennial. She is OK but sometimes a little inconsistent. I think they need to work with older musicians to figure out the game.

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"Just shut up and play when you're told to", in any language, is reason enough for an abrupt departure from that situation. That your efforts are not only unappreciated, but not even acknowledged, is just salt in the wound.

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Hi Guys,

 

I just wanted to update that I'm handling this as delicately as possible.

We had a meeting to discuss the recording project's work procedure. The sound engineer wasn't there ("busy").

 

I thought it was a great opportunity not to discuss too many technical details.

Instead, we talked about the musical project:

Are we happy with the arrangements, or do we rehearse and prepare new arrangements?

If there will be any brass parts, who will write the arrangements?

Are we going to record one instrument at a time over a click track, or all simultaneously?

 

It looks like we anyhow prefer to record one track at a time into a DAW, so the whole issue with the engineer- we can now totally avoid it.

 

However, we decided that we will rehearse together.

 

It looks as if, by avoiding a live multi-track scenario, we were able to totally avoid the confrontation and shift the focus onto the music.

 

p.s. trevcda , I agree with you, but you know- people say all sorts of things when in different moods.

For me, it was really hard to contain the situation with all its negative energy, but I'm kinda proud that it worked for now.

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Many years ago I was in a band that was hired by a divo primo donno who thought the world revolved around him. He had lots of money, was a good singer, and had connections in Las Vegas (found out later he was blackballed by being difficult to work with).

 

He would change from day to day, keys, arrangements, or just get lost. We tried to be as tactful as possible because the rehearsal money was good and we thought there were possibilities for future connections if nothing else. For example: If we tried to say, "this is what we did yesterday, and how do you want to change it from here" or something like that, his brother/manager would yell at us and say he was doing it just like we rehearsed yesterday and we were screwing it up.

 

After a few of those it wasn't worth getting paid for rehearsing with this guy any more.

 

It's tough to work together if everyone isn't working together.

 

I'll give most things more than one chance, but for me there is a point where I don't need aggravation or constant frustration.

 

Of course, there is more than one right way to do this. YMMV

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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Hi guys,

 

a very long update, but the last one: :lol:

 

I missed a couple of details: Originally the singer decided to record without the band.

She paid to a friend who is also a studio owner. Other musicians recorded her music, sometimes kind of okay, sometimes they sounded awful.

In the middle of recording, she had a big fight with the studio owner and they parted ways, which means that the studio owner said “I’m not giving you the multitrack material without the help of a lawyer”.

 

Only then, after the singer told me about this ordeal, I came forward and proposed to run "my" recording project for her.

When I was preparing for the recording, I’ve read all user manuals and prepared adequately. We already had a mac with Cubase, a soundcard with 20 inputs, out of which only two were mike inputs.

We also had a mixer with channel insert points available, so I came up with the idea the we will use the mixer as a bank of preamps: We will need a “Y” cable for each track, the mike will run into the mixer’s preamp and then we take the signal out of the mixer with a “Y” cable from the insert point and into the soundcard’s line in.

 

The only downside is that we need several “Y” cables (PL plugs, 1 stereo to 2 mono plugs).

So I send the band a photo of a “Y” cable from a catalog and I ask “Guys, before we buy- does anyone happen to have this cable already?”. Silence. I ask again.

This time, only the singer responds: “Say what!? You want us to BUY stuff now? What is the meaning of this? You can’t get along with what you already got? What if we buy and then we find out you have no idea what you’re speaking about?”. “Have you got this cable?” I ask her. “I don’t know” she says, “I’m not an expert on cables”.

At that point she appointed her sound engineer friend to run the entire operation, so I gave up.

 

Now the update:

Last week we are in the studio doing our first recording session.

Other than my attempt to prepare, nothing else was done, except trying to record a couple of seconds in Cubase, just to see that the thing is alive.

Surprise number one: after totally ignoring me and letting Mr. Engineer run the show- he is not there and I am the recording technician for the project, but alas, with no preparation whatsoever, and success or failure is all on my head.

They just point me in the direction of the Mac, and give this gesture like “You say you’re such a great expert, so go have a field day! Have fun!”.

We need to record drums. Problem. We want at least four mikes, but there are only two mike inputs.

“What do we do now?” I ask. “This is exactly what I warned you about 6 months ago and you all ignored me”.

“Okay so does anyone have such a cable?” I ask, and show them several plugs.

Amazingly, the singer had exactly such a cable with her.

In a few minutes we found another cable that could be configured with adapters to function as a second “Y” cable.

Within ten minutes we have the mixer setup as a preamp bank, with Y cables from the insert points into the line in of the soundcard. It works. We have four tracks of drum microphones running into Cubase.

We record drums morning till night. It’s a success.

However, no one says thank you, or admits that the whole session worked out due to a miracle of having the cables by coincidence.

 

By the way, just a few days before starting “my” recording project, the singer took me to a private discussion.

Singer: “The lawyer got me that material from the studio, but some tracks are missing, because the pianist refused to grant me the rights, so can you record piano for me on those tracks? But please keep it between us”.

Me: “Let me get this straight; You want to run a parallel project to salvage that badly played studio session, and you want that done in secrecy?”.

Singer: “Yes”

Me: “If you will give me the material, I will examine the possibility of using it, and maybe add just a couple of new tracks to make it perfect”. “No”, she said. “I don’t know if it’s possible to mix together stuff from that other studio and stuff from our studio. I think you are trying something impossible here”.

Me: “Oh, it’s sure possible”

Singer: “I don’t know. I think I can’t trust that you know what you’re talking about. After all some of the song structures are a little different and in one song there’s a half-tone difference”

Me: “No no, I’m not promising you it’s possible, I’m saying if you give me the material, I will look into the problem and tell you what I think”

Me: “With Cubase it is sure possible to re-arrange song structures and also a pitch shift is no problem”.

Singer: “So you say, but I don’t know if I can trust you on this. Maybe you know nothing about this”.

Singer: “I think this should be impossible. It is not possible to mix different materials together”.

 

I give up. You can’t fix stupid.

I tell her that it’s exhausting to be working for a person who admits knowing nothing but won’t trust others to know anything. She tells me I’m always too bitter and I’m not a nice person.

 

In following gigs, the band worsens their behavior toward me, in our last gig they refuse to let me do a sound check and start the gig without me, and I’m standing at the side as a member of the audience.

 

 

Bottom line: two days ago, I decided to leave the band.

I decided that being in such a close relationship with idiots is affecting my life too much. If you let the idiot drive, you too can get caught up in the due car accident.

The leader of the band, the singer, she’s a kind of an expert on how to get from A to B making the largest number of mistakes along the way as possible.

If you survived reading this till the end, thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by OnKeyboards

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I think we all warned you not to continue with these people...sadly, when you work with incompetent people, you get dragged down to their level by sheer force of their inabilities. Bands are almost always defined [and destroyed] by their weakest members, not the strongest.

Did you at least get a 'sexual encounter' out of the singer? ;)

Because it certainly sounds like you got screwed...

Edited by daddymack

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Quote
I

Did you at least get a 'sexual encounter' out of the singer? ;)

Because it certainly sounds like you got screwed...

 

I try to not mix my bands and my love life. Well, from now on 🤣

Edited by OnKeyboards

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a news update from that band:

After I've left, they've deteriorated.

I've heard from a friend that they begged her to remove a video of the concert, because the band played awful.

A few months later, the dude that wouldn't let me do a soundcheck, had an argument with the singer and left.

She was repeatedly talking to me as a friend, asking me to have a beer, immediately following with orders to play concerts the following day 😕

The band has stopped working altogether. What used to be our group photo, is now the name of the band in big letters.

The singer is still running around, producing video clips with professional photographers and dancers.

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Well implosion can follow that type of thing often enough.  Disfunctionality will kill a band on it's own.

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But being a DJ isn't as much fun as playing music.

You just need the right people to work with.

Leilani and I have been a duo since 1985 and up until COVID the only time we were out of work was when we blocked out time to take a vacation and turned down work for that period.

But we do this full time, so the needs of the audience guides all our decisions.

Insights and incites by Notes

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On 6/11/2020 at 2:46 PM, Secret Scion said:

A DJ doesn't have to work with a bunch of other people to put on a show. Not for the creative part anyway.

What 'creative part'?

The creative part was made by musicians...in bands, that survived, at least long enough to make a good recordings....:wave:

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IMO the DJ shares this with a live musician. We both have to pace the audience, give them what they want, when they want it, whether they know when they want it or not. We both have to put on a show, because many people listen to music with their eyes. But the DJ doesn't get to perform the music.

I have respect for a DJ who can play the crowd well.

I have respect for musicians who can do the same thing.

As a pop musician, I also play other people's music, but I get to play the music myself, and that brings me great joy and is my bliss.

I have additional respect for musicians who can play the crowd well and play their instrument well (including the human voice instrument).

Me? I know being a DJ wouldn't provide me with the bliss I get playing music - I wouldn't get into that place were there is no space, no time, no me, just the music that seems like it is flowing through me instead of from me.

But that's just me. Of course, there is more than one way to make a living doing music.

Insights and incites by Notes

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