Monday, January 14, 2008

In The Studio with Eric Levai - Days 1 and 2

It has been nearly 3 years since I actively worked in a studio. I began working with Dean, helping him get his Pro Tools set up back in order. Now that I had the itch to work in the studio I asked Dean if he would be willing to help out a singer/songwriter I've been working with named Eric Levai. Thanks to Dean's generosity we were able to use his studio and gear. Here is a recap of our first couple of days in the studio.

December 31, 2007
Day 1 - 5:30pm - 8:30pm
For our first session we tracked Eric's song "One". We laid down some guitar, vocals and even some Fender Rhodes. Dean played the Fender Rhodes which was both a nice surprise and fitting for the song.

The session couldn't have been any smoother. There were no technical difficulties and it only took a few takes to get performances down for this demo.

I was running the Pro Tools system and just wore my engineer hat for this session. After three hours flew by we decided we had accomplished enough for the first day. Afterwards the three of us went out for dinner to El Compadre.

January 12, 2008
Day 2 - 5:50pm - 10:30pm
For the second session we met again at Dean's studio. Tad Ro, a friend of mine from Helio, came by to help out on bass. After the previous session I decided we could use a few supplies for the studio. I picked up some XLR mic cables, a straight mic stand and a headphone extender. Just a few basics that helped with tracking vocals. Dean has an amazing Neumann mic that magically takes the hard work out of recording vocals.

We didn't have much of a plan for this session so we listened to "One" and Tad ended up working up a bass part. We tracked the bass directly and used the virtual amp modeler plug in Sans Amp to get a sound for Tad. Its becoming clear to me how little I know about guitar and bass sounds. With the Superlatives I knew the sounds I didn't like, but I never knew what sound I was looking for. For me this still seems to be an art of trial and error.

Tad had some good ideas for some background vocals on "One" that Eric was open too. We tracked a few more vocals, some ideas Tad had and then a falsetto from Eric. Eric warned that the falsetto would make us laugh and was he right. I couldn't face him while he recorded because I kept cracking up. However when it was all said and done the part blended nicely with the other vocals.

Tad left after tracking bass and vocals and then I worked with Eric to record a second song of his called "Enough". We tracked the guitar and vocals very quickly and the rough mix of the song sounds much better than I thought it would.

The next day I listened to the rough mixes of both songs and was pleasantly surprised. The mix can still use some tweaking but things are coming together easier than I remember with the Superlatives.

The next steps are to track some drums for "One", and additional guitars and possibly vocals for both songs. I think once we have 3-4 songs that will be enough for Eric to use to as his demo.

1 comment:

Eric said...

We definitely got a lot done. I'm a total perfectionist so there's many things I want to redo, but everyone learning the songs is a really important part of the process. Once your drums are in there, sky's the limit. Keep me posted.

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