Vocal & Tracking

September 23, 2021

I’ve moved from a mental place where procrastination was king, to the underbelly of the machine.  Here discipline dictates all, and failure just isn’t an option.  Yesterday, in a small marathon of singing and vocal takes, I ran through the live and studio versions of the following songs…

  • Lay Down Low – Studio version (4_4 1.0) & Live Sept 19th Session (2.0)
  • Tomorrow ( My Baby Gets Me High ) – Studio version (3.1) & Live Sept 19th Session (2.0)
  • Unbound  – Studio version (3.1) & Live Sept 19th Session (2.0) 2.0 5.0

I version everything to help keep track of all of the changes I make when tracking and adding new instruments.  I plan to release a studio version, a live band version, along with instrumentals and remixes.  Keeping organized is very important especially when sharing with engineers and collaborating with those that will re-mix.

To prep for the vocal takes I organized all projects involved, making sure the rhythm section was uniform, edited and maintained a consistent sound, leveraged consistent plugins, and looked identical in Logic Pro X.  Some tracks leverage Logic’s virtual drummer, others are none other than the human beatbox himself Mike Hunt, a local North County machine of a drummer.  Cool dude to boot.  On bass I had Jay Phillips track a solid scratch bass track live, later on I overdubbed the track with a Reverned Dub King short scale semi-hollow bass set up with flat wounds.

Sounds fat, funky, and fantastic.  I run the bass direct into the UA apollo x8p Hi-Z 1 channel through an Ampeg SVT-VR plugin (modified present: Funky 4×10 + 1×15 + Horn).  The rhythm & lead guitars are my ES335 through a vox AC30 going direct into my UA Ox cab modeler.  I have a favorite setup called “Neil Young Skydog” that works well with an overdriven signal as well as the clean tones.

Cleaning up the rhythm section was a lot of work, but it’s a necessary and critical part of the flow I’m trying to adhere to.  In the past I would bounce from incomplete project to project, then after a year of chasing my tail, wondering why nothing was completed or ready to mix.  Got to live and learn, strong emphasis on the word “learn”.  Smoking weed, I suspect never helped either.

Tonight, Mike Pritchard is coming over to the studio to add the finished keyboards to all the projects mentioned above and if we can complete them then we send the stems over to Mike Butler (local sound engineer here in San Diego) for mixing and mastering.

Thanks for your support.  I don’t know if anyone will find this information relevant to their work, but these studio notes will act as reference points to specific sounds, instrumentation choices, and production insights for me and the wide variety of musicians I collaborate with.