Thumping In A Song

Thumping in StudioThumping right along… That’s what I’ve been up to with getting these singles done and finished with my co-producing friend George Leger III. We put the final touches on yet another song called “Thump Thump Thump”.

That put’s the count at 3 songs completely finished.

The excitement is building as the impending release of single #1 draws nearer. Amazing and magical is how I describe it. The word that those few who have heard it is: Wow!!!

Pretty cool responses. Most of the time, music doesn’t make people say “Wow!!!” Now it does.

Thumping

How do I contain the restraint to releasing it? Good question. This is by far the absolute longest I’ve had to sit on a finished product. Main reason is not for building hype. No, it’s more simple than that. I really want to make sure the song gets the best possible launch it can have. That unfortunately takes time. Time, that a lot of people don’t have the patience to control.

Heck, I’ve had moments where I’m like, Fuck It! Lets do this!

Then the moment passes and I remember that there’s a plan. It’s a good plan. A winning plan based on those who have been asking and talking with me about it.

At this point we’re on to single #4, it’s so close to finish I can practically taste it…

5 Things That Happened During Recording

5 things that happenedWhat are 5 things that happened during the recording sessions for Thump Thump Thump? Come watch a video clip that showcases 5 things that happened or were observed while we were in the studio recording. Huffington Post, eat your heart out! I only write that because they weren’t privy to the sessions, nor would I give them the exclusive that I’m giving you.

Share it with your friends.

Better yet..

Don’t. Then you can be like – I told you so. When the music, video and book come out.

5 Things That Happened

Transcript:

Where’s my dragon?
So I saw my first episode of Game of Thrones last night.
Oh, your first?
Yeah.
You’ve never seen it before?
No. And it was the latest episode.
What a great. Great show.
What kind of a mic is it again?
612 by Telefunken.
It is a Telefunken 612. Yes.
From the island of St. Croix.
it is funk. Like F, U, N, K. Funk.
Telefunken 612.
C12.
C12. Thank you.
It is a low impedance microphone if anyone ever asks you again.
I will keep that tidbit of information locked away in my head.
I was about to give up Logic.
Really?
What?!?
What?!?
The reason why I was about to give up Logic.
They hadn’t put an update out in years.
And they didn’t seem to really be caring that much.
Well you know as long as Apple is serious about Logic, I love the program. I would never go anywhere else.
Oh yeah!
Hey. Jazz!
Nothing says amateur more than an jazzy guitar licks on a guitar out of tune.
That’s just the worst.
Sorry to all Jazz players.
PolyTune.
Just. For all those out there in YouTube land.
If you haven’t seen my silly video with T.C. Electronics…
Examining the PolyTune for the first time…
Search for me, you’ll find it on T.C. Electronic’s website.
And I look like a complete clown.

Making A Hit Song

making a hit songWhat goes into the making of a hit song? This is a curious question. If there was one true answer, everyone would be doing it, and nothing would actually end up being a hit. Right? Conspiracy theorists like to believe that the major labels have some sort of computer algorithm that can predict if a song is a hit or not. As the British say: Bullocks. They don’t know any better than any one else, the different is, they’re in a position of power to sell something.

While recording Till We Meet Again, George, Jesse, and I get into a quick discussion about things that can help make a song a hit song. In this case, we’re talking about a little trick that Jesse and I did with a particular transition of a song from one part to another. We changed something about the song structure in such a way that it makes people take notice. Watch the video about making a hit song and find out what we did.

Making A Hit Song

Did you catch what we were talking about? Think you can go write a hit song now?

Capos And Recording

capoNot long ago I came across a new form of capos. In galaxy very close by. Actually it was this galaxy. More specifically it was in a town known as Anaheim. The Anaheim that sits in the California region of the planet earth. Capos are a funny business. Lots of musicians use the cheapest products they can find without thinking about how they affect the sound. I always look for the thing that will get the great sound. Oddly enough capos and the kind you use can make a difference. Which is why on such a faithful day where I found out about a company called G7th and their capos, I instantly made the switch. Why? Because they’re awesome. Actually it had a couple of better reasons. First their weight. They have a good solid weight to them. Second, their ease of use. They work on some kind of engineering magic where you can set the tension as simply as closing your fingers. That way it doesn’t clamp down too hard on the strings and push them out of tune. It’s a love thing.

Today I’d taking you into the studio for a little clip about my upcoming song “Till We Meet Again” wherein you see me making use of the G7th’s awesomeness. Click on that video and realize I too use capos to get the proper key and sound for a guitar and my voice.

So if you’re looking for badass capos, especially the one I use – then you need a G7th. You won’t regret it!

Capos And Recording

http://youtu.be/N0tsHT0g0oU

Yeehaw baby.

I think we’re ready. Let me double check my tuning real quick.

technically with the panning you don’t need to pan the microphones in my headphones

as we’re recording. That’s what I’m saying you can turn them back to center.

Alright. Let’s see if we’re

all set to go. That sounds beautiful my
head.

There’s a little drum pattern that starts at what? Bar 3? You can set the record button to

the song position line to start there

‘Cause that’s a two bar count in for me and I start at 5. Do what? A one bar pre-roll? That’s fine. As long as I know it’s two bars.

We were in love…

and it was magic.

happy

Big Name Players In The Studio

name playersWe all like to talk shop in the studio, especially if it involves name players. Talking about amazing musicians we’ve had the pleasure or displeasure of working with, playing with, or meeting. Come on inside Utopia Parkway as George Leger III, Jesse Stern and I talk about some people we’ve met. Ok, mostly George talking about some amazing players. But still step inside, walk this way, you and me…

It starts with talking about Barry Manilow’s guitarist knowing about guitar playing from over 100 years ago and then progresses into the more modern instrument of electric bass. It then quickly swings into a little chat about a very famous female bassist (big name players type) that both George and I have met, but Jesse had not.

Big Name Players In The Studio

http://youtu.be/QxCiDwpoc-I

Transcript:

Because the song was done in the 1800’s.

He wanted to play it, like they played guitar in the 1800’s. He knew enough about the history of music and guitar playing, to know what kind of chords they would have played. How they would have played the part. I was like. I talked to him after. I asked him, you know that stuff?

Yeah, I have to know that stuff.

How do you know.

Research.

I mean, do you?!?

Some. Yeah, I studied, I studied guitar for many years.

But I mean like…

And and classical and and history for different parts of the world.

That’s where I started too. So I could technically say the same thing, but I don’t go around spitting that kind of information out.

Well and I also…

He, but he, I mean this guy, I mean I couldn’t believe what he’s played. How complex it was and there’s no little fret “icks” or nothing. I mean the guy is just like a fucking machine, what he was playing was unbelievable.

The history of bass, of electric bass is a lot shorter.

Yeah.

Than history of guitars. So.

But boy is it ever cool.

The first guy that I studied, like that I really studied not just learning the notes, but learning how the notes were played and how the tone came and all that stuff was Roger Waters.

Oh, well there you go.

And so, and then, you know from there I kinda learned, I kinda went back.

Do you know who I met and talked to for about a half hour?

Ah.

Carol Kaye.

Oh really?

Yeah, at NAMM two or three years ago. She was sitting there all by herself.

Was she nice.

But was she nice?!?

She was awesome.

You know why we both ask that question?

Why?

Because she’s not known to be nice. She’s known to be very very mean.

Really?!?

She has a reputation for being very very bitter and having a chip on her shoulder.

Yeah.

Not with me. She was so cool.

I’m glad to hear that.

We talked about making records an’ shit and everything.

She’s a, I mean, obviously a phenomenal.

And I have pictures of her and me, from the NAMM show. She was so… Really?!? She’s like that?

Yeah.

Oh yeah yeah.

That’s what people say. I’ve never met her.

I’ve met her.

She wasn’t like that with me man. She was just like, be just like I’m talking to you. So tell me ya know, I know you played with so and so, can you tell me what was it like when you guys first started playing. I mean you’re a girl, you were playing. You know and she was like, yeah, you know I was there sometimes, just taking care of my family is really what I was doing. You know and I was really grateful to be doing that stuff. But yeah she was just like yeah I’d show up in a dresses and sessions and stuff like that and people would look at me and then I’d play my instrument and then they would look at me totally different.

Well, it could…

She was just such a sweetheart.

Well, it could very well be that maybe she’s mellowing a little bit now. Because when I met her…

It could also be me. Cause I’m pretty respectful of people like that. And I’m also really, respectful of their experience.

Noisy Mouse In The Headphones

noisy mouseNothing is more annoying than a noisy mouse in the headphones. Recently in the studio while getting ready to start knocking out vocals for American Mayhem and we had an issue with a hum type of noise going on in the headphones. This makes for unpleasant recording. Not to mention that it also can be an issue if it’s being recorded on to the track in question. Adding noise from an unknown source isn’t always a great idea.

Find out what was causing the noise to occur. A kind of noise that flares up when the mouse is being moved. Nothing like a bad noisy mouse, however, that was a result of the issue, not a root for the cure. We did find it!

Noisy Mouse In The Headphones

Transcript:

What are we up for George? What are we looking at?

I just hear some weird hum.

Very briefly.

Yeah, it came and then it kinda went.

I can kinda hear your mouse moving.

Yeah well…

Mouse noise is what I’m saying. Not like the actual physical noise. I’m hearing in the system.

Somethings tweaked in the system.

That seems a bit quieter.

Yeah, well the transformer was on the audio cable.

Sittin right on the cable? Yeah, that’s bad. Studio badness. Do not put your audio cables right on a transformer.

Oh yeah. Much better.

Much better.

Ok. We’ll be recording now. Shhhh.

Red light ‘s going on.

No squeaky chairs. No nothing.

Backseat Producing And Manolo Blahnik

jody in studioI’m usually a hermit in the studio, but I’ve opened up a little and had a little episode of backseat producing that led to a discussion that involved Manolo Blahnik shoes. In the past, I rarely let people in the studio while I’d be singing. Hence the reason why I’d produce them myself. I’m changing things around. Especially since I’ve been having George Leger III producing vocals for me.

Another first happened during the vocal recording session of American Mayhem. I allowed my buddy Greg Nicholson and his girlfriend to sit in while I was recording vocals with George at Utopia Parkway studio. Greg and I have written songs in the past. But he’s never sat in on recording with me as the artist. George has one rule – which quickly gets reminded to Greg as he offers up some advice.

While waiting for George we get into a discussion about the Apollo by Universal Audio and shoes by Manolo Blahnik. All of this prior to Greg and his girlfriend are about to go watch the World Cup football (soccer) between USA and Portugal. See, he’s for USA and she’s for Portugal. I’m sure that was an interesting match for the two of them. As we all now know, that was a moving match.

Backseat Producing And Manolo Blahnik

Transcription:

Are you’re P’s coming out okay?
Pah. I don’t know.

‘Cause you had a lot of P’s. So I was just wondering how.

Oh yeah, they’re not popping in the mic.

Ok. Cause sometimes I have to like turn my head just a little bit when I’m singing a P even with a pop filter.

Shhhhh.

Sorry.

Shhhhh.

Ha ha ha.

You’re a guest. Not a producer.

No side, no backseat driving.

Exactly. Please. We have work to do. Okay, here we go again. Ready?

Yes.

Mumbo jumbo. It makes people go really?

Really?

Really?

In other words…

Why do you need this?

It’s like so when you start updating your studio and she’s living with you at some point in the future. I’m projecting here. And Greg’s like “I need to buy this.” and you’ll be like “Really? Really?”

Remember, that’s what George and Jody said.

This stuff does make a difference.

Do I get a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s?

Of what?

Manolo Blahnik’s.

I don’t know what that is.

Really nice shoes.

Oh. Okay.

I don’t even know what the hell that is. But like, Okay.

A pair of nice shoes is that what that is?

Yeah. They cost quite a bit.

Alright. So, you get the toys in the audio gear. She gets the toys in the shoes.

That’s only fair.

Right.

I believe in this. I believe in being fair.

But here’s a question. How much are those shoes?

Between $300 and $500.

Oh yeah.

Whew.

Alright.

That’s totally fair.

Per pair. How much is what you want to get?

The Apollo? How much is that Apollo? About $2500?

That one? $2799 plus tax. No. $2500 plus tax.

I was thinking between somewhere between $2500 and $3000. Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.

I was like, we already shook, we already negotiated this deal.

I did not know how much that cost!

I don’t know how much your shoes are, but I’m thinking my thing is 10x of what we just negotiated.

Dammit!

ha ha ha ha.

Fair trade. Fair trade.

Well, now I have to get the most expensive pair of Manolo Blahnik’s now.

No I think it’s only fair that you would get at least a dress.

Ha ha ha.

To go with the shoes.

Okay.

Yes.

Alright.

That’s only fair.

Universal Audio Apollo Mic Pre

Apollo UA Mic PreCome with me as we give the Universal Audio Apollo a shootout at Utopia Parkway studio. My Avalon 737 was at the factory so we decided to give George’s Apollo a shot at being the mic pre of choice. We set up a couple of different channel strips to see which input path would give us the best signal for my Telefunken C-12 and my voice on my song “Thump Thump Thump”. It was down to a Neve with an LA2A and a 610 with an 1176.

[sarcasm]It’s riveting. So riveting. Especially if you’ve never been in a recording studio.[/sarcasm] Recording isn’t always the fun and games that people think it is. We do actually spend time figuring out exactly what the best course of recording a sound is. Time consuming comes to mind. Office managers determining a project’s work path is probably the best analogy. After that the real work begins. Laying down the musical parts.

Universal Audio Apollo Mic Pre

Thump Thump Thump recording

Testing mic pre’s.

Testing the Apollo mic pre. Okay Universal Audio.

I lie awake in the middle of the night.

Channel strip two. Well it’s actually one, but I flipped them around.

Well… we’re. It’s the second take on the channel strip on the Apollo.

There’s a push and a pull.

I lie awake in the middle of the night

There’s a push and a pull. As the gears begin to grind.

You know what? That, the 610 sounds more… rock-and-roll. If I was to put a… it has more “ah! to it” more ah.

There’s more meat to it.

That how, that’s how I would describe it.

It’s got more protein, more girth to it. Okay whereas the neve LA2A has a bit more of a refined thin thing.

Yes it’s interesting, I guess there’s a difference in the models. Cause it’s basically the same mic going through 2 different model emulations and they do sound different. Yeah. They are so hard core. I mean really truly. More hard core than most companies are. They want their stuff to be right. and they just really won’t stop until they are.

It’s the 610 76 that wins.

Okay, to give us the meat.

To get the song to ether.

Till We Meet Again K4 Setup

setup-k4-jody-whitesidesCome with me inside RA Audio studios as we set up a Taylor Guitar’s K4 EQ. Here’s an outtake from the recording of my upcoming single called “Till We Meet Again” as Robert Navarro and I go through the pre-production of my Taylor 615ce. The amazing thing is that it didn’t take a very long time to plug in the guitar, plug in the K4, wire it to the pre-amp. Of course Robert and I spent a bit of time listening to several settings then proceeded to make a few minor tweaks. Then it was off the race, or rather off to the recording track.

Watch the video and find out what setting we used on my K4 EQ to get one extremely awesome sound for the acoustic guitars on “Till We Meet Again”. Yes, in the final mix down of the song I did use a combination of the K4 direct sound mixed with the KM184 Sennheiser microphones. Definitely a very awesome addition to the sound of great acoustic guitar recording.

Till We Meet Again K4 Setup

Transcript:

The whole concept of, what did I use for this recording? For Taylor Guitars website.

Right now we’re about to set up the sound for the direct sound coming out of the 615 that I’m going to record for “Till We Meet Again” into the infamous Taylor Guitars K4 equalizer.

And Robert and I, who is currently the owner of RA Audio, are about to set all of this up. He’s waving at you. And, get the sound happening. And then we’re recording through a couple of nice Sennheiser KM184’s that… [you’re welcome]

Thank you.

That I got for Robert. Uhm. So yeah, we’re about to do some pre-production on getting the right sound. Then we’re gonna do a track.

So let’s get started.

One second he says.

Wish I had a remote. Tink. Tink.

Ok, should I bring some treble down and the bass up?

That’s sorta nice? Well, I don’t want sorta. I want bad ass nice.

Back off a little on the bass. Ok, this is half of what the bass was when I raised it. So that’s a nice direct tone? Wow! No mid or anything huh?

Interesting.

So for all those out there in Taylor land who want to know the K4 setting that I just used. We’re probably talking 12:30 on the bass, on the low end. We’re looking at about 11 o’clock on the high. And the mids? Nada. Zero. Center all the way. The volume is set at medium, like right at whatever 12 o’clock is.

So the K4 is set, for the 615ce.

Singing A Breakdown

singing-a-breakdown-jody-whitesidesOne of the things an artist will discuss during the recording is how they will go about singing a breakdown. Which is exactly where I’m about to take you in the following video. George Leger III (co-producer), Jesse Stern (co-writer) and I take a moment to figure out the correct way for me to be singing the breakdown in Till We Meet Again. Jesse takes charge to give a mental picture of an example that should give the right vibe.

What would you do?

Watch and enjoy!

Singing A Breakdown

Transcript:

Carry on.

This is the breakdown where you go out onto the key, that like goes out into the middle of the crowd. And you like, hold the mic stand.

And the band.

You hold the mic stand in your left hand and you get down on your knees.

Exactly.

And you’re just like…

Well then I should the carry on… Right?

Don’t. Do, do, what you would do in that situation.

I’m thinking, carry. Well I, I think it. A softer version of what the original was.

Don’t tell us. Just do it.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Fuck it.