Now that I’m back in the studio, there’s been a desire to do some vocal experiments on my part.
One of the things that producers worth their salt will do is experiment with different combinations of gear. Though there’s still some bronchitis to deal with, I have been getting a few hours here and there to try out some new signal chains and see how they affect the sound of my voice.
Thanks to modern technology, its actually extremely easy to try out a much wider range of gear without the insane costs. Thank you Universal Audio and the Apollo system!
There’s a project for TV music where we’re in the final phases of recording and mixing. In this project I’m spending some time to run some vocal experiments to hear the differences of what comes out. My most recent chains have included and API vision strip into an LA-2A. Then the absolute newest chain has been a Neve 1073 into a Studer Tape Machine followed by an LA-2A. Each lends itself to a different vibe. Don’t think I don’t realize that those gear terms likely all sound greek to you. They’re all geek to me!
The image above is of my current favorite. What makes it strange is that when I solo a vocal recorded with this chain, it actually doesn’t sound all that great to my naked ear, but in the right track… It causes the vocal to sit like I can’t believe. The ultimate in vocal experiments, when you think the sound is bad, but its oh so right for the song.
Along with the plethora of original tunes for this project are 10 cover songs that are so different from the originals that it may blow your mind. Hell not even may, they will blow your mind. A few of them are very different vocal experiments for me. It all comes down to figuring out the right way to present each song so that it has the right twist to give the song a double entendre.
And therein is my one reason to ever do a cover, to give it a new meaning!
If there is something I’ve learned – everyone wants to be heard by someone else; they also want others to want them. Have need for them. To love them.
There really isn’t a more definitive song about wanting others to want you than the infamous song penned by Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick.
I Want You
Actually I wish I had written this song. I’ve toyed with it for a long time. When I play it live solo acoustic, I slow it down and I stretch it out.
I tried recording it once.
Then I tried recording it again.
I was never quite satisfied with how I was conveying what I heard in my head as I interpreted the song.
If you didn’t know, I’m working on musical endeavors outside of my artist persona. Thus I brought the concept of how to cover I Want You To Want Me to a co-producing friend of mine. We’ve been toiling over 30 original tracks for the past year and I decided we should heap on 10 more songs, 10 covers of classic hits in the style of our project. This is not something I would have considered even a year ago.
Last week I began rethinking and retracking all the parts, while I let my partner come up with a viable drum part and a few other odds and ends. The biggest trick was how to approach the vocals so that they became modern but were an ode to the era they came from.
Two days ago I finally finished the mix and got it mastered.
I want you to be able to hear it.
Turns out that friends who have already heard it have been saying things like:
“Dig this version!! Great vocals!”
“Love, love love how your voice sounds on this!”
“I just might love this better than the original.”
I’m not sure how soon it will come to the light of the world via streaming services or via a license for use. But I Want You To Want Me as reimagined by Razor Wire is definitely something you should hear. I hope it will be sooner than later.
p.s. – subscribe to my email list to stay informed of releases!
Ever wonder how we musicians figure out how to describe a song to others so that they’ll understand what the song is before they get to hear it? It’s important to know how to describe the sound of a song to others before they hear it. The better the description, the more enticing it becomes to the uninitiated to hear it. Catch a glimpse of us working through one of the steps of understanding the song so we can approach knowing how to describe it to you, the listener. Follow George Leger III, Jesse Stern and I as we pull apart some fine points in the studio.
The debate get a little heated, or does it? There’s definitely some laughter due to the responses we give each other. It’s an awesome what to arrive at the best method to figure out a song. BTW – who do I diss in this video? Find out!
Describe A Song
I’m just trying to think. I’ve been trying to describe this song to people I’m really not sure what to tell them. You know what I mean? Touch is very easy to describe. It’s this, this, this, and this. And I’m trying to think, what is… what is Till We Meet Again? It’s like.
Exactly! It’s that kind of a song. It’s about… wanting to be with somebody.
Now, the question I have for you is this person a friend, or is this a girl?
Well Jesse and I wrote it together. So maybe it was about us. I don’t know.
Is it about friendship? Or is it about romance?
Both. I think really. The passion with somebody you have, then split.
I didn’t know he felt this way about me.
Well. You know…
I feel this way about a lot of people, I just don’t tell them.
We have bromances going on left, right and center around here. You know how it is.
So anyway. I don’t know. I was just trying to figure out what we would actually call it when I go to describe it. Of course the song is not really done. But I was kinda thinking it’s like Train meets an 80’s power ballad without the soaring vocals. And a little bit bouncy.
No no no no no. I see the more like uh, like what’s his face. The guy you mention all the time.
John Maher what’s that Your Body Is A Wonderland.
Yeah, there ya go.
I don’t want it to be that dated though.
Dude! Dated? Fuck that. It’s not dated or not dated. It’s the attitude that I’m talking about.
It’s the vibe…
No, I’m just trying to figure out what I would
[who’s David, ha ha ha]
denote it as.
So yeah. What is it? Is it a romantic thing or is it ah, not a romantic thing.
I think it’s a longing thing.
But for what?
For someone, one person.
Well. Ok. Yeah. Ok.
That’s how I’ve always… thought of it.
That’s how I’m thinking of it.
[Yearning for love]
You know maybe it’s it’s kind of like keeping the flame alive. Maybe one day…
Enjoy, please pass it along to your friends. If you’re not on my email list – JOIN NOW!
Back in the studio. This time some video was captured that pulls back the mystery of vocals. Where George Leger III, Jesse Stern and I were discussing the fine points of doing multiple takes of the same line, using different emotions. All in the name of creating the best vocal to tell the story. What comes out is a frank discussion between the three of us. I make fun of a movie. Then George really runs into an electric speech about vocals. Jesse (the white hat at the bottom left of the video window) provides a little comic relief along with giving George something cool. Followed by myself relating a story from a recording session with a large songwriter’s organization. Watch what we said and did. Why? Because we’re having a good time talking about what goes into a great vocal recording.
Studio Vocal Mystery
Sometimes it reminds me the movie La Bomba. Dude that sounded great twenty takes ago.
That’s you know. No I’m not arguing that I know you gotta do and every little bit and piece, I’m, I’m fully there. I just think it’s funny that the brother was like he had no concept of like, it sounded the same man. It’s like, no it didn’t.
I sometimes joke when I’m comping vocals and like go in between a few different takes, how about this one, and this one. and I just look at ’em and they’ll say, they all sound exactly the same to me. I don’t know.
We all comp different, right? Like I could give you the same data, you would come up probably… well maybe we will come up with the same. Cause it seems like we’re thinking the same way I can… sense that. But some people I mean I’ll give them a track, you comp it and I’ll comp it. I’ll come back and their comp will be totally different. You know either I go for one that has a lotta little bitty edges and stuff. Little character bits and I’ll fix, I’ll tune it if I have to. But, try to get the character stuff that makes, to me makes a vocal personable; have personality, right? And I have people that just absolutely like want the note to be perfect. That’s what they’re after. That’s all they look for. Yeah. It’s like, there’s no… Cause you can fix… today we have the technology it makes it really easy to fix the note. You can fix the pitch. But you want to get that, you know you just started to do it. Your voice broke up a couple times in the first two lines. Which is exactly what I wanted to get.
Okay. So, anyways. I go for the feel like whatever makes me feel something. Yes!
Or what makes me kinda feel like I, I don’t have words anymore. Yes. And you get that little buzz too, I get a buzz when it happens it’s like I can feel it.
Well, you’re a really good producer. It’s fun to watch you work. Oh, thank you. That’s why I like doing vocal with the man. Yeah, I wanna do vocals with him.
I, I love working. I just love producing. It’s great fun. One of the things I was actually gonna say back to the vocals n something and stuff from movies and TV shows. In Canada, when they did We Are The World here. We had a song in Canada that was produced by David Foster. You know who David Foster is right Okay, do you know who Anne Murray is? yes she’s like… She’s a Canadian superstar, right? Exactly! She’s the Canadian Stevie Nicks. Yea. Sorta. She’s an… This woman has been singing her whole fucking life. She’s a perfectionist. And she can usually do it on the first take. She’s just that good. Well he goes and the same thing kinda happened with him. She got in the first two, first or second take, but he missed it. And they had this on the video that they did of the making of the thing, right? And, in the end it was like he he basically turned to her after he went 20 takes in. Listened to the first two takes and went: I’m so sorry. You did it already, I’m didn’t even hear it. And he was embarrassed.
And it was just like… Wow. It happens. Yeah. Even to the best of the best. I mean Foster is…
You’ve heard heard of Harold Payne right? Do you know who Harold Payne is? He’s a big time songwriter. And he helped write a song for Just Plain Folks. Which is a songwriters organization. Cause they did like a We Are The World. They brought in a bunch of different artists to sing different lines. And they had Alan O’Day producing, in the studio. Who’s no slouch of a writer. He’s had a couple of #1 hits. And Harold was sitting right, standing right next to me in this vocal booth. You know, to go over my line, do all this stuff. I go in. I do the first take. And I do it kinda bluesy. That’s how I thought it came across. And Allan is just going take after take and I hear Harold pull my thing back and he goes. Dude, you nailed it on the first take. I’m sorry.
Stay tuned for more peeks on the inside.
Come in the studio with me as I work with George Leger III at his Utopia Parkway studio to record the final vocals on my upcoming new single “Touch”. Get a sneak peek of what it’s like in the studio and working with a good friend from Canada who helps create some awesome magic.
Find out who I got one of the guitars used on the song from. Figure out a particular guitar riff I play while waiting for George. Hint, it’s from an amazing guitarist out of Texas.
Enjoy the video:
Doling out the news… That’s what’s happening. Since the last post about song seventeen, I’m now on the final leg of the preproduction stage. That’s the word finally song eighteen is “I Miss”.
The song underwent a bit of a transformation. I changed the rhythm of the piano part. In a way it’s a bit more simplified. It also changes it from feeling too much like a song from the 80’s in it’s rhythmic value on the piano.
Lyrically it has stayed the same. I’m positive they were right the first time.
Vocally is where the most change happened. I’ve added an insane amount of vocal harmony. Think Queen, if you’re familiar with them. It’s going to be vocally HUGE. It will be interesting to see how it vibes out in the studio with extra singers on it. I’m thinking it will have somewhere in the neighborhood of 160 tracks of vocal harmonies. Big big big.
There it is. The last song on the list for the new CD/release. Song eighteen is called “I Miss”. Now it’s a matter of hunting down that investor money. Once that happens, I’ll be heading into the studio and pumping out these tracks with pure awesomeness.
Stay tuned for another update in a few days.
Getting the new year off to a productive start. Day one had me making some re-records of vocals from songs already finalized. But yesterday found me getting yet another song’s vocals re-recorded as well. After that recording my ninth song finalized is “Touch”.
I got some additional vocals layered in on it. More for the addition of a couple of female vocalists to do some backgrounds to add spice. Once I hit that, I ended up scrapping the original bridge lyrics. In their place is a large flow of words that require bringing in a rapper to spit it out. The bridge is now way more over the top, blunt, rhythmic, and slammin. Got me saying to myself – Fuck Yeah!
No doubt this is going to hit the charts when it’s released as a single. I’m confident of that.
Another thing that I’m confident on it is, I’ll have to mix a radio-friendly version or bleep some of the bridge vocals. Not the first time I’ve had a song that would require bleeping, but it is the first time on a hit calibre one. Let’s see if I’m right this time.
I’ll be back at it later today getting the next track pre-flight ready for hitting the studio. New fire in the sails for this new year has me feeling gung-ho, ready let’s go! With that, I’ve got my ninth song finalized and it’s called “Touch”.
The tweaks are beginning to flow. My first song finalized is American Mayhem. So far I’m going in alphabetical order. No rhyme or reason it was the first on the list.
I got the verses tightened up and made some changes to the lyrics in the chorus as well. I recut the vocals on the demo to closer represent my final goal and to have the new lyrical version around for practice. I’ve added some elements to the music part of the mix as well. I’m looking forward to getting into the studio to cut the final vocal and get the mix completed. It’s gonna be a nice slammin track.
Stay tuned as more songs are getting tweaked. Which one will be next on the list? Check back and find out. For now, you know the first song finalized is American Mayhem.