Recorded: August 5, 2016
Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Korg MS-20, Drums, Strings, Piano
Tempo: 139.166 bpm
Audio Stems: Yes
Final mix by: Greg Giorgio
What’s the difference between and Audio Journal and a demo? What’s the difference between a demo and an actual recording? These days, with the presence of computers and home recording, the lines are more blurry than ever before. This song to me is still very much an Audio Journal because it is an incomplete thought. Sure, there are all of the major elements of a demo, or even a song itself, yet it is still looking for something to tie it all together. A rug so to say. For that reason, I’m excited to share this recording with the world, and to share its stems.
The song started with the drums, as most of my work does. The beat came from me trying to learn how to use Abbey Road Vintage Drummer, a new virtual instrument I had just purchased. Originally processed with parallel compression, distortion, and eq, I wanted to hear as much of the room as possible in the mix.
The acoustic guitar was actually recorded with one of my favorite new microphones, the iPhone. There is something so trashy and honest about the iPhone mic, almost like a Polaroid picture. Sure, this guitar could be recorded differently, or better, but then it wouldn’t be what it is right now.
The electric guitar was originally intended to be a bass line but I didn’t have a bass at my house. Recorded direct, with no amp, then heavily processed through a AC30 emulation, EQ, distortion, compression, a convolution reverb (altiverb) setting it back in a large studio and finally more EQ. All of the other elements to the song are traditional and mixed as you would expect. Though I did do a healthy amount of side chain compression to clear up space in the low end instruments.
What’s side chaining? With running the risk of making this blog entry incredibly boring and long…. Low end can easily get muddy. Kick drums, bass, low piano, organs, they can all exists in the same place of a mix and cloud over one another. I wanted the bass to be very present on this track, but it was masking the kick. I wanted the bass piano to be dark and strong, but is was creating a massive harmonic rub with the sub bass. Side chaining is a technique where you place a compressor on a track (like the bass piano) and set the compressor to engage only when it’s triggered by another element (like the kick). If you listen to the stems you will really hear what’s going on. The piano is compressed on the second chord of the progression and then returns. The Korg is compressed on the downbeat of every other measure. (Ok enough of that…..)
A few weeks back I posted the guitar part for this recording on my socials asking if anyone had any ideas for a drums. Within the following weeks I received not only drum parts in response, but ideas on all types of instrumentation. People were playing along to the video that I made and sharing their creativity, reinforcing the idea of sharing stems for this album. So, have at it…. Chop it up, change the key, push yourself, take away the parts you don’t like, or manipulate them until they are unrecognizable and become your favorite part of the song. There are no rules. It doesn’t matter what comes out, because no one is listening, there is no critic, there is no judge, there is only you….