What are you recording and why are you recording it?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Kurt Foster, Oct 3, 2002.

  1. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    Ok, here's some grist for the mill. I want to know what kind of stuff are y'all recording out there. Demos of your own tunes? Demos for the local bands? Then I want to know why are you recording it? Money/ Best songs in the world ever?....... Let's hear from yews....Fats
  2. dpaton

    dpaton Active Member

    I record much less than I'd like to ;)

    Back when my day job wasn't consuming my life I also recorded local garage bands looking for an affordable demo, but with the explosion of DAWs and the loss of much of my time in the last few years I don't do nearly as many gigs as I used to. My detailed laments are in the patchbay wiring thread over in Kev's forum.

    Right now tho, while the kiddies get used to school season and get back into the groove of doing something other than jamming every week, I'm trying to hone my bass skills. I picked one up last winter as something to play around with, but haven't had much time to do much more than noodle, so I still suck. That doesn't stop me from taping it occasionally. ;)

    <off topic alert>
    Anyone know a good bass teacher in the Chicagoland area?

  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    Thanks for the reply....now lets hear form the rest of you. BTW, the Sonic Hedgehog avitar is really cool......I don't know why,it just seem lately I have been noticing these things. I like the ones that are animated. :tu: Fats
  4. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Well, I don't have an automated avatar, but the DNA doublehelix molecule is still pretty imho!!!

    I record a lot of my own stuff, and demo stuff for local bands around that I have a relationship with. I haven't charged anybody for any of my work, as it more a labor of love than anything else, and besides, I am "independantly wealthy"!!! (Yeah...right!!!)

    There are a pair of sisters that have a pretty decent collection or originals that I have been recording off and on for the last couple of years.

    Lately, I have been working on an album project for a band out of Texas. The 2 song writers took a road trip up my way last summer to lay down their vocal and rhythm guitar tracks, and now I am completing the rest of the album...all the rest of the instruments (sampled drums) and vocals, plus producing it!!! Tons of work, and it will still probably end up as a demo for when they go into a "real" studio...<sigh>
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    I dig your avatar too! Thanks for the reply, a word of caution just in case you don't already know. Copyright the mixes from the tracks you create for your clients when you finish them. You are entitled to this because you are contributing. Unless you do, if something were to happen with the recordings or even if they re record them but use your musical ideas, you can be paid for your intellectual property........Fats
  6. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    Denver, CO
    Interesting thread here.

    I pull double duty, working in an audio/video production/duplication house full time, and then moonlight recording music in garages and living rooms and the like when the opportunities arise. Of all things, the first full blown project I did with that was a polka band in the twilight of their glory years. I heard countless stories of their being the biggest polka band in this part of the country back in the late 60's/early 70's. And they had the pictures to prove it. Lots of beer, hot afternoons in the garage, and free food. Plus I made a little extra cash doing it. 2 accordions, saxes and a bone, casio keyboard, and a very poorly tuned tuned drum kit. There were actually a handful of songs that I'm not ashamed to pull out and play for people. Actually got a call from the band leader the other night regarding a new project he's got in mind. Don't know whether to be excited or not. I'm presently working on a demo for an incredible bassist friend of mine. Some really cool Victor Wooten inspired two hand tapping stuff, with some occasional udu thrown in. That's a labor of love type of project. No money, just occasional beer and food. Also just started a month-of-sundays project with a Celtic Irish trio up in the mountains this past weekend. Not the fun stuff you hear in the local Irish pub, but really traditional stuff. Guitar/mandolin, concertina, hammer dulcimer, and voice. That one's paying a little bit. Really talented bunch.

    When I'm multi-tracking, I'm running my 01V into digi001, which has worked out extremely well. I know some would ridicule me for this, but 001 is running on a PC (W98, PIII 450mHz, 320mB RAM, 60g internal IDE hard drive). Believe it or not, I've tweaked everything to be rock solid. When running Pro Tools, it never crashes on me. Ever. Sure, I'd love to have a G4, but this PC was given to me by a former employer. Free = GREAT. Of course now I'm trying to figure out how I can afford to upgrade to 002 and run it on a laptop (Titanium PowerBook G4, preferably) so I can use it mobile-ly. For straight to stereo, I run the 01V into a Sony PCM-2700A DAT machine. Has anyone else ever used Sony PCM series DAT decks? How the hell did 3700/3800's, DA-30's and the like become industry standard DAT decks? Issues always seem to arise with those regarding playing back DAT's recorded on other decks and DAT's recorded in them playing back on others. My 2700 (and all other 2700's I've seen, which seem to be rare) is absolutely bombproof. Plays back every single DAT I throw at it and spits out DAT's that play back on every other deck I've thrown them in. I've never understood the industry standards in DAT decks. Alhtough I guess that's ok, as they're all slowly making their way to the curb.

    Since a lot of my experience has involved recording some unconventional instruments (accordion, concertina, hammer dulcimer, udu, etc.), I've really been experimenting with mic techniques. I've got a Blue Baby Bottle, a Groove Tubes GT66, a pair of Octava MC 012's, a pair of Superlux CM-H8B's (a budget large diaphragm seemingly modeled after an 87; they're great sounding, actually), a Beta 52, and a handful of 57's. Has anyone else mic'd any weird instruments, and if so, out of those mic's and those instruments, or hell, even if not, what combinations of mic's and instruments and placement jump out at you? Lemme tell you, a soulful accordion sound is a never ending quest. :D

    Also, being that my moonlighting work is mostly mobile stuff, I hate hauling my monitors around (Event 20/20's). What recommendations does anyone have for a smaller monitor? My amp is in my rack, so passive would be great. I love my 20/20's sound. Very smooth, very tight low end, smooth crossover. I'd like a similar sounding monitor to haul around, just smaller and lighter. And maybe supplement the low end a bit with a small powered sub, which could also be used here at home with the 20/20's. While they do sound great, they are a little light on the low end (although tight with what they do have), and I usually wind up having to pull a little low end out of my mixes after referencing them elsewhere.
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    Cycle 60,
    I love it! Polka Bands rule! I recorded a guy and his wife once with accordions, "Lady of Spain", you know.....very kitchey-cool. He had a MIDI accordion. Quite a concept. I really enjoy recording unconventional types of things. It's challenging and refreshing to record something different from the normal pop band thing. Re; your computer, there is nothing wrong with free and it never crashes. No ridicule from this here neck of the woods. Sounds to me like you're ahead of the game. As far as monitors go I think everyone here knows my preference for NS 10's. There is a monster thread going on that subject @ Producers, Engineers, Hardware, check it out. So, let's pause to summarize for a moment....
    We have 1 for recording his little sister / friends so the can be experienced when they get to a "real" studio, 1 for his own songs / demos and a little commercial activity on the side and 1 that is "recording music in garages and living rooms and the like when the opportunities arise. " for a little money and beer. This is beginning to shape up pretty good, so keep 'em coming...
  8. xis

    xis Guest

    I'll record any style/genre. It's all a learning experience.
    I'm a composer too, mainly for theatre/ film, so my taste is fairly ecclectic . . . if not iconoclastic.
    I record demos of songs - mediaeval, rap, folk, disco, whatever.
    In my p o v there's only two kinds of music; good and bad.
  9. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    One of the other cool projects I have done, and one of the neat things about having my own studio at home is the ability to record some of my kid's school projects in a semi-pro way!

    3 years ago, my second son, who was 8 years old at the time, had to to a "country project" that included about 20,000 different items (a report, 3 items from the country, a recipe, etc...). One of the things on the list was to record a commercial for the country, either audio or video. Most kids had their parents hold the family video cam, and speak from a short script...shaky hands...dogs barking...real amateur stuff...for 8 YO's it was fine, I'm sure. But not for *my* son!!! :) The country he chose was France, and he wrote his own rap song (gag!) as a commercial:

    (Rap it down now...)

    "Come to France if you wanna dance...
    And have some fun in the Riviera sun...
    The Eifel Tower has all the power..."

    etc...etc...etc... Haha...(he was *only* eight!!!).

    I got out some pretty cool drum loops, laid down a really tight bass line, and added some synth lines as fills and a melody line between verses...it turned out pretty cool, and he was so proud of his work. We ripped off a CD, and he went into his 3rd grade class as a big time star...it was amazing all the response he got from that "commercial"...and of course...dad was proud!

    Here's to the next big up and coming artist!


    Last year, my next son had the same project (he chose Italy), but since he is not as outgoing as his older brother, we did more of a standard commercial with a dialog and backround music. I mixed some traditional italian songs in the background while he read from his script, I transitioned from an upbeat "Tarantella" to a romantic "Santa Lucia" at the appropriate times...hehe...it also turned out pretty cool, and we had a great time doing it together!

    Let that be a lesson to all you moms and dads out there...what a great lesson you can teach your kids about recording, and have a great time of bonding with your kids! They had no idea about different takes, and punching parts in and out to fix mistakes, etc. It was a great lesson for them. I think they just assumed that records were recorded "live" in one take, just like daddy's band does when they play out...(and of course when *we* did it, it was always perfect!
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    Xis wrote,
    Xis, When your cutting demos are these paid jobs? How about the theater and film work, are you doing that as an income producing thing or is it a "labor of love"?......Fats

    That is too cool... it is undoubtably the best use for a home studio I have ever heard of. Those kids are going to carry the memory of that to their old age...So cool.
    :D I'm speechless...I love it......Fats

    What I am trying to get at here is "why" are we recording the stuff we're recording. What is the driving factor that compels us to record?......Fats
  11. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    Denver, CO
    I would definitely say that I'm recording music for the love of the game. While I do try to get paid for doing it, I would do it regardless. I always give ridiculously low prices for the recording that I do, and more often than not everyone involved usually has such a great time and the results are such that they usually throw in a little extra, which is always nice. The free beer and food are just icing on the cake.

    I am hoping to eventually grow this into a business. I'm seeing a niche here for doing the type of work that I do. Music would just be a small part of that picture, however. I've raised the point on another thread that I feel that too many of us put on music blinders when it comes to recording, without taking into account all the stuff that really pays the bills, and would allow us to enjoy the music a little more. Corporate work, pro and college sports broadcasting and in-game entertainment work (for those of us in big cities), duplication, etc. While I realize this site is mainly devoted to music, we must all realize that there's a ton of work to be had out there in other areas of audio/video.

    Sorry to have rambled.

    I gotta come up with some little clever signature here.
  12. xis

    xis Guest

    It's all paid. I do this for a living. Hmmm . . . but of course, some work is just my own scribbles/sketches.
    But those sketches/ideas get used in projects.

    But of course, there are those sessions with my kids (girl 17, boy 14) she sings, writes lyrics "dad can't you write some music/put some grooves down for me . . . "

    my son plays drums with a band (sort of a blink 182/puddle of mud sound) "dad, can't we please cut another demo in your studio . . .?"

    Basically I do all this because I choose to, I love music/sound, it's a passion (I come from a long line of musicians/composers: dad was director of music at the royal dramatic theatre here in stockholm/my mum is a concert singer/my granpa played first violin/one granma played piano for silent movies in london/another played cello). I love putting my music to film/lyrics/, to hear/see it on the stage. I love mixing and getting it "right". I love seeing the smile on my clients face when they suddenly "get it!".

    I've been a pro since 1976 when I signed my first contract (pianist). Been in the studio since then too; played/recorded with all sorts of singers/bands/radio shows.

    I got my own studio when my daughter was born, decided that touring was a no-no if I wanted to be a dad.

    I just love solving problems. And if it involves music/sound/ I'm in heaven.

    But I'm man enough to admit that I do hate cables. I really do. Next time I move my studio I'm paying somebody to to the wiring. :)
  13. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member


    I have my own songwriting projects and other folk's songwriting projects. This is what I have on the record drive right now:

    - a kind of Michael Ruff influenced Euro R&B group

    - a German '80s hard rock band

    - my own jazzy AC project. NOT SMOOTH JAZZ!

    - an adult electronicerotica thing (I'm one of the writers)

    - a Garbage / Goldfrapp / Portishead thing (I'm one of the writers here too)

    - '60s organ jazz thing. All players contribute with the rule being no tunes can be written any more than 24 hours before the session. (in addition to writing, I am the organ player)

    The stuff that's not mine, I do 'cos of the money and I played in the band before they started. All of these are dragging on far too long because no one can spend more than 2 or 3 days at a time on them.

    I like it, I like tracking more than anything else. Some clients tell me they like mixing, I say, if its tracked correctly, there is no mixing. I like to simultaneously track as much of the band as I can. To me, that's where everything comes alive.
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    NateTschetter posted,
    I couldn't agree more. I attended a NARS seminar on mixing once. Bob Clearmountian, Roger Nichols, Fred Catero (sp?) John Storek and John Mayer set up a control room in a banquet hall at the Hilton San Francisco. I remember one of the things that Mr. Nichols pointed out, (to paraphrase) " If I see a mix set up on the console and all the faders are relatively even across the desk, I know it was tracked well and the gain structures are correct". His point was that a well tracked project will mix it self. I have heard countless times how the best engineers are mixing while they are recording. That is to say they are tweaking the playback to make sure that what is going down is going to work later @ mix. Bruce Swedien says he prints / saves automation while tracking to give himself a starting point when he goes to mix.

    There is something magical about getting several players in the same room and recording. If you look at it front a physics side it is amazing that we can play together in time being milliseconds apart in space. Yet we can all get the notes in the same places (if we're talented) and the best of players can even pull back behind or push ahead of the beat. That's magic! Point well taken Nate.....Fats
  15. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    just north of NYC
    Home Page:
    Here's another really cool idea (at least it worked for me).

    My wife is a teacher. I volunteered to do a recording, on location in the classrooms, of each of the classes singing two songs. I got a couple of takes of each, edited them together & made a CD for the school PTA to sell as a fund raiser.

    The parents ate-'em-up. & because the singing was generic, the CD could be repressed & sold again.

    This could probably be worked into some kind of ongoing business....
  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    Yeah, sort of like the class picture...it occured to me that DH's son could probably rake it in if they burned a bunch of copies of the "rap" and sold them tho his classmates for a buck or two......Fats :D
  17. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    Well, let's keep this thread current. "Need input." There is a reason to all this, I am trying to get enough stories to make a point... let's hear it! Fats :w:
  18. M Brane

    M Brane Guest

    OK, I'll bite.

    I'm recording stuff that that a good friend of mine writes (he's an awesome drummer and also pretty good on guitar & keys) because I think it's good and I want to get it archived before he drops dead from working construction 7 days a week. Plus I like playing with gear and don't play out much anymore (I play guitar & bass) due to family & "dive bar burnout". I still love to play though so recording is a good outlet for me.

    It's tough when you have more than one expensive hobby (motorcycles would be the other) but I just do the best I can with what I've got. Would be cool to go pro but I think I'm too old and too poor to pull that off.
  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    77 Sunset Lane.
    M Brain,
    Thanks for your post. I must say, I think your reason for recording is a great one (perhaps the best).
    You can't beat good songs and talent as a reason to record. I don't even need to know what kind of recording gear your using, I'll bet that the recordings are coming out really good! Sometimes it doesn't matter what tools you use. Some of the best recordings I have ever done were done guerilla style with lousy mics and crappy front end, narrow gauge analog, hell even cassette 4 track. But the content was there. It doesn't matter if you have a Neve console, UREI limiters and comps, Neumann 47's and AKG C12's, the best monitors and monster cable if you're recording crap talent and crap material! That's why all the digital fix 'em up stuff is a load of flop! I'll take talent any day. When I was a kid, before I knew anything about recording, the thing that fascinated me was "How do they get those perfect performances?" If I were growing up today I wouldn't get to ask that question because I know the machines do it all for you. Oh well, I guess I just lucky to have been born when I was…..Fats
  20. jimistone

    jimistone Guest

    i record blues..a genre of music that I dearly love. I do originals mostly. The reason I record is because I don't want to be a ghost musician (a musician that never cut any studio tracks)...someone that you heard was good but you don't really know cause the music died with them.

    when im dead and gone my recordings will be my musical legacy for my kids, my friends, or anyone that cares to give it a listen.

    who knows, maybe the recordings of my songs will give someone just a hint of the enjoyment that i have experienced from the music of Jimi Hendrix, Freddie King, Duane Allman, Albert King, Freddie Mercury..(the list goes on) who are now dead but still come to life through my stereo.

    if i can make some money thats cool, cause i love recording...but...getting my material layed down in a respectible sounding recording is the most important thing to me.

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