Big Mono - Vocal Tracking Reflection

To record vocals for Big Mono I knew I had to warm up my voice and get in the right head space to perform the song. This was a process in itself. On the way into the studio, I did some light warm-ups to wake my voice up and I softly sang along to some songs as I walked along the river. Once in the studio, we got set up and then Adam left me alone in the studio so I could really warm up I sung some scales across 2 octaves softly and loudly and then sang along to some songs within my range with a similar vibe to really get myself ready to perform the song. Why Vocal Warm-ups are so important!

Here is a short playlist of some of the songs I used to warm up.

In terms of equipment, I had done some research on what Equipment Trent Reznor uses because that was the best example of the sort of presence we wanted the vocals to have. Apparently, Trent Reznor's main microphone of choice is just an SM58 because he's very comfortable with it and sometimes he uses a C414 as a room mic or to back up the SM58. Based on this I decided to use my personal stage mic that I was the most comfortable with a Sennheiser e835 combined with a C414. We also hired out an SM58 and an SM7 but once we set up the first two I was so happy with the combination of the e835 and the C414 that I was happy to stick with this. Trent Reznor Equipboard

As this was a studio project I hadn’t been singing this song at band practice every week or in front of a live audience so I had to find my voice in this song as we were recording it. Once I had a feel for it, we tracked it relatively fast. We double-tracked everything using a soft style singing doubled with whispers in the verse and then two layers of loud, harsh vocals in the chorus. I pushed a little bit harder because I really wanted this to sound a bit over the top and slightly broken. The second layer was easier to get right and tended to have a little more power than the first layer I think because it’s less conscious and you are tuning your voice to what's already there.

After the session was over Jaxon and I had quite a big chat about how on this session and on the previous guitar session we just used mics and positions we were comfortable with and that we should be trying new mics and new positions every chance we get, as we are not experts yet. I disagreed with him initially, I had a fair bit of conviction behind the choices we had made and the results we had achieved. But I realised it wasn’t about the results it was about the process. He was challenging me and encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone and to continue learning by trying new things. He was right we do not know all the equipment available to us inside and out and we shouldn't just make decisions about equipment based on what we’ve read or been told. We need to use our ears and we need to compare sounds.

Fortunately the choices we made sounded pretty good, but we should have learnt from our past experiences that the first choice is not always the best. I am incredibly blessed to have a friend like Jaxon who thinks outside the box and goes out of his way to challenge me as soon as I start to get comfortable. All in all, I am very happy with the outcome and can stand proudly behind what we have achieved.

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