As a class we were set the task to record the debut single.... by The Dagwood Dogs. We planned the session over the course of the week discussing the genre, reference tracks and recording techniques as a class.
We used this article from Drum Magazine, on Royal Bloods drum set up as a guide for our mic choices. Royal Blood Goes For The Jugular
Live Room Layout:
Rose Parker ran the session with everything set up in the room even when tracking individual elements, so the band could jump in and play together and any instrument can be tracked at any time. In some ways this makes so much more sense than setting up one element recording it, packing it down. Then moving onto the next. Because we have all had that moment where we noticed a mistake but it's too late because that sound source is packed up. It also gave each band member their own little space to perform in.
The Live Room Set Up
The session was to run from 10am-7pm and I was to be involved from 3-5 so while I would not be involved in the set up I was to be involved in the latter half of tracking and I was keen to be involved and see what was taking place.
When I arrived I walked into an already well-oiled machine. The band was just finishing up a live take as a band. When we played it back I was blown away by how clean it sounded and how little bleed there was. The live room was set up with baffles in a really strategic manner to minimise any bleed. It was so clean that everyone was happy to keep the drums and bass from the live take and to start tracking guitar.
The way rose had set the desk up was simple and logical. The inputs on the desk were all getting sent to ProTools but the outputs from ProTools back to the the desk were done in groups making headphone sends and monitoring much simpler. I will def be using this method in the future.
We started with the Gibson Firebird for the clean rhythm guitar, which sounded gentle but full. We had a problem that the intro was just guitar and that the guitarist had nothing to count him in. I have had this problem in the past and always find myself saying "damn we should have thought of that and just had the drummer tap along to keep time." We discussed a number of ways to give him a count in and ended up copying a small section of a drum beat and lining it up to work as a count in. This worked a treat and he was good to go. It only took 2 takes to get it just right and then we moved onto the Gibson Les Paul for the heavy rhythm guitars and man did he have a great heavy tone going on, it was just for the choruses and a few heavy stabs. We then layered some octave bends and a bit of a solo and finally a sweet little blues solo with a clean tone on a Fender Stratocaster This was all done in under an hour and after a quick session tidy up we all had a listen and it was sounding great.
After many a joke was had about tomato sauce, mustard and band names it was time to move onto recording the organ. He had a vintage Korg CX-3 which was originally designed to emulate the sound of the classic Hammond Organ. He got it at an op shop for $30, considering it's a piece of kit valued at over $1000, that's an absolute steal. He was running through a Boss Rt-20 that emulated the classic rotary Leslie speaker. He had a great sound coming through it straight into a DI and after one really good take, he decided it would work better to drop in for the soft and heavy parts separately to avoid pushing the button to change effects while trying to play. We did this in a linear fashion start to finish cause that's what worked for him and it was done in one take with the exception of one little infliction added right at the start. With that done everyone was ready for a break.
I took this opportunity to have a really good look at the set up in the live room. I was really impressed, they had made use of every inch of that space, creating a workable space to jam in which was tidy and very isolated.
Guitar Amp Mic Set Up
Bass Amp Mic Set Up
Glyn Jones Over Head Top
Glyn Jones Over Head Side
Front off kick, Shure Betta 52 half way in, with an SM57 up against the skin.
Full Kit Shot
This was a fantastic learning experience. A very organized and professional setting and a blueprint for what our future sessions could look like. It was awesome to be involved and I can't wait to do my own mix of the song.