Tony Hollis at the Temple of the Gods
Our goal for the vocal tracking was to capture Tony's energy performing these Zeppelin classics as close as possible to the originals but still retaining some of Tony’s personality. After much research, we found that Robert Plant often used the Neuman U67 so we chose to simply use the Slate VMS and replicate the U67 with a few options of other mic emulators to choose from if need be. We had the sessions in order from the start of the vocal sessions, set up was nice and easy but tracking the vocals was very hit n miss. I mean tony is a great singer with incredible range and power but Robert Plant really left some big shoes to fill. For the most part, Tony got the tone, phrasing, and style really close but he still struggled with certain phrases. We kept tony in a good mood, made sure he had everything he needed and took regular breaks. Many a coffee and chat were had.
Just a couple of boys hanging out.
Strangely enough, the biggest problem we had was the simplest thing to do with headphone sends. In the end, all it was, was the main output of the headphone amp was turned down. But Tony had been telling us all day he couldn't hear himself and we were saying “he’s on 10 at every stage we can’t turn it up anymore”, but we still had heaps of room at the last stage. We have learnt this is why we should always do the headphone sends with headphones on. Even when you understand how everything works, it’s still always one little button that gets you in the end. It was embarrassing to waste time on something so silly. We also had a bunch of IO problems during one of these sessions, but we eventually worked it out, we are getting better on that side of things. I also feel like we could have done a better job supporting Tony, with emotional support and positive reinforcement, although I do feel that we were engaged and gave him honest feedback with each take, which was naturally quite positive when he nailed it.
Peace, Tea and Vocals
I never realised just how much delay and reverb is used in Led Zeppelin until comparing the tracks with dry recordings. It really is going to be interesting to reverse engineer these tracks and try to replicate the production techniques as best we can. Honestly we learnt a lot recording these songs. All of us were going through a lot emotionally and we faced so many little challenges, but we kept going and smashed through some great takes.
The Vocals took longer than we planned for, I think the early morning sessions did not work and we got very little from them. In general, we were a bit too casual and we underestimated the time it would take. As a result, we are running a little bit behind in regards to mixing. The studios are also mostly booked out at the times that are most convenient for us. We checked well in advance but every time that suited us during the week the studios were booked by classes, so we have booked all weekend for the next 2 weekends to work on mixing these songs, but we will still need to chip away at these mixes on headphones during the week. We have now crossed over, into the time that these songs were going to be mastered. I have contacted the mastering engineer Sam Ludinski to let him know where we are at and we will get a mix to him as soon as possible. We still have a lot of work ahead of us but on the upside, everything already sounds really good.
For more info on this project check out my previous blogs.
Pre Production Plan
Session 1 Reflection
Guitar Tracking Reflection