A One-Man-Band's DIY Production Journal.

Posts tagged “production

Fast Food Back In Production

I spent the past two weeks putting together my latest project titled “Fast Food”.

To recap, Fast Food is a 6-song album. The songs? These are songs I wrote from high school. The rules? Use only an iPad and an iPhone to record and edit.

I’m recording using GarageBand for iPad, which allows a maximum of 8 tracks, no volume automation, no manual EQ, no pitch correction, little mastering.

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So now 8 tracks… That’s room for: Drums, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Bass and 4 left for vocals and harmonies. Sounds like it’s enough, right? Not quite. I’m a 16-24 track kinda guy. I layer my guitars nowadays and go nuts with the vocals.

And as I said before, no volume automation, which means no fading out of vocals or guitar sustains. And no pitch correction, so I really gotta be on point with these harmonies.

I have 3 songs done so far… they’re far from perfect, but that’s what’s to be expected for my experiment. I wanna see how far I can go with the iPad.

Since it’s a return to the days of teenage angst, singing songs about heartbreak and broken dreams, it’s also a return to the days of limited production tools.

I’ll have these three songs available later this week on YouTube, “Unrequited Love” “The Glory Days” and “Dream Girl”.

I’ll also be giving the music video for “Unrequited Love” the same production treatment. Nothing but an iPhone and an iPad.


Mobile Vocals

Last Sunday, I found myself at 8AM, in a parking lot of a hotel off of Route 17 in Mahwah… recording vocals for a song on my iPad. I’m taking this mobile/minimalistic recording approach seriously. Since I’m kinda limited in the amount of singing I do in my apartment (due to the thin walls and my neighbors), I took the recording on the road. I figure since I’m the type to wail out and sing-a-long while driving, maybe a car was my perfect comfort zone.

I was singing to the new version of “At The Bridge” using the built-in mic of the headphones that came with the iPhone. It really sounded like shit.

The other night during my midnight window shopping at the 24-hour Best Buy in Union Square, I found the Samson GO MIC

Tiny. Mobile. Capable. PERFECT.

Here’s my overview:

I’m gonna try my luck with this thing later this week.


Making Fast Food

It’s time to go to work and use my iPad 2 for the reason I bought it. I’ve tinkered around with the new GarageBand app, just to see what I can and can’t do.

Just this past week, I was able to hook up my electronic drum kit to the iPad as a midi controller! For my technically challenged friends: I can use my physical drums to control and record the software drums on the iPad. No more tapping beats on the screen 🙂 Using Apple ‘iPad Camera Connection Kit’, I can add a USB device to the iPad. Then, using an old MIDI to USB cable, I can interface the drums into the GarageBand app. So awesome.

Here’s a tutorial I made:

I started recording for my mini album called “Fast Food”, which is a compilation of 6 songs that will be recorded ONLY on an iPad. They’re going to be re-recordings of songs I did back in high school. Going back to those teen angst years, I suppose.

So, I’m already able to input my guitar to the iPad, and now I can input drums, vocals should be a no-brainer.

When all that is done, the next step is cutting an entire music video with the iPad. Technology is great.

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Heavy Steady

Sunday afternoon, I started work on a new track for the Destiny album called “Taking Over”.

It’s going to be one of the heavier, hardcore songs of the entire record. So far, I’ve layered 3 guitars, some heavy bass playing, strong, crunchy drums and I plan to add a strings section in the last half to make it more of an epic piece.

I have yet to record the vocals, mainly because there’s some rearranging I have to do with the lyrics to fit the structure of the song. Also, I definitely have to record it somewhere other than my apartment… there’s gonna be some screaming involved.

For those familiar with my music and the past few albums before face:the.music, there’s gonna be a special treat in there as well.


Can’t Rush Art

New song up for streaming: “A Night on the Town” !

http://soundcloud.com/richy923/A-Night-on-the-Town

I had originally posted the song on Thursday night, but pulled it down on the following evening after it gained 14 listens on Soundcloud. It just didn’t sound right. The vocals REALLY sounded like shit, to the point where I would cringe when I played it back. Everything from my tone to my annunciation was just off.

I guess it was one of those moments where it all sounded right at the time. Perhaps I was just burnt out when I was cutting this track and by the end of it all, my perception was all skewed. Plus I was eager to release it on a Friday, given the lyrical content of the song.

I spent Sunday afternoon retooling “A Night on the Town”. I fixed the lyrics up to make a little more sense, re-recorded the vocals and played a new lead guitar section so it gives a little more context to the melody of the chorus and the key of the verse that follows it. I also did more of the random adlibs between the verse and chorus… I feel like the little “uh! yea! ooh!” gives the song a little more UMPH during the chord changes.

Another song in the can and I got two, maybe three more to go. The infamous date of 9/23 is four days away, so I don’t think I can reach my goal of completing the album before then. After this weekend’s lesson, you can’t rush art.


The Home Stretch

First off, I love how Myspace’s “custom wallpaper” looks absolutely NOTHING like the album artwork for face:the.music.

Coincidence? Hardly.

Now as for the production for King Friday, I have 4 more tracks to go before I can start the mastering process for the CD.

-(untitled Intro)
-101 Days (Away From Home)
-A Night on the Town
-(untitled Outro)

Hopefully I can cut two a week, master by the third week and be ready for the release by the infamous date of Sept. 23 (9/23)! Not likely, since there’s more to be done after the mastering; new distribution methods, marketing, etc.

But in the event I am done before then, I’ll have it available for a free download for Facebook friends on 9/23 and plan a US release through iTunes, Amazon, Napster and Rhapsody by Mid-October.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing the typical “check out this song” posting on Facebook and Twitter. I’m sure it’s probably annoying to some of my friends on there (maybe they consider it spam or whatever) but shameless plugs are part of the gig being a one-man band. It’s just gotta be done. Some of my “friends” either don’t know that I make music or they’re checking their Facebook on mobile devices, so my music posts are pretty much hit or miss. But I do wanna say thanks for those who have given feedback, through FB Likes and retweets, your feedback lets me know I’m doing the right thing.


Get funky.

Last night, I started work on a new track called “Losing Myself”. It’s one of the more funky sounding songs on the King Friday album, trying to steer away from the heavy bar chords.

Without giving too much away lyric-wise, the setting for the song is intimacy in a club, so it’s only appropriate to build the song with some groovy bass and drums to create the vibe.

Again, it’s been one of those recordings where I dive in with a certain idea, but then the end result is surprising. I laid down a bass line, supported it with a steady drum groove, then added some guitar licks. Now it sounds like some kinda weird Chili Peppers hybrid.

Pretty dope stuff so far.