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Lizards make music

lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
edited January 2012 in Artist's Corner
Hey friends, long time lurker, first time poster. I love the community around here and love the brutal loving critiques and could use a few extra sets of ears as my band does more recording. I want to post what I have so far, get some comments on what stands out, what sounds bad or funky or awesome or whatever so as we go in to re-record everything we can do it better. And these obviously need to be re-recorded.

First song: Reading Roadsigns Aloud

Slow, simple song. We thought about layering some more vocals or something, but are unsure. Maybe we keep it simple and sparse, like how we do it live.

Second song: Soothsayer

So the main part on this is that the tempo is fucked. We tend to have a fairly elastic tempo in general, but this one obviously got away from us. We started too slow and ended up much faster. This is also a lot more complex than the previous song (16 tracks) and needs quite a bit of help. One thing thats killing me is when we play this song live it has so much energy and rocks out, and when we record it, it sounds... tame. But I cant quite put my finger on it.

Like I said, these will be completely re-recorded, so tear um apart, and help me make them better.

lizard eats flies on

Posts

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Some of the main things I noticed

    In the first song the vocals seem off-time at times, particularly during the "come and they go" parts. It was like it started later than it should and was rushing to get back on time... only it seemed intentional because it happened quite a bit.

    Secondly, are you just using digital piano- like a keyboard going straight into a computer? I think you would be better off at least micing an amp to get a more natural sound of of it. And maybe lower it in the mix just a touch.

    Thirdly, do you have a pop-screen? I think even a cheap one (you can do it with nylon stockings like this http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Cheap-Microphone-Pop-Filter/) would do wonders for the vocal quality.

    Maybe to get that live sound, if you have enough mics to record you all at once, just do a live performance of it where you are recording? Unless you're in a studio, you'll get some sound bleeding into other mics... but that might be just want you want to do? It'd be worth a shot at least.

    If you can't do that, try to do the recording of each track in as few takes as possible- if it is a little sloppy that sometimes adds that extra spark that makes it feel energetic.

    edit: in soothsayer, the drums are really low in the mix, i think some of the energy they could bring is lost because they don't make much of an impact.

    A lot of what you've got sounds super precise in a sound sense... If you don't mind me linking to a band that doesn't sound a whole like yours you might see what I mean since they do a lot of the things I mentioned throughout here to sound more energetic/ live



    The drums and guitar have some of the natural ambiance of the room they're in which gives everything a fuller sound and makes it seem more like it is live.



    Nappuccino on
    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    Thanks for the crit.

    For keyboards, we are using a digital piano. I record both the audio from the piano as well as the midi which I run into a piano plugin so I have as many options as possible. Thanks for the feedback on the sound. I'll play with it more. And agreed, its too high in the mix.

    We do have a pop screen. I think we used it on Soothsayer, but not on Roadsigns. I'm forgetting. I usually do the recording in one take, with all instruments, vocals using a standard live dynamic mic and then have him redo the line with a nice condenser vocal mic with the pop screen. This way I can control the bleeds into the vocal mic. I'll watch out for the pops.

    As far as the vocal parts being off, I hear what you mean. It does sound off and then rushed.

    As far as doing the soothsayer live, we can do that. I have enough mics, but not people. There are only two of us in the band, so when we do it live it would only be vocals, piano and bass. Bleed wouldn't really matter too much. I think we could keep it in check and mix around it.

    Thanks for the comments. It helps a lot.

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    Awesome, glad I could help. Maybe you could add some reverb to the piano to help get it to fill out the space a bit more?

    I noticed the vocal pops in the first track- I guess when you re-record it those won't be a problem any more :)

    I think even getting the core parts of soothsayer life and they doing a couple layers on top might help out then. I think if the foundation has that live energy it will be easier to tell if you're taking it away via an added track.

    I'll keep an eye out for when you update the songs next and I'll do my best to give some more feedback directly on the song instead of some smaller production things i'm noticing.

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    Yeah the reverb is tricky, I think I went overboard on the vocal reverb as is. Maybe I turn that down a bit, turn the piano reverb up some, then see where its at.

    As far as soothsayer, I think the way we will do it is to record the main 3 instruments 'studio live', play it all together, get it right, with the right energy, then layer things on top. One issue I had with this is layering the bodhran part (the drum). Since we have, like i said, a more elastic tempo, we cant really use a click track, which makes it REALLY hard to overdub and stay in time. When we play together its fine because we can watch eachother. Any thoughts? One thing I was tossing around was to record a video of us playing at the same time as we record the audio, then when I layer stuff, I can watch the video synced up to the music as well. Sort of use the video as a conductor/tempo track. Tho I feel like there has to be an easier way.

    As far as feedback, the production stuff was actually exactly what I was looking for. Not that I wont accept feedback on the songs themselves too, but the production stuff is definitely wehre I feel I need the most help.

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Maybe try to use a click track/ metronome to figure out the exact tempos of each section of the song and then practice with the full band trying to hit those exact tempos. I'm thinking something along the lines of what a good conductor does in front of an orchestra- he changes the tempo and dynamics, but he knows everything so well that the changes should be the same or damn near the same every time.

    If the band always hits the same tempos at the same time, it will make overdubbing easier- though it might also make it a little more difficult to really capture energy

    Nappuccino on
    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    Ok I have another song to post. This one is called No More Debts. Its a cheerful song about suicide!
    Three Penny Walnut - No More Debts Demo 1

    I bumped up the reverb on the piano a bit to try and make it sound more full. The oboe line was the best take I had for the evening, but it certainly wont be the final take. I'm fairly happy with the sound I'm getting for it tho, but would love some ideas on how to make it even better.

    Go ahead and critique away! I'll probably get some studio time this weekend to work on this one more.

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    Sounds really nice- i think that reverb on the piano works really nicely. It is minimalistic but the oboe lines add just enough to keep the song from feeling repetitive and i really liked the moment where all the music fades out but he keeps singing.

    I think you might want to add one more instrument part in the final 1/3 before that drop out, just to make it contrast a little more... but I think it is also pretty great as is.

    Overall, it sounds like something Nick Cave would be proud to have made.

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    Wow thanks!

    Whoa, Ok, I wasn't sure what you meant by the piano stopping thing and voice keeping going until I re-listened to the mp3... that wasn't supposed to happen actually. I think when I exported the audio mix-down it cut out the piano in that section. I guess that'll teach me to make sure I listen to the mp3 the whole way thru before I post.

    But, it may be a happy accident. Now I just have to figure out what to DO with that. Like you said, it adds contrast and really can punch those few lines and provides that musical breathing room at the high point. Hmmm.

    And once again, thanks SO much for taking the time to give feedback.

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Any time- Early on you were on of the few to give my music feedback so I figure I should return the favor :)

    Nappuccino on
    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    Was I? Thats pretty cool. I'll keep an eye out if you post more as well. I'd love to see a few more musicians hanging around here.

  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    So I randomly got pulled into a goth/industrial collaborative project this weekend. My singer friend was asked to record some vocals over this ambient instrumental track thats going to be the opening to a new album, and she asked me to record it and help produce it etc. so I thought I would share one nights worth of work.

    So, the backing track isnt mine and is set. The vocal are still being worked on. I know we'll be messing with the opening prayer thing as it comes on too strong, but I'm interested in other suggestions too as this is a genre I've never worked in before. Plus in the next few days I'm pretty sure I'll be getting some more instrumental tracks that need vocals and I want to catch up quick.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11069278/music/SlitherRitualActofContrition-ver01.mp3

  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    Well, we finished up mixing the vocals. Took the vast majority of the prayer part out of the beginning and made a few other adjustments. And we sent the track off to go get mastered and here is the result:


    So this track is finished up, but I still wouldnt mind feedback on it, as like I said, I'll be getting more tracks to layer on vocals in the next few days.

  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    Back to the regular stuff from my band. I tracked down a video recording of our newest song that we debuted at our most recent concert. The quality is kind of ick since it was just an iPhone recording.

    So obviously it needs more practice, but I'm also wondering about structure. Right now the English Horn only plays intro, solo, outro. I'm open to thoughts on this. We messed around with having it weave throughout but it would just kind of overpower the vocals. So yeah, I'm not sure where to go with this. Its still very much in the works.

  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    Did some more work on No More Debts. Got a chance to lay down some new oboe tracks. I'm playing it differently now so as not to override the singing as much. Still a WIP. Crits would be awesome.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11069278/music/NoMoreDebts-Demo2.mp3

  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Ok, finished up No More Debts for now.

    http://threepennywalnut.bandcamp.com/track/no-more-debts

    I finished up comping the oboe line which flowed ok, and I cut out a lot of the in between phrase stuff to take out some noise of me slurping on my reeds. I added some compression to take out the squanking sounds that I was getting in some of it. I spent a lot of time re EQ-ing the oboe so it wasnt as harsh. I took off the high ends and boosted the mid highs a bit to give it a warmer tone. I also added more bass into the piano to fill up the bottom end since there is no bass in the song. I also lowered the oboe in the mix since it cuts thru anything. I wanted to get it to blend better, especially when playing with the vocals. I also worked on getting it to sound more like it does when played acoustically.

    I finished it up with a multiband compressor on the master to shape the sound and even it up a little bit and then a limiter to take out the few places where I was driving it into clipping.

    Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out and think its time to move on to a new song.

    lizard eats flies on
  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    New song: This Waiting

    We spent about 6 hours in the studio recording this one. No real editing or mixing yet, so this is in its raw stage. I'll keep posting updates as I work on it. Any thoughts or things that stand out right away?

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11069278/music/ThisWaiting-Demo1.mp3

  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    Update:
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11069278/music/ThisWaiting-Demo2.mp3

    I spent most of the mixing time on the vocals. I'm trying to make them very warm and... analogy? Simple reverb and using a vintage style compressor. I think I need to find a better compressor than the stock one, but it seems to be working decently so far.

    Piano I am not happy with. I played with it a bit but it really needs some love. I have no idea what I'm doing here. I might be investing in a high end piano plugin, which should make things MUCH easier.

    I didn't do too much to the bass yet, but its pretty important in this song since it noodles around in the background adding interesting things happening. I don't want to overshadow the vocals tho. Any tips for making it stand out more without being overpowring would be awesome.

    I also want to say thank you to this forum for both inspiring me and for helping with feedback. Our first song we released has already sold a half dozen copies so its pretty exciting.

  • Mes3Mes3 Registered User regular
    Make sure the bass and keyboard aren't fighting for low end space. You might wanna mess around with notching certain eq's out of the keyboards or just doing a low pass. Also, experiment with compressing the absolute piss out of the bass. Maybe add some light distortion as well (cutting off around the 400/500hz mark).

    http://rjnewman.blogspot.com/ | Follow me on instagram @ messiah3x
  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    Thanks for the feedback!
    I'll experiment this weekend with filtering out the bass frequencies on the piano.

    Distortion on bass is an interesting idea. That could give it a really nice tone. I'll have to play with that. One of the compressors I messed with did a better job evening out the sound, but it also made it sound super sterile. Perhaps a bit of distortion will make up for what that compressor took out in terms of tone goodness.

  • lizard eats flieslizard eats flies Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Pretty big update on this song. New piano which I think sounds much better as well as has a lot more stereo width. We also added accordion to the mix for the choruses. I spent a lot of time working on the bass and I'm pretty happy with where its sounding. Its a lot more present and not so boomy I think. I also threw down a basic master that still need a bit of tweeking.

    I'm hoping to have this finished up and released in the next week or so. We are going to re-record the accordion 'solo' part for sure. Any thing else standing out?

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11069278/music/ThisWaiting-Demo5.mp3

    lizard eats flies on
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