Beer commercials, etc
I spent yesterday afternoon in No Budget Studio with Dean and Ryan. We got a pretty hard rockin’ tune tracked. It’s unofficially titled “Won’t Stop Fighting.” When Ryan arrived he said it sounded like “a beer commercial” which is exactly what I was going for.
I guess it would be cool if I could tell funny stories from the studio a la the Roktor, but since it was a one-off song, there wasn’t a lot of interesting banter. Dean and I tracked the song in four takes. I used a guitar “pod” for the tracking so we wouldn’t have any amp bleed in the drum mikes. Then we put a rhythm guitar on and there was a kind of stupid moment of “which amp? Oh yes, the Marshall.” After rhythm guitar one, Dean suggested I do another track of a guitar just chugging all the chords with my palm muting the strings. So we dug up a Les Paul for that.
Then Ryan put a third rhythm guitar on (the chugging Les Paul will probably recede into the night…) — his Fender Tele through the same Marshall with different settings. Then Ryan did a quick bass line that we’ll fix.
Ryan and I did all the guitars standing in the control room with Dean running the board. That’s how Chris Slack and I did them for the Crazy From the Heat EP (copies still available). I guess it may seem weird to people who feel they need to rock out in front of the amp, but for me it’s a pretty good compromise because you don’t have to wear headphones. You can just hear your guitar in the mix through the monitors. For the kind of dumb-ass, chord-heavy, beer-can-crushing songs that I like to do, it’s easy enough.
Plus, I think it rids you of that feeling of an engineer in another room controlling your fate. I don’t have a great deal of recording experience, but in every experience I had, I never fucked up a song quite like I did when the engineer said “rolling.” Being in the room with the guy pressing the record button and being able to stop and say “I fucked up” like it’s no big hassle is a real comfort. When you’re out in the main room and the engineer is in the control room and you do that, you’re always sure that he pressed the “talkback” button just to sigh into your headphones.
Of course it helps being in the basement of a friend’s house.