Last Sunday in the studio

allen-pro-toolsI spent last Sunday in the studio with Allen. We did the vocals for “You Have the Worst Taste In Men” and then moved on to doing drums.

The original “plan” (hate that word) was for me to make a drum pattern on my old-school Alesis SR-16 and us drop it into “Out The Other.” Allen knew we’d have synching problems but I thought they’d have to do with me hitting play at the proper moment. In other words, since the guitar and vocals were already down, I thought we’d be dropping a complete drum track and then sliding it back and forth to start at the proper moment. I had no idea that the real challenge was that 120 beats per minute on my drum machine does not equal 120 beats per minute in ProTools.

So after a couple of tests that established that and after my drum machine bonking and deleting the patterns I’d recorded the day before, we discussed all sorts of possibilities. I’m a big fan of pulling the plug on an idea before wasting too much time on it. I want to move on. I’ll get caught up in options. And we discussed many: using the out of sync patterns and having Allen correct each beat to match the click track in ProTools; going back to the drawing board and creating GarageBand loops; live drums; faking a live set with my rhythm box pedal and a cajon; using the click track in the mix of the song.

And then we arrived at the somewhat inspired and totally hilarious option: play the drum machine live.

alesis-drum-machineAfter that, we spent the rest of the day with me manually performing kick and snare on the drum machine buttons. It was totally fun. We mixed up the drum sounds from song to song but left the beats pretty minimal and the sounds sounding… pretty machine-y. That was the idea anyway. I don’t want to fake a real kit. I want you to know it’s a machine. But it was performed and that definitely made it more fun.

Allen had a bunch of ideas for what a real drum kit would do over top of the machine beats. He may have laid some tracks down yesterday. I can’t wait to hear what he comes up with.