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My Day in the Recording Studio

Joe Offer 20 Jun 09 - 02:56 AM
Peace 20 Jun 09 - 03:11 AM
Peace 20 Jun 09 - 03:13 AM
Acorn4 20 Jun 09 - 03:32 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 20 Jun 09 - 05:24 AM
Tim Leaning 20 Jun 09 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 20 Jun 09 - 06:01 AM
Mooh 20 Jun 09 - 07:50 AM
Amos 20 Jun 09 - 11:49 AM
Joe Offer 20 Jun 09 - 12:57 PM
jeddy 20 Jun 09 - 08:52 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 20 Jun 09 - 08:59 PM
Mysha 20 Jun 09 - 09:53 PM
Eve Goldberg 20 Jun 09 - 11:18 PM
Joe Offer 21 Jun 09 - 12:20 AM
Acorn4 21 Jun 09 - 03:17 AM
GUEST,Peace 21 Jun 09 - 03:26 AM
treewind 21 Jun 09 - 03:59 AM
Herga Kitty 21 Jun 09 - 05:52 PM
bankley 21 Jun 09 - 07:03 PM
Joe Offer 24 Jun 09 - 12:10 PM
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Subject: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 02:56 AM

As some of you may know, I am the father of a 36-year-old punk rock musician, Nic Offer, leader of the band called !!! (pronounced "chk chk chk"). He was born in Berlin and has always liked the city, so he decided to do a German bit on one song on his new album. He wanted me to translate his English verse into German and then record it, and then he'd mix it onto his master recording for the song. So, I worked with a friend of his in Berlin to develop a translation that was both idiomatic and poetic, and then I listened to Nic's guitar recording on headphones and sang into my Zoom Handy H2 recorder. He e-mailed the guitar track to me, and I e-mailed my recording and thought that was that.

Well, it wasn't. Nic was in Sacramento this week, so he had me come in to do a recording. He said he wanted a more "breathy" sound to my voice, so I watched a couple of Marilyn Monroe movies to prepare.

Nic uses a Mac laptop, which is connected to a mixer and a keyboard. I was supposed to listen to the instrumental track and sing the song - over and over again until it was perfect. I must have made twenty recordings, and not one of them was perfect. I wanted to sound German, and I had trouble making "r" and "l" and "ch" sound really authentic. So, he said, "Watch this." We selected the four best recordings, and displayed them as four bars on the computer screen. He'd highlight a phrase from each of the four tracks, and then we'd select which phrase was best of the four. We went through the whole song that way, picking out the best of four for each phrase in the song. Then he played those selections, and it made a darn good recording.

But he wasn't satisfied with a couple of phrases, so he had me sing those over and over again until they were just right, and then he pasted them in place on the master recording. Then it sounded downright perfect.

But that wasn't enough. Then he wanted me to listen to my own perfected recording, and to sing along with that. We got a pretty good recording, but not as good as the patched-together one.

Finally, we finished and went out to dinner and had a wonderful time. It will be interesting to see how it turns out - Joe Offer's first commercial recording - a punk rock record?

Anyhow, I wondered how this experience compares with a folk music studio recording session. Do they use things like that best-of-four selection to make a perfect recording?

The whole process was very interesting - made me proud as hell of my kid, too.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Peace
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 03:11 AM

Congratulations to both of you. When can we hear it?

Joe, back in 1969 there was a song I'd written--and I kid you not--we got to take 42. (I don't recall the exact takes we used parts of, but there were three. From that we got a complete song.) I just could NOT get it right.

On the CD I sent you some time back ("MotH"), go to the first song. In the studio I blew the note on the word "I can see you NOW" in the first stanza. I was so shocked that I sang a note flat that all I could think hearing it live--as I was singing it--thru the headphones was, "WTF was THAT". (I don't have a particularly good voice, but I do NOT sing flat, ever.) Anyway, Ron had told me, "If you screw up, just keep going. We'll fix it." Well, he was right. In the mixing, we had Michel (the engineer) copy and splce the same line from the second stanza into the first stanza. Life was good again.

BTW, I think it's wonderful taht you have crossed a musical 'boundary'. I have to ask: does this herald a new hair styye?


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Peace
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 03:13 AM

BTW, those 'punk rockers' have had over a MILLION plays on their MySpace site.

I think Joe's gonna become SERIOUSLY famous. GO, JOE.

Kidding aside, congratulations for taking a giant step like that.


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 03:32 AM

Punk is back in fashion big time!

We went to our local pub who had an open mike night for bands. A couple of lads got up on stage. The crotch of their trousers was down below their knees; The lad who was doing the singing started of by shouting "One Two, f**k you!", which is apparently the standard punk intro nowadays- sort of the equivalent to "As I walked out one May morning", and the rest of the lyrics were inaudible behind the guitar switched up to maximium.

I was reminded of that line in "Life of Brian" - "How would you like us to "f**k off?"

The trousers always amaze me - I was walking through the centre of Leicester when a lad came past with one hand around his girlfriend and the other holding up his trousers -what happens if you want to send a text message?

Going back to the original 76 punk, a Leicester band whose name I forget came up with what must be the ultimate punk lyric:-

"I don't care about apathy -sod 'em all!"


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 05:24 AM

That is truly awsome Joe.

Great Story!

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

The wonders of the people at this place never cease.


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 05:43 AM

I have just recorded some stuff and I now hate microphones for recording as well as P.A.
The ability to match and mend is amazing now aint it?
I gotta say it is so good and heartwarming to read the obvious pride you take in your lads music mate.
Its good to know that there is still love in the world other than that of success fame and money.
Good on yer both.


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 06:01 AM

For curiosity sake...what software did Nic use?

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Mooh
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 07:50 AM

Very, very cool!

The recording process takes on so many forms nowadays. Thanks for sharing.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Amos
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 11:49 AM

The Mudcat CDs project used similar skills, but where and on which tracks, deponent sayeth not--it's like laws and sausages, you don't want to look too closely a how they are made.

SoundStudio is my most-used tool, and SoundSoap is excellent for cleaning up hiss and click from tapes, for example. And the tech gets better every year--GarageBand lets you tweak flat notes by fractions of a note and modify timing without distorting lyrics, which amazes me.


A


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 12:57 PM

I knew somebody was going to ask what recording software Nic uses, garg - and I forgot. I e-mailed to ask.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: jeddy
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 08:52 PM

nice one joe, i am happy that for you that you and your' son share a love of music, no matter what form it takes. there are alot of people who have no common interest with their kids, it's lovely to hear!

let us kknow please when it we can hear it?

take care

jade x x


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 08:59 PM

I have to laugh, Joe, thinking back to recording my first two albums on Folk Legacy. There were just two microphones. Sandy had to move the microphones around, placing them to get the proper balance between vocal in instrumental. When I had the Canebrake Rattlers and members of the Ash Creek String Band recording with me, we still used two microphones. If the banjo wasn't loud enough, Sandy would ask the banjo player to step closer to the microphone. It was all correography. When I had to chose the song to put on the albums, in a couple of cases I chose a cut where my guitar was a little less than optimal so that I could get the best mandolin or fiddle break.
We recorded four songs in about four hours... basically three four hour recording sessions for the whole album.

Those were the days.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Mysha
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 09:53 PM

Hi,

Re trousers etc., in lyrics I wrote last year, I used "and dress as-if they do not care".

But anyway: Joe, in case Nic is interested:
In UNIX circles, !!! is pronounced 'bang bang bang'.
Might come in handy as an album title or something.

Did the two of you enjoy working together enough to create a punk-folk-rock CD?
                                                                                                                                                            Mysha


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 11:18 PM

Congrats Joe, sounds like it was a fun and fascinating day in the studio.

Now that everything is digital, the process you described has become pretty standard, I think. Sound engineers have become really good at looking at the sound waves, and using the computer to cut and paste them together. It's pretty amazing, when you think about what sound engineers used to have to do with splicing tape and scissors.

I once heard a (probably apocryphal) story about a sound engineer who was working on a Barbara Streisand album in the pre-digital days. He was anxious to impress her, and he wanted to go the extra mile on her recording project. So he took one song that she had recorded a vocal on, and spent hours and hours painstakingly cutting all her breaths out of the track, and splicing it all back together, until he had what he thought was the perfect vocal. The next day he played it for her and she hated it. She asked for all the breaths to be put back in. I often think of that poor sound guy when I'm in the studio...


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 12:20 AM

Hi, Mysha-
Actually, the band's name can be pronounced with any soung - I've heard "band bang bang" and "pow pow pow." I can never find my kids records in the stores - the stores don't know which letter of the alphabet to file thme under.
I have performed with the band only once - Nic called me up to the stage and I sang "This Land Is Your Land," and the audience sang along very well.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Acorn4
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 03:17 AM

I think I find recording much more nerve wracking than playing live, even when I do it at home, and I've `heard a lot of other people who say the same thing.

The inevitable cock-up two bars fro the end!


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 03:26 AM

I hear THAT!


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: treewind
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 03:59 AM

"recording much more nerve wracking than playing live"
I used to think that, until I discovered how easy it is to fix mistakes in the recording process, and then I realised that the recording studio is just as good a place to take risks as live performance, if you can get in the right mood.

I didn't know about the folk world, but in pop music recording, techniques like recording 20 takes of the same vocal and then patching together the best on almost a syllable-by-syllable basis is certainly common practice.

The time-honoured practice of moving mics around until the balance is right still hasn't died out. Recording engineers worth anything know that it's far easier to get the right sound in the first place than to fix it in the mix.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 05:52 PM

There's the argument about recording what you'll hear if you book them for your club v recording what you want to listen to in your car....

I'm about to find out what people think of the a cappella CD George Papaveris recorded and produced recently of me singing with Derek Burgess v the CD I recorded at Wild Goose with Mick Pearce...

Kitty


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: bankley
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 07:03 PM

call me old fashioned, but I don't like playing a song more than 2 or 3 times in the studio... usually the 2nd take is best, then I do another 'for fun'... same goes for vocals.... I got at least 5 songs on the last CD where the vocal was done one take as a 'scratch' or reference track.. and they turned out to be the keepers.. but you gotta do your homework first so the comfort factor is high... I recorded a new song 'Scarbo' a couple of weeks ago for the project with JT..had 4 songs to do,in Montreal, guitar then voice... so it was the one which was the most daunting due to the fact I had only played it a few times prior, so the arrangement was developing on the fly... fast and a mouthful of words... one take for the sound balance, then the 2nd take I nailed it...5 minutes overall... I surprised myself... the vocal is close but I'll re-do it next time to tighten the phrasing... meanwhile those tracks are sitting in the studio in KY. waiting for Jayto to add his magic.... I'm involved with 5 different studios at this time for different projects... plus my humble home set-up for sketches etc... I gotta tell you... I'm very partial to the Telefunken U-47 or 251-E for my voice... an old Neumann U-47 is fine as well... Royers SF-21 ribbon mics on the guit... I'm glad I have friends who can afford them... but without a song and performance they're 19 grand total sitting idle.... my least favorite part is mixing but it's so important... and time consuming... just a few thoughts.... good luck to all... happy summer... R.


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Subject: RE: My Day in the Recording Studio
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 12:10 PM

Nic says his recording software was Logic ($499 from Apple). Actually, I think the edition he uses on his laptop is Logic Express, since he says the software cost him $200.
Even the express version is a very impressive software package.

-Joe-


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