Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Melvins Live

Thought i'd share this with you all. What a band, a massive inspiration to my friends and me.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Pro Tools 10

Pro Tools 10

Seems like only yesterday I was reading about PT9 coming out. How times change. Pro Tools 10 arrived a couple of weeks ago and it brought with it some interesting questions. Audio regions are now called clips? Export music directly to Soundcloud? The new Avid Channel Strip plugin based on the legendary (?!?) System 5 console?

It appears that Avid are falling in line with a lot of the other DAW manafacturers. The 'pro' side seems to be moving more and more towards film and t.v. post production whilst the audio features are becoming more streamlined for use by the masses. None of this is a bad thing - PT is still my weapon of choice - but it does show that the businesses associated with the record industry are also having to rethink their positions in the market place to survive.

I'm sure there are 101 reasons for these updates and tweaks that we'll never know about but it does seem to be the way things are moving. I spoke to a chap from plugin manafacturer (who shall not be named) who mentioned that if they aimed all their marketing at pro audio engineers they'd never sell anything as most engineers aren't exactly rolling in it and most studios are struggling to keep their doors open. The target for them is the civilians with day jobs and disposable incomes (many of whom are fine engineers by the way) who record/mix/produce music as a serious hobby. Often recording projects for free and often better equipped than a lot of small studios.

Anyone who has read any of my previous blogs will know that i'm not here to shout and scream about the situation, rather that I find it interesting to watch the industry twist and turn to try and find a place to settle. I'm not sure that place will ever exist - hell it may even put me out of a job!

And that concludes todays ramblings,


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Heavy Metal Gangs of Wadeye

Pretty interesting documentary. Weird but true. Parts 1 & 2

New TFATD recording sessions

Exciting times! The Fierce & The Dead are heading into the studio again. Hell yes. It's looking like it's going to be an e.p. - 4 tracks, maybe a few bonuses who knows. Watch this space. Looking like it will be released in February 2011, as will the new single from the other band I play in The Murder Barn. Busy times ahead! Here are the two teaser videos for the releases.

That's the shameless plugging out of the way then.

I'm currently working on a new mix project featuring members of two very cool bands that I can't tell you about. Sorry about that. It's the rules y'know - I don't make them.

And how about this - here's the track Creature by The Duke Spirit that i recorded and mixed (well the drums were recorded in L.A. but everything else was me) for the computer game Arkham Asylum. Finally my nephews respect me.

Creature by The Duke Spirit.

And i've been working the inimitable James from Silvery on more shenanigans. You can read his take on it here.

Till next time,

Ta ra.


Tuesday, 5 April 2011

10 x 10

Hello all,

As you may or may not know I play in a couple of bands inbetween pointing microphones at things and shouting at computers. The Murder Barn are a 6 piece group and you can hear them here and see them here, but yesterday my other band The Fierce & The Dead released a single into the wild. It's called 10x10 and you can download it from our Bandcamp page. You can pay what you want for it - which basically means if you want to pay nothing you can (although do remember we're poor creative types). And please feel free to spread the word by sharing the bandcamp widget on your own pages, or copying the files for your friends. We want as many people to hear our music as possible. And just like the old days you get a b-side included, the track Foreign Languages. 10x10 is taken from our debut album which will be released in May 2011. I'll be announcing the date for that on here, and it will be posted on the main site, our Twitter feed and Facebook page.
Thanks for reading my shameless plugging - more blog fun to come this week.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Live and the studio

Hello all,

I've been in the studio this weekend with Mr Nick Tann recording a live performance that he intends to release 'as is' to the masses. Nick played his songs solo accompanying himself on a 12 string acoustic and had obviously put a lot of care and attention into the preparation for this project. To make sure it was as a live gig we even had a small audience in attendance. As an engineer it's always nice to know that you won't have to worry about 'fixing' things afterwards and that you can enjoy the process of recording without having to force performances out the mix.

This led me to thinking back to a lot of the live studio sessions i've worked on. I believe that it is one of the best ways to record whether you happen to be a solo performer or are part of larger band. If you can overcome the obstacle of finding a space big enough to accommodate you then this is an excellent way of maximising the time you have in a studio. Once you are set up and are ready to go then you can just plug away until you are happy with the takes. I've recorded projects where we have set up completely live in the studio - to the point where the musicians didn't need headphones and in most cases this led to the them concentrating much more on the performance rather than worrying about the recording process, something which is very healthy for creativity. That's not always possible, normally because of vocals or the balance of acoustic instruments versus electric, but it's worth considering if your project could be set up as live as possible. You are more than welcome to overdub to your hearts content afterwards of course but the base tracks when performed live always seem to have a bit of movement not possible from tracking up your songs without a lot of trickery.

One of my favourite ways to record live in the studio is to set the instruments up in the same room. You can manage bleed to a large extent depending on the size of the room and what polar patterns you have available in the microphones you are using. What this does from the producers perspective is to put a lot of the pressure back onto the musicians, makes them think about what they are doing and how their parts and the textures they are providing fit into the picture as a whole. All the subtleties in dynamics, tempo and the like have to be considered before you put down a final take as editing and sound manipulation become much more difficult when bleed is involved. When you are in a rehearsal room you have volume on your side but recording is like putting your song under a microscope. With the volume turned right down.

Sometimes though this recording plan isn't an option. I often work on projects where several musicians play their parts on different days due to scheduling, cost, etc and certain styles of music do not lend themselves to live recordings either. And the biggest hurdle is to find a space where you can record live, especially if you want to be loud too.

I guess the point of this blog is that I would like to see more people considering recording live rather than assuming parts must be done seperately to ensure that everything is correct. I've engineered a lot of bands who are worried about their budgets so they see overdubbing from the drums up as a way to ensure that they have a product that is 'correct'. However, if you spend more time in your rehearsal space working on your parts, getting the dynamics right, making sure you know the how to get the sound you want and making sure that sound sits right in the track then there is no reason that a band can't turn out an albums worth of recordings in a few days. You'll find that the pre production will also help the mixing process to be a lot smoother too as the sounds should already be sitting together. So you should hopefully be able to produce a great product that has that extra something without overspending your budget.

Nick getting warmed up at Livingston studios.


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Location location location.

Hello all,

For reasons I won't go into i've just been travelling around Norway for the last 14 days from the north to the south around the coast. Pretty spectacular in places - massive open spaces and enough snow to last me a lifetime. I managed to clock up quite a few miles and have lived in about seven different hotels, which is always fun (?!?!).

As I didn't want to fall behind I brought with me a little mobile PT LE rig so that I could do some editing and arranging at night for several projects i'm working on - primarily for The Fierce & The Dead album (which is nearing completion btw). Invariably when i'm working on a production I tend to immerse myself in it and during the day find my head turning over ideas that I can try out when I get to my rig. Normally i'm rushing about in good old hectic London town but here i've been driving through mountain ranges and crossing fjords on ferries and I've discovered that the landscape and the pace of life here in Norway is having a profound effect on the music i'm working on. This in turn has made me realise how much the environment in London has affected my work in the past, and how much the location in general can change the direction of a project.

It's something that I think a lot of people talk about but very few explore fully. We all know several different ways to record various instruments but how often do we take into account the location. I'm not suggesting that you should jump on a plane and blow all your money travelling to far off exotic lands to get the right vibe for the shaker track, but I do think that there is a lot to be gained from giving as much thought to the where as you do the how. I understand that a lot of people record utilising the home recording technology available these days out of necessity, budgets are virtually non existant whether signed or not and as much as we'd like to spend three months at Air using grade A equipment and instruments sometimes all we have is a laptop, a no name acoustic guitar and a couple of cheap mics. Now consider this, I'm sure where ever you live you will have several locations nearby that would add, if not sonic character, then at least a different slant to your performance. Churches, halls, basements, factories, attics, sheds, hell - even a field may add something beneficial to your recording, put you in a different headspace and hopefully create a unique piece of work. Permission to work in these places isn't always as difficult to get as you might think.

This applies just as much to mixing, creative editing and arranging as it does to recording. If you can't mix at a purpose built studio and you have enough knowledge about acoustics then don't feel locked into working in the bedroom/living room/garage/alcove under the stairs. Setting up your equipment elsewhere can also give a focus to your project as it breaks you out of habits formed from familiarity. Even a different view from a window can be enough to get your creative mojo on.

I have a group of musician friends who used to hire a cottage in Wales for a week, rig up the rooms and spend all week living together and recording whilst being able to wander off into the wilderness whenever they wanted to. The flip side of that comes from an interview I remember reading with Liam Howlett from The Prodigy. In this article he commented that whilst recording one of their albums he had relocated to the idyllic countryside but discovered that the music they were trying to create was at odds with the environment. They returned to the more socially and visually aggresive city, where the music fed from that surrounding. So you see, it's not just about sitting in a field making daisy chains, it could be that you need to place yourself somewhere more uncomfortable to achieve the neccesary results.

The next time you are embarking on a project I hope that you will now consider some of the more esoteric options available to you rather than just heading for the back bedroom again!

A fjord in Norway, a few days ago.

Till next time,


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Silvery's New Video

Didn't realise that they had put this up till just now. Here is the video for Silvery's new single 'Two Halves Of The Same Boy'. For those who don't know the connection - I recorded and mixed the album. And very lovely it turned out too. This track has been playlisted by 6 Music as well so expect to hear it around. Enjoy the video!

Silvery - 'Two Halves Of The Same Boy'

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Just in case you're interested

Here's a few more pictures from The Fierce & The Dead tracking sessions.




Matt again

Monday, 31 January 2011

How hard can it be????


How hard can it be to find someone who can play a recorder to a reasonable level?? Jessica Grace and myself have been searching for months for someone to track a recorder part for one of her songs. We have heard of someone through a couple of friends but can't quite pin him down yet. Any ideas anyone??

Looks like I may be doing some more mixing for The Fierce & The Dead this week too. Hurrah!

And in sad news, another irreplaceable talent has left us. John Barry R.I.P. So many iconic pieces of music from one man.


State of play

Hello all,

In general news i've been keeping myself busy by moving house, recording overdubs for Jess Grace's album, mixing tracks for The Duke Spirit, mastering tracks for The What?, recording madness with Matt Stevens, playing gigs and tweaking mixes with The Murder Barn and finally getting a new track released for The Fierce & The Dead (the instrumental band I play in). That track is called 'Flint' and you can hear it on Matt Steven's podcast series 'Sunday Free Noodle'. It's taken from our forthcoming album which is in the final tweaking stages so not too long now. Here's a picture from the tracking sessions for the album.

Oh, my car died and I had to get a new one. I've ended up with an estate car which makes me feel terribly grown up. I've also just done a complete redesign on my site kevinfeazey.com. CSS is fun, but occasionally you hit a snag. Unordered lists in multiple vertical columns anyone??

All good fun,