Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Recording Report #1: Demos

So work on the new JS album has begun.  It will be my first album with a full band on it (drums and all), and I am super excited to work on it and release some new songs.  I will try throughout the process to keep anyone who bothers reading this blog updated on the progress and perhaps provide some insight into the process.

The addition of drums on this album brings a whole new level of work to the project that I am pretty inexperienced with.  First of all, I have never really had to worry too much about the tempo and consistency of timing before, as it never had to fit into the rhythmic framework of percussion.  As long as I concentrated on doing my best to keep in time when recording the guitar, we could just add in the vocals, banjo, mandolin, etc. on top.  That is how we did it with the last studio album, Our Love Was Made For Canada. 

This time around, we have to record everything to a click, meaning that while recording the guitar and vocal parts I am listening to a metronome set to the right tempo in headphones.  Last night we went through this process at the apartment, recording demos to a click in my bedroom.  The we, being: myself, Jeremiah Nelson (who is engineering the project), and set wizard Adam Cargin (drummer for the Blueheels), who will be playing the drums on the album.  Sound engineer Andy Hartman will be joining us next week for drum tracking, and for tracking on the rest of the album as well. 

We spent 5 hours or so recording demos for all of the songs with drums (most of them), just the guitar and vocals.  You may remember from a previous post that I had mentioned already doing some demos.  At the beginning of the month I sat down with Jeremiah and recorded some basic demos, not done to a click, just to get to Adam so he had an idea for what the songs would be like.  The demos recorded last night are more utilitarian, so we have something to build on.  Next Monday when we track Adam's drums, the demo tracks will be piped through headphones while he lays down his parts.  Then, we will simply discard the demo tracks and start adding things on top of the drums.  Cool, huh?  Can't wait to start drum tracking next week, we're doing it in a 100+ year old farmhouse that my dad grew up in, just north of Madison.  Stay tuned, I'll keep ya'll posted on how we progress!

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