Unit 8 – Research

The idea for this song first came about after listening to “Some unholy war” by Amy Winehouse off of her album back to black. After i had heard this version i began to practice it on guitar. I found it interesting how such a variety of unusual chords were put together and sounded so well. After listening to it over a few times i listened to the down tempo version on the same album and i really liked this version a lot more.  This is mainly down to the down tempo version being more laid back and chilled in comparison to the original version. My final song doesn’t really sound like either of these versions but I do think it fits in to a similar genre.

Another song that somewhat contributed to my final unit 8 song was the the song “Hotel California” by the Eagles. Although this song didn’t have an overall influence on my song, element of it did push me to change the mood of the song. The verses of the song were definitely swayed more towards Amy Winehouses style. The choruses definitely lift the song up and that’s the feeling I took away from ” Hotel California”.

The last song that influenced my song differs on quite a large scale to the past two. The third song is “West coast” by Lana Del Ray.  Whist listening through Ultraviolet, this song stood out for me. Each time I hear it I still feel like it should be two separate songs. But on the other hand it makes sense the way it is . This was the reason that “West coast ” influenced my own song. The verse and chorus of both songs change the mood quite a bit and the vibe feels different. Listening to ” West coast” more recently, the lead guitar reminds me of the one on my song too.

 

During the recording process for unit 8 certain issues definitely stand out more then others. The main one being timing. Although the timing issues that occurred during unit 8 weren’t exactly down to my timing, I have found this experience helpful in many ways. After finally solving these issues I did some research into the important of using a metronome whilst recording. Whilst reading this article I definitely will make sure that I play along to a metronome instead of playing to a piano or other instrument incase  it is out of time like what happened on this project. By doing this stuff will get recorded a whole lot quicker. As well after reading this article I think that I will consider practicing with a metronome on occasion.

http://www.stetina.com/lessons/metronome.html

Another issue that I came across during unit 8 was recording with an acoustic guitar. Personally I think the reason that this was an issue was down to three different factors. The first being that the piano I was playing to was a bit hard to play too which at the time I didn’t know it was out of time. The second being that we had to keep re recording because on certain takes the signal wasn’t coming through very strong. The sound that was being recorded reminded me of ” The masterplan” by Oasis because of how thin the acoustic guitar sounds.  The third was down to my lack of experience playing on acoustic guitars. These issues definitely led to me playing on an electric guitar instead. Now having a final song I think using a electric guitar was definitely a better choice.

 

The most recent documentary I watched was Supersonic. I did expect good things from this documentary and it didn’t fail to meet my expectations. As well as being eye opening to the bands stuggles through the early 90s, it also was very amusing with commentary from both Liam and Noel Gallagher throughout. The documentary was leading up to Oasis playing at Knebworth where they performed to 125,000 people.

Unit 8 – Week 7

This week i carried on sorting out my mix for my song. I looked through the drum loops and found a southern drum loop that played for a few bars. I copied the loop throughout the song then removed parts that i didn’t want. The main section where i removed drums were after the first chorus.  I mimicked this idea from the drummer that i had been rehearsing with. As well as removing the drums to mimic the drummer, i decided to continue removing the drums so that it would stop playing completely and then build up with the hi hat, snare and kick drum into the chorus. I also had a chance to listen to my peers mix of the same song. Although he hasn’t made the same changes that i suggested and made to my mix, his does sound alright. Beside from the additional verse and the two different rhythm guitars, in his mix the drums are one of the differences that separate our mixes. As well as this my peer has kept in the lead guitar through the chorus which i removed. After listening through my own mix with the lead guitar playing through the chorus i used automation to lower the volume so that it couldn’t be heard. I did this as the rhythm guitar during the chorus couldn’t really be heard due to the other guitar playing over it. Without it playing, the chorus sections sound a lot less cluttered up. In the chorus i have a bass, piano, drums and one guitar playing now. Another thing that i also included in mine which wasn’t in my peers mix is a very quick slide at the start that i included. The last difference that i picked up on which was to be expected was that the piano on his was louder then mine. As he played the piano i think that is understandable. For me the drums on his mix sound incredibly repetitive and don’t change at all throughout the whole song. As well the drums sound quite distracting and loud. For all of the reasons above i do believe that mine sounds better then my peers but I’m unsure which one will be on the album.

Unit 8 – Week 6

In this week I started to mix my song. Initially I had thought that when the song was going to be mixed I wouldn’t be that involved as my peer who played the piano seemed more eager to do it himself. But as my peer was mixing on the old version which included the two different guitar tones on the rhythm guitar and had also left in the verse that was dragging the song on, I decided to just mix the newer version. So far my main focus is to sort out the drums and find a better kit then the one I’m using at minute. The reason being is that the one i have at the minute is a loop off of ultra beat and just repeats throughout which i personally find quite annoying. Whilst rehearsing in the previous weeks, my peer that was playing the drums kept the drums quite hidden in the back ground and also varied the way he was playing during certain sections. So my aim is to almost mimic how he played through midi.

 

Unit 8 – The Underground Theatre

For part of unit 8 we had to do a live performance. This performance we held at The Underground Theatre in Eastbourne. At around 4 a clock we had to go for a sound check to make sure all the equipment was organised for the performance later on in the day. After the sound check i went home to sleep then returned at about 7 .Doors opened at around 7 so i got there in good time. Whilst waiting i tuned the guitar that i was using which belonged to the college. I used a red and white Squier guitar for this performance. This was the same guitar that i recorded all my guitar parts for my song. In terms of the performance overall it didn’t sound to bad. The main issue that i faced whilst playing was that i couldn’t hear a thing that i was playing. I only knew i was in time as i could hear the rest of my peers playing. I couldn’t hear the piano either. Through this performance myself and my peers used eye contact to continue playing even we messed up at parts.  So throughout the whole performance i was under the impression that i was playing quietly. Especially as i wasn’t using a pick to play. Another issue was the lack of time we practice. This is clear as certain parts were a bit all over the place. The last issue that i faced was my amp settings. As i couldn’t hear anything i didn’t realise how sharp my guitar sounded. This differs quite drastically in comparison to the sound of my guitar on my final mix. Although this performance wasn’t perfect, it was a whole load better then the Christmas gig we did.

Starts at 19:30

Unit 8 – Week 5

This week I had a lot less to do then in past weeks. In this session I listened back over the tracks that had been recorded. I noticed that I had played my guitar parts on two separate guitars and therefore two different types of tones could be heard. As everything else had been recorded I decided to re recorded the guitar throughout the whole song. Listening back to the song it did seem to drag on especially at the end. The original structure had been:
Verse
Chorus
Verse
Bridge
Verse
Chorus

But I decided to remove the last verse. By changing this I did have to cut out parts of the bass , piano and lead guitar that had been recorded. The piano wasn’t that difficult at all as it was just midi.

In the next rehearsal I discussed the changes with everyone else so that everyone knew what was going on. Even though through theses changes the song was a lot shorter there was still some confusion through the whole song just like last week. This was our last session to rehearse and we did eventually get it to a decent standard.

Unit 8 – Week 4

This week we were going to record the piano in the studio but the pianist insisted on recording in the midi room. I was quite sceptical about this as we had had some major issues about timing problems previously. To my surprise the piano got recorded in time and sounded really good! When my peer had finished i decided to record my guitar sections through the sound card in the midi room. Although i had recorded the guitar through an amp the previous week, the sound that was coming through sounded like a bass which wasn’t the sound i wanted. Whilst recording through the sound card i managed to get a much clearer sound and i also got it done a lot quicker. In comparison to the recording through the amp, the recording through the sound card sounded a lot better for this song.
Next session we rehearsed the song again and we also had someone playing on drums this time. Whilst rehearsing, it did take a while for everyone to manage to play together without any major faults. Out of the three or four time we went through it, it was placed well once.
The last session of the week two of my peers recorded lead guitar and also bass. After two takes both were recorded  . After this I went to the midi room to start mixing.

Unit 8 – Week 3

This week the bassist recorded a rough copy of what he was going to record as we didn’t have enough time to record there and then. So far the bass is sound very good against what we have so far.
In the next session we listen through what we had and a member of staff  noticed that the piano hadn’t been played to a click when it had been recorded. As I was playing to the piano, all of the guitar parts were also out of time. Thankful we had only recorded the piano and guitar parts.  I stayed after the lesson to record the guitar parts first on a new project so that I was certain that everything would be in time for next session. Whilst recording the guitar i did come across some issues when it came to playing it back. The microphone that was recording the amp was picking up quite a lot of noise from the room. As well as this the slot where the guitar lead connects to the amp was making a rattling noise. A member of staff suggested that i bring my own. As the guitar i own currently has 4 strings, my peer offered to bring his in next session.
In this next session I had to start from scratch. Whist i waited for my peer to arrive, I started by setting up the studio and getting the equipment that I needed. Today I used a Roland amp , a microphone for the amp and also an epiphone guitar. Everything was recorded in time!!!