This blog page will document the process of recording, mixing and making a music clip within a two week period from July 10 – July 24, 2020. The time frame is a challenge from BEMAC Creative Booster Pack Logan, who also provide funding for the video clip, some film gear and a facebook ad to promote this clip. Every day I will post here new details and developments for you to follow. Thank you for joining me along in this journey of the making of a new song.
I wrote ‘Ready To Go’ during the darkest days of lock down on this beaten up old 4 string acoustic guitar.
This instrument brought me so much joy during that time and the song ‘Ready To Go’ came out of it. It is, I hope, a positive, uplifting song that aims to share hope and inspiration to people during the next transitions of our lives after being in such dark and uncertain place.
Thanks to BEMAC Creative Booster Pack Logan for funding the music clip which will be made by Nigel Jones from NKJ Studios. I will be recording and mixing this song myself from my home studio space.
I hope this song brings you as much joy as it brought me.
Please keep checking this page, leave comments and feel free to share this. Make sure you are on my mailing list as only subscribers will get a free download of the MP3. The film clip however, will be available on youtube, facebook and instagram and, of course here. And those, who leave their emails in the sign up form to the right, will get a digital download of the new song (as well as others) when it is ready.
So let us begin…
Recording the 4 stringer! I love this guitar but I needed to make sure I captured the resonating and charming qualities of this instrument. I tried a few different things when recording which I have discussed and demonstrated in this video. The bulk of the song is driven by strumming but there’s also a harmonics part which starts the song, and resonates in and out of parts of the song. Sometimes it almost sounds like a mandolin, but the only guitar you hear on this track is this 4 stringer.
Paint it black!
After recording the guitar, it was on to film clip preparation. We wanted black newspaper to cover a window in the house for one of the shots in the music clip. I won’t say why but you can see for yourself in the final clip 😉
After preparing for the film clip shoot all day, I got straight into recording the cajon on ‘Ready To Go.’ I had 2 cajons to choose from. Which one do you prefer?
Today was another busy day! This morning I put down some guide vocals, painted some more newspapers for a scene in the shoot and then popped out to the shops to look for what to wear in the clip 😉
Following all this, it was time to put down some bass and a guitar harmonics track to add to the vibe of this song.
I am looking forward to the first shoot tomorrow. 🙂
Film clip shoot. Day 1!
We transformed my bedroom/studio space into a film studio.
It was a massive 9 hour day and we we captured some great stuff. We even set off the smoke alarm upstairs from all the smoke we were using. Oops!!..
Nigel Jones is directing and editing this film clip. We make a great team and we made sure we social distanced while working.
Film clip shoot. Day 2!
Today we did a 6.5 km return trip on bikes with all of our gear to the Daisy Hill Quarry to get some shots for the music clip. It was the coldest day we have had in quite some time! And it was so windy! But we are on a tight deadline so so we continued on.
We captured the lovely sunset by the quarry. There were a lot of people and many dogs to dodge in the shots at that time but we got what we needed in the end.
After a big sleep in, there was a lot of cleaning up to do from the film clip shoots the last 2 days. It has been non stop since this project started so took today had a slow start.
For 2 months over lockdown I had laryngitis and voice issues. I did not speak for 2 months! Just before this project began I went to the voice specialist and had a few sessions with the speech pathologist. it was nice to have a window of time to practise some of those exercises in preparation for the final voice take which I need to record in the coming days.
With one week remaining, today I had to crack on with the audio while Nigel Jones continues to edit the music clip. I ran out of time to record both of the cajons together on the weekend to compare that against the individual takes, so I enjoyed doing that this afternoon. After comparing the 3 different cajon takes between the huxley, samba and combined, I am leaning towards the samba.
I added tambourine to the track. I used two different tambourines. One for each speaker 😉 One tambourine was the larger tambourine with a few of the jangly things tied off with a shirt so it would not ring out too much. The other is a mini tambourine which I use on my foot.
I have been using the recording program pro tools for 20 years, but I am not primarily a mixing engineer. I have mixed various things over the years but I usually prefer to work closely with a mixing engineer for my music. For this project, I will be mixing the whole song myself. So I must say, I am a little nervous, but excited to develop some skills.
Today I did some vocal practise, emailed the local paper about the project and watched youtube videos on various pro tools techniques to scrub up on my skills. Nigel Jones is sounding very happy with the filming. I can’t wait to see the first draft after the weekend. Here is Nigel’s website if you would like to check out any of his other work. Click on the logo here.
After doing more vocal practise, I made a short promo video to share on my facebook page to let people know about this project. My facebook page is www.facebook.com/lecialouise if you want to take a look 😉
I tidied up the audio session today by colour co-ordinating and grouping everything. I have not gotten deep into the mix yet but I prepared a few things as well as did some edits such as cross fades and removing unwanted sounds etc.
After vocal steaming and warm up exercises, I recorded some vocals and began preparing the session a little more for mixing. I have been doing various things such as setting up auxiliary sends for effects, making subgroups for instruments, crossfading, and other bits and pieces.
Today was a very full day. I am a little run down but still excited about the project. I started the day with steaming and vocal warm ups. I recorded another few takes of the lead vocal to compare them to yesterdays session. I ended up using yesterdays session, so I continued comping together my favourite vocal takes.
After this I had a good chat with a couple of mixing engineer friends of mine for advice on mixing. Thank you Nyssa Ray and Rick Hollis. I continued working on the session and did some more crossfades and experimented with the reverbs and compressors.
Today I checked out the first draft of the film clip which Nigel Jones sent me. It is looking very lovely and I gave my suggestions.
I ended the evening by recording vocal harmonies. I love recording vocal harmonies because it adds so much colour and body to the song.
I started the day by looking through the vocal harmonies I recorded last night. You can have a listen here.
Last week I put a call out on my facebook page asking for any mixing tips. I had a lot of wonderful feedback and thanks to those who did so. I got to put into practise some of those tips. I even had a few people offer to mix the song for me which really surprised me and was very kind. I have not accepted any of the offers to mix the song as I want to learn more about mixing myself, however, I have decided to accept the help of Nyssa Ray as we can do this in a collaborative way where I am closely involved. Nyssa Ray is a wonderful musician, song writer and producer and it’s an honour to final to work with her.
I got the mix to a place I was reasonably happy with and sent it to Nyssa to add her flare and skills. We went back and forth with mixes and feedback through out the day into the evening. It’s sounding pretty cool but we are both tired now so we will sleep on it and get back to it tomorrow with fresh ears.
This afternoon Nigel Jones from NKJ Studios sent me another draft of the film clip to check over. The changes were good and tomorrow we will meet in person to make the final adjustments. It’s nice doing the final adjustments together in real life as I get to see all the options of shots in various sections and we can both make sure we are 100% happy. Nigel is very clever and so easy going to work with as well as being open to any feedback whats over.
This evening I came back to the audio session. After listening to various mixes today, I noticed that once compression was added to the lead vocal, the breaths in between the phrases stuck out too much and was distracting. So tonight I went through and turned down the breaths and added crossfades in between the vocal phrases.
Excited!! ……… (and very tired)
Today was another massive day! Nyssa Ray and I discussed the mix and then she made the adjustments on her computer and emailed me various mixes. Nyssa’s contribution at this stage of the project was awesome. We spent about 2 hours on the audio and communicating until we came to a final decision on our favourite mix.
After the mix was done, Nigel Jones came over with the film clip session and we went through various shots for about 7 hours until we came to a final version we both liked. Nigel had already spent many hours before today on the clip. He spent another hour exported a few different quality versions and a few little fixes that needed doing which he noticed on exporting. We have different file sizes for various platforms online for final release.
Watch this space!!! Make sure you have subscribed to my mailing list to the right to get free music and cool extra stuff.
Thank you for following along!
I am very happy with the outcome of this creative project. The mix sounds great and the music clip looks lovely. I can’t wait to share it with you.
The music clip will be release to the public after the weekend so please keep an eye on this blog and my socials. More importantly, make sure you join the mailing list so you get sent a copy of the song once it is released.
Here is the final song and clip!
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