ANNNND… Another Delayed Post

28 01 2014

Its been a while, in fact I can see me slipping away and getting lazy again so I thought on my week off I’d give you an update on whats been happening and what is coming up in the next wee while.

So the last blog I mentioned I was involved with another short horror film which was being put into this years Bloody Cuts competition. Unfortunately it did not make it into the final 50, but for me that didn’t really matter at all. I had a great time on set with everyone and also during post production creating sounds and music/audio for it. The experience was another learning curve and i’d say that is/was the main thing to take away. There are obviously thing in it that I would say I would want to go back and change or make better but again its all about learning from each project and using what you have learnt to help make any future projects better.

Below is the final edit of the short horror film for anyone who wants to check it out…

Since then I have been asked to help record live drums for a friends “work in progress” album. This has meant that I have to get my brother (the real drummer) to learn all 15 tracks and then make them his own. I then come in and give my opinion and once everyone is happy we track the drums. This has given me more time to play with microphones and different techniques. I have also been learning to speed up different sessions by making templates of particular sessions and using shortcuts A LOT more. Once all the songs have live drums put to them and everyone is happy the idea is to trigger samples over the top to get the overall sound my friend wants. However I think I might leave him to do all that until he needs my opinion on mixing and final sounds. One of my main passions is recording live drums so i’m really enjoying being asked and getting involved with this project.

Here is a picture of of one of the tracks I have literally just finished working on today. If anyone has any questions about this sort of thing please do feel free and fire me a comment.

Drum Track Session

My plans for the next month are being involved with another short film that a friend has written. I am also hearing that its going to the cinema which is rather nerve wracking as this does mean I will have have to step up my game. This film requires more music and orchestral compositions which is what i also enjoy doing so hopefully everything runs smoothly and I get it all done by the deadline at the end of february. Fingers Crossed! Once its been uploaded I will post up a link for you all to check out. (thats if it turns out decent)

For now im enjoying my week of working on these drum tracks and also doing some more drums covers of my brother. Again anything that gets uploaded with be put straight onto here. And to all out there who bothered to get this far, enjoy the rest of your day and be productive, you will definitely feel better for it, I can assure you!!


Out of habit…Oh the shame!

12 12 2013

Being home without educational work to do would give of the idea that I would have a lot more time to update this, unfortunately this isn’t the case. I have fallen out of the habit of doing a blog update once every week or two, which in turn makes it even more difficult to get back into the swing of things. This is me (again) trying to make up for lack of updates/posts.

What have I been doing with my life lately I hear no one asking… Well i’ll tell you, since my last post which seems like lightyears ago my brother has started to do drum covers, which I have helped record then edit into some sort of viewable visual for people to watch on youtube. I thought about doing this for a while and the only reason why was because he is like a human metronome and is rather quite good at hitting the old tubs. This would (in theory) get his name out there, and just maybe get him some work. We have filmed and recorded 5 covers so far, one of which i’m having problems with and the other is about to get edited. By doing these videos I have also got to practise recording his drum kit and array of cymbals, which in turn helps me better understand specific mic techniques and placements and their accompanying sounds on each particular drum.

Here is a link to my youtube playlist with the covers he has done so far. Check them out if you are into that sorta thing.

I have also got involved with a friend who makes movies. H e had approached me a while back and asked if I could do a little sound design. I enjoy doing this sort of thing as it allows me to get rather creative and explore different sounds and plug-ins I have. I will include some pics I got of things i recorded pre film shoot so i could mess with them and see what I could come up with. So I have access to two different timpani sound which i’m not totally convinced by so as a desperate attempt to try and add to or create my own I recorded and sampled both my brothers kick drums with several microphones in different environments and also recorded and sampled a couple of his bigger floor toms, again with several microphones. Once chopped and cut down to the right length I brought them all into a new session and started messing with EQs, Compressors, Distortion plug-ins, Bitcrushers. You name it i probably tried it. After coming up some interesting sounds, I added some big reverbs to them and pitch shifted and EQ’d their reverb bus to create an even darker atmosphere. I then recorded and sampled a lot of different objects around my house and else where including a kettle boiling, my xbox fan, cutlery clashing of each other. These examples are to name but a few. However after making some sounds and using them in the short film I decided that as I won’t get to really listen to these sounds again in a different way i thought about arranging them in some sort of listenable fashion that really “showed off” some of the sounds i made. Below is what I came up with, bare in mind this arrangement was done in less than an hour as i was in a rush to go to the cinema.

Here is the final edited short film that has been up for a couple of days now

My plans in the up and coming weeks/months are to help with location recording and sound design of a couple more short films as well as trying to edit audio and footage of a new drum cover each week. Oh and also enjoy a relaxing christmas as well. For now im enjoying a paid week off work and am about to watch some films with a big bag of millions (the sweets, unfortunately).

Recording, Mixing, Live Sound, Mixing & More Work

6 08 2013

It’s been some time since the last post however I have an excusable alibi. Over the last few weeks I had the opportunity to record a friend/colleagues family  and their interesting takes on a range of different songs. They are preliminary a bluegrass/skiffle/country band who play in a few of the local towns weekly. They bring in a good crowd and have been doing well for themselves for plenty of years. Only recently have they got my brother involved. Depending on the venue determines what he would play, either a toned down version of his usual drum kit set up or a Cajon drum box.

They recorded nine tracks in total, but after listening back on them all they decided on keeping just six. I am very happy with their final decision to keep these particular tracks as they are defiantly the strongest and also the most exciting. It took two six hour sessions to track all the live takes. After they were laid down the rest of the overdubs and drums needed put down. The majority of the overdubs were down in a couple of sessions. These included extra banjo takes, mandolin, rhythm and lead guitars, vocals and extra percussion. We took one full day to do the drums with a day before hand to prep. During the drum tracking we carefully selected the most complimenting cymbals and snare drums for each specific track out of an extensive collection. After they were done and dusted we had a listen to what we had, once hearing just a few of the tracks I realised that the D112 on the kick drum wasn’t going to be enough. It just wasn’t punching through the way I had hoped, so I came up with a solution. When I had arrived back from manchester after graduating my brother an I recorded some samples of his kick drum, which was the same kick drum we recorded for this short album. I talked about making these samples in a previous post which can be found HERE. I tried out a couple of the different samples, layering it over each of the live kick drums transients. I finally settled on one and then had to start lining up these individual samples with the live kick drum. This was definitely the most tedious task I have had to do during this project. However it has been  totally worth it, and the results definitely speak for themselves.  Below is a screenshot of the final layout of one of the sessions.

Wagon Wheel Edit Window

The main rule I have had to abide by with these tracks was to keep as much of a live atmosphere as possible. The first method I used was to track everything in the same room, keeping the same atmosphere throughout. Secondly I chose to use just Logics own EQ’s and Compressors to get the foundation of each tracks mix. Carefully compressing everything to tighten the overall sound up. The trick was to not overdo anything. The only extra plug-ins that have been used so far are a Lexicon reverb and Waves Aural Exciter. We are still working on getting all six tracks up to the same standard  however we have decided on redoing bass guitar on two tracks, then a couple of vocal overdubs and harmonies. Once these are done, its some final tweeking then onto mastering them slightly. I really don’t want to over produce these tracks at all, hence why we are restricting ourselves to what we use. Once the tracks are finished I will post up them up for any and everyone who would be interested. Feedback would be very much appreciated!!

I will include a range of snapshots taken over the course of recording these tracks at the bottom of this post.

Since the last post I have also done sound at a couple of small local events and also have a couple coming up. I love doing live sound as it keeps me on my toes and also gives me total control over whatever everyone has to listen to in between acts. This can be incredibly entertaining at times. Well enough of me blabbering on and on, I will leave you with some photos to look at, and if anyone has any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their day as i’m away back into the studio for some more musical antics. Peace out!!

Pre-Production For A Bluegrass/Skiffle Album

5 06 2013

Yet another beautiful day we had everyone, and for myself it was enjoyed about 40% of the time. The other 60% was spent in the studio setting up the recording space, making final notes, labelling and testing the different instruments and their particular microphones.

Was a very productive day even though the recording hasn’t started yet. Am very excited as this is probably the most organised session i’ve been involved with. The studio has pretty much been left so that in the morning after loading up the first session and doing a few line checks as well as a couple of warm up takes that they can just walk in, take up their positions that have been laid out for them and just play. I was told in advance that one of the singers and guitarist doesn’t like sitting around and usually likes just getting it over and done with, hence Mr Organised ha!

We may try and get a short video of wat happens in the studio, but there will most definitely be snapshots of pretty much everything that happens throughout the whole process of making this album. I will post up a few for anyone who would be interested.

For now Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls is immanent, followed by bed swiftly after. Early start. Enjoy your evening whatever your plans are.


Thats an Inspirational Day People, Both Inside & Outside the Studio!!

4 06 2013

Hey WordPress, N. Ireland for the last few days (and apparently for the incoming week) got beautiful weather. What makes life even more peachy is that i’ve got the next 3 days off work…As Holidays!! Partay on everyone, so this means there is a mixture of relaxation, motivation & inspiration in the air at the minute. Just before I start to bore everyone with the rest of this blog, for people who don’t know what the weather is like over here at the mo, check it out. Am very lucky to have such a fantastic home and view.

Shorts, Shirts & Shades Day!

After having my weetabix and vitamin drink this morning, i’ve been prepping logic templates for wednesday’s and thursday’s sessions. This session will include skiffle, bluegrass and a small amount of country (as the band themselves are surprise surprise…Irish) and they are looking to do a 12 track album. we have the microphone blends for each instrument chosen and techniques decided upon. The notebooks are filled with measurements and settings to help speed along with movement of this session. I am very excited for the next couple of days to be honest, partly because we are trying to keep a few of the tracks as live takes. Some incredible sounding instruments will be recorded over the next few days which is another reason why I’m rather excited.

In my previous blog update I mentioned a new track that i have been working on as well. I have only been slowly tinkering with it when I get the time. At the minute the intro and pretty much the first section (1.30) of the track is done. Just playing around with a few new ideas for the next section just to see if they work. I will be upgrading my soundcloud account to pro on thursday which will mean I have more upload time as well as being able to update an already uploaded track, this means that people who have already listened to it can easily find it again. Since the demo was uploaded there has been so much more sounds and stuff added to it and I am rather proud of how some of it has turned out. When I get round to finishing it you guys will be the first to know.

Finally I found a great remix on soundcloud the other day which seems to go hand in hand with the recent weather. Very relaxed but insanely cool as well. The guy is called Carlos Serrano and he has some other great work on his soundcloud account. Below is that remix of Adele & Daft Punk. I’m not a big fan of Adele’s personality however you can’t deny she has an incredible voice. No need to even mention Daft Punk, just enjoy!!

Working With Live Samples & Beat Boxing???

26 05 2013

Hey wordpress, seeing as I got out of work early today and the weather was glorious for a change, I thought it would be a good opportunity to sit down for half an hour or so and flick through a session I started a while ago.  Here is an insight to my thoughts and ideas for this particular track. Being a massive Bonobo fan for the last few years has inspired me to try making a track a long the same lines as some of his stuff. However after heavily indulging in his album Black Sands, I fell in love with his ability to incorporate an oriental feel to his jazz/triphop based tracks. This then sparked the idea to try this myself.

After laying down the basics to the track with Double Bass as the main drive behind the track, and a mix between sitars and zithers to create the oriental vibe I had to sit down a think how I was going to approach doing drums. I wanted something layered with my own live samples/loops. In the midst of my excitement and endless ideas I came up with the idea of trying to intertwine some original beat boxing. Bear in mind I can’t beat box to save my life, but thats the great thing about sampling and having the gear sitting waiting got you. When I had spare time I just recorded myself doing bass drum, snare drum and hi hat sounds using both an SM57 & AKG D112 to experiment and learn more about these microphones. In the last blog post (HERE) I talked about recording and making live samples of different snare drums, lots of different cymbals and a bass drum in different environments with a range of different microphones. After many hours sitting in my local cropping and chopping these recordings into manageable samples/audio files I decided it was time to try and sift through these new live samples and see if I could incorporate some of them into this new track. Below is a screenshot of what could be the “almost” final drum layout.

Drum Track Layout

Working with and making Samples is something I have endless joy doing and spending time working on as there literally is endless possibilities and to be completely honest the crazier the better. When I brought in Hi Hat or Cymbal samples I put a high pass filter on them cutting off everything lower than, roughly between 200Hz – 500Hz. Again its up to you and how you want it to sound. Then for the Kick I added a low pass filter cutting off everything above 3600kHz as I liked the ring of the room it was tracked in bleeding/running off after the initial hit. For the other sampled kicks in the track they were used to fill out and help the kick thump through. They made the overall kick sound fuller and thicker. these samples had everything above 2000kHz taken off as I wanted the lower end to punch through. By doing this cleans up the mix taking out all the unwanted frequencies and making everything you want to hear, be heard clearly without having trouble picking each instrument or part of the track out.

I still have a lot to do on this track but I’m going through it slowly, taking my time and enjoying every aspect of it. If anyone out there has the same passion as myself when it comes to sampling let me know and even share some of your own tracks/ideas with me as I would love to hear. Even your own techniques. Its always interesting finding out how other people do it. For now my rant/geek out is done but below you can check out just a very simple demo of said track. Feedback and opinions are always appreciated. Enjoy and Peace!!

Its always with the lack of Blogs… (Serious Backlog in Updates)

29 04 2013

You would think that finishing Uni and coming back home would mean more free time thus allowing me more time to update this blog with all things interesting but it hasn’t been the case. The old job has called me back in, which has resulted in pretty much full time hours, I really can’t complain as debts need payed of and well to be honest money is rather handy in this day and age!

So since being at home for a month and a half, what has actually been taking up the rest of my time asides from working in a supermarket, I hear you ask! Well firstly I came home to a brand new GoPro Hero 3, which is the absolute BOMB and that still doesn’t even do it justice. I will include a gallery of some snapshots of either sessions that I have been involved with or general pics of life as a free man from education. My brother and I have also made a couple of random videos using this beautiful piece of gear. The first one was imported and exported in the wrong settings (like a total novice) you really wouldn’t know I studied a Film & Audio course however it sorta fits the feel of the whole video. Excuses aside though, it was my bad. Being very impatient with my laptop. This video is below.

The other video may not work in certain countries due to copyright issues with the particular song I chose to use as the backing track however if it does work for anybody out there let me know and give me your opinion of my amateur video making/editing skills!! This video is in HD and can be watched below.

Ok so I wasn’t going to bring it up but because of the next topic I may as well. My other suitcase which had all my recording gear in it, had to be left in manchester airport over night then picked up by an old housemate. Was a massive bummer but eventually after two whole weeks of no actual recording the suitcase was couriered back by DHL who charged an incredible £25 instead of easyjet’s insanely selfish £240. However once the suitcase arrived it was safe to say that recording once again took up the majority of my free time. Between helping out my brothers band AudioCavalry with some demo tracks to most recently tracking each and every cymbal in my brothers collection for my own sample library. I also started tracking his snare drum collection as well as doing some more recording at a friends new studio space. He also has a drumkit with a very decent cymbal set in which we tracked to use as samples as well as doing comparisons with different microphones and techniques. All to help us both learn more about the microphones, the drums and our recording spaces atmospheres. Again there are pictures of some of these sessions included in the slideshow below.

When there is any extra time I have been either working (slowly) on my own musical ideas and also wasting my wages on DVDs. Oh and like any “normal” Irishman I have been drinking lots of whiskey and guinness when money allows me.

Before I came home I applied for a studio manager position in a studio which is around an hour and a half’s drive away from our home. Unfortunately I did not get the job however I have secured some sessions with the owner and a few friends bands. Any experience will be appreciated and enjoyed to the full in this particular studio. Recently I have found out that there is a big studio from manchester moving literally 15 minutes away from my house.  They are in the middle of building the place and I have taken it upon myself to take tomorrow off and go up and introduce myself. Hopefully, fingers crossed, something will come of it!!

And finally before I go and waste an hour or two of my life on our new xbox playing guitar hero or batman arkham asylum, I put together a short visual using Adobe After Effects for a track I posted on here a while ago. This video, for anyone that may be interested in that sort of thing can be found HERE!!

So after this lengthy blog update I leave you a slideshow that just takes your eyes to enjoy it and not your brain, like the rest of this horribly written post. Hopefully some of you guys out there enjoy.