Archive for the Commentary Category

Recording At Home: A Little R&R.

Posted in Commentary, How To's, Making Music with tags , , , on December 7, 2014 by The Buddha Rats

Writing and recording at home is challenging. Resources are scarce.  My room is all but untreated (unless you count the odd painting on the wall, a kingsize bed in the room, no echo chamber, no mixing board, no vocal or drum room and no access to real tape other than Scotchtape). I just read an article in which someone thought that his Mom’s cooking rivaled or surpassed anything he’s had in a “proper” restaurant. Oh yea, peasant cooking… rustic cooking at it’s best is a real pleasure. Same thing with Rustic Recording.

Here are tips for getting the most out of your recordings. You won’t win a Grammy, but isn’t Coldplay nominated this year?… You see my point?

1) Use mic distance to your advantage.

Recordings aren’t just stereo or mono.  Create depth using multiple mics as well as by using reverb and EQ to great effect. The brighter the sound, the more up front it appears. Using lo-pass and hi-pass filters as your “go-to” tool will keep things sounding natural and make sounds that compete for space easier to manage and fix.

2) Go DI for bass.

Bass signals plugged in direct to your daw will end up lifeless, but you can “fix it in the mix”. I always go DI and end up duping the original track 2x. Now that I’ve got 3 bass tracks:

  • Leave the DI track as is.
  • Route track 2 through an ampsim.
  • Route track 3 through a fuzz or distortion box.

Blend these tracks to create a tasty bass track.

3) Perfect your performance before you hit record.

If you can’t play it all the way through without that red light on, you’re not ready to have a go at it. Seriously- learn your material. Make sure you can sing it and play it.

4) Buy the best instruments you can afford and use them.

And this doesn’t mean that you have to subscribe to the myth that your guitar needs to be a 1959 Les Paul in order to be considered “best”. I like Elliott Smith and was pleased to learn that the entire Roman Candle album was recorded using a cheap Domino parlor guitar.  Best= what works best for the material. New instruments might not work as well as something old or beat up even (have you seen the hole in Willie Nelson’s Martin?).

5) Drum machines suck.

They’re repetitive and lack soul. Pepper any drum machine track with real tambourines, claps, woodblocks, etc. anything that sounds real- even shaking a key ring full of keys will go a long way to impart that touch that only a real human can. Or better yet, just find a real drummer.

6) Don’t marathon mix.

Take breaks every hour. Let your ears rest for 15-20 minutes. It will make a big difference. Ear fatigue, especially when listening to high volume rock tracks, is a death sentence for quality.

7) Audition your mixes before and after.

There are people who can actually mix well using headphones. Just be sure to A/B them on car stereo, home stereo, etc.

8) Elevate you demos with proper mastering.

Home recordings can sound cheap because they often aren’t mastered properly. Even Ozone (when used sparingly) can yield great results.

9) Mistakes= Happy Accidents. Keep Them.

You are making music for real live flesh and blood people to hear. Your music should sound like it was made by one. Mistakes happen. Nothing is perfect. Remember that.

10) Always, always experiment.

Do something you haven’t tried. It might make your song better.

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Life Is Good

Posted in Commentary, Music with tags , on June 1, 2014 by The Buddha Rats

Spent all day Saturday with some very close friends and a bunch of wickedly talented musicians. Partied responsibly, played all night and#lifeisgood.

Memorial Day

Posted in Commentary on May 24, 2014 by The Buddha Rats

Here is to all of our brave men and women who sacrificed everything to make sure we are all safe and free. God bless you all and thank you!

Dave Grohl Owes Me (AKA Nickelback Sucks Ass)

Posted in Commentary, Nickelback Sucks Ass, Shitty Musicians with tags on April 27, 2014 by The Buddha Rats

Facebook. A wonderland of meme’s, old friends and political ramblings.

I was reading a collection of meme’s/quotes and stumbled across Dave Grohl’s  jab at a Canadian band called Nickelback. They came to fame in the 90’s. I should have heard of this band, but was thankfully spared for over almost 20 years until Dave Grohl opened his trap. Based on Dave’s funny quote about “hearing the devil when you play any Nickelback song backwards” and things being worse when you “play them forward because you just hear Nickelback” I decided to take a chance and check them out on YouTube. I figured how bad could they be?

How bad? Really. Fuc**ng. Bad. I got through 23 seconds of something titled Rockstar. It sucked ausing my right ear to bleed. The douchebag singer sounded like he hadn’t taken a shit since 1987. The lyrics were beyond abysmal and most likely plagiarized from a Canadian Jr. HS student’s lost notebook. I also learned from a coworker that the a-hole singer married Avril Lavine. Misery must love company.

Are the only Canadian musicians worth a damn Neil Young and the guys from The Band? Why hasn’t anyone repossessed Nickelback’s instruments or, better yet, shot them all dead in the street like they would have done in the Old West? Questions, questions…

Now back to Dave Grohl,. This guy is awesome, but with great power comes great responsibility and Dave owes me. He owes me Big Time, because I can never get my pre-Nickelback life back. The only way Dave could possibly make things right is by covering this Buddha Rats song which has, and always will, kick ass and could possibly kick even harder if the Foo fighters would cover it:

Happy Sunday. F**k Nickelback. God bless Donald Duck, vaudeville and variety.

 

 

 

 

 

Rant Of The Day: Learn To Play

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 24, 2013 by The Buddha Rats

Learn to play. Music has got nothing to do with mic placement, or an over-priced $2500 Epiphone guitar from China, or a $3K mic. “Louie Louie” sounds like shit (and so does Surfing Bird), but it’s got heart and it was done live with one mic probably in one take. If you’re young and haven’t heard it, Google it.

People: Learn your craft. If you aren’t, then all you are doing is contributing to everything that is wrong with modern day music. Stop time-shifting everything to death and learn to play those damn drums. Forget about Autotune and learn how to fu*king sing on time and in key.

Music should be played. It doesn’t matter if you are using vsti’s- play the damn thing like it was a real instrument. If you are one of “those” people who are step-sequencing everything then guess what? You’re not a musician, you’re a programmer.

And you’re fired.

The Music Biz

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 7, 2013 by The Buddha Rats

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”
-Hunter S. Thompson

Has Technology Destroyed Music?

Posted in Commentary, Music with tags , , on May 27, 2012 by The Buddha Rats

This is a cool post on GS. It really got me thinking, because while I use a DAW to track all my stuff, the music I like and like to make has always been acoustic, electric, and organic. I’m never 100% ITB, since I play several instruments and also take advantage of vst technology.

Anyway here’s my take:

“Don’t hate the technology, hate the musician.
What technology has done is made it easier for people with questionable taste and margin-able talent to make music in abundance. It’s never been cheaper, or easier to do. There are a lot of people calling themselves musicians who know absolutely nothing about song construction, much less how to play a real instrument. They can rely on loops, MIDI packs, and pre-made construction sets to write, and because it’s all laid out there in front of them, they tend not to think outside of the box they just bought.

Another thing to think about is that it’s not about making Art anymore. Yes, some people care about quality, but most don’t. They care about being famous, and/or making a lot of money. Record companies love the crap because it’s no-brainer stuff. It’s easy for the sheep of the world to digest, which makes it easy to market and sell.

We’ll just have to dig a lot deeper to get to the good stuff.”