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Sunday, 27 July 2014

11th Week - Roger (376th Song)

I got a new opportunity making music for a commercial campaign by the online poker site Premier Poker. It's not the first time that I get this kind of job from Willy, you may remember my adventures with him, the creation of Anachronic, Viaje al Pasado and the attempted song The Burning of the Colossus. I'm still making orchestral ones for that documentary that required all this songs. Most of them were denied but this time was easy and I will get my song sounding on the TV soon! Does that mean loads of money? I wish, certainly I would love it.

I received a message of Willy asking me to check my email. I did and I found this email from his partner very confusing about a song similar to one that he sent to me. It was a fragment of an 'A Perfect Circle's' song. I called them and they told me to try to make a song that sounded similar to it: same instruments, same sound, different chords or a difference from the original, ... There's was a guitar sound that they didn't recognized firstly as guitar (that almost sound like a synth, very distorted) that I had to emulate. And I, also, had to change slightly the structure.

I started to work as soon as I could and thought it was a good idea to make a rough recording of what I was gonna do. So firstly the acoustic guitar, placing the mic wherever, then I recorded drums (always the easiest part) , distorted guitar (that I'd process to get that weird sound) and bass. That was all. I send it to them and they made me change things, over and over til I got a final structure done after 5 attempts.  It was a fairly quick process beforehand I worked on the final version. They liked it now so I could re-record everything with a better sound.


I took my acoustic guitar again, to restart the process, and recorded this line, I tried some mic placements til I found one that I liked like 12" far away from the guitar aiming to the bridge. Next step was the drums, nothing very relevant about this, easy recording, just spent some time looking for the kit, among my libraries, that sounded more similar: piece of cake. Then electric guitar. I tried to figure out how to get that sound, from my experience it's easier to get a weird sound from plugging the guitar directly to my interface and use plugins to make that clean signal sound as I want, but the problem is that I can get very cool sounds but the quality of the signal is not very nice, distortions use to be messy, and now I'm recording to get the most pro sound that I can, so I had to discard that option. Otherwise I plugged the guitar into my Line 6 amp. The distortions are very crispy, and certainly not very similar to what I was asked to do, but I had the hope of being able to make it sound more close to the original sound. The sound captured through the mic is much better quality-wise. Now is the turn of the bass, I used Scarbee MM-Bass Amped as virtual instrument (my basses' sounds when I recorded them with a real bass are always so crap that the best option for me, by now, is to get this virtual instruments). Very easy line, I recorded it in some minutes. I had everything recorded so it was time to mix.


Here's where I spend the most of the time. I played a lot with many compressors on every instrument, different equalizers, I was able to display all the tracks from the drum kit in EZdrummer to separated tracks, for first time, so I could work individually on them.  I tried many many different things, I even made a mix that they didn't like and started a new mix from zero again. I realized about the big compression sounding, in the original song, of the drumkit, that's something that amazed me because i'm starting to get my ear finer in compression which I found always very difficult. I got aware of how different some compressors sound. Doing the same, the sound changes from one to another very much. In this case I tried the 3 CLA's compressors of Waves, being the CLA-3A the hardest and the 2A more beautiful to my ears, maybe because reminded me to 80's music. At the end the sound of guitar sounded too fuzzy and not very cool for the mix. My 'bosses' didn't like it too. As you know I'm not a great mixer, but getting there. They asked to a better mixer friend to end the work and he did a good job.


A new world of opportunities is opening in front of me. I think it's very plausible to me to make some money, even a living, from making songs for companies. I just feel to rookie on mixing, but I'm getting very obsessive about it as I did when I was learning drums in my best learning ages. So I'm pretty sure that I'm gonna be decent on this and one day I would be able to make mixes good enough to be heard on TV commercials, karaokes, documentaries or videogames. I'll show you the final product when they show it on TV. 

Enjoy it!

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