Friday, September 3, 2010 (6PM)
+ First concept came as I mounted the treadmill.
Sunday, October 3, 2010 (11:57 AM)
+ Time to get rolling on this song. Still need to compose and write lyrics,
but begin prototyping in Sonar as an aid.
* See SD3_scratch_a.png. Just for kicks, I decided to try Session
Drummer 3 with its Led Zeppelin kick. I didn't like any of the
patterns I tried, so I sketched out a basic beat in the step
sequencer to serve as a metronome. This will guide my timing and help
influence feel as I record the initial scratch tracks. But I am not
sure I like SD3--even with this awesome kit--enough to use it in
place of Battery 3 yet.
- Interesting note: After I first created the instrument, I found
I could not see meaningful note names in the roll window or
step sequencer. However, after I drag-dropped a MIDI pattern
onto the track, all these suddenly appeared, without which the
instrument would be useless.
Monday, November 29, 2010 (07:02 PM)
* I might not use an acoustic at all. Recorded some ideas on the
* I just made a really crude scratch of the solo: eBow plus brass slide
plus volume swell over the bridge. I am really starting to dig this
Saturday, December 11, 2010 (08:49 AM)
* Gain mastery over this drum kit.
- See session_drummer_a.png. Use a drum map (have to split channel
into a MIDI track and a synth track to use a map) to get the notes
on my keyboard to match those of the synth. Fortunately, most
already do. Each "channel" in the mixer actually processes four
notes (like cells), so it is really a 12x4 = 48-channel drum
synth. Correction: One channel holds five notes, so I don't know
what the limit is.
- Copy the midi track to a new track, and bounce the sequence into
a midi clip. I can now edit the way I like with all the note
names (see session_drummer_b.png).
- Oops, need some kind of intro. Insert some measures, play some
chords, put a little slide guitar on top.
> Stick to the policy: scratch tracks ALWAYS get the first
instinct--no rewrites before laying them down.
> Here is how I feel when I get really going on a song:
BTW, the way to link to a time stamp in a video is to
add "#t=5m50s" to the video URL, where "5m50s" represents
"5 minutes, 50 seconds." Some browsers do not like the
"s" on the end.
Monday, December 13, 2010 (07:28 PM)
- Back in the groove. Twist those knobs! Pull some levers!
Fantastic drum-programming session! I LOVE these drums! And,
wow, do they make the song MOVE! Woo-hoo!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 (07:16 PM)
- See scratch_drum_track_a.png. Got a scratch drum track.
It seems I am ALWAYS doing this stuff in the midst of torment!
Well, this is the perfect song to be working on if that's the case!
Thursday, December 16, 2010 (07:17 PM)
* Got a scratch bass track with some great ideas.
- render friday_night_scratch_a.mp3.
Submit to Mike for video brainstorming.
Monday, December 20, 2010 (09:52 AM)
- Video. I need a personality: Dr William. Feeling inspired.
Ah-ha! Stage lights, suit, hat, sunglasses! GOING FOR IT!
> Oops, the web cam and Sonar are too much for the poor PC
to handle. I will just have to get the webcam shots separately,
but I can run the camera during tracking.
- Got a couple takes with the boys' help.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 (10:35 AM)
- I believe the second take stands by itself--no editing needed.
Wouldn't be nice if all the instruments went like that!?
* rhythm electric.
- My concept for arrangement has evolved a bit:
> acoustic (pan right)
> rhythm electric (pan left)
> lead electric (pan semi-right)
> slide electric (pan semi-left)
- Throw down a quick scratch of the rhythm electric so I can
coordinate the lead electric.
> Really liking the emerging lead part. The challenge is to
dial it back for the rhythm part to leave room for the lead.
Thursday, December 23, 2010 (03:19 PM)
> Quick vocal scratch with the right lyrics and closer to the
: Did the scream in v3.....YEAH! I GOT MY B-NATURAL!!!
A first time ever for WillSongs!
> More work on lead; focus on v3 solo.
Friday, December 24, 2010 (09:29 PM)
: Lead needs lots of practice. Total Pete Townshend style!
Pete Townshend with the red bandana around his neck:
Sunday, December 26, 2010 (12:22 PM)
- I may just accept the scratch track as is. The rhythm electric
will not be in the video, and it is so far back in the mix, there
is little to do. It really just serves to define the chord structure
when the other instruments don't get the job done.
* lead electric.
- I feel hesitant, but something else says the time is NOW!
- Get in character. Position camera and lighting.
- Go for it.
> Got three full takes with video. Check. Looks good.
- Comp. Easy. Just a couple splices from takes 1 and 2 into
- Jessie will visit tomorrow. Get as much preparatory work done
as I can.
> Pick a mic. Back to back test between AKG C414B (XLII) and
Shure SM81. Definitely the C414B: richer, fuller, brighter
sound. Probably the wider pickup (omni is best sound). Yep,
after adding compression and reverb and panning, the C414B
is the undisputed winner.
> Get headphones and monitor mix set up.
> She is ready to go!
Monday, December 27, 2010 (09:59 AM)
> Just spent an hour getting Jessie familiarized with the song.
She is a jewel of a find. I had better return the favor
quickly and abundantly! I rendered friday_night_scratch_b.mp3
and sent it to her to practice with. She is set to return
* Slide guitar
- I think I can get a great sound out of the RG1570. Set switch
to include the neck and middle pickups, and aim the eBow
at frets 22-24. Same RP20 patch as the DC400M ("BC Tube FCB00"
with high drive).
> This part is supposed to be spooky and sinister. Use the
blue and red lamps at ends of the T. Point the camera looking
over my right shoulder so it can see the foot pedal as well.
> Costume: exercise with headband and my favorite shirt:
"Love one woman...many guitars!"
- Go for it. I am only getting video on the bridge. Place sonar
in loop mode and set record options to overwrite with
"create new layer on overlap." That way I can record three takes
back to back without having to hear the previous takes. Sonar
simply mutes the previous takes, and I can unmute them afterward.
Notice I am echoing the input to hear effects without printing
- Rather than comp the takes, I think I will split them into
separate tracks and use all of them. Yep, I like it.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 (04:10 PM)
- Track the supporting lines.
> Can't believe how much trouble I had getting the intro
right! Using clip gain envelopes to balance.
- Rob thinks he hears an organ line. Render
friday_night_scratch_c.mp3 for him to work with.
* Acoustic guitar.
> This is Mr Bill. Wear all white or off-white with a French
beret (to represent artistic temperament). Use soft, diffuse
light (Mike's technique of spreading the bulbs of the
medusa lamp) on my left side. Position the camera at my
- Go for it. Three takes. No comping necessary except the last
note: a chair squeak in the ringout.
- Use the vintage channel with the "press the guitar" preset,
but tweak: increase high-pass frequency, reduce 7kHz boost.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010 (11:28 AM)
- The sprint continues. Mike is available today (extra floating
camera, and input on lighting and other video aspects).
> Costume: all black, casual. No hat. This is me.
- Mike here. Go for it. Got three takes with two cameras at
different angles and lighting. I love the AKG C414B XL-II!!!
- Comp. Quick V-vocal on the scream. Nice tool!
- Render friday_night_scratch_d.mp3
Thursday, December 30, 2010 (10:54 AM)
- Jessie was here this morning. I think she nailed it on the first
take, but I recorded three and left the third take intact.
She is the new human clockinator!
- Do some quick mixing. Faders are way too high. Get them down.
Much better. Master compressor running at 2-3 db gain reduction.
Sunday, January 2, 2011 (07:17 PM)
- Ken spent three hours with me yesterday writing some of the fills.
He definitely has a more discerning ear for this stuff, and he
elevated the way I approach it.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011 (02:46 PM)
* Vocal delays. I tried to use one stereo delay and use an envelope
to change the delay time. But Sonar kept crashing. I went to the
Sonitus delay on two separate buses.
* I think I about have a mix.
- Freeze drums.
- Check in Truth system, DX4's, and HD280's.
- Screen Capture
friday_night_mix_a.wav 16-bit WAV
friday_night_mix_a.mp3 192 kbps MP3
friday_night_mix_a_128.mp3 128 kbps MP3
Total production hours: 56
Saturday, January 8, 2011 (07:25 PM)
* Tweak: Mix B.
- tambourine out for v4. Boost in v5.
- Reduce bass peak EQ at 130 Hz from 6db to 3db. Gets overpowering
in the car.
- Boost descending dyads in bridge +1.0 db. Surprising what a
difference 1db makes in a mix!
- boost electric lead for lick in v1. Need to make room for it by
fading the slide guitar out in time.
- Boost slide electric A (the one on the fundamental) +3db
during the loud portion of the bridge.
- Screen Capture
friday_night_mix_b.wav 16-bit WAV
friday_night_mix_b.mp3 192 kbps MP3
friday_night_mix_b_128.mp3 128 kbps MP3
friday_night_mix_b_clickin.mp3 192 kbps MP3
The last one includes the click-in for lining up video.
- Also, create shots.xls containing shots I would like to see in
the video, and send to Mike.
Sunday, January 9, 2011 (09:55 AM)
- Upload to soundclick.com:
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 (07:45 PM)
* Tweak some more: Mix C.
- Rob suggested:
: Bass too high
: lead electric too low
: vocal too low. perhaps too wet.
Sunday, January 16, 2011 (10:13 AM)
- I am having trouble hearing what Rob is talking about, and I do
not want to fall into the trap of mixing to comments; I have to
mix to what I hear. However, I noticed some things that correlate.
: Scrutinize the lead electric closely. The level is already
automated. Bring low passages up 0.5-1.0 db.
: Scrutinize vocal. Drop reverb send -1.0db, raise volume 0.5 db.
: Boost the "lead electric extra" +5 db (string scrape supplement
at end note).
- Love it!
- Screen Capture
friday_night_mix_c.wav 16-bit WAV
friday_night_mix_c.mp3 192 kbps MP3
friday_night_mix_c_128.mp3 128 kbps MP3
friday_night_mix_c_clickin.mp3 192 kbps MP3
Total Production Hours: 59.0