Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Hotel Exteriors Past"

First rehearsals went like a blast. Today we´ll figure out some more songs. But first, do you know how we actually prepare for rehearsals? Gone are the days when you showed someone "this riff goes like this": today we´re using way more advanced technology than back in the days. "What is that technology, mr. Trollhorn", you say? Well, you didn´t say. In fact, you probably wouldn´t give a rat´s ass about it. Nevertheless, I´ll tell it to you anyway.



So, I make rehearsal "tapes" to people. How? Why?  Let´s concentrate on the "why" first.
Because of time limitations mostly. With this method, we will save shitloads of time as everyone can check out what to play beforehand, and we only go to rehearsals to practice and tweak stuff together, not using half of the time showing people how to play their parts. This also gives people opportunity to....

a) ...doublecheck stuff, a.k.a "how did that part go, shit, I cannot remember and I can´t reach that composer by phone now when I have finally time to start rehearsing"
b) ...take the songs piece by piece. You don´t have to spend two hours in a row while you can do 15 minutes now and 30 minutes tomorrow. Or just play it in the background while driving your car in order to "brainwash" your memory.
c) ...not waste time arranging hook- ups at the other side of the city while you´re hands full of something else right now. We all have our personal lives too, so it´s pretty fucking convenient this way.
d) stuff. Seriously, just how great invention email is for musicians? I could kiss the one who invented attachements. Smack!

So, that was "why". And then, the "how"- part!


You might, at this point, know that I use software for demo recording. Cubase 6 in particular, with tons of plugins, romplers and samplers. Mind you, all bough and paid for. If you earn money while using someone else´s creations to do it, you DO NOT STEAL THAT CREATION. Keep that in mind.

So, let´s continue. Now we have a Cubase project open with everything up what you hear in the demos. For starters, I fix all usual playing mistakes I have done for those tracks. Trust me, there are always some. That combined with some magical copy/paste and people should be hearing riffs sounding exactly the same all the time when they re-appear. My arranging style contains quite a load of variations, so I have to make sure that a random bum note every here and there doesn´t accidentally get counted as a "variation", and I´ll hear someone faithfully repeating my playing mistakes at the rehearsals because "this was how you played it". :D
As I use plugins for guitars, there´s a neat trick I use: Distortion is turned way down, so the player can hear more clearly what to play. Another very good upside using plugins in demos!
On the top of that, I usually tend to compress and EQ "that particular instrument" in a way you can actually spot everything even better as I don´t have to care about the overall sound in the mix at that point.After that, let´s mute stuff people don´t need. Vocals, out. Most of the keys, out. Drums: Lower the volume of cymbals and put some top end to both kick drum and snare. Why? Because the drums are being used as a quiet metronome only and the top end from kick and snare will punch out nicely from the demomix still, even though the drums will be very low in the mix.

At this point we should have something that is easy to pick up. But that´s not all! I use standard EADGBE- tuning while the band doesn´t. So, something I actually learned with these sessions by a mistake ( :D ) is that if I then take the file to Sound Forge and pitch it there into D- tuning (DGCFAD) but do not touch the duration, the guys will hear basically 10-15% slower version of their rehearsal "tape" too! Now just how awesome is that? You can actually start listening to your personal part with an audible tone, played slower than usually!


And of course, I notice two hours before the rehearsals that I had accidentally sent some people unpitched versions of the songs. Which means that while the rest of the band plays the song from F#, Routa has practiced it from G#.

I wonder if the good old pen´n´paper method still has it´s advantages.

1 comment:

  1. I really love this blog! That really gives your fans a little bit insight on what actually happens "behind the curtains" :)
    It'd be great if you would do something like that for the album after this one too :D