Here’s one fresh off Bob’s slab @StylesBitchley, which he sent to me to mix. The original demo started life in the linked below - Here is the final product - check it out & let us know your thoughts - thanks!:
@1:25 - Niiiiice! I liked the panning @2:24 too. The only thing that didn’t quite seem “right” is that vocal felt a little dry. I found I was wanting to hear more “bigness” to match the huge guitars everywhere. Well done both of you!
Nicely done, both of you. i like what you have done with it Andrew.
Thanks Mike - yeah it starts out pretty dry and intimate (that was Bob’s specific preference), but there is a LOT of stuff going on later in the song. I’m probably too close to the mix at present to evaluate whether it gets big enough to match the music, so it’s worth considering once my perceptions level out a bit - thanks! BTW, speaking of “big guitars everywhere”, there are actually only 3 electric guitar tracks in the whole song! - 2 rhythms and a lead… Bob’s got a BIG sound!
Thanks Eric - glad you dig it!
You got that right brother!
CRS, wow, this is sweet. To be honest, I actually liked Bob’s original mix (less the beginning, but moreso the second half). Thought it was pretty decent. What you did with this to take it to the next level is quite impressive. To wit:
Adding the flute to the beginning with the guitar was genius. That worked in a big way. Also thought it was a good move to get the guitar out of the center, away from the vocals. I’d love to know what kind of processing you did on that guitar track. Made it so much richer, fuller. The difference from the original was striking.
At 1:25 your remix on the drums, again impressive. The snare had a nice snap to it, the kick a wonderful power to it, but without taking over. Low end was clear. No mud there!. The mix as the electric came in was beautiful. Bob, BTW, that lead solo worked in a big way. Nicely done. Did you do that, or was it a collab?
Loved the redo of the drums: nice fill at 1:47 which provided nice energy for the transition to the second half of the song.
So, it sounds to my ear that you did something a little different on the vocals when they came in at 1:50, just for that first line? Not sure if it was a little doubling, a little distortion? Again, worked in a big way.
I have nothing to bash. This is just outright impressive, by my standards. So much energy and complexity going on especially in the second half of the song.
I do agree that the vocals seemed maybe a little dry and a little thin, mostly in the beginning. In the second part of the song, after 1:30, I didn’t think so (though when all the guitars come in, I think the vox could maybe me a couple dB louder).
This is more of an arrangement comment, but I love the way the song “took off” at 1:25. The part before that was “nice” but I’d suggest took a little long getting to what happened at 1:25.
That’s all I got. Just some thoughts. Feel free to ignore my suggestions: this is REALLY nice.
Great song, Bob. I trust you are very pleased with what CRS did with it.
As redworks put it, “nicely done, both of you.”
Thank you very much, this song really evolved as first, Aaron added a very inventive drum track, and second, Andrew added his input.
I started with a good idea for a song with a message, which makes writing easier, but it took a long time to flesh it out. I was looking for kind of a folk feel to the beginning, and adding the flute kind of set the mood and gave room for a transition into the electric section, as did the cymbal swells and gradual build of the drum track.
None of that would have the impact it does now without Andrew. I sent him a lot to work with with a few notes, but the way he tears it all apart and weaves it all back together is truly an art. He takes my scarecrows and gives them brains.
Hi Tesgin - That was all Bob - Channelling his inner Ian Anderson
The acoustic was actually pretty involved and took a bit of shaping - it was a bit bright and quite “spikey” in its natural state, so the aim was to control the transients and get it sounding warmer and fuller, so it would provide a rich accompaniment for the solo vocal at the beginning. I used 7 plugins in total:
ReaEQ for some reductive eq to pull out resonances:
Softube Tape to soften, gently saturate and warm up the sound:
Slate VMR for some EQ, compression and saturation
- UAD Transient Designer to further tame the transients:
- Fabfilter ProMB to soften the top end further:
- Eiossis Air EQ for some warmth and to add some “expensiveness” back into the sound
- Waves MV2 for a final round of upward and downward compression to really nail the dynamics in place:
… so yeah, a bit of work there, but it came out well, I think!
The drums are recorded really well. Aaron, the drummer who collaborates with Bob, has amazing sounding drums, and really knows how to hit them to get great tone out of them. He also gets them recorded at a professional studio with a really nice sounding room. A lot of what you can hear on the drums is the room sound, which I really cranked up in this mix.
Bob is the man - not only can he belt his lungs out like there’s no tomorrow, he’s a wicked lead player with a huge tone to boot… all in the fingers.
No change in the actual core vocal processing - that vocal distortion is coming from Bob’s throat! However there is a tonne of ambient trickery and automation happening in every part of the song. The lead vocal is being sent in various amounts to 3 different reverbs & 4 different delays.
This is something we may look at, depending of course on how Bob feels about it.
Thanks Tesgin - appreciate the listen and thoughtful comments!
The drums were awesome - I was listening back to all the songs we’ve done so far, and apart from your singing, songwriting and guitar playing, the thing that really comes across strong is just how definitive Aaron’s drumming style is - it totally serves the song, but not in a boring “I’ll just play a standard beat” way.
Nah, they’re pretty brainy scarecrows to start with - I just give 'em a new coat and hat
O wooh, love how this has evolved… the flute is a bit of magic, just paints a clever twist to the entry intimacy, simple and yet highly effective. Love the Andrew touches as the sonic landscape builds, the subtle ear candies that just open things out, stretch the picture for that amazing full richness as the song expands. Great work… lovely to hear the song again and what a lustre and commercial zing you have added. Crisp and really nicely layered, a sonic treat. Really like this song Bob, it really showcases your musicianship and is great to listen to! Yay, well done!!
Thanks Emma, it is nice to write a song that isn’t so straightforward and have it make sense. Now that I have extra time I may move to Australia to audition for a spot in Andrew’s band. We could make a lot of good music together.
Yeah, Aaron is very meticulous about his performance. He knows that drives me crazy, because whenever he asks me, I just tell him to play what he thinks is right, and he always comes up with something great after he has time to live with the song for a while.
I’ve always worked better relying more on spontaneity, and then refining the idea, but the one man band approach isn’t very conducive to that. Sometimes I will change a bass part a little to fit with Aaron better, but I am always amazed that he can reverse engineer a great drum track into the mess I give him.
I’ll play cowbell and tambourine - you can do everything else!
Ha ha, I didn’t know you guys had that type of dynamic - man he came up with some great fills in this track! I love that buzz-roll crescendo toward the end of the song… and the crazy fills that double the cascading guitar licks in the outro - really cool.
This sounds pretty darn good on the work laptop speakers.
Thanks Al - good to know it translates!
Yeah, I agree: the metamorphosis from the first draft you posted, really, is quite remarkable. This was a labor of love, and not only the passion from your lyrics and vocals, but really, there is so much passion in the guitars, passion in the drums, and passion in the mixing itself. You gotta feel really good about this guys.
Thanks Tesgin. If you want to fully nerd out over the process of a song from conception to production, check out this thread from a while back - it’s very long and contains a tonne of detail, examples and settings used on a song of Bob’s that we did:
Thank you, I certainly do. I do also have illusions of grandeur almost every time I write a song that I’m capable of fully fleshing it out, but I usually come down to earth and realize it is much to my advantage to let guys like Aaron and Andrew use their unique skills to add their synergy. I’m grateful you hear passion in the song; for me that is the most important ingredient, and it sets the stage for everything that happens afterwords.
Not so sure about how dry the vocals are at the beginning.
As for the rest of the mix sounds great (Ok I just heard the original you are a master mixer, but I think we knew that tho).Very nice use of ear candy throughout! Nice playing and tightness to all the players.