The Writing and recording of what would become “Liars and Thieves”

Ready set go!! This time I thought I would try to write and record a song in 3 hours.. I had prepared the room and had a pretty good Idea of what I wanted to write this time. so I wasn’t to worried about the short time.

Next I will explain the production of the song but before you read it might be worth having a quick listen…

The first step.. for me at least, is to grab the Dictaphone hit record and keep playing through the song until I have the arrangement totally sorted. Lyrics can be vague but the verses and choruses must be in the right places.

Then I fire up Pro Tools 9 and  choose a tempo.  This is possibly the most difficult part. If I get the tempo wrong now I will have to re-record everything. And end up binning all those lovely first takes. So I spend a long time carefully deciding this. Once the tempo is sorted I will turn on a room mic and record to a Click (metronome) a rough version of the song.. again the lyrics will hopefully have moved on a bit since the first run but I don’t dwell on them yet.. I will be hearing the song a lot before I record the main vocals so I prefer to keep things flowing.

Once I have recorded my guide track that becomes my framework. The guide track will not be part of the final mix. but it is very helpful for when I’m recording the guitars it means I can play confidently without questioning whether I’m in the right place. I can also refer back to the guide when recording other parts.

The first real recording I did was the guitar by this point I had written all the guitar. I double tracked the guitar and panned left and right. To anyone who doesn’t understand that, It means I recorded the guitar twice exactly the same and then mixed it so one was in the left ear and one was in the right ear. This is kind of a cheap trick.. but its a very quick and effective way of creating space. Especially considering I had nothing else to go in the track other than bass at this point.

Next comes bass for this track I found it hard to decide what to use. A normal Bass Guitar had too much sustain and my cello plucked wouldn’t go low enough. In the end I used a sampled acoustic bass. That I then played on my keyboard using Reason 5

Then a little bit of percussion All I used was a kick drum set on a keyboard stand hit with a drum stick  and a tambourine playing the off beat

On with the vocals.. by this point I had enough of a track and I had heard it enough to have some pretty good Ideas for the lyrics, I already had two verses and a chorus written from when I was laying down the guide track. I thought this was the type of song that wanted two different choruses so all I needed to do was write another verse and chorus. I also recorded some backing in the choruses. I double tracked an octave low vocal L and R. That’s something I do a lot I love the way it fills out a chorus.

On the vocal and guitar I used an SE2200a Microphone, I have a Tanglewood Sundance tw60

If you have any questions please comment below and I’ll answer ASAP.

For Reading!

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