music | video | bio | photos | shows | buy | blog | press | epk | contact | home

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Preproduction for “Just A Little Bit”

“Just a Little Bit” is a song I started writing over a year ago and performed in Guelph for the Haiti Benefit in February 2010. Since then I had changed the words and a fair bit of the arrangement—but only in my head! Last week I finally hammered it into shape and did a rough demo.

This song has a lively drum groove, upright bass, a guitar drone and a worksong-type chant that was inspired by old field recordings. It culminates in an overlapping series of vocals with ten singers. It’ll be quite a challenge to record live.

First I wrote out the chart for Adam and Jesse. Then I created a digital drum track as a sample groove, laid down the guitar with lots of tremolo (like Pops Staples), and started singing vocal tracks, one after another—including falsetto versions of the female tracks. The Bee Gees I ain’t, but it had to be done! Then I got Jane to listen to the vocal arrangement.

After making some changes, she sat down and sang the five different female vocal parts. Then I had Jesse lay down a rough upright bass line. With all the parts done, I was able to do a rough mix and an mp3 I could send to everyone.

Then came the tedious part. I created a separate lyric sheet for each singer, with their part in bold italic and the notes in brackets. Then I created a separate mp3 for each part by going to the main mix, making that part louder than the rest, and creating another mp3. I sent this off to each singer. Now they can easily study their part and be prepared for rehearsal. Rehearsals with ten singer-friends is like herding cats, so the more prepared we are, the better it will be. When the big recording “party” arrives, it’ll be about having fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment