Pascoe band album coming along …
I’m listening to a mix of the songs of our album currently being recorded…performed by the band Pascoe. Here’s some of the things that you think about…
Is the vocal ‘honest’- is that me? Am I trying to sound like something I imagine I should? Possibly. Although it’s not something I’ve aimed for here. This is a pretty honest vocal. Sure, I can do better. I can always do better. That’s the nature of art. But this is sounding like me. And it’s sounding good, something I’m happy to have people listen to.
How about the playing- is it natural? Yep. Everyone is playing well-it’s been recorded all at once ( with the exception of most of piano -although I did keep some of it.. because I was playing bass left hand keys, when we recorded, I played the piano differently than I would have chosen to play, had we had a bass guitarist and I had two hands free. With one hand, I was trying to give the impression I was using two hands.) So I erased the original piano take, and recorded another take of piano. I shut my eyes, imagined I was playing with the band.
I did the same with the organ parts, my backing vocal parts, my string arrangements : a sketch, trying to give the impression of being a small string section in one take with two hands.I might go back and create more involved string arrangements. I’d love real strings. Maybe one day. It’s a budget thing.
I really enjoy coming up with the bits to fill out the band arrangements. The band’s recording session was great fun -it’s a great feeling putting down tracks , engineering it with what gear I own and with what knowledge I’ve built up over the years.
I’ll mix it to the best of my ability. That’s what I’m doing each time I listen to the album halfway at the moment. Hearing what I need to change… Should I mute this backing vocal ? Turn up the voice in the verse?
And you listen- really listen – to each song so many times. So it pays to really like the songs in the first place.
I Eq’d the lower end (Bass) out of the guitars last night. It’s transformed the whole album. You can hear the bass and drums much more clearly .The guitars are crystal clear. You learn stuff as you go along.
I EQd the backing vocals last night too. Took off the very tops and lower end. They now sit behind the lead vocals. They don’t interfere.
The drums are electric. I generally prefer acoustic kits. But these drums sound so real. (It’s pretty much the sounds you hear on any song on the radio- real kits are often doubled and replaced with these pre recorded hits). Dan played every single drum hit, in real time. The groove is his- the groove is all of us. We have the ability now to easily change the volume of some drum hits. Eg the snare drum could with being a bit louder in one song.
When all’s said and done, all of this is a context for the main vocal, the melody and the lyrics to rest on. All these musical considerations, production concerns…. it all fades into the background for the average listener. It comes down to : ‘this is well sung. I like the groove and I like the lyrics and the melody’ .
It takes time to arrange a song . I think the best way is to organically arrange a song with a group of people, who are all able to bring expression and ideas to the table on their instrument.
If you do this often enough together as a band, you develop a sound, a style, collectively. And no one else is going to sound like you. We’ve been doing this together for years now. It doesn’t get stale when you do it properly. It gets better and better. Everyone is valued, everyone has a voice. No one dominates.
I think this is the most important part of the process. Yes, you can find magic by layering instruments yourself in a studio. But the magic of playing off each other is brilliant. The sum of the parts is greater than what the group plays. Something else kicks in. The energy, the interaction, you can sense it.
I’m stoked with this album already, we’ve worked on these songs in a fluid, enjoyable manner, both at rehearsal time and on stage. Can’t wait to release them.
A bit more to do yet. But already it’s like stepping back from a painting and saying, yes, this has feeling, this already rocks, but I can see potential for what may be the end result if we polish it a bit more ( but not too much – it’s gotta be real, it’s gotta ring true ).
I’ve been listening to the drums in mono. Once they’re in stereo and edited a little (the electric kit dynamics) we’ll be about there. Can’t wait.
Any how, it’s not far away folks. We’ll be letting you know as the singles start being released. …
The band is: Anthony Reed- guitar, Neil Sims- guitar, Dan Dew- drums and myself on vocals and keys.