My latest project was for a psychotherapist.He wanted an intro for his radio show, in a punk rock style. I was asked to take inspiration from the Ramones song psychotherapy but put a more modern style on it, with a shouty English accent (that part was easy!!).
To start the project I listened to the ramones song about ten times to get a feel for chord progressions and modes. This was so I could be sure I didn't plagiarize the song completely!!
Next up was drums.
For the more live sounding work I do, I always use EZDrummer from ToonTrack. It's full of great samples and MIDI tracks and just so happened to have a rock groove and ending fill that perfectly fit my needs. All it took was a quick play around with the mixer, a slight rearrange on the kick pattern and power hand cymbal and the drums were complete.
I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to use my new Epiphone Les Paul special that I dubbed "Cherry" after her cherry sunburst colour (pretty isn't she?).
She has a very full sound that lends itself perfectly to filling out the lower end of the guitars.
The higher tones were filled by my trusty Squire Jagmaster "Old Blue". She has been with me for nearly ten years now and has never let me down. I think you will agree that she gives a very growly sound to the song GGRRRRRRRRRR.
For the guitar tones, I use BIAS AMP 2 which I purchased only a few months back. Again it's a VST that is very simple to use and has lots of presets that only need a slight tweak to sound great.
For this song I used the British Rock 50 amp, which is basically an orange Rockerverb amp. It sounded so great for this that I only had to raise the gain a couple of notches to really make it roar. The bulk of the tones came from simply changing the tone controls and pick up switches on the guitars.
All in all I did four guitar tracks and panned two left and two right. I boosted some of the mids in Old Blue's tone and KABLAMMMM I had a huge guitar sound.
When it comes to bass I always use my Sterling Ray 34 who I had dubbed "Pearl" after her pearly white paint job. She has a very versatile eq and can achieve a sound for any style of music. However on this day she sounded a little.........DEAD! Somehow I let it get to the stage where I hadn't changed the strings in some time (typical bass player!). After a quick clean up, re-string and truss rod adjustment, she sounded beautiful once more. Just the perfect zingy sound for a punk rock tune, much like Fat Mike of NOFX. (note the shirt)
Again I used BIAS AMP 2 for the tone. I used my own preset this time where I have made an extremely bassy phat sound. If you have ever used BIAS AMP 2 you will know you can go to the depths of changing valves and transformers along with eqs and cabinets (what a joy).
I actually used two bass tracks on this song, one extremely low and one with a boosted high end to really let the zingyness shine through. I blended the two together to create one massive bass sound.
Finally it was time for vocals.
I recently bought a pair of Behringer C-2 condenser mics so I could record a friend of mine playing acoustic guitar. During the process we got lazy about changing over the mics and ended up using one of these for vocals. They sounded great!!!! A happy accident indeed.
These are what I used to record the vocal tracks for this song.
I tried a few different ways of singing, After all I was trying to emulate the Ramones song and just change the words. All I had to say was Psychotherapist over and over, so I used the same pattern as the Ramones but in a different key. For the "middle section" I extended the word to make it sound like the therapist was a psycho (It made me chuckle, so I rolled with it).
I added three backing harmonies to fill out prominent syllables and make it sound as if there was a whole band and to achieve what is known as "gang vocals".
The only effects I used on the vocals were a compressor and de-esser (of course) and some reverb. I'm not usually the strongest vocal mixer, but this time I felt I did a rather bang up job lol.
TIME TO MIX.
Mixing is usually something I take a long time over, pouring hours and hours into tiny details, but this was a job that needed a four day turnover. For once in my life I took the plunge into adding send effects on the master channel. I know, I know...... That's how it's usually done. I tend to have more time to start a mix and master session, but like I said this was a job that needed doing quickly. I added a limiter, a reverb and a VST called the Audiomatic Retro Transformer.
I'm extremely glad I used the limiter, as this is one of the loudest songs I've ever made. The reverb was very faintly used just to glue everything together and the Audiomatic was used to give a fuller sound ( I used a preset called HI-FI ).
Aside from levels, panning and some slight eq on the guitars and vocals, this was all the mixing I did.
I sent what I called the DEMO to the customer thinking I would get back a list full of changes that they wanted ( which is great, as it keeps me on my toes quality-wise ) but he was over the moon! I guess sometimes less is more.
And that was that.
An extremely satisfied customer.
The finished song can be found on our past works page.
I learned two things from this experience.
1: Don't worry over what someone will think of a song.... You can't read people's minds.
2: I should trust my instincts when it comes to music I love to play ( it pays off ).
If you like what you seen and would like to work with me then don't hesitate to contact me. Alternatively, if you want to follow me and be kept up to date with projects and Syndicate single releases, then follow the social media links on our home page.
See you next time.