MIDI

Shifting Perspective

It's been quite a while since I last posted on here. A lot happened the past week. I played at a Nu Metal tribute gig that went reasonably well in terms of the performance, but in terms of crowd turnout and organization, it might have been just decent. I see the music in scene in Delhi as a consequence of a trickle-down effect. If the pub's shit and organizer's shit, it's usually us musicians that have to bear the brunt of the kickback. Things get complicated. I try and concentrate on what matters - the music.

Learning how to scratch with an APC 40 is never easy, but only if you test your abilities in the higher waters, by doing something new, by challenging yourself, do you get some sort of self-satisfaction. So there I was at a pub trying to make it work, and it did. Mostly.

 
 

But the problem kind of started not before our gig, but rather after it. I initially thought I would go home right after playing the gig, but my love for music did not really allow me to go back home while a cool gig was happening. But then at around midnight, in between a band's set. People were asked to get out and go home. Apparently a couple of people got a little too drunk. Some musicians weren't given food/drinks that they were promised all in the name of organizers trying to make a quick buck. The sound engineer was pushed around a bit. Things escalated. The whole episode didn't have a good aftertaste in my head. Even though the gig went rad.

A day later, I embarked on a roadtrip to Chandigarh, a small city in Punjab where most of my relatives live, including my grandmother who I hadn't seen in quite a long time. It was a bit transformative to see my 92-year old grandmother kicking ass and being really healthy at her age. We talked a lot. It's amazing how much old people can give you a reality check on life, what you're doing and where you're going with it. I spent the remainder of my trip wondering what my next big interesting project was going to be. I'm still pretty clueless, but thinking is still a start, right?

Tackling Issues

As a guy who's just put a couple of steps into the proverbial ocean of what is known as producing metal music, I've realized programming drums is a real pain in the arse (and mixing as well, lest I forget) I know some people who are pretty good at getting rhythms and writing them down on a drum roll. But, I'm not one of those people. My drumming abilities have always been noobish to say the least. And that's where the setup helped. I had MIDI hooked up to the computer and fortunately, the drummer was kind enough to tap that stuff down on the keys. Things became a little easier from there onwards.

My euphoria was short-lived unfortunately, as half-way through programming drums, we realized it was taking too much time and we decided to skip to the guitars. Brutal heaviness called. And I would be an idiot to not pick up the phone-call.
Guitar tracking followed, with nothing except the click at the back.This was also around the time that I figured it was not such a great idea.
Guitarists get sloppy when they just have a click. Lesson learnt.
Lesson #2 - Two takes are never enough for a clean guitar part. Especially when they're both messed up.
Lesson #3 - Editing guitars on the go > Editing later
Layers upon layers of guitars were stacked up on top of each other. Not all as good as you might think. Recording four takes of everything always helps.
Lesson #4 - The more guitars, the greater the awesome

When you're a band coming in to record your song. How tight you play pretty much defines the producer's scale of happiness. When the guitar's tight as fuck, everything eventually follows, but it's always slippery ground, when a guitarist's having a bad time with the click. I'm pretty sure most of them are like that. Nonetheless, after some incessant chatter, chips and lunch, we got back to the beast that was recording guitars. And it was almost like nothing was on time at some places. And some places seemed to have made it to the foundation stages.  And of course, everybody loves a tight band. Like this one I just came across below. What a guitar sound. I think I'm in love. Not that it's metal but nonetheless, A defined guitar sound is always a good sound, I guess.

 
 

Coming back to point, Bass tracking followed soon. It took about an hour. Which paled in comparison to the fact that guitars probably took about 5-6 hours. Then came the part where I tracked cookie monster vocals. It was my first time not recording clean vocals, so frankly I was kind of curious how I would approach it in mixing, but things turned out pretty fine in the end, I guess. Experimented with a lot of tricks like pitch shifting and parallel processing. FUNFUNFUN. Sidenote - Need to get myself a good dynamic mic soon. Gear updates soon, who knows. Woooo.

Not surprisingly, the first thing I did once recording got finished was go and grab a plate of momos / dimsum from the street vendor outside. Ah, the taste of victory. Jubilating.