Downloaded drum stems, and me.
1. Grenade 03:33
2. Robot 04:20
3. Gamble On 04:53
4. Riot (Auto Pilot) 06:40
5. Rockin’ the Shockin’ 03:50
6. Round the World 04:14
7. Sieve 03:26
8. The Button 03:45
9. Love Is a Roller 04:38
10. Pink 04:01
_”Stems for Seeds”” came together when I found a bunch of drums stems on the ‘net, many from video games, mebbe all. I decided I wanted to use the stems as seeds for new songs, almost in demo form, for a band that will probably never form, but I wanted to take seriously.
_I gave myself a weekend to write and record ten songs as they were only to be demos, because I value spontaneity, and also just to be weird.
_I used the drums exactly as downloaded, with no edits, altho’ I did do some EQ, limiting, gates, pans and rides. Otherwise, they are as found. Hear a little bit of “clank” on the percussion of “Gamble On”? That’s what the gates couldn’t catch of ol’ Pagey. There’s other such artifacts elsewhere – hopefully they are not too distracting.
_In keeping with the demo concept, I decided immediately to use one guitar, on bass with pre-amp and compressor, one guitar amp, my pedal board, two mic’s on the amp with the same pre’s each track, a single vocal mic and pre and compressor chain.
_Geek alert: the guitar was a MIJ Super Strat, chosen because it was already in a stand in my bedio. The bass was a Hohner 2BA2, chosen because I like it’s sound, and I have to fight it some, and because I like the headless design in my tight recording space. All guitar tracks were played through a Hot Rod Deluxe, mic’d with a Sennheiser MD421II into a Focusrite ISA1 as center channel, and an MXL880 (looks like a Royer) ribbon into a Yamaha PM1000 (racked by Digitaldrummer). All guitar tracks but a couple of leads are in Mid/Side, generally with the amp’s reverb, altho “Riot” has a plethora of pedals from the board, many songs use the Toadworks Meat boost, and there’s a cuppla leads with the Meat, Jr. and a Soul Vibe. The bass is DI’d into a The Brick and a dbx160XT compressor, with the DI split out parallel to a Meek VC3Q for extra bottom. The vocals are all an MXL Genesis tube mic into a Universal Audio 110 Solo, into a Gyraf 1176 clone.
_I started at noon on Saturday and did rough mixes of the drums first, where I had more than a two-mix. Some of the drums tracks came with isolated cymbals, or kick, or snare, but all had tons of bleed; I felt lucky when it was only percussion bleed, although cymbal levels were frequently an issue.
_Next, I wrote the basic outlines of the songs. Five were done with the bass, first; the other five were with the guitar. After those song progression skeletons were completed, I added more guitars, and finished the other bass tracks. I tried to envision the forthcoming vocals, even placing small lead fills (note there is really only “lead guitar” on a couple tunes, two done in mono after the vocals). I then consolidate the tracks, pass-filtered and limited and cleaned ’em up, with some minimal editing of the guitars (only on “Grenade”) an no bass edits.
_Next came the vocals, what required lyrics before I could sing. The lyrics were based on the title of each song’s original drum tracks, for the really geeky among us. I approached each song separately for this, doing leads and then backing vocals song by song and committing to them before I went to the next.
_95% of the vocals are first take (I redid a set of choruses on one song to get more melody, and I changed 3 words on another) and the same holds true for the bass, and closer to 98% for the guitars.
_I made and had regularly scheduled meals, two pots of coffee, a 1/2 bottle of wine, and 5 martoonies while creating this. I took my kid back and forth to work, and I watched part of a football game, and I slept about six hours.
_I started final mixing (I do mix as I go along – love ITB!) at about 3:30 Sunday afternoon, and I was done by 8:15.
_There ya’s have it, then, the demo seeds from the downloaded stems, songs for a band that will probably never exist.
released December 21, 2015
Downloaded drum stems, and me.
I mix with olive juice.
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