Tracking Chorus and Harmony with Alex Heller
Let's do the chorus now I'm gonna put the chorus on another track I'm gonna duplicate this that has all the same settings, which is shift command d in pro tools and I'm just going to select inserts and sense and that way, when I made the second track, I don't have to put that plug in on again, which I'm gonna mute while we're tracking, but I like it for listening. I don't have to make the headphone mix again. I don't have to do anything, it just makes another track exactly like that one. The thing is, though, if you select active or alternate playlists or automation, you get you get things you may not want, so I always just do inserts and sentence unless I'm actually trying to duplicate the audio, which I'm not I just want a second track. You made a third one explaining myself twice. Um, I'm gonna call vocals too not all capitals and I'm actually going toe record armed this one now and you don't have to do this. I just kind of do this because I really want to focus on the vocals and I ...
don't want to don't want to punch necessarily I want tojust record from here wanna adjust the volume on the one we're listening back and then the one we're punching if there's a huge gap I'll just do it on one track and you'll see is we go how how I'm going to do this and organize it but that's just something I do that's total total preference thing how much lead in do you want alex what did I give you? Four I don't know it's just like two bars it's probably good you remember I'm ah awkward one for because it was rolling and she's trying to find where the best way for the second still here yeah they're a little bit further brother theo so make a market there actually already made one so instead of making a new one I'm just going to slide this are there any there's no harmony in the verse are there okay? Let's dio let's do two quick takes of the main vocal so we're not really going to treat the main vocal like we would in a real session I would treat the main vocal of the course the same way we just treat it like the verse but just so I can show you some tricks and techniques later on today with harmonies and stuff we're going to just do a real quick run through the chorus and all the different layers so let's do two takes come on leading marker ready ah cold war volume yeah definitely sounded good though man it's definitely close get one more good taking there I need a lot more vocal volume or just a little bit yes a little bit just a hair dvds one dvd coming at you ready? Yeah ah oh wait wait ending was cool it's actually two more because I realized that I want touch a little bit on the difference between single double, triple and quadruple king main vocals khun do so let's do two more and I can work with them later ready sounding great thumb and sound really cool ah oh wait wait one more ready yet ah wei wei that would be enough to work with let's do those harmonies and let me get since we're not comping let me get I feel like take three was probably you think two or three would be the best the last one was cool but I notice you didn't like dive on those notes as much as the others you don't seem to take three maybe or two I don't know I'm probably too cool let's do two yeah two is good. So I'm going to say this and I think something that you might have picked up on that I just did and I've been avoiding it cause I'm trying to hold these headphones but a really good way to save time and just keep things rolling is when you're recording and pro tools or any d a w I'm pretty sure does this I got my main track here I know I'm gonna make a playlist but I'm just gonna hit record again on while he's recording I'm just gonna cut the old one making me play list put it there maybe I'll decide to do it again because I can put it there but then I'm gonna undo it because I don't want to get confused later so that so four back on this and that would have been the vocal take that he just took while I was listening but I was also double tasking by creating the new playlist in the back I can create markers so you can do all that stuff in the background so he's still just like doing it and going but you're getting things done so it's a good way to be productive, especially when you're doing longer sections and you can listen to that stuff the same time so I made a playlist for that one because I don't want it is the main vocal alex you want to write? Yeah, I'm actually gonna shuffle forward to so I don't get confused in a few hours is the where the second take cool so let's sing over take one high harmony yeah, you would do the high harmony first yes, I don't so that's falsetto we might have to turn the game up a little bit possibly do you mind well, we'll probably turn up with low on to so let's make a new track here duplicated labeling tracks is really, really important because you should never be fumbling around trying to figure out what audio on audio to audio thirty seven mean or man, the worst thing you can get is a mix if you're mixing or you're sending off a mix and there's twenty vocals named vocal one through twenty that's just like the most frustrating thing ever, because I'm fishing through what is this what's that and if you're lazy about stuff like that, you're not going to be happy with your end product because whoever is working with it or even if it is you, you're just going to get frustrated trying to figure out what your intentions were so label everything the vocal double should be called local double should be vocal one double whatever it's a double of, you know harmony one harmony to back up vocal one it should all be really clear because that stuff drives me nuts even if it was myself doing it, not just other people. It just makes things way too confusing later on so harm anyone is going to be the high harmony. Warm up to that one let's do one as a warm up on all adjust the level because I'll probably need to give it I don't normally sing this part yeah there's someone else in our band at all and just so everyone knows I don't see this band with a singer and I played drums in this van and on this recording and alex is the singer in the guitar player sometimes a keyboard player you ready hi harmony tested out ah toh don't let it go oh yeah that's no that's the right starting now go oh yep yep got it right and I'm gonna need to get that a lot more game so I'm actually gonna just the input on the compressor because it's labeled better so if I need to get back to where I wass it's a lot easier wait let me just think about this first don't america don't let it go oh uh let it go uh what if I do that lo one first night home get that layer in their person doing that that's a okay with me I think the level work for that too you ready yet ah ah wait he o way is that correct? Yeah that's right harmony cool let's do a couple more of those so we have layers andan I can talk about it maybe you can listen to your phone and we'll get that harmony and ready yet making another playlist recording oh, wait. Two more of those. And then you know what? Let's not even do the high harmony let's do two more takes real good, because I'll need those for later on. And then we can get this time for questions we could do that way. Oh, wait. That was great. I'm gonna write that down for, you know, to harm us. What? Last one? Ready. Wait, wait. I like that. Did you like that one better than between three or four? I'm not share. Cool. Three was good too. Uh, which is kind of one member ofthe because I counted one of you first take wasn't the best. So I'm going to actually use that as a double later on. And I'm gonna explain why took somebody takes not just a cop for the chorus, but that's going to be part of the next segment. So I'm just switching the third one would do, which ended up being point two. Warren put the first one we did in its place. So when we come back, I will at least have my favorite one forward. So that's that's basically it for tracking. Unless there's anything else you wanted to mention? I don't think so cool. Cool yeah, I'll throw a big thank you to alex so I forget you're going to not be here for the rest of the day is that correct your you've done this I think my my role is done here yeah, you want a track might be hanging out yeah, maybe hanging out stuff well again I want to say a big thank you and you have anywhere that you want people to check you out online? Yeah, just we have ah, the band's called the crash engine s o check us out on facebook I think it's facebook com slash the crash engine and we actually have a really awesome new new video that some animator friends of ours put together called all goes wrong it's on video so please check that out perfect and we've got a link so we'll show that chat room with people eso thank you again for being here and for being a part of this really helpful to have somebody to actually record so that you can show the process here happy to be here thank you, thank you very much. So awesome couple quick questions no, we've got to find a more technical questions than one more general that I want to get to first one here let's see evan guff in says should a compressor be set toe always be compressing he said it was at minus one sometimes in mice fourteen at others? Is it ok to not be having any reduction? Yeah, it's. Okay, it's kind of a hard thing to explain without maybe using it, but obviously, whatever sounds good to you is what's. Okay, but my general rule for how I like to hear compression, I have two compressors going, but I only have wondering, tracking I have another one to make up those other points during mixing. So there's little spots where it's not being compressed as long as I can hear it. And I like the way it sounds it's okay? And I usually just kind of I don't look at one. I actually think of a ziff. There was a meter here that was zero. So if something slightly quieter than one, when one is hitting and it's not compressing that zero to me and that's, ok, if it is in my head, it sounds like way less than just a little bit less than the compression. Then I probably need more if that makes sense totally does. Okay, one from piscopo of el, who says, why don't you automate rather than compress? Because I like the sound of compression and I and I do do a little bit automation, and you'll see that and so and the I do automate vocals a lot, actually and I kind of part of my vocal sound and what I do when I tracked vocals have been doing for years that I really enjoy is I really like the sound of a compressed vocal like I don't think that's wrong I think it sounds awesome if I feel like I I'm impressed the life out of it or like even pretty much always when I have a vocal it's super compressed of things I want to hit harder I get to choose that and that's what I oughta meet so it's kind of backwards from some people say, oh, you gotta automated compress a little I compressed the crap out of things and then automated to bring life back into it or not really to bring life but accentuate the life that I'm hearing toe like really make things pop so it's a little backwards but it's how I do it's great on one more from somebody from facebook with vocalists their instrument is their voice how do you approach an artist that is getting discouraged while in the studio say they're not executing the parts that way they liked or imagined how do you deal with that like emotionally and positive attitude? You know, like if you noticed I was trying to be really I mean alice is doing great, but like you still just want to be positive it's really important tio when when you're working on something it also obviously depends what level of you know how well you know someone how many times you've worked with them, how well they know you is actually important in the sense because if they don't know you the things you say might come across different if they did know you so especially with a new singer or someone's getting discouraged you haven't worked with a lot you really want to be positive all the time no negatives it's kind of like being a boss at work or something where like you can't be like you did that terrible you want to be like you know that was cool I really liked it but here's how we can improve or like you know this is great and you're not seeing a lot of this but with some singers to be like you know that was awesome but is a little flat on this word bring it up a hair raise your shoulders you know you're trying to hit the highest note you've ever hit put your hands in the air that will help you out there's little techniques you learn as a producer things that you know this will make your diaphragm go up it'll bring your pitch up a little bit if you know a screamer is not getting the forcefulness put his arms up against the wall so he has something to like feel that body motion comes back so you learn those schools as a producer, and I could do a week class and stuff like that. But, like you learn those tools and you learn to apply those the people who don't know those tools and that's, probably what's a little like that question probably comes from the fact that alex has been in the studio so many times. He knows those tools, and he knows how to kind of police himself in that manner. But there's things, there's, always things you can do. And if and if someone comes in the studio and their voices actually, like hashed and raw and you is very clear, it's not going to get better, just stop, just stop it's not worth anyone's time, teo to ruin someone voice, you're not going to get anything from it. Stop. Figure out what you need to fix it.