Pre-Production: Setting Up the Tempo Map
So I've got a blank session. Awesome, sounds great, right? I'm going to start pulling in the Monuments Prepro as well as creating a tracking template and let's go through this. So first things first, go into Import and the first thing I wanna get is the MIDI map and I know that I have one. So I'm going to MIDI, Quasi Tempo Midi, great. But not everyone's gonna give you this but it's really, really helpful. If a band doesn't give you this, then you're gonna have to sit there and make this with them. Luckily, these guys are awesome. In a second, I'll show you guys just how awesome they are. So I do import the tempo map from the MIDI file and I make it a new track. As you can see, their tempos do change. You can see it goes 140 to to 140 to 93 point whatever. Those are things that I would check on. The reason I think that, I think that those 93 dot whatevers are actually a mistake, and I know this 'cause I know the song, that's actually, they modulate into dotted time and so a dot into d...
otted quarters and so I would sit there and I would fix that with Anov in person and make sure that it was right. That quarter note does not switch to 93. It actually remains the same tempo except it goes dotted. So when you see anomalies on the import, you need to talk to the band and check that out. A lot of times these anomalies will happen if someone gives you something from Guitar Pro. For instance, Guitar Pro MIDI exports can be kinda weird or if you're going across different DAWs, you always wanna double check this stuff. Either way, it's a good start. As you can see, we've got markers and tempo changes. So, gonna take a second to show you how these guys send their prepro. Let's go to the desktop. Monuments. Alright so, as some of you guys may know, I worked on their last album a bit. I recorded the vocals and some other things so they sent me prepro for the entire record. And I went ahead and I separated it out for, for this song. We were rerecording a song from their album but just check this out. If every band sent me this, my life would be so great. Your lives would great too and you should encourage bands to do this. So here's instrumental tracks for the entire album off of their rough mixes. I needed that because I was gonna be recording the vocals but hey, you know what's awesome about having that? Is that if the whole band is there doing the production at your place and you have these and you're not changing them, well you can set up vocals straight up from the beginning and start tracking vocals to these instrumentals. And that's really, really great 'cause as we know vocals are the most important thing and you'll have as much time as possible on vocals rather than waiting til the very end. So one more reason to try to get awesome prepro from a band. Alright, they sent me the vocal tracks, the demo vocal tracks as you can see. All worked out, leads, harmonies and even more harmonies. Why is this cool? Well, this doesn't mean that we didn't change anything when we recorded, we changed a few things here and there. But at least it meant that if there was anything to keep, we wouldn't have to guess what it is that we were trying to do or recreate. Like this band has some very, very complex vocal harmonies going on and so it would be a shame for him to do it on the demo version and then kinda forget what he was trying to do when we start recording, that would be a bummer. So like a, what did I do that time on that demo? And then try to decipher it from the demo which has tons of distorted guitars and then clean guitars and lead guitars and synths and raging drums and it just gets hard to hear things so you know when all, when it's all separated like this, you make sure you can get it right. So yeah, all the vocal tracks. Then the full demos for everything with vocals. That's just an earlier version. I don't know why they sent me that one. And then the lyrics all in a folder. Crazy, right? How many people here have gotten the chance to work with a vocalist who's prepared zero lyrics for a session? Kinda sucks, right? Well, it's way cooler when they've already written all of the lyrics. Now again, this, getting this doesn't mean that you're not gonna make some changes. It just means that you're organized and you're not gonna have to go hunting for the lyrics for a certain song. It just means that things are gonna be that much more efficient. It really, really helps. And then we also got individual stems from the prepro. I've already moved the ones for Quasimodo, the song that we're doing, into these folders. So for instance, as you can see, the backing vocals, bass guitar, clean guitar, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, samples, then the instrumental. Then this is the click meaning Anov's click and then the song with no click. In case we need to reference against something. These are all stereo files I believe and it's really, really helpful that it's just for the same reasons that I said before. If you wanna get ahead on anything or you need to, to check against something to make sure you're doing it right or whatever, or you even wanna use some of the prepro. Remember you might even end up actually using some of the prepro. It's good to have it all separated like this with proper stems at 24 bit, 44 or or whatever sample rate everyone chooses to work at. And then of course, like you saw before, I have the same, all these other things. All these other little things for the song. Any questions so far? Anybody?
We do have a question about writing. Have you ever almost rewritten an entire song for a band because it was bad? If so, what made you not just trash the whole session? What made you stick with it and work on it?
If he means trash the session as in trash the whole song or quit the record, that's what I'm not sure if he means.
Probably trash the song but I don't know.
Well it depends, okay? It depends. If the band wants to record eight songs and they come in with 15 or something, which is what is advised. It's advised to always sort of have twice or three times as much as you're actually gonna record then you can just go down the list be like, check, check, x, check, x, x, x, check, check and it's no issue. But if you're in a situation where they wrote five songs and they wanna record five songs, I have actually trashed songs completely but that's been when there's been literally no redeeming value whatsoever. Like nothing to go on which is pretty rare. You know those situations, even if they have one riff, see what you can do with that one riff. Just for the sake of trying but if like there's really nowhere to go, nothing to do, then yeah trash the song, why not? Start all over. I've done that lots of times. I save that one for when I build up a little trust. So trust is really important. If you know, you know, there's always gonna be the best song and the worst song on every album, on every EP. There's always gonna be a scale of better to worst. So if you start with one of the better ones that doesn't need as much and as much tinkering and you do a great job with that, you build trust. Move on to one that needs just a little bit more. By the time you get to the one that just sucks, hopefully you'll have built up the trust to where the band will just roll with you on it because they see that you're not just trying to like run with their artistic vision and you know, hijack it and they see that you're making good decisions and you've made good decisions up til that point and so you say trash the song, let's trash it. If you start by trashing the song, the complete opposite scenario can happen. People could interpret that the wrong way, they could feel like you're trying to hijack their project, they could think that you're going to try and trash all of their songs for instance. Remember, rapport is the most important thing here. You wanna be building their trust 'cause remember, this is their music, it's not your music. It's their baby and whether it sucks or not, whether that kid is ugly and smells bad, it's still their kid and there's nothing you can say about it at first until you build up some trust then you can tell 'em their kid smells bad. So build up that trust and go for some easy victories at first. It's all about the easy victories. Build up their confidence in themselves. Build up their confidence in you and once you've done that, then get rid of the stuff that doesn't work.