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Studio Pass with Joey Sturgis

Lesson 6 of 29

Pre-production - Boring Sections

Joey Sturgis

Studio Pass with Joey Sturgis

Joey Sturgis

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Lesson Info

6. Pre-production - Boring Sections

Lesson Info

Pre-production - Boring Sections

How many parts and the songs don't have vocals so a little earlier when I showed that section and said let me hear you scream no vocals let me hear you scream that was boring and we corrected it by adding the vocal from the pre course that's a I always like songs toe have a lot of vocals that's not the attitude you should have for all genres of music some some genres of music go off into instrumental tangents such as between the buried and me or something like that and if a producer was to come in and say, hey, I think we need to write some vocal parts over that section that would be a really dumb suggestion so it it does depend on the song and the band um but generally I like to have a lot of vocals and even in this part I added the little I told himto add the little come on uh, thing which kind of bridges the gap so you don't have too long of a time in the song where there's no no vocals um if there's no rift than what is there, this is a good point. If you if you were to look at thi...

s song strictly from a rhythm guitar standpoint, you would notice that the chorus is extremely boring I'll play it for you, okay I just I want to stress though that it's really smart that the person who wrote this song did that because when that part happens there's an explosion and all you focus on after that is the vocals and by creating those long cords and just making them really simple he was able to have a platform to stand on and to sing from so if you have if you were to change that to b all complex and have all these crazy guitar rhythms going on it would sound like a mess but it is important to to think about the song as a big picture and if you have some sections where there's no rift happening than you you need to counter act that was something else that's more interesting so there's always a focal point so when that chorus comes in the vocals become the focal point but if the vocals weren't there it would sound like really empty so if there is no riff then what is there you wantto add something there if there's you know there's nothing exciting going on then you should add something exciting I like to keep the song mo mentum going and keep it consistently interesting um dynamics and contrast less dynamics equals less memorable so if you remember going back to listening to that demo for the first time um it was very flat very linear like you said uh so one of the things that that was one of the challenges of the song is how do you add dynamics without changing song too much you still wanted to be the same song that they wrote but you want to create dynamics you want to create contrast one of the ways that we did that it is with all the layering of the additional parts but another way you can do it is by simply just layering vocals uh let me show you what this would sound like with just one vocal oh, right I lose my ah well say wait you wait on this night wait. All right? You get the point so there was just one vocal happening at any given time um so what we do is we take that main melody and we double it up and so now when his voice comes in with that singing part it's so much more powerful sounds like this oh, hey it's much more wide it has much more energy and then that rapping part becomes a little bit uh tiny if it was just one. So what we did is we actually layered like this little fall off a sharpie high because it's time to rise up lose your line so that's like him doing it in a lower tone but then we also add that higher tone level of chevy high is the sun to rise up, lose your mind and then we add the doubles level of shit behind is the sun to rise out of your mind and you you hear those little echoes that aaron there too which creates a little bit more contrast to that part and then finally on the the little whoa part we just added a tana layer so it sounded huge this is what it sounds like wait and then in addition to that we also took a stem from the demo that he had made so this is the stem that he brought in wait and you can hear how that's like not perfect and not as as polished but it's interesting because when you add that to what we recorded, that imperfection adds to the the entire sound to make it bigger and more interesting wait, so let me I'm going to play this part in the song and I'm just going to mute all the layers that we added and you're going to hear how how it contrasts just immediately more boring so now let's add the layers back in and that's how we made the song more memorable because we added a lot more layers of complexity which creates more dynamics in the production um song length the song was a lot longer so I actually shorten a couple parts I do still feel like this song is a little bit long it's I think it's around the five minute mark um I typically try to keep songs fairly short, but you do need to know what you're working with if you're working with like a progressive metal band, you're probably gonna have longer songs. Yeah. Do you guys have any questions in here? Oh, just a quick one about the layering is that all just like you? Same same exact vocal part saying the same way not panned or anything just three layers of the same thing just to give it more death. Well, just to show you just for that very specific thing you're asking about um let's let's look at it here so the first one is basically uh just him singing and it's got some delay and reverb on it then the next one is the same thing he did it, he did it again so I didn't like copy and paste it but he did the take again and then we panned it to the left and we turned it down a little bit. We also added a different timing delay on there. Um then the next take is the same thing but on the right side and then we step down to the next one and we just have from here we just started layering and changing the panning slightly, so he did it again and then we did it seventy five percent instead of one hundred percent left and right so we've got two of those then we go to the next one left and right fifty percent and then the next one is another left and right one hundred percent but I think some of these might be low octaves let me just see wait well well yeah so we've got the full voice normal active way we've got the low active well while you are well what we are on and if you here like this one is more clean son sung thin this one's more rough way so we we added all those different things and then plus I took the stem from his demo and actually added it into the song wait like that's his stand that he gave me well, whoa yeo so we at just I took some of the elements from the pre production and from the demo and added it to the full production of the song that happens a lot because one thing that will occur is that ah musician will get on their laptop and they'll mess around with a sound for like eight hours and they create this crazy thing and then you come in the studio and they're like, oh yeah, we need to have that sound in there you're not going to go to that that whole eight hour experience again so you just end up taking it, putting it right in this song a lot of times I have to spend a little bit of time trying to make it sound nice because they're not always working with the best sounding stuff awesome joe wants to know when arranging to try to stick to the rule of three like rhythm section harmony melody to keep focus do you do that? You know I never really think of it like that um because for me that's a little bit too much of a rule yeah I think if you let rules control your actions you're goingto do weird things yeah so I talk I tend to just let the songs speak to me one thing I've noticed is that when I play a song my brain starts immediately adding things that aren't there unless it's ah really well produced song than my brain doesn't add anything because everything's done properly so maybe that is the maybe that's the actual rule of of how that works but in my head I just think of it from the point of view what's missing from this part and what can I add but I do like I think there is um some strength to that kind of thinking awesome yeah you do want to make sure that you know your drums aren't playing like thirty second outs and then your guitar is also playing thirty second outs and the vocals are also doing thirty seconds because then what's the point you definitely want to have um some, some contrast, and in the parts working together in the counter act, awesome. Um, chris truman wants to know, do you find pulling a sound before or during tracking, like a guitar tone? Does that help the artist play their best? Also? Does it affect the part, or change it or help you to grow the song? So how does that how does actually getting the final tone before you record? Do you always do that to you? Sometimes do that? I think we we tend to just attack it from a molding perspective. Um, you can't just go in and say, all right, we're going to sit down here, we're going to make this tone, and this is going to be the tone that we use for the whole album, and we're not going to stop messing with it until we think it's the best tone ever, because you'll do that, and then couple days go by, and you'll you'll think the tone sucks again, so that the process is is continual, you're going to always you goingto mess with the tone, then you're going to play some parts, then you're going to hear one of these parts coming through the tone, and you're goingto hate the tone again, you go back and mess with it again, so it was the way that I work is I mixes I go so I'm constantly tweaking things and it's and this is one of the reasons why use amp simulators is because right now if I wasn't happy with this guitar, I can literally go in here, open it up and change it and if you were using an actual guitar amp, you would not be able to do that you would have to go back out there, you know, turn the knobs re amp the guitar part or replay it or something like that. But this can be a negative thing too, because you can get into analysis paralysis where you have way too many parameters to control at your fingertips and you never get anything done because you're consistently you're just constantly tweaking the song, so you have to know when winn to stop the enemy of good is better yeah that's that's actually true yeah, and if you're always chasing that that high ah standard that you've created in your head you'll never you know the mix will never be done ah lot of times producers air put on deadlines though, so we kind of have a chopping block stop point yeah that we have to adhere to okay, do you need technical and or theoretical experience to be a music producer or just or do you just need a good ear and good taste um you could you could be both for sure and it will greatly depend on your clients for example rick rubin is a really popular producer I don't think he knows how to play guitar or drums but he walks into a room and he listens to your song and he's going to tell you if that's the best song you ever wrote for for what you do or if it's the worst and that's what he's really good as people who actually will trust him to come in and be a good reduce er hell tell you don't record these songs record these because they're better um then there's some producers that come in and say no your courses too long and your melodies to high and you need to have more harmonies so some people are way more technical and others are a little bit more subjective and I think you can succeed in this industry doing both but I think the subjective part is a little bit more difficult because our culture is just naturally centered around um technical data anyway so a lot of people that are getting into this are wondering how do I make the good guitar tones had away you know howto I do awesome snare sounds when they should really kind of focus on how do you make a great song because that's really the that's the most important thing and if you listen to the radio at all there's songs like, for example, some offspring songs that were recorded in the nineties, that selling crap. But they're still great songs. So it even if you have a crappy recording, our crappy mix. If you have a good song, there's, no denying it. You know, it's. A good song is always going to be a good song, whether it's recorded well or not, and that's the real power of the producers that they can do that.

Class Description

Joey Sturgis is the producer behind some of the biggest names in metalcore, including Asking Alexandria, Of Mice & Men, and I See Stars. His style is one of the most sought after sounds of the last decade and in Studio Pass he’ll show you how he produces it.

There is no magic bullet to Joey’s sound. It’s simply the combination of a million little decisions that add up to something incredible. In this class – for the first time ever – Joey will demonstrate his entire process: pre-pro, engineering, mixing and mastering, from A-Z. 

You’ll learn:

  • Writing and arrangement tips that take a song from good to great
  • Recording, editing, and mixing tips for guitars, vocals, bass, drums, and synths
  • How to get stuff to sound loud, super clean, and tight

Joey is a hands-on engineer – he’ll talk about how he works with bands to develop their writing and ideas so they are working with the best possible raw material. He’ll show you the specific signal chain he uses for mixing guitars, vocals, bass, drums, and synths. And he’ll give extra focus to vocal tracking, editing, tuning, compression, and effects.

If you want to transform your recording and engineering process, don’t miss your opportunity to learn from chart-topping metalcore producer, Joey Sturgis.

Class Materials

bonus material with enrollment


What is Vocal Production

Autotune Pitch Correction Modes and Tools

Understanding Pitch Graphing

Timing and Quantization

Vocal Mixing

Separating Lead & Background in Mixing

Mixing Harmonies & Adv Production Technique

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I have been following Joey's work since the early Prada days... This is one of the best discussions any producer has ever contributed to digital audio. I love the amount of transparency. He simply reveals everything and guides you on a very wise path on how to become a in-the-box producer like him! Turns out, the answer is -- a ton of hard work! Plus, this has to be the best use-case on his own awesome and super-affordable plugins. I have watched almost every popular producer/engineer workshops and have also sat-in on Eddie Kramer, Alan Parsons and Quincy Jones producer workshops and believe it or not... This is the best one yet.

Adam Train

I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of the bands Joey records. The only reason I bought this class was because I enjoyed the Periphery one so much. Joey takes modern production techniques to the absolutely extreme. He takes punch-ins and editing to a level where it's not even funny any more. If you're looking for tips on recording and mixing in general, this class is not for you. If you're looking for editing tips to see how far you can possibly push the strive for perfection, this is pretty spot on. If you're a beginner, don't take this class to heart - Joey's workflow is borderline psychopathic - go and get the Periphery session instead. If you've been recording for a while and you're looking to see how far editing can take you, it's worth a look.

a Creativelive Student

Easily one of the best investments I've made. There is so much information here that you'll have to watch it multiple times to really catch everything. Looked up to Joey Sturgis for a long time and this is literally a dream come true to get a behind the scenes look into his talent. He delivered the material in a very understandable fashion and was extremely clear with all his examples. I love creative live =)