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Self-Producing an EP Pt.3: Adding Vocals to Demos

After putting this off for a while, I finally got around to writing the vocal parts for the currently instrumental tracks. The delay was mostly around trying to work out how they were going to sound, stylistically. We knew they wouldn't be cookie monster vocals, but that was about it. It was just a case of working out what the melody was going to be for each section, putting some place holder words in that fit the rhythm and re-drafting them with some sort of theme in mind so they made at least some vague sense. Then they needed to go on the demos. An attempt was made to try and write a concept to have a theme, but as I re-drafted the lyrics, I was having to 'force' the theme into it, at which point I discarded it. The general idea remains in some of them but the detail has gone.

Vocals
This bit was a pain. All the other instruments are either programmed or DI, so it's easy to make them sound good because we aren't mic'ing up amps or drums or anything like that. Now we can't do that, and it's hard to make it sounds like it belongs with the fairly tight demos when they're rough and badly mic'd. They didn't sound great, and at this point I'd never tried to fit vocals into a wall of noise like this before, just acoustic guitars. As they just needed to be indicative of what they might ultimately sound like I opted for over-processing them and rolling them in glitter. I tidied up the timing and the tuning and then drowned them in delay and reverb. Still not great, but they'd do.

Things that were important:

  • Getting something down at all so we can start critiquing and re-drafting and changing and cutting.
  • Drowning the demo vocals in effects and tuning to try and make them bearable.
Improvements:
  • Definitely start this earlier. It was blocking progress.
  • Aim for some consistency in recording them. Using 2 different mics in a handful of different locations on the same track made it distracting to listen to, and drew away from the goal of the actual music.
  • Accept that they're probably going to sound bad and get on with it.

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