Now that all the drums and guitars are recorded, we moved on to singing last weekend. For me, this is the hardest part of the recording process. I’ve never thought of myself as a good singer nor have I ever had any vocal training. Akelei has looked for someone with better skills before but never succeeded. So we’ve been ‘stuck’ with my voice and that can be frustrating at times. I don’t think I sound exceptional in any way and try to compensate by injecting more emotion. This has helped me several times while playing live but these studio recordings prove to be another challenge.
We’re actually using a very good microphone which is a world of difference from the crappy €30 mics we’re used to working with at home for our demos. It’s strange to hear everything so clearly, almost alarmingly so. You rub against your shirt, the mic catches it. You tap your shoe to the beat, it gets recorded. It takes some getting used to but I’m eager to get the job done without much further ado and go right into the first two songs, which are ‘Verlangen’ and ‘Meer dan je ziet’. We’ve been playing these songs for a while now so I thought I’d get an easy start, singing the words I know best by now.
Even with hours and hours of rehearsals, preparations and demo-recordings behind me, I’m quick to realise my limitations as a singer. I can’t hold a note very long, unless I sing at the top of my lungs and then the air runs out pretty fast. Moreover, I think my voice sounds too thin and lacks depth. We resort to double tracking the vocal lines to deal with that issue which means I have to sing everything twice. I love singing so it’s not a problem, it just takes more time to get the job done. After finishing most of the parts for these two songs, we call it a day. We keep the sessions shorter than usual so I don’t wear out my voice too much.
The next day it’s time to record the intro to the album’s opening song. For this I’ve invited three friends/special guests; two ladies and one gent, of whom I knew they could sing. We start by working on a melody that I had written but not elaborated on. Within the first hour we’ve added two counter-melodies and we rehearse the piece until it’s ready to be recorded. We do four takes to stack up sixteen voices and then listen to the result. It sounds amazing, like a real choir! We’re very pleased with ourselves. After the thank-yous and good-byes, Q and I continue on the same track, this time to add my solo verses. I only finished the lyrics the night before but singing them goes according to plan and it turns out to be one of the easier takes so far.
On Sunday I have two more songs to sing: ‘De zwaarte’ and ‘Duett’. The first one goes really well. It doesn’t need many takes to nail and so we experiment a little with the final chorus and add harmonies. ‘De Zwaarte’ means ‘the weight’ and it’s a good title because I think this is the heaviest song I’ve written yet! No quiet parts, just full-on riffage. DOOM! ‘Duett’ however is not so easy for me. The verses contain long notes and don’t offer much to hold on to, also because half of the words are to be sung by C, who lives in Norway and will send her recordings by email. We decide to pause on this song until we have C’s parts.
And that wraps up another weekend at Independent Recordings. We’re getting close to the mixing stage and I’m just so ready to hear the end result. It’s been a month now and I want to let people hear what we’ve been up to. Also, I want to get busy with designing the album and launching a website to promote it. But as the Rules of Doom™ go:
86. Don’t release any of your tracks on the internet, so people can’t find out how you sound. And when you do finally release your album, release it on an obscure label from Australia that refuses to distribute any of the 500 printed copies.
92. Re-re-re-re-release your demo on tape or vinyl, but not on cd, and make sure no one ever will be able to buy it.
164. Make sure at least one member of your band owns a record label otherwise you’ll never release anything other than CD-Rs.
…Sooo I guess it’s all been for nothing.