March 28 – Recording Hands Up

With the demo sessions for “Hands Up” in the can, this week we moved on to recording the final version of the song. On Friday morning drummer Rob Kelly recorded the drums. Rob has been living and working in South Korea as a drum professor, so he recorded his drums remotely at the school. We did a Skype call before his session to go over some notes, and make sure he got all the stems imported, and he got to it. Rob ended up having some fun and sent us 7 different versions of the drums parts to choose from.

Today we recorded all the final guitar and bass tracks for the song. The session started with us reviewing the demo version and deciding what we liked and what needed to be fixed, and what would work best with the new drum parts. We decided that we would keep this one pretty simple and go for 2 guitar tracks to lay the foundation. The guitar in the verses is pretty rhythmic and percussive, so the 3rd guitar helps accent and reenforce the choruses. With all the guitars in place we decided to keep things pretty close to the demo for the bass – nice and simple. Since the guitar is fairly rhythmic, the bass plays a simple thumping ostinato in the verses and does a variation on the guitar part in the chorus. After listening back we thought the verse and the intro might need acoustic guitar. So, next week it’s vocals and try out the acoustic. While we’re wrapping this up, I’ll be prepping the stems for the next song, “Perfect Day.”

For the techies: On this song James is playing his Black Les Paul Custom through his Marshall amp and Mesa Boogie 4×12 cabinet. We mic’d the cabinet with an SM57 towards the edge of the bottom right speaker, and an SM57 towards the center of the top left speaker to capture the full range of his sound. Each mic on its own didn’t give us the depth we wanted. I’m playing my Ibanez SB1200 bass through my Mesa Boogie 4×10 cab with MarkBass bass amp. We mic’d the bass cabinet using a Heil PR-40.

– Sebastian