Hello Ardour People,
I’ve finally managed to get one of our tracks out in public!
This is hopefully a preview track from our upcoming EP! It has certainly been a labour of love and has seen the band through many ups and downs. We started tracking drums guitar and bass in our old rehearsal room before we were unceremoniously evicted to make way for gentrification the rest of the tracking took place in our new rehearsal room (with terrible acoustics) and various living rooms around Liverpool. Hopefully it doesn’t sound as disjointed as the process.
This was entirely recorded using Ardour on Debian. The tracking was done on my laptop with a Focusrite 18i20 and octopre this makes a fantastic portable recording rig.
The mixing was done back at my guitarist’s home studio. The intention was to export the stems for him to mix in Logic or Protools, but he was so intrigued by the tracking process, I convinced him to give ardour a try. I had a spare computer lying around so I installed Debian and Ardour and installed it in his studio. We started out working together with me at the computer, but after convincing him that I had everything backed up and I didn’t mind if he messed up he started taking control of the mouse unaccompanied! I’m not sure if he’s a total convert yet, but he definitely appreciates the flexibility that ardour offers.
It was mostly completed using open source software, but I really love the Linux DSP stuff (that shows how long we’ve been working on this, they’re Overtone DSP these days, still just as awesome). The 500 series EQ and compressor feature heavily on most of the vocals and brass. The Black EQ also features heavily. There is probabl also the occasional appearance of the Harrison Mixbus reverb and delay plugins too. I’d also bought and installed Mixbus as I love the tape saturation and the compressors on that, but we never got around to trying Mixbus on this project. Ardour did everything we needed.
We still have to track brass and vocals for most of the rest of the EP, but there is no intention to move away from Ardour.
Oh by the way I’m the bass player in this band, it was my first recording using my fretless. Unfortunately I think I tracked it a bit dull, but I’m fairly happy with the playing here
It’s all a learning process, and the next set of recording will be much better! Let me know what you think, I’m very open to criticism so don’t hold back. Thank you to anyone who made it this far through this long rambling post, and thank you to anyone who gave it a listen.
Absolutely wonderful, I loved it, thanks for sharing
Little things I would try in the mix:
- The vocals might benefit from a little bit of de-essing. Or you could try to let a bit of the lower frequencies to come through, the vocals are a bit thin, that could also give balance to the strong s - sounds.
- The start of the song is almost mono, you could try to move the guitar off the center a bit or let it bleed into the reverb. This would help the guitar push through the mix later in the song where it is drowned by the other instruments.
- I would add a touch of reverb to volcals, guitar, drums and horns.
But that is just one opinion, things can be done in million ways.
You really play tightly together and I love the way you “play” with the rhythm. Wonderful stuff indeed. I’d love to see you live, this is party music
One more thing about the rhythm-guitar. You could also try recording another take of it and then pan the first and second takes half way left and right. The timing errors that will happen when playing will make a pleasant changing stereo effect when panned L and R and also gives more punch to the guitar.
Very nice bass playing.
Your sound reminds me of a Precision fretless… your axe is like that? (I’ve been playing an old Squier JV Jazz Fretless for almost 30 years - but I still regret not having also bought a MINT Fender Precision fretless from late 70s which was sold by a music store in my town 25 years ago for less than 1.000 € ;-)…)
This is killer! Great vocals and the band is really cookin’, a sound that that never gets old, and I love the band name too. Thanks for the day-brightener!
Thanks for the listens and the feedback!
I love playing with this band, and Ardour made the tracking and editing process a breeze! The only major obstacles we had were logistical, getting the musicians into suitable spaces to record and then finding time to mix
@mhartzel thanks for your pointers. This is a “preview track” meaning we’ll be remixing for the actual EP release. I know what you mean about the vocals. We were fighting with poor tracking unfortunately, we recorded them all in one singer’s living room that suffered terrible flutter echo, when we replayed during the mix we really wanted to retrack, but we had to get a mix out for a radio show we were booked for! I might try deessing though if we have to use these takes for the final EP. The mono-ness of the guitar was an artistic choice, but we may well reconsider that too. It does sound a little flat on a re-listen. I think we used a straight DI guitar for parts of that intro! The lack of reverb was another experiment, We’ll take your suggestions into account, thanks for the feedback.
@mk1967 thanks, I’m quite pleased with the playing on this. The sound, not so much! I did go for a precision bass kind of sound, I actually have a Jazz bass. It has S1 switching that puts the two pickups in series for a precision bass vibe. I think I shot myself in the foot here a bit though as the bass is a bit muddy to my ears and I couldn’t really EQ this quality out to my satisfaction.
@GMaq: Glad you enjoyed it! We work hard and play live at least a couple of times per month, so I was definitely trying to get a bit of our live vibe into the recording I hope it came through, even with the less than organic disjointed way we did these recordings.
So yes, thanks for all the comments, they are really encouraging and I’ll definitely pass them on to the band!
Sounds really cool! It’s fun hearing all of the other projects people are doing with this great software, and different styles too!
A lot of great ideas in this thread already, so I’m basically just going to think out loud, but yet another way to bring a flat guitar or bass back to life could be as simple as a little saturation, distortion or excitement (ie, calf plugins). I know I have put mono guitars into a kind of ‘fake stereo’ by copying a track, and then putting a light distortion and slightly different EQ on the copy after panning them L and R (though I do like extra takes better if possible).
For horns I usually used a ‘slapback’ style delay to bring it ‘into the room’ so to speak, and that could help the horn section stick to the rest of the band a bit.
Either way, it’s obviously into preference territory at this point as it’s already a cool mix. Thanks for sharing!