Unlike many, I love early mornings. As some of you know, I’m in the gym before 5AM. When I get home, I eat, clean up and I’ll sometimes hit the studio for a bit. Most of the time it’s just a 5 or 10 minute practice session. But this morning I was able to fit in a quick morning recording session.
At the current time I have a corporate day-job, so unfortunately I don’t have the luxury quite yet to spend my entire day in the studio creating music. That being said, my morning’s are sometimes rushed as I’m trying to fit in some important tasks. Between the gym and working on a little music, I’ve done a half-day’s work before I get to the office.
Writing & Recording New Music
I probably should have named this blog ‘Quick Morning Songwriting Session.’ I wrote the rhythm guitar tracks for the 13th song for a new album I’m working on. When I write new music, I’m usually recording that riff as I write it. So writing and recording music are one in the same for me.
Of course these were the rough draft, first-take guitar tracks. I’ll go back and re-record these later (hopefully tomorrow). Rarely do I nail it the first time. In fact, I typically record my initial guitar tracks in pieces. I may have a particular riff in my head so I’ll play and record that part. Then I’ll go back and record another part, and so on.
Preliminary Writing & Recording Steps
I want to now share the first few steps for my own writing and recording process for you. This is the typical way I work in the studio. I’m not covering the recording process for an entire song. These are just the preliminary steps I use when I start to write and record new music.
† Song idea – This typically starts with a riff in my head, as I described above. I’ll start playing and see what comes out.
† Open studio session – Sometimes this is the first step because I normally play through my amp/effects plugins (right now i’m using Positive Grid’s BIAS FX), which is through my studio software, Persons Studio One.
† Drum track/loop – Once I’m playing the riff and feel comfortable with it actually becoming something, I’ll insert a drum track and find a loop that fits the riff (I’m using Toontrack’s EZ Drummer for this). I’ll copy that one loop for a few minutes of play-time. This step isn’t a must but since I’m a solo artist, it works best for me. And it’s better than playing to a click track.
† Start recording – At this point I’ll start recording the first guitar track. The writing process has begun.
This process can be a but lengthy, writing the first guitar track. Sometimes that initial riff idea is only a small piece of the song. So I will expand on that, and that part can take time. There are moments when I’ll write the entire song all the way through (in regards to the initial guitar part). And there are other times where I’ll write just a few pieces to the song and come back to it.
Foundation of the Song
Once I have the guitar part laid down I’ll go back and record the second guitar track. Many of you know that I generally record two rhythm guitar tracks for most of my songs. And often times I’ll add some harmonizing guitar riffs with that second track if the song calls for it.
The guitar tracks are the foundation of my music. That’s my first and main instrument, and of course I’m a metal musician. So the rhythm guitar tracks are the first tracks that are done all the way through before I start working on anything else.
When the guitars are recorded I’ll add a bass guitar track. Although I’m not a true bass player, I do enjoy this part of recording. I’m experimenting with different bass lines lately and trying not to have the bass follow every note of the guitars. I’m doing some different bass lines and, well, learning to play bass more like a bass player rather than a guitar player.
The drums are a pain point for me. I’m currently using software and I’ve used pre-recorded drum loops in the past. Ideally, I would like to have a drummer readily available. I do plan to have a real drummer for some future albums and projects. But for the preliminary writing and recording process, I’m using software.
What Type of Album am I Recording?
I’m working on a followup album to my most recent album, Heavy Metal Workout. This series is obviously geared towards metal workout music and I’m hoping that I’m the prime owner of this very small sub-genre of metal. I’ve been talking about this for the past couple of months. This album is faster and more aggressive than anything I’ve ever done. The guitar parts are more challenging and have a death metal feel to them. I’m calling it Extreme Metal Workout.
I mentioned above that I wrote the rhythms for the 13th track for this new album. This will be the final song so once I polish these tracks up, the rhythm guitar parts for the entire album will be complete (and the same for the bass tracks once I lay it down for this song). I imagine that I will spend a lot of time of the lead guitar tracks. I plan to add some harmonizing leads as well. As far as drums, I’m still uncertain and toying with the idea of hiring a metal drummer for this album. I will certainly keep you posted.
Keep it Metal,