Thought I'd put together a little post outlining what you can usually expect from A recording session with Foll. A lot of people won't have recorded before or might not have been in a studio environment so here's a little taste of how I roll.
As a starter I overall aim for my sessions to be:
The first two bullet points being the most important. How can great art be made if the people doing it aren't comfortable and enjoying themselves!
Prior to A recording session with Foll
I'll be in communication with the artists regularly prior to the session day to ensure we're all on the same page. It's essential we all know:
Times of session
Number of songs
Expectations of setup
Any issues or requirements
Where I record
As mentioned on the main page on the site, I can either come and record at your regular practice space or record you in The Studio, Hartlepool. These both have small pros and cons but will give an equally awesome result.
For a remote recording session I'll be arriving at the location ideally 15-30 mins prior to agreed time to ensure that i can hit the ground running.
It takes roughly 45mins-1hr to set up for a band (full multimic setup), after that we'll run though and listen back to what's been recorded via my portable Studio monitors.
Generally these sessions work best with a full live recording as the band is all in one familiar space and can be more cohesive.
Bleed of guitars and bass into drum and vocal mics can be an issue, but this can be mitigated in a few ways:
Move amps to a different location (venue permitting) - can run cables to amps located out of the drum room.
Baffles - These can reduce the reflections and leakage into the room to some degree.
The ultimate aim is for the band to be able to perform a tight / cohesive take, or series of takes. We will record a few, listen back and comp them together. For tightness and editing ease we can use a click track or if click tracks are "taboo" we can get the click to line up with the recording afterwards (this obviously involves more sitting listening to me faffing around in the DAW)
Some considerations to remote recording are:
Potentially restrictive time scale depending on the location (e.g. next people due in practice room)
Not Necessarily a well treated space. Can make things trickier to sound how you want, however this can also lead to a unique sounding recording.
Monitoring in Live room - harder to hear little mistakes or sound issues. Again, not always a problem and can often be fixed with editing or accepted for a DIY vibe.
It's potentially a place you feel at ease, somewhere you play together often or somewhere your equipment is already set up. This can have a massive positive effect on the mindset of the performers and also timescale with less to set up.
Recording in The Studio, Hartlepool
I have access to the Studio In hartlepool, a purpose built community recording studio with treated live room, separate control room and all the bells and whistles required to get you recording moving efficiently at top quality.
Session times are flexible, although I recommend around 8hrs in a day for a band to get set up and record between 1-3 songs (in general, this will vastly change depending on band setups and proficiency). There's also 24/7 access so potential for anti-social hours if you can keep me awake!
For a typical band setup in the Studio I'd set the drums in the control room and fully mic them up (can have up to 16 channels from live room). From there we have a number of options:
Everyone set up in the live room and record live together in one room - Pros to this are it's a more natural setup for everyone, no headphones are needed (except for vocals) and it tends to mimic a gig/rehearsal feel. Cons to this are there will be excessive bleed in all the microphones, making the control of individual sounds more difficult once the recording has finished.
Drums set up in live room, instruments in live room but amps either in different room or mic sim used - Pros to this are that you get a better sound due to the separation of amps to drum mics resulting in less bleed. People in control room can monitor through speakers which still gives a live feel. Cons are that the separation can feel unnatural if you're not used to it (especially using headphones) and the guitarists can feel exposed not using their amp although this gets resolved with reamping or overdubs later.
Some considerations for recording in the Studio are:
Clear outlined timescales for sessions
Good well treated live room and separate control room - improved separation and monitoring
artists less familiar with the space so might not get into their groove as quickly
possibly further to travel for session also moving equipment / set up
Once the base tracks are recorded it's time to give them a listen, identify any issues and go back and overdub to fix them. This can be done with the whole band or just the individual instruments. Alternatively a whole other take of a song can be done.
The main thing to bear in mind during a session is to be open and willing to both give and receive opinion on sounds / performances / vibe. There's nothing worse than everyone missing a mistake that's a nightmare to fix, especially if someone heard it but didn't want to bring it up. Thankfully most things can be fixed to some degree but I can't stress enough the importance of taking the time to assess performances at this stage, speak up if you hear anything and at least do an additional take or two just in case.
Vocals are often recorded separately, at the end of a session to get them as clean as possible, however it's been known for me to use the initial vocals if they're particularly vibey. There's no set method and it's always worth keeping an open mind to everyone's ideas to get the right result!
Once all the parts are recorded to everyone's satisfaction it's mix time. How this is done depends on time. I'll always do a rough mix at the end of the sessions and upload it to Stacktune for review. This also acts as a baseline for future mixes going forward.
If time allows we'll mix during the session, however a lot of the time I like to focus on recording and then take the songs away to mix with a set of fresh ears. We can also use Audiomovers Listento for remote reviews of the mix - I'll send a link to the live audio from my project and we can review via zoom / facetime / teams.
It's good to have a final mix session in the studio / with the band to finalise mix decisions, but not essentioal. The mixes are all uploaded to Stacktune for review as they're done and any revisions are all easily comparable on the site.
Hope that's of use to you guys!