Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 2: Recording the Background Tracks

Thursday dawned clear and sunny. This was the day that the studio musicians came in to record the background tracks for the CD. Elizabeth and I were really interested in the process, so this was the day that we were really looking forward to. We loaded Buddy's instruments into the car, and I took Elizabeth's picture in front of the lobby door. Isn't she cute?! Since I'm always holding the camera, there never seem to be pictures of me, so I made a "self portrait" in the rear view mirror of the car as we were driving. :)

Buddy wanted to take a couple of dozen doughnuts for the guys to eat between songs, so we spent some of the morning trying to find a doughnut place. They've got a GPS in their car, but I'm telling you --- that thing is nuts! In the end, we were able to locate a Dunkin' Donuts just a couple minutes from the studio. We arrived at Gat3 at about 9:45am and were the first of the recording artists there. Mark (the Bass player) arrived a few minutes after us and started setting up the three guitars that he had brought. He came in from Tennessee the night before, but the other guys all came from the Carolinas.

This CD is going to be full of Noah's Ark-themed songs. Buddy had a list of the songs, lyrics for all of them and a demo CD that he had made. He had sent this CD to the guys a few weeks in advance, so that they had a chance to hear the songs, and Danny (the piano player) had made "mark-ups" for all of the songs. This is some kind of a numbering system that works by the bars of the music --- it takes the place of normal sheet music. Unfortunately, I don't know the official name for it. What talent all those guys have! Wow!

They decided to just record the songs in order as they will appear on the CD, so they started at #1 and worked all the way through #13. They all had copies of Danny's mark-ups, so the five of them stood around and listened to the song that they were about to record on the demo CD. Then, they would talk about it to get the idea of the style down. Buddy wanted this one to be more 1950s and 1960s sounding, so they played the songs in the style of the old Country/Gospel groups and bands. They marked their papers with all of their little notes, put on their earphones and got down to work. Elizabeth and I were really surprised when they had finished the first song in just a bit more than ten minutes. Wow!

We got to sit in the large room with the sound boards (where all the mixing was done). All of the sound from all the recording booths was piped in there, so we got to hear everything. There was also a large black sofa in front a a huge glass window that looked into the recording rooms, so we could also see everything. Not bad! The drummer and bass player sat in the large sound room together, since the bass was plugged in and not making any audible noise in the room. The piano player had a little sound booth of his own, as did the musician with the acoustic instruments and Buddy. No actual vocal tracks were recorded this first day. Buddy was singing and recording what are called "scratch vocals", but these were only for the benefit of the musicians and were deleted the next day.

They made it through half of the songs by lunch time, which was around 2:00pm. We all went to an Italian place called Villa Antonio. Boy, was it pricey --- and everything had meat in it. We were able to talk to some of the guys, though, and that was nice. In the end, the recording continued until 8:30pm. I can't say anything about the particular songs as it would spoil things when the CD finally comes out, but I'll tell you the track numbers of my three favorites (in the order of my favorites!). The tracks should be in the same order, and I'll post an entry on them specifically once the CD is out --- they are: #6, #9, #1. Oh boy!

Since it was so late by the time that we finished, we had all voted to order pizza in at the hotel. On the way back, though, (just to round out the meal) we stopped at Wendy's and got some chocolate Frosties! These were safely deposited in the freezer in the suite and saved for dessert. Not a bad ending to a really cool day! More later.

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