My band's latest demo ... finally

brentcn

Platinum Member
You're welcome, Pol!

I've never for a moment given thought to stereo mixing of the kit. Good idea, though. I only used the one tom in the recording.
It may be that the engineer forgot to pan the overhead signals left and right, or intentionally left it mono, for that low-fi Dap Kings approach.

I've heard of the "instrument on one side, it's reverb return on the other" approach, but only when describing Van Halen's treatment of Eddie's guitar tracks in the 80s. It works so well for that music because there is seldom another element to conflict with it (bass, vocals, keys, and drums are mostly up the middle). In your demos, there is another instrument on the other side of the recording at all times.

Yes, in Man's World it was the mix that turned me off, not the playing. I think reverb on the vocal won't work, since it will "lengthen" the vocal track too much. There's an important difference between reverb and delay! A quick delay (60 msec or so?) will add some "space", but will get out of the way quickly, leaving the "stark" feeling of the track.

That bass tone might benefit from EQ, but it won't change the "character". You could try an overdrive pedal, anything that adds distortion, which will add clarity to the top end and midrange, but hopefully in a way that makes people think he used a 70s Ampeg SVT turned up to 11. You won't need much drive, either.

In the third tune, it could be the acoustic/electric bass being used. In a car stereo system, it will sound overwhelming. Maybe dial back around 150 Hz?
 

Thaard

Platinum Member
I really like the old-school clean sound you got going on, but the drums are too low or too high sometimes. Since it's a demo, that isn't really a big problem, if you send them in to mixing later on(or mix yourself). Remember to bring the kick higher up!
Really like the singer and nice 70's fills you have going on there.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
Far and away my favorite is Man's World. I think that was the 10 second clip you posted just after recording it. I love where you bring the snare drum in on that (last 4 bars of the verse and almost 2 minutes into the song). Time and feel are perfect, lots of comfortable space, great singing, great song... that one just does it for me.

I like the other two as well. Well, a little less so for On Broadway, but I've never cared for that song - but I really liked the drumming and the performances.

I also really like your ride cymbal. That's the 20" A Medium you picked out? It was really captured and played well. (I'm a quest for the ride cymbal and may have to take another look at those).
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Man's World---Liked the playing a lot but thought this was the one that missed a little in the mix overall. I really would have liked more presence from you and a beefier organ. But for the most part that's no reflection on the drumming itself. However, when the snare shows up around 1:54 I would have preferred a bit more snap to center the tone.

First Time---Never heard a vibe like that on this tune before...but I enjoyed the understated poppy groove. I also liked where you were in the mix. Fine drumming on this...and yeah the rushing was obvious at the end but within acceptable limits.

Broadway---this sounded and felt good start to finish. I was also in favor of the faster tempo. It made sense within your concept.The snare was mid range and pushy without rushing alongside a little attitude. I think my grandfather calls that puckish.

This was very good old school groovy vibing (although Flack and Man's World were just a little later)....and the drumming was of a high quality to be sure. It's my favorite playing of you I've heard.
 

antmanbe

Senior Member
After listening to these demo recordings it has inspired me to go play along to some old recordings!

I love the sound and feel of the 50' and 60' stuff.

The discussions about tempo variations are interesting. You get a real sense of feel and emotion with fluctuations in tempo (though often slight) in old recordings.

Fair play to you Polly for creating that kind of feel. I still think the kick/bass drum needs to go up a notch still.

If i have your permission can I use your tracks at our gigs. I like to mix in unknown bands in with the regular music we use as background music.

Cheers

AMB
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Thanks for listening guys :)

Yes, more kick in a MW & FTEISYF (helluva name ... no wonder people say "the Roberta Flack song). Seemingly the biggest issue mix-wise. It's great to have the benefit of fresh, objective, knowledgeable ears on this site!

@ Brent - I will definitely run those ideas past the guys. Thanks for this. We weren't sure if we could finish the mix in the one session and, since we have to go back to mix the 4th song we might as well do the 3 hours again. The engineer's a great guy and he's charging us diddly.

@ Thaardy, interesting to hear you use "70s" in referring to my playing again. I must be so inculcated in the era that, to me, it's just normal. I'm feeling old now :)

@ Mike - yep it's an A medium (20"). The quest for the right ride isn't easy! Even when you think you've found it, in my experience you can't be sure until you've gotten to know it. I had some moments of doubt in the first couple of weeks with this one but then I suddenly "got it" and found out what it wanted ... we're now a very happy couple :)

@ Matt - actually, our keys player had to request that I come up in Man's World - I kept trying to bring it down lol. I'm very conscious of not being too dominant with my rock background in this group.

Agree the snare needed more snap. I simply didn't tune it well enough. "Puckish" ... love that word! :) A cheeky little snare, with a maple tang and undertuned aftertaste ...

Yep, I pushed too much in FYEISYF ... every time I come to that spot now I'm on the lookout for it.

@ Ant, sure you can play the tunes. I'm flattered! Great idea to play unknowns in the breaks BTW
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
Nice work, your playing suits the music well.


Regarding the mix, there's bound to be stuff that can be done with this. Do you have the multitracks, or just stereo mixes?
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Nice work, your playing suits the music well.

Regarding the mix, there's bound to be stuff that can be done with this. Do you have the multitracks, or just stereo mixes?
Ta PQ. I just have the stereo wav files at home but the engineer has all the multitracks on ProTools at the studio so I imagine we can still do stuff with the levels and EQ. Sadly, I don't know anything about ProTools so I can't fiddle around with the mix.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Here's a very short but bizarre mix of two of the demo songs played backwards ... is it just me or does this recording suggest that the inflections of traditional Indian singing are opposite to in the west??

In about a week I'll post the 4th song (which is in the above mix).
 

Attachments

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
What a fantastic gig intro! I can just imagine the build now, with the band coming in on a huge feedback infested powerchord & dirty Hammond wall of noise. Superb! Maybe a touch on the dynamic side for the wine bar gigs though, lol.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
OK Pol..
I have to state a disclaimer here, these are all my narrow minded opinions that's all.

"Man's World":
I don't know what the original sounds like so I'm going at this with a blank slate approach.
The good things here... I like that you started simply and built later on, you definitely created a spacey vibe and I like how you maintained a common thread and a sense of continuity throughout. You definitely built the song. I like the ride sound and the hats. The snare sounded like it was tuned for a nice tone, but had some muffling on it. I wanted to hear the overtones on your ghosts. I'm sorry but the one crash has got to go. One of your crashes sounded really nice though. Sounded like a Paiste if I'm not mistaken


However...

Since this is essentially a slow blues number, I thought you had a lot of latitude that you didn't explore. It was a little too basic at times. I like that you kept the front part simple. But I felt you could have played nuances around the vocal more. After you went to the snare and ride, like during the guitar solo, I felt you could have stepped it up a bit intensity wise. Your ghosts were tasteful but I wanted a just tad more dynamics and aggressiveness, more drums essentially, bringing it up to a higher level at the end of the solo. I wanted to hear intensity that kept building, the climax of the solo could have been much more effective IMO. But you did build it up, I just wanted to hear it built up more. Same with the last part of the song. It was good but I wanted more intensity, to more closely reflect the testosterone theme of the lyric. (hey I can play girly, you have to be able to play manly!)

At the end of the song, I thought instead of easing it down it would have been better to have built it up to the very end.

Also, Glenn's gender bending vocal timbre doesn't work for me on this song. Too fruity.

When I do slow blues, I have a few different things I like to hear that work well, for example, but not limited to: the cymbal swell followed by a quick choke, press roll buildups, flamming beat one on the snare at the end of the solo, switching from straight quarters to a shuffle pattern (on the hats or ride) for a bar or 2 during a buildup, switching from straight quarters to straight 8's for a bar or 2, etc. Slow blues is fertile ground for some really custom drumming, if you're tasteful, you can literally load it up w/ unobtrusive nuance.

Still friends?

OK Next!

Cut me some flack Roberta! Glenn makes a better woman than a man for sure vocally.

Loved the drum pickup! I could listen to a loop of that! Sounded like Benny Benjamin! Until you played the beat lol! Seriously I don't know if I like all those ghosts. I don't know the original, but I thought there were a little too many, and I didn't get the feeling you were committed to them as much as you should have been. They felt a bit tentative to me. I wanted more space anyway, and a straighter ride/hat beat. Sweet cross stick tone though. If I was playing this I would have kept it straighter, no skip note on the ride or hat. I would have stayed out of the way more. The lyric...this person is remembering something, so in this instance, I feel space is more appropriate than extraneous notes, (So the listener has space to reflect and isn't distracted by unnecessary notes. Of course this is just my stupid overthinking of things, but that's what I do lol.) Plus this is a vocal spotlight song, the drums should not be competing. But what you did was your interpretation. It did sound retro in a way. Like 70's lol.

Still friends?

Well you won't be after reading this lol. "On Broadway" was my least favorite of them all. I thought it was a little too happy and upbeat, too fast, not slinky enough, not yearning enough. If I could refer to the lyric again, this person is just fantasizing, he's a nobody. He's not happy. He's hungry and disappointed. He could be ugly. The music didn't reflect that to me. I didn't like the backbeat, I thought it was intrusive and too in my face. A halftime backbeat further back in the mix would have felt better, I wanted to hear you maintain the hi hat feel like in the beginning, (with some opens and closes) and when it came time to notch it up a little, instead of standard backbeat, I thought toms would be more interesting, I was imagining something rhumba-ish half timeish... sort of. Not much snare. So the backbeat didn't do it for me. The "Ha!" Glenn sang after the guitar solo took me by surprise and startled me. I usually don't go for being startled lol. Vocally, he's good on this though, the song suits him. I felt he and the whole band could have been less happy though. The way the music felt belied the lyrics IMO.

All 3 of these songs are perfect examples of why I turn to the lyrics for ideas regarding appropriate playing choices.

I'm posting this now before I accidentally close the window and lose an hour and a half of focused concentration like I did last night.
 
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Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Hey Larry, thanks for all that effort! ... even if it was a dismemberment :)

"Man's World": ...

The snare sounded like it was tuned for a nice tone, but had some muffling on it. I wanted to hear the overtones on your ghosts.
Same here. Alas, I got told to muffle it so I stuck some Blu-Tack on the edge until everyone was happy. I don't think engineers and other musos like open drums as much as us drummers do. But I'm a jellyfish who likes to please so I just obey orders :)


I'm sorry but the one crash has got to go. One of your crashes sounded really nice though. Sounded like a Paiste if I'm not mistaken
I have a Sabian HH 19" and a 20" Zildjian ride (the latter can be heard most clearly in the final two big crashes at the end). I'd cry if I lost the Zil so I'm hoping you mean the Sabian. If so, I might see about getting a large K crash and fully embrace the dark side :)


Since this is essentially a slow blues number, I thought you had a lot of latitude that you didn't explore. It was a little too basic at times.

I like that you kept the front part simple. But I felt you could have played nuances around the vocal more. After you went to the snare and ride, like during the guitar solo, I felt you could have stepped it up a bit intensity wise. Your ghosts were tasteful but I wanted a just tad more dynamics and aggressiveness, more drums essentially, bringing it up to a higher level at the end of the solo.

I wanted to hear intensity that kept building, the climax of the solo could have been much more effective IMO. But you did build it up, I just wanted to hear it built up more. Same with the last part of the song. It was good but I wanted more intensity, to more closely reflect the testosterone theme of the lyric. (hey I can play girly, you have to be able to play manly!)

At the end of the song, I thought instead of easing it down it would have been better to have built it up to the very end.

Also, Glenn's gender bending vocal timbre doesn't work for me on this song. Too fruity.
I know what you mean and I'm always looking for chances to break out more - but without being overbearing.

Unfortunately, the day we recorded Glenn had some stuff going on in his life that was bringing him down so his guide vocal was uncharacteristically wet. There wasn't much there for me to work with. Even his final vocal recorded later was less gutsy than usual. He's been working long hours of late which isn't helping his singing.

Meanwhile, our guitarist gets the heebies with studio work and played his solo super quiet (recorded live with the band rather than dubbed) - so quiet that the engineer had to clean up all that noise and then boost volume and thicken up the sound to achieve this version. So, again, I was trying not to make sure I could hear all his notes.

I agree there were moments where there could have been more starch in the shirt but it wasn't a good day in the studio ... still, musos are like postmen ... "through hail or snow or rain ..."

BTW, when did you ever play girly ya big bull artist! I reserve the right not to play in a manly way :)


When I do slow blues, I have a few different things I like to hear that work well, for example but not limited to: cymbal swell then choke, press roll buildups,
And you do them beautifully. I'm not good at those things. When we first played it I had a closed roll in there but I don't think I executed very well and it scared the horses.


flamming the one on the snare at the end of the solo
Yeah, that's a good lick. I keep forgetting to use that one because I'm old and tend to default to my old things.


switching from straight quarters to a shuffle pattern (on the hats or ride) for a bar or 2 during a buildup, switching from straight quarters to straight 8's for a bar or 2, etc. Slow blues is fertile ground for some really custom drumming, if you're tasteful, you can literally load it up w/ unobtrusive nuance.

Still friends?
Nope sorry - leave pass expired :p ... Ha, seriously, they're good ideas. Noted!

Re: First Time

Seriously I don't know if I like all those ghosts. I don't know the original, but I thought there were a little too many, and I didn't get the feeling you were committed to them as much as you should have been. They felt a bit tentative to me. I wanted more space anyway, and a straight beat. Sweet cross stick tone though. If I was playing this I would have kept it straighter, no skip note on the ride or hat. I would have stayed out of the way more.
I was fairly happy with this one. I've executed it better (and worse) but I like the groovy, ethereal concept.


The lyric...this person is remembering something, so in this instance, I feel space is more appropriate than extraneous notes, (So the listener has time to think and isn't distracted by unnecessary notes. Of course this is just my stupid overthinking of things, but that's what I do lol.) Plus this is a vocal spotlight song, the drums should not be competing. But what you did was your interpretation. It did sound retro in a way. Like 70's lol.
The idea is that the steady pulsing of the kick drum is like a subliminal heartbeat - the singer has the hots for someone and their heart's going boom boom etc.

Roberta F did a total diva thing with the backing waaay in the back. We wanted to present a more democratic version where the band mucks in more ... and since Glenn and his weekend warriors aren't exactly Roberta plus studio orchestra in a major mastered recording, it would be a big ask to expect him to carry the song without more gutsy backing.

So it's deliberate ... and, yes, very retro :)


"On Broadway" was my least favorite of them all. I thought it was a little too happy and upbeat, not slinky enough, not yearning enough. If I could refer to the lyric again, this person is just fantasizing, he's a nobody. He's not happy. He's hungry and disappointed. He could be ugly. The music didn't reflect that to me.
Our view was that competing with The Drifters and George Benson was not an option, so it's our own own take on it - the guy is no shrinking violet. He's a tough guy on mean street and he has big dreams. He's angry and jealous but also optimistic - he's gonna be a big big man! I think that intensity is less apparent in the pros' versions. It's another angle.

Funny, I just tried to find another cover on YouTube as a comparison and it seems no one's covering it.


I didn't like the backbeat, I thought it was intrusive and too in my face. A halftime backbeat further back in the mix would have felt better, I wanted to hear you maintain the hi hat feel like in the beginning, (with some opens and closes) and iwhen it came time to notch it up a little, instead of standard backbeat, I thought toms would be more interesting, I was imagining something rhumba-ish half timeish... sort of. Not much snare.
Hmm, I might try pulling out some backbeats. The spot where the backbeat first comes in could be better. When it's introduced I probably should just play it on the 2 and then ramp up from there. Good idea but a rumba would scare the horses IMO


The "Ha!" Glenn sang after the guitar solo took me by surprise and startled me. I usually don't go for being startled lol.
Pah! It's fun! Harden up, petal :)


All 3 of these songs are perfect examples of why I turn to the lyrics for ideas for playing choices.
This comes back to that other thread and I agree to that extent.

I know all the words to these and have talked with Glenn about interpretation options a fair bit. I know I take quirky options but I'm a quirky old bird and that's naturally what I bring to the table. If a band wants classic interpretations they'll look for another drummer. No, I'm not overburdened with offers :)

Thanks for all the ideas, Larry! I'll be trying a few of those next time.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Hey Larry, thanks for all that effort! ... even if it was a dismemberment :)
I like Larry's dismemberments. It's the kind of detailed critique you'd expect to pay for. "Larry's online tutorial" is a valued DW feature. Of course, you don't have to agree with everything he says, I don't, but that's the beauty of it. It's a pov according to Larry's world, but I'm quite happy to live in that space. I always pick gems from Larry's observations, & I take them, good or bad, in the spirit they were delivered. Larry doesn't have the monopoly on this however, I get a similar vibe from Abe, & a select few others who's musical insight transcends drums being the only thing of importance. Great place this huh!
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I like Larry's dismemberments. It's the kind of detailed critique you'd expect to pay for. "Larry's online tutorial" is a valued DW feature. Of course, you don't have to agree with everything he says, I don't, but that's the beauty of it. It's a pov according to Larry's world, but I'm quite happy to live in that space. I always pick gems from Larry's observations, & I take them, good or bad, in the spirit they were delivered. Larry doesn't have the monopoly on this however, I get a similar vibe from Abe, & a select few others who's musical insight transcends drums being the only thing of importance. Great place this huh!
Yup, I agree, Andy. I've learnt tons since being here and I've picked up some ideas today as well ... the gift that just keeps on giving :)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Now Pol you know I like your playing. I've complimented you many times on your time feel, your sensitivity, and your sense of continuity, your sense of fun, your sense of restraint...you're a gem and I didn't mention that I'm sorry. It's not like I thought what you did sounded bad, on the contrary, it sounded good. When I critique, it's just business nothing personal. I do it as if I recorded the track and I want to improve it. (if I don't have any ideas, I say so. Turkish paradise. Loved that track!) It's the only place I can speak intelligently from. I can't possibly speak from your POV. OK so I want to hear a press roll buildup, but if that's not your style, then you just cast that one aside, no hard feelings. They're only my own personal song cravings and they are subject to your own personal opinion of my wacky cravings.

Andy's right, take what you can and discard anything that pisses you off lol. Any musician who knows me knows I love them but also that when it comes to music, if you want my opinion, like I said, sometimes it's not all candy canes and sunshine lol. The truth as I know it is the only thing I have to offer.

So in conclusion, I love your guts you knucklehead, I guess I need to remind you how much EVERYONE loves our precious Pollyanna. We really do and I think I speak for everyone here. I mean, what's not to like? Hey, who rallied for your return when you went away for a week at the end of '09? Me, that's who lol. If I can't tell you who can, right? (slaps face mafia style) Gettoutthere, fuggetaboutit, give me a kiss, who loves you the most?
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Larry, Larry, Larry I was and am very grateful for your comments. I can handle constructive dismemberment! I was maybe a bit worried that you didn't seem to enjoy the music and I was wondering if there was some x-factor in our last batch of demos that we didn't get in this recording. The first session went more smoothly - everyone was more energetic and Glenn was in top form.

I definitely want my target audience (usually age peers) to enjoy my postings because I have zero interest in being impressive (no chops here, folks, move on!) ... the music is either pleasurable, funny or be interesting in some way IMO or I won't post.

Your critiques are awesome - always smart and useful! I also think your cravings aren't wacky but logical and grounded in an authentic approach.

But I still don't think I've ever heard girly drumming from you haha ... the closest was a slow blues where you played the standard 6/8, but with this incredibly subtle, delicate rim click. I decided that I wanted to own it and incorporated something like that at the start of Man's World. Then I hear the playback and the sound is CLICK lol

Can I ask more questions. Mr H?

Which crash sound didn't work for you? Must know.

I should practice closed rolls ... always liked them. When you practice them do you start with getting them clean at tempo with a click first or just randomly go for it?

Any theories about why Broadway is so rarely covered when equivalent songs of the era are covered to death?

Don't remind me of The Great Tanty of 09. Aaack!
 

diegobxr

Silver Member
Hey Polly, nice playing, I really liked the songs. It's not my favourite music style, but the band has a mellow, chilled, easy on the ear sound, I mean, it's cool. (I wouldn't boo you in a bar) haha. lol. :)

I liked the ride sound a lot. Question: that isn't your A Medium Ride, is it? (Sounds really thin, washy and jazzy, my A Med didn't sound like that at all!)

The singer is really good!

And well, that's it..

Oh, do I have to critique?
Ok, emm..
well..

It could use a little more cowbell.


Haha, Cheers! :)
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Hey Polly, nice playing, I really liked the songs. It's not my favourite music style, but the band has a mellow, chilled, easy on the ear sound, I mean, it's cool. (I wouldn't boo you in a bar) haha. lol. :)

I liked the ride sound a lot. Question: that isn't your A Medium Ride, is it? (Sounds really thin, washy and jazzy, my A Med didn't sound like that at all!)

The singer is really good!

And well, that's it..

Oh, do I have to critique?
Ok, emm..
well..

It could use a little more cowbell.

Haha, Cheers! :)
Thanks Diego. I have a cowbell and couple of agogo bell thingies at home, just waiting for the chance :)

Yeah, that's the A medium. Yes, it's pretty washy but I'm happy with its stick definition, and it crashes easily. Maybe it's thinner than usual? And it's got this cool, dark undertone that isn't noticeable unless you crank up the volume.

All I know is I haunted drum shops for a few months and tapped a lot of cymbals. I'm sure there would have been other A mediums amongst them but, when I was passing the cymbal displays and tapping away, most times I didn't notice the model unless the sound interested me. For some reason, this particular one floated my boat.

Were you happy with your A med?
 

diegobxr

Silver Member
Thanks Diego. I have a cowbell and couple of agogo bell thingies at home, just waiting for the chance :)

Yeah, that's the A medium. Yes, it's pretty washy but I'm happy with its stick definition, and it crashes easily. Maybe it's thinner than usual? And it's got this cool, dark undertone that isn't noticeable unless you crank up the volume.

All I know is I haunted drum shops for a few months and tapped a lot of cymbals. I'm sure there would have been other A mediums amongst them but, when I was passing the cymbal displays and tapping away, most times I didn't notice the model unless the sound interested me. For some reason, this particular one floated my boat.

Were you happy with your A med?
Yeah you definitely got one on the thinner side, and probably, if you've had it for a while it has "broken in" and got warmer.. maybe?

Anyway, I've tried A Meds in stores next to Rock Rides and a couple sounded pretty similar, so go figure.

I sold my A Med a while ago. I really liked it. It had definition and had a full powerful crash great for accents and crash-riding.
Right now I can't really remember why I sold it.. :/ I mean, I guess I wasn't completely in love with it.. so I sold it and got a K Ride.
I like the K Ride, and I'm not selling it, but I'm saving to get a 22" Medium or something like that.
The first gig I had with the K I started riding and thought "what the f...?? where's my ride?? Couldn't hear a damn thing. :l
The K is nice but it doesn't have the tone, volume and cut of the A's to play behind distorted guitars.

Well anyway, keep on rocking!

(or "jazzing".. I don't know)

lol. Cheers!
 
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