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Thread: Imma kick this off

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Imma kick this off

    First of all, thank you Dennis for blessing us with your knowledge here on the DHP. Looking forward to all the bits and pieces we'll be picking up from you over the next month!

    I wanted to ask you about something Danil "Church Lady" told me about her experience working with you on that fine track...

    She told me that during the writing phase of that song, she sang to nothing but a click track. Usually in my experience, singers either write to a partially finished demo or bring in a song with some sort of chord structure worked out.

    Is this how you usually write with singers - by creating an acappella and then creating a track to support it? Almost like doing a remix? How do you keep them in tune to 440, and how do you direct them to create the vibe you're looking for?

    Many thanks,
    Ethan

  2. #2
    Hi Ethan
    and let me start off by saying thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts with everyone here on DHP.

    Re: Church Lady.

    In every song I write i'm usually looking for a certain feel to the cadence of the way a vocalist sings the lyrics. In "Church Lady" I was looking for a bit of a Nina Simone vibe. That being the case I've found than in my experience with doing voxes I find that 9/10th's of all vocalists tend to rush through lyrics when they hear a 4/4 beat and synths flying all over the place. It sounds really unprofessional, unpolished and generally like it's being read off a sheet of paper. We've all heard this at some point on quite a few records that tend to come out of our scene. I call it the "disco shuffle" syndrome. LOL. I find this malady to more commonly affect jazz musicians who come in to do a bit of session work for us sometimes. So what I do in both cases is that a.) you drop the drums and bass part that affects one's timing to rhythm and b.) bring up a pad part/piano part so it better suits the mood you're looking for along with a click track with your choice at either half the bpm time or normal.
    What you're trying to accomplish is to trick the vocalist or musician into forgetting about timing issues and relying more on their feel and the emotion you're trying to evoke when they're performing.
    Tuning is a non-issue when you have the piano or pad part. She must've forgot about that lol!.
    In the end my feeling is that I can always slide a part a couple of sample lengths or milliseconds backwards or forwards but you can't fix feel.

    Using this method I tend to get really great results.

    Directing them to a vibe is usually the consequence of what type of vocalist i had heard in my mind when writing the lyrics. I've always thought as vocalists as instruments. So in my thought process you don't use a violin where a trumpet is needed. Therefore I try to find a vocalist that can come close stylistically to what i'm looking for and with a few tweaks, ideas and directional support get the final end product.

    Hint: ALWAYS dim the lights for them...think of it this way...you ever been to a party where the lights are blazing bright? Everyone holds up the wall. Turn em off..give em a few drinks and get the f**k out the way and watch what happens...lol for doing voxes..same principle applies.

    As always though YMMV

    one love
    DF


    hope this helps
    Last edited by dennis f; 06-28-2010 at 10:20 AM.
    "you bust your ass to make all the money you can...thinking it solves shit...and then you realize..when and if you get there at all...you got more problems and you missed out on the one thing you can't buy or get back...your life! Spend time with friends and family...You can be broke in other ways too!...."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    nola
    Posts
    1,595
    Already learned a thing or two!! Thanks D

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