This episode is an interview and a real world, DIY-recording case study with the band "Offset Vision". Hosted by Benedikt Hain.
Offset Vision Linktree:
And of course you'll find Offset Vision if you search for them on Spotify, Apple Music or your favorite music streaming app.
Their EP "Glass Walls", that they produced themselves, kicks ass! So definitely check them out!
Let's dive in!
This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.
The Self-Recording Band Podcast #83
[00:00:00] James: No improving our songwriting, improving our delivery, improving our playing. Uh, I think it's, that'll get us much further rather than sort of blaming it on the tools. Like just with the tools we've got, how can we make the best sound possible? Really was our,
[00:00:15] Benedikt: this is the self recording band podcast. The show where we help you make exciting records on your own wherever you are.
[00:00:25] James: go.
[00:00:28] Benedikt: Hello and welcome to the self recording band podcast. I'm your host then at a time. And I am not here today with my co-host as usual, but instead I'm joined by James from offset vision offset. Vision is a band from Australia that I've worked with as a mixing engineer. And that I've sort of helped a little bit, at least, um, during the production process as well, like.
Listen, I listened to demos, gave feedback and sort of guided them through the process a little bit, but they did the tracking, the production, everything [00:01:00] themselves, basically, um, with a little guidance, as I said, but they did everything themselves. And I'm pretty excited to talk about that today with you, James.
And I have a couple of question questions because I think that the transformation from like demo to finished thing has been incredible in your case. I've listened to the early demos and I've listened to the final thing. Of course. And I re I'm really stoked about the, how the record came out. And I'm just curious to hear all about that process and what exactly you did there, because that is pretty cool story.
So welcome to the podcast. Hello. Uh, thank you for taking the time. Hello, James? No worries. So, um, yeah. Tell us a little bit about your band. First of all, maybe.
[00:01:43] James: The band is primarily, uh, myself and, uh, Mackey or mark. Um, we do all of the, the writing and we've been best buddies since high school. So we pretty much do everything in, um, just between the two of us, all the recording, all the writing, all that sort of thing.[00:02:00]
Um, and then we've got, uh, Callum and Dylan as well. Uh, our bass player and guitar player, respectively, they both, Callum does all our, um, artwork and stuff as well, which is good. Keeps, uh, keeps the, uh, the budget down a bit. And, and Dylan does a lot of the networking stuff, finding us gigs and sort of things.
So it's, it's really a team effort at this point, which is good.
[00:02:20] Benedikt: Awesome, cool to here. So it's pretty like everything is pretty DIY, then you do a lot of this stuff yourselves. Um, yeah, the video stuff as well, too, because for the first single off that record that we did together, um, you have put out a pretty awesome video.
And is that, did you do that
[00:02:37] James: yourself? Um, we have a friend, a friend of ours named Marty Sinclair at, uh, uh, his company is called Bermuda. DiGiCo digital. Um, uh, he, he lives here in, in our city as well and, and helped us out with that, which is really cool. It's pretty much just, it was just us and him. There was no one else really, even in the building at the time we did it at like 3:00 AM or something.
[00:03:01] Benedikt: Yeah. I mean, that video came out really great. And, um, so I was, I was just wondering about that now to, um, to the record maybe before we talk about how we came together and what you did. Um, tell us a little bit about that, about the whole, like, what are you, what, what did you make you, what are you planning to do with it?
What's the record about, um, what's the idea
[00:03:21] James: behind it? Um, really the, uh, Marc and I just, we love writing music. We love, we love playing music. Um, we just wanted to make songs that were fun to play and fun to perform. Um, there wasn't really any there's no real. Like agenda to it. It's not, not really about anything.
Just a lot of the lyrics don't even really make sense. And not that you can understand how many whales I've been told. Um, yeah. It's uh, so what was the question again
[00:03:50] Benedikt: now behind the record? Wasn't what I just want to give people a little context and talk about, and introduce the record first and talk about the record first, before we talk about how you actually made it, [00:04:00] because yeah, I think so the main reason I'm asking is it's always interesting to me to find out why people make and record and release music in the first place, because there are different reasons for that.
Some people do it just for self actualization, reasons. Other people have like real. I mean, all these goals are real self actualization is very real, but some people have like more tangible goals, like more, um, I don't know, there's different motivations behind making a record. And in your case, Like, you know, it's, it's only quote-unquote in an IP or a small album, whatever you want to call it, like something in between.
It's a couple of songs, but the amount of effort and time that went into it and the amount of effort that is necessary to put something like that together and release it is like pretty substantial. And so you need motivation and drive to pull that off. And that is different for different bands and different people.
And I'm just always curious about hearing, hearing that, um, and, and [00:05:00] knowing why I wanted to make it in the first place, what the, the idea behind was. And, uh, what, what makes you excited about writing and putting up music together with your
[00:05:09] James: friends as a band? Yeah. Yeah, it literally is nothing more than, than us.
Um, then mark and I pretty much just, uh, hanging out. Uh, we both love writing music. We just want to write the best songs possible. We, we really had no idea when we started, um, a couple of years ago, we had no idea what. How much effort it was going to be, but, um, it's definitely a lot more rewarding than we thought as well.
It's, um, it's been, it's been quite a journey, sorta us growing sort of together and growing up and, and growing more knowledgeable on the sort of thing it's been. It's been really fun.
[00:05:46] Benedikt: Cool. That's awesome to hear. You're still pretty young. I think that, can I ask you how old
[00:05:51] James: you are? I'm 23.
[00:05:54] Benedikt: Okay. Yeah. So that is that you're pretty young.
And if, if, when you say like you had, you didn't know [00:06:00] back when you started, like how old were you when you started that band? Firstly plans to make?
[00:06:05] James: Yeah, well mark and I've been writing songs together pretty much since like we left high school and then we'll sorta like, oh, what are we going to do? But we just started writing songs and we played in another, like a punk band, which was just, uh, just sort of an underground thing.
We, all our songs were joke songs, like sort of blink 180 2 type style. And it wasn't until. Um, about two years ago that we actually started to sorta get serious about sort of like, Hey, like we could actually like do something with this. We could actually like make an effort rather than just sort of cruise through.
Um, yeah, it's a,
[00:06:41] Benedikt: it's been a while. It's been a while and it's, you're still just beginning sort of, so
[00:06:47] James: yeah, it's a good thing.
[00:06:49] Benedikt: That's why I'm asking, because a lot of people, when they see a young band or a Debbie records from a band, they think like they just started like as if they had started like two months ago and now this record is out and the other [00:07:00] band starts.
But oftentimes before that, there were already years of these people playing together, practicing together. And before it finally turns into this sort of serious thing or this, this actual band that exists and puts out stuff. So there's this behind the scenes part that people often don't see that happens years before
[00:07:18] James: the first record comes out.
Well, actually, funnily enough, uh, I swear, I'm over you. The first thing we released actually was written over a year ago. Um, it was written by the time it was released, I think it was written something like one less, like one day, less than a year to the, to the date from when it was released. So, and for ages, nobody, nobody heard it.
And there was only nothing really changed about it. We did a couple of things that you suggested when, when we sent you the demo, we changed a couple of things and little tweaks, but the song as a whole was written a year ago and it was, it's just been sitting there doing nothing for a long time. Wow.
[00:07:55] Benedikt: Yeah. So cool. So the genre union is [00:08:00] like, I would say, you could say it's pop punk, like modern pop punk sort of style. Why, how, why is that? What, what do you want it to do? Because. I mean, it's still, there's still a scene for that. And it's, and it's kind of pretty popular, but also there, it, your particular sound sort of reminds me of bands from, I don't know, like 10, 15, sometimes 20, maybe 20 years ago.
They have, there has been a wave of bands doing similar things. And, um, as I said, that there's still pop punk today, but I dunno, you remind me of some of the classic bands of that Chaunra, which is interesting, because as I said, you're pretty young and, um, you kind of blend the two together very well.
There are modern influences, but it's still a pretty, I don't know how to say it's a pretty classic punk rock or early pop punk vibe that
[00:08:52] James: has to come from well, there's actually, um, with, between mark and I, and then even externally with [00:09:00] calendar Dylan, with our sort of the bands that we draw influence from is like wide, wide.
Like as a lot of different random influences that wouldn't really make sense, like compared to what we sound like, uh, like Dylan in particular and calender into really like heavy stuff as well. Um, mark and I grew up on bands like neck deep and so far, and even like blink 180 2 green day, some 41, they were a bit, they were sort of not as relevant as, um, as, as we were, when we were kids, but that was still, that was so big that they were, they're still, uh, still around now.
[00:09:36] Benedikt: yeah. Yeah. You can hear that the heavier influences for sure. I think there is a hardcore element to it. I think in what you do, there's some, some heavier breakdowns sort of parts and also. Um, I think the singing style is it is melodic, but it's also energetic and somewhat aggressive, maybe a little more aggressive than some of the bands you mentioned now in the genre that are very, very [00:10:00] melodic and very clean, clear sounding errors.
You have this rough edge to it a little bit and a little bit of that heavier influence. So is that, does that come from you or is that because Dylan, um, or, or other people in the band are into
[00:10:14] James: heavier stuff? No, uh, it started out, uh, when we were first writing songs, I was, I was just doing, doing claims and we just, we just felt that it wasn't really standing out.
And there was just a lot like hundreds and hundreds of bands doing the same thing. And, um, we just really wanted to sorta make things seem sort of more energetic and really like get wrought in people's faces and, um, catch people's ears a bit more. So I started, um, basically just start. Just going as hard as I could, um, took lessons on making sure I didn't wreck my voice and stuff.
And, but, um, that was a conscious decision I'm trying to make, uh, just trying to make our [00:11:00] band sound as best as I possibly can. And I think, um, it probably ended up suiting my voice a bit better than, than trying to do the claims anyway.
[00:11:06] Benedikt: Yeah. I think it's the perfect fit to be honest. And I hope people are making notes and I hope one of these notes is T took lessons because, uh,
[00:11:16] James: yeah, definitely lessons.
Yeah. Lessons. If it, if anyone's watching this and they're not sure get lessons, it helps so much, even if it's not, even, if you don't think you need them, you say, oh, I sing pretty great. Just in terms of learning how to look after yourself. Um, for me, it was, I was a terrible singer when I first started lessons and the I'm still not great now, but the lessons helped me help me a lot.
And primarily just looking after my voice, like after shows, even when we first started playing shows with offsets. Um, going that aggressive, like going like that aggressive and hard for half an hour straight, my voice would be wrecked at the end of the night. And for basically two days, I'd be, I'd be struggling to get it back to normal.
And that's not really sustainable [00:12:00] over, over the course of if we want to be in this band for years. So it's, um, the lessons really helped with that. Um, just making sure I look after myself so I can keep doing it not in night
[00:12:10] Benedikt: out. Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. That is something so many people don't realize until it's too late, because you can actually harm yourself permanently if you were to tour for years and you don't do that and you can really damage your voice.
Yeah, absolutely cool. Uh, cool to hear. I didn't even know that. Um, but what I did notice though, is what I said in the beginning is that the big transformation that you went through and that the whole record went through. And I found that fascinating because to give people a little, um, like the story behind it, from my perspective, I like you contacted me about a year ago, almost like last fall or so
[00:12:47] James: it was a
[00:12:47] Benedikt: while ago.
Yeah. And, um, so you were talking about you, you were about to make this record and you want to do it yourself and you, you were looking for a mixer. And, um, we started like figuring out that all [00:13:00] the details had a call together and then started working, uh, together. And you started by sending me demos and I had to listen and gave back my, my initial thoughts and gut feeling about the songs basically.
And I've, I immediately thought the songs were cool, but I also noticed a couple of things. Tuning issues with the guitars, which is pretty common. Like it's, it's, it's one of the most common issues that people have.
[00:13:28] James: The Hitachi, any issues was due to us, just being really lazy recording demos, just like coming up with a cool idea, quick record at foyer, forget sort of thing.
But yeah. Um,
[00:13:38] Benedikt: I've, I mean, I mean, and that's good because you don't, you didn't waste time going too much into the details. You just want it to capture the idea when it's fresh. And, um, so that that's absolutely understandable. And then there were minor like arrangement changes and stuff that, that I suggested.
And, but, but in basically, as you said, the songs were written in PR it's pretty much what ended up being on the record, but [00:14:00] still from what the demos sounded like to what you sent me, when you were finished tracking, that was pretty impressive. And I'd love to hear about that because part of it is definitely because you said that you just.
Doing quick demos and didn't really care about the details at this point, but I assume that there's also been a learning curve and there's also been stuff that figured out in the, in the process, like through trial and error and whatever. And I, I just, I just want to know about how you went about recording, what you discovered, what roadblocks you hit, maybe.
How did you overcome them? Because again, the rod tracks and the demos and the F the rod tracks you sent me for the mics were two different things. Like completely, like I was so excited and a little bit relieved, to be honest, when I heard the raw stuff, because like my assistant prep, the session, and I got into our bedroom and like, he, um, hit play and I listened to the rod tracks for the first time.
And it was like, dude, That's incredible. I can't wait to mix this. This is like so much better than those demos [00:15:00] and you sort of, it's going to be like that because I liked the songs and I knew that you were serious about what you're doing. But when I first heard that, I remember how I got really excited because it just, I just instantly knew that this is going to work.
This is awesome. So tell me about that process. A little bit problem.
[00:15:15] James: Um, to start off, we had no idea really what we needed to do. Um, we talked to a buddy Kelly of ours who's who does, um, the recording and mixing just for local bands around here a bit, um, not so much anymore, but, but, um, went to school for it and stuff.
And because we were just recording like a rhythm guitar left or rhythm guitar, right. Just hard panning him, same with lead guitar. And, um, he sort of suggested that like, we record more guitars, like, so we ended, we ended up quad tracking rhythms and Lee, I don't think we really needed a quad track leads, but rhythms.
Definitely. I think that helped. Um, and one thing that you mentioned too is, um, adding more vocal harmonies because for a while I was a little. Lead double. And that was it. But, um, I think just in terms of making the vocals [00:16:00] sound really big, um, falling off suggested, and having like, for a lot of the songs, especially in the courses was like a laid two doubles left and right.
A low and one or two harmonies as well. And it just really, even when you can't, can't hear them in the, in the finished product, like just makes them sound so much bigger. Um, and yeah, just in terms of another thing that we had no idea about until you mentioned it was, um, uh, tuning to sustain or tuning to attack, we were just chatting to sustain every time.
Never thought anything, anything about it, but it's like, cause we play. So especially me, I hit the strings so hard that, um, which is good. Like everything's just super sharp all the time and we took it out. And got it got out both of our guitars, uh, set up properly at a, at a place in, in town here and, and just said, Hey, we hit the strings really hard.
We want to tune to drop C sharp. And he sent it back and they were immediately, they sounded so much better. [00:17:00] Um, so that, that was probably, uh, helped us out a lot, just having the guitars set up. Nice. Um, and then just taking the time to make sure we got everything as close as possible. Um, with the vocals I did, I did a lot of takes, um, just, and I, sometimes I feel like th the final takes probably weren't even the best ones I did.
I just come on, I can do a better, I can do a better, and eventually I just became okay with what I had already. And, um, yeah, it's a definitely a big learning curve for us. Uh, recording. Is any of it, like setting up the room and stuff for recording? We haven't thought about that obviously with guitars and stuff.
It's um, we, we did all day our guitars and bass. Yeah. Um, cause, but that, that wasn't as big of issue with the room. But, um, with the vocals, especially I had, um, uh, bought a bunch of foam things and sat them all around the room here and, and tested a few things with curtains, put in doing as over, over things.
Um, same with the drums. We [00:18:00] went to our friend Kelly's house again, um, and mark recorded drums there and we had doonas up over, over windows and rugs laying down and all sorts of stuff. And it was, it looked really weird walking into a room. It was just a drum kit and just doing this on the wall and random bits of foam everywhere.
Like wouldn't have really made sense. It did not look professional at all, but I think it came out okay. And we definitely know what things were going to do better next time, even now as happy as we were with it. We're going to do things better next time. Um, but I, I was really proud of how, how much we learned throughout this whole thing.
That's cool. Yeah.
[00:18:39] Benedikt: Um, I think the approach was exactly right, because with, with the drums, for example, I don't. I mean, nobody cares what the room looked like. Uh, it's the only thing that matters is what comes out out of the speakers in the end. And obviously you have to do what you have to do to control the room.
And if that means putting up like blankets and whatever you have everywhere, then that's what it [00:19:00] takes. And I think the approach was really what was absolutely right, because I remember you mentioning when we talked about the record and about the, how you're going to record things. I remember you saying that you want to capture the drums as dry and as like clean as possible, and w so that you, that I have the flexibility to use the overheads and symbols and stereo image, but then put samples on top of it and make it like modern and punchy and everything.
And the key to doing that successfully is to have a control room, because if, if you don't have that, you have the sort of weird ambiance, especially with small rooms, that don't sound particularly great. You have that sort of. Um, yeah, practice room vibe or this sort of small room room sound. You have that in every single mic and also the overheads and the way you did it, you sent me a pretty controlled picture of the kit.
That was very accurate. That was where the symbols were [00:20:00] clearly separate. And I could, I could hear everything. I could hear the, the crashes, the hat. There was no like phase issues from weird reflections from the rooms. Um, and I could easily put samples on top of it without it sounding really fake or triggered.
I think that the final, at least I think so that the final product really sounds like an organic drum kit because it blends really well with what you sent me. And that is only possible in a controlled environment like that, or in a really, really awesome drum room, which nobody has at home. So what we decided to do, yeah.
Would you have decided to do that with the exact right thing? Some people think. They should get all the Amiens from their living room or wherever they record. And sometimes this can be cool and can have a vibe, but it's very risky because if it doesn't work, you're sort of stuck. And, uh, in your case, I just had a blank, clean thing to work with and I could turn it to whatever fit the song.
And the result is, yeah, very natural, energetic, sounding, organic sounding drum kit. And I, I, I was able to keep the original performance in there and not [00:21:00] completely replace it with something fake, but it's the actual kit you're hearing on this record. It's just augmented with samples that blended really well.
And, um, I really liked that because that made the whole record sound like a modern pop punk record, but at the same time, still real and organic. And if I close my eyes and listen to it, I see the band in front of me sort of, and that it's, that is awesome. So good job
[00:21:21] James: there. One of the, one of the things we noticed straight away when we got the first mixes back was like, wow, the drum sounds so.
And we add a specific plan with the drums, um, with, with marking it up with the plan was to get sort of the body body of the kit or marking things up sorta underneath and have the samples be sort of the attack was sort of the plan for that. And, and we're really happy with that, how that came about, because the plan was to basically give you everything just dry and as sort of flat as possible.
So, so then you can sorta do, do what you do best and really get the best out of everything.
[00:21:57] Benedikt: Yeah. And that worked great job there. And plums challenge. I [00:22:00] mean, I don't know if you remember much about the drum session or how much you personally, personally were involved in that, but I can not much, I can only imagine that the drums, I mean, drums recording drums at home is always a challenge.
And I don't know if you specifically hit any sort of roadblocks or problems or issues with that. Uh, but I can only imagine that. This has been a challenge and it took probably a while to get it right. Am I right? Or is it, what was it? Something that came very, that was very, to do for you
[00:22:28] James: in you talking about just the drums in particular?
Yeah, I actually wasn't there for most. I only got there at the end cause I was at work. Um, so I sort of saw, I saw mark record the last, the last song pretty much. Um, it was him basically sitting in a room with the drums and our friend Kelly hitting record. Um, I know they did have a lot of trouble with, I just actually, I don't think they really had much trouble with anything at all because Kelly definitely knows what he's doing.
He helped us out a lot. Um, that's good. [00:23:00] And just once I think we went a bit, they went a bit overkill with the room in the end. They just wanted to make the rumors as quiet as possible. Um, and I think they did a really good job with that. Uh, I'd have to, I'd have to talk to mark about, about if they had any real issues, but they didn't really mention anything.
Um, I think what he did was he literally got. The tracks in his phone, um, and just got his little in-ear monitors, just press play with a click track and just play it along the track. And then there was recorded through a bunch of marks and we borrowed, um, we borrowed microphones and leads from, from a local studio here.
Um, they were kind enough to give us a good price to rent them for a day, which was nice. Awesome.
[00:23:41] Benedikt: Okay, cool. So there are still a couple of things to unpack here that I want people to remember and notice because what stands out to me when I listen to all of that is you did a very good job at the like figuring out what you can really do yourself and then getting help with everything you can't do well.
And like, [00:24:00] realizing that and like just being smart about it. Like nobody can do everything on the highest level at the highest level. That's just not possible. So everybody has their strengths and weaknesses and you did a pretty good job at figuring. Um, this out, and then there was obviously no, no ego that got in the way.
And you just, you just got help when w with certain things. So there's the vocal lessons. There is, you got a friend to help you with drum recording, who knew what he was doing. You borrowed Mike's from a studio instead of just buying the cheapest stuff available, or like doing, going there, doing some sort of compromise.
Um, you obviously hired a mixer to do the mix. So there is separate parts of the process that you hired out or got help with, or just, um, invested in which paid off in the end. I think, because without all that, the record wouldn't be what it is. I'm pretty sure that, that it wouldn't be the case. And so many people get in their own way because they think they have to do [00:25:00] everything themselves.
And I mean, if it's just for you, it's just a hobby. And if you're not, if you don't want to release the record or anything, I mean, you can do whatever you want, but if you want to release a record that you're really proud of, and that sorta sounds competitive and that. Just a professional sounding and product, then what you did is the smarter way of going about it.
And I, I really want people to notice that, uh, because it's not super crazy expensive. I mean, it costs money, but it's not super crazy expensive, but it saves you such a big amount of time and headache and frustration. If you do it that way, and you just focused on what you could do very well, which is your performances, vocal tracking yourself, tracking the guitars yourself, but then getting help with the complicated things, like technically complicated things like drums or mixing or all the way to take taking vocal lessons and stuff.
So. Pretty pretty cool. And especially young bands don't do that often. So that's pretty impressive to me. Awesome. Yeah. Um, I mean, [00:26:00] tell, tell me a bit, a little bit about the guitars. We didn't talk about that. How did you record that? Where did you record it? And, um, what was the process there? Anything, anything special
[00:26:10] James: in terms of just recording the final tracks you're talking about?
Um, literally I would sit in this chair. I would grab my guitar and I would record two takes of the rhythm and two, it takes the lead and then I would grab Mark's guitar and record two steaks for them to take the lead. Um, sometimes it took me an hour to record one part. Sometimes I did it all first go.
Um, one thing we did notice, uh, was, uh, we weren't recording with headphones cause we're like, oh, it's D it doesn't matter. And we're just having the, the, um, sound coming out. I would notice in the final track. I can hear the other tracks through the pickups at the guitar. And, um, we went back and we like, we rerecorded like a whole song and a half nearly of, of guitars.
Cause we were like, oh, just realize that. And I think in the end there might have even still been, been some in there. And there was, [00:27:00] there was, there was mistakes, there's mistakes in the record. There's my singing. There was a few notes that were oops. And luckily we, we got that cleaned up and the guitars, there was a, there's a few bum notes and stuff.
Um, but when we went through and redid a lot of it, because just, we didn't realize that stuff was going to come through the pickups in a day. Oh, we didn't realize how much it was going to was going to come through. That was, that was a big surprise for us. Yeah.
[00:27:24] Benedikt: W which kind of pickups, uh, do you have in your guitars?
Because that is different from guitar to guitar or from pickup to pick up some, some single cause of very, very sensitive to choose stuff like that. Others, not so much. Humbuckers tend to not have that problem as much, but what, which kind of pickups.
[00:27:42] James: Um, yeah, so that guitar there, the Telecaster is a, it's a, it's actually a squad.
Um, but it sounds better than, than any fender that I picked up. So where we used it, um, that's got the, the two, uh, like, uh, I think 1972 style humbuckers in it. [00:28:00] Um, there's just to me that I, I haven't picked up a better sounding guitar, um, for what we're trying to do at least, um, that wasn't so bad. We did notice a little bit, but, um, mainly with Mark's, uh, Jazzmaster, he's got a fender Jazzmaster that, um, sounds really nice.
Um, we, when we took it to, to get it set up, we, we shoot it at a fair bit just to keep the buzz down. But that, especially, we noticed a lot of noise, like coming through the pickups, hearing the other trucks and stuff. So that was a bit of a challenge. We had to make sure we had the headphones on and we're doing that.
Yeah. Sitting silently in the room while the other person records.
[00:28:37] Benedikt: Did you, did you plug straight into the interface or did they use any sort of the box or anything else in that, in between the guitar and the, no,
[00:28:46] James: I, I have a, a, a focus right. Scarlet to I to here, which I'm plugged into right now. It's permanently plugged into my computer.
Um, my speakers, uh, plugged into the back of it. It's plugged straight into my computer, literally just plugged guitars directly [00:29:00] into the front of that. Um, obviously when we recorded drums, we used, we used a much bigger interface that a friend Kelly had. Um, but yeah, this is literally just got to two inputs.
We only ever used one at a time, just plugged it in, recorded the guitar. Um, when I recorded vocals, uh, cause I, I, uh, I went and bought a, an SM seven B um, we recorded, uh, with, with something else. I can't remember what it was. Um, and I recorded a couple of songs with it and it just, I don't know, it just didn't.
It didn't have that sorta punchiness that, that I wanted. So I went online and express shipped one of these in, um, and it just made everything so much better. So I had to rerecord a couple of songs with that. And, um, a lot of people said that you'd need a, they had like caught a cloud lifter just to lift the gain the gain on this, but I didn't didn't get one.
Didn't need it. Um, because a lot of the time I was this close to the mark and screaming at it. And then any of that, but, um, in terms [00:30:00] of the guitars and stuff, it was direct AI. There was, there's nothing just lead from a guitar directly into the
[00:30:05] Benedikt: interface. And what sort of login did you use to monitor the guitars?
I assume you had some, some sort of Epsom on it just to hear what it sounds like through an amp. Yeah.
[00:30:15] James: Yeah. We have a bias affects too, which they, um, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say this, but it is a, a stolen copy that a friend, uh, emailed a Dropbox to. Like this before were I have a, a Mesa boogie or rectify, which sounds amazing.
But, um, and we take it to gigs and we play through that all the time. Cause it just, it sounds incredible. But in terms of recording and Mike placement, we just, we know we're not great at it and we can never replicate the same sound twice. Um, so we just decided to as good as it sounds, skip that altogether and go straight in because it's just, that was just too risky, you
[00:30:50] Benedikt: know?
Yeah, yeah, totally. I mean, you could split it and record the amp and the eye at the same time. So you have,
[00:30:56] James: we thought about doing that. I actually bought a, um, uh, just [00:31:00] like an AB box from a, from a local, a music store, but we didn't end up using, because we know just the mic placement was gonna, cause we'd have to pack up every day and my placement would be different and, and the room wasn't always going to be the same, but with Diaz, we know that that's just one less variable.
We have to worry about. You know, we don't have to worry about tuning, knobs and stuff. Give it to you dry and let you let you do the magic. Yeah.
[00:31:25] Benedikt: I mean, in that case, it worked because we've been talking about the vision for the record and like, and you, what it's supposed to sound like, sometimes this can be tricky because when bands only sent the eyes and no Amtraks, then I sort of have to guess what it's supposed to be.
But in that case, I'd knew pretty well. I think what, yeah, what, it's, what it's supposed to sound like. Um, so yeah, I mean, I'm always surprised by, I don't know what it is. Some people who record directly into an interface like yours and the Scarlet is a very popular one. Sometimes it's cheap. Yeah. It's a cheap one and [00:32:00] it's a popular one and it works and it's actually pretty great, especially for the money.
Sometimes the D son, a little bell and flat, and other times it works very well. So I assume it's something about how impedance works with the guitars. Like what guitar you use with some guitars. I find that this particular interface in some others doesn't work as well in your case, it worked very well.
That's why I was asking you about your, um, your chain there, because the ramping was pretty easy for me. And I was pretty quick at getting decent tones and, um, so I'm always surprised how well it works for some people and in other cases, not so much, but in this case, it, yeah, it was, it was cool. And I'm wondering about one thing you mentioned before, and that was that you've played all the guitars basically.
Was this a conscious decision where you said like, um, it's more consistent if I do it all, if either do like both guitars and the leads on top, or why, why did you end up doing.
[00:32:52] James: Um, well, I didn't actually record all the guitars. What we did basically is I recorded guitars for like, I'd [00:33:00] record all the rhythm guitars for one song and all the lead guitars for that song as well.
It's different. Um, I'll do blame for example. Um, mark wrote blame pretty much all by himself and I just sort of came in at the end and wrote a bunch of sort of lead guitar parts just to spice it up and, and the, and the lyrics and stuff and whatnot. Um, that one, he recorded all the rhythm guitars. Um, and I recorded all the leads.
We made sure that there was never like the same with like the doubles. We didn't do, like I'd record the rhythm guitar and then he'd hold the rhythm guitar. We just thought it'd be better if it was, it'd just be more consistent. It didn't, we didn't think it would matter who did what. Some of the leads. Um, there was a couple of bits that, that we did and, and mark did, and he wasn't there and it was at my house, so I just rerecorded them.
But I had, when I did that, I had to make sure I did all of them. I couldn't just do one beat. I'd have to redo every single track to make it as consistent as possible. And we made sure that, um, another thing is we didn't, we didn't, uh, like record one part and [00:34:00] then come back a couple of days later and record it.
We made sure I recording the rhythm guitars for this truck. We do it all that day. Cool. And yeah, sometimes it took a while to do one part,
[00:34:09] Benedikt: unfortunately. Yeah, of course. Yeah. But again, such a smart way of going about it. Like you did everything right here because I think consistency is really key, especially with rhythm guitars.
And there's a reason for. Yeah. I mean, so many bands, so many big bands do it that way, that they will have two guitarists on stage and, and they do rhythms together. But in the studio on their records, one person usually does the rhythms. Like the classic example is Metallica. Like Hatfield does the rhythms period.
Uh, and like, it's just because some people have a very consistent right-hand and if you do a rhythm and then the double to that rhythm, if you do that yourself, it just will be tighter and it will be consistent. And there will, there will be less tuning issues because everybody Freds differently, everybody bends the strings a little differently and hits the strings differently.
So that's a very wise thing to do. And again, obviously there was no [00:35:00] ego problems in your case because some bands have that issue where everybody absolutely wants to play their parts on the record, even if the other person could do it better. Uh, and in your case, you just did what was best for the record and best for the
[00:35:12] James: workflow.
Totally. Yeah. Yeah. With us, it was, we just want to make the song sound as good as possible. Like a Dylan Al guitars came in and. And at the end of frustrated is a guitar. So I do it in quotations because it's the easiest lead part in the whole song, the guitar solo at the end, he recorded that. And then after he'd recorded that and left, and I think he, um, he went over overseas and he quit.
He couldn't come back and rerecord it, but I, I really wanted to change one particular thing. So. Re-recorded it all myself and I'd had, I had to do all, we did four takes of the solar. I dunno. I dunno. Did you use all four? I don't think so.
[00:35:45] Benedikt: I can remember. I don't, I don't think I used for you mean have done four different takes for that one solo
[00:35:51] James: and yeah, we did four takes of everything, but so that was four of them takes four lead cakes for everything, even the solid, except for like the auxiliary guitars.[00:36:00]
[00:36:00] Benedikt: Definitely didn't use the quad track thing. I did use it for rhythms, not equal volume, but I just, I automated them depending on the parts, but for leads. Definitely not. And for the solo, absolutely not. So it might just be one or maybe two, but I definitely know for,
[00:36:14] James: yeah. Yeah. We, uh, we, we weren't sure how, what you wanted to do with it.
We know with rhythms, you'd probably use four and you'd probably do a hard pan left and right with the Telecaster and the Jazzmaster might be slightly Maureen and quieter. And with the leads though, we didn't know if you were going to. One or two or left and right. And middle, but, so we just did four. Yep.
Is the best, which is the best we even did two base takes. But like, I don't know anyone that's ever used two base takes in one truck, but we did it anyway.
[00:36:43] Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the tricky part about doing that is that, um, sometimes people think when you send two options, like the person mixing a can just choose the better one, but that would require us to like compare every single part of every single take and figure out what's the best part, what the best [00:37:00] parts are.
And if I do that, like by the time I get through all the takes and I decide I've made the decision, what to use, like all the objectivity's gone. Like I don't want to listen to every single detail of every single track a thousand times before I start mixing. So that's the tricky part. So I, I, yeah, most often I tell people, just, just make a decision, be the producer, decide what the one take is.
And then let me do my thing with that. Um, but yeah, for sure. I mean, with the, with the quad track guitars, it's a different thing. You are very right when, when you, when you're not sure when doubt, just record a couple more because you can always mute them. And yeah, and sometimes the, these double tracked or even QUATRA leads can be cool because for a guitar solo, not so much, probably, but if you have like this wide part with like, or like something more with a little bit of atmosphere and width to it and stuff, you can really create this, these soundscapes sort of, or these, these vibey wide guitar layers, uh, things.
And for that double tracked, [00:38:00] um, leads can be really cool. But for the most part, like, or you can just make sure that the lead doesn't step on the vocal, so you can pan them apart a little bit and make space for the
[00:38:10] James: vocal in the center. Yeah. Was, that was the reason why we recorded more because a lot of the times, um, when we've tried to mix stuff terribly ourselves, is this the leads and the vocals just, it was, we didn't really know how to.
How to get it to work, but, um, even, even listening to what you sent us back, we, we, um, we learnt so much about mixing about like, you can't just have everything just as loud as possible. Like you've got to, you've got a sacrifice stuffing, the EQ range to, for the better of the song and yeah, it was, um, it was really interesting.
[00:38:43] Benedikt: Cool, cool. Good to hear that. Yeah, it's totally true. Something's got to give, and you can use things like sometimes it's what helps is like you bring in, let's say there is a part where it starts with only guitars, like rhythms and leads, and then the vocal comes in a little bit later or did the [00:39:00] second borrower.
Well, you can do is like, you can have the leads in the first bar a little bit louder. You can introduce them at a higher level so that the, that the listener hears the notices them. And then when the vocal comes in, you just sort of gradually bring down the leads a little bit. And the listener doesn't necessarily notice that because once you hear something, once the guitars say, Hey, we're here and then you notice them and then you can sort of hide them.
And, but they're still there because you've already heard them and
[00:39:28] James: it's a cycle listening to it. You'll search for it more. Exactly.
[00:39:31] Benedikt: This psychoacoustic thing of like, yeah, you only have to introduce them loud enough and then you can bring them down and they will still be there sort of, um, yeah, but yeah, that's, that's just part of mixing.
Um, cool. So the, the simplest guitar chain possible, basically you just, the guitar straight into, into the interface. What about string choices that you put thought into that? And, uh, what, what did you do there? And also in terms of like changing strings, making sure you recruit with fresh strings [00:40:00] stuff, like.
[00:40:01] James: Um, we've used the same, same size strings and the same brand of strings, basically for the last year and a half. We found something that works for us, um, found the right gauge that, that wasn't, didn't get too floppy and, or wasn't too big. We're using 10 50, 2 to two tens, uh, any balls, um, on, on the Telecaster and the, uh, and the Jazzmaster, uh, both with the exact same set up the exact same way.
Uh, the base was, uh, I don't remember the exact numbers only balls as well. Um, basically the same thing, they call it heavy top, uh, skinny bottom or something, or the other way round because of the drought basically kept that consistent. Cool.
[00:40:44] Benedikt: Because of the drop tuning. Right. It's it's like a hybrid thing where the lower strings because of the drop tuning.
[00:40:50] James: yeah, yeah, exactly. That, um, cause we did notice, uh, when we, when we first started tuning down, uh, it was probably 2018 when we decided. [00:41:00] We thought it was cooler to chin to drop C sharp. Um, and we're still using like 40 sixes and just different brands. And when we broke a string, we just put one new one on and, um, and we noticed that stuff would go out of tune really quickly at that low shooting.
And it'd be really floppy. But since we, uh, changed up to those, we, we noticed that it was, it sounded really good. And especially with the new strings, they sound really good. Um, so we just stayed with that. And in terms of tracking, we'd basically record rhythm guitar, all the rhythm guitars for one song.
Um, and we'd change the strings basically after every day session. So I went through like four or five sets of strings and afterwards we'd roll them back up and put them away. So when we play live, we can have semi fresh strings. Yeah. But we didn't just throw them out.
[00:41:47] Benedikt: Absolutely. I mean, yeah. But again, Yeah, I hope people listen.
And then we take notes because that's also something I'm preaching all the time. But I know for a fact that a lot of people still don't believe that new strings make a difference, [00:42:00]
[00:42:00] James: especially the bass. We noticed that a crazy amount of the base, especially. Yeah, totally.
[00:42:05] Benedikt: Like you get that. I always call it like that piano tone that you get from, from fresh bass strings, where it's just clear with all the overtones, which sort of sounds like the low note on a piano.
And I really love that. And you can always make a dollar if you want to, but you can't. Yeah. You can't turn that dull string into, into that typical sound that you need for, for that sort of music, especially. Yeah, totally cool. Um, now vocals, you said no cloud lifter and nothing. Did you notice? Because I, I can't remember.
I noticed anything like that, but I'm wondering, because the one thing that happens if you don't use a cloud lifter and for people that don't know what that is, it's like a little inline preamp. It's what it's called. It's you, you plug it between the microphone and the interface and it's because a microphone like the SM seven or dynamic mic doesn't have, doesn't put out a lot of level, a lot of volume and you have to turn the mic pre on the [00:43:00] interface up pretty, pretty loud to get a decent level.
Um, and what then happens is the cheap mic pre's in the built in Mike present and cheap interfaces, especially they tend to get noisy if you turn them up to a certain degree. Like, I think it depends on the interface, but most interfaces, if you turn them up more than half or maybe three quarters of the way, they tend to get really, really noisy.
And with that preempt between the mic and the, the, the built in pre-amp, you sort of. Increase the level of the mic while keeping the lowest noise floor low. So you don't have to, and you don't have to turn up the built in pre-amp on the interface as much. Um, but I, I didn't notice any like noise problems with your recording.
So maybe that's just because what you said you were pretty close to the mic and you sing pretty loud.
[00:43:50] James: Say again, was turned almost all the way down for all the leads that the main vocals for me. Cause I was, I was this far away from the [00:44:00] microphone. Um, and I had the game turned off pretty much all the way down just to stop it.
Stop it from clipping up for the, like the low vocals and some of our harmonies. I turned it up a bit. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:44:11] Benedikt: That's interesting. Because even, even if you scream like with an SM seven, I didn't, I wouldn't expect that because it's just so quiet that even with loud vocals, I usually have to turn the gain up a little bit.
So you are really out then?
[00:44:25] James: Yeah. Yeah. It's um, I've been told, well, right now I haven't turned literally the entire way up. Just talking voice things a bit different though. It's um, it's I don't know if it's, uh, it's not always a good thing. The fact that I, I tend to sing that loud at it's it's a nightmare for the people that have to mix us live, but sometimes it can be because especially if I'm going between, uh, like the softer stuff, and then I go into that, but for some parts, and even for me, like I have any monitors and I can hear myself really well when I'm singing loud.
And then I go to like, uh, the bridge in, in, I swear I'm over you and it's quieter. And all of a [00:45:00] sudden I can't hear myself at all. Um, and so that that's a bit of a challenge, but, um, Yeah, we had the game turned down almost all the way for, for most of the
[00:45:09] Benedikt: cool, interesting. So that's why it worked. Um, yeah.
Yeah. Great, great. I mean, that's, that's even better. Um, the less you have in the chain, the better usually. So cool. Now I want to talk a little bit about the biggest challenge usually that people have with recording themselves. And that is you have to wear all these hats, like you are the producer and the artist and the engineer all at once.
Like in case of the drums you had help, but with like vocals and guitars, especially if the stuff that you did all by yourself, um, how did you deal with that? Did you think about that at all? Because I find it difficult sometimes. And I know for a fact that this is the biggest thing that people are struggling with.
Um, it's hard to stay objective and it's hard to, um, yeah, to just like do a great performance, but also keep the technical stuff in mind. And then also have the big picture, the artistic decisions in mind, it's like different from [00:46:00] working in the studio where you have a producer who sort of challenges you and, um, makes you, makes you do stuff again.
If it's not there yet and sort of pushes you to get the best takes. And then you have like an engineer who watches all the technical stuff. So you don't have to worry about that. And all you have to do is really perform like, and everybody has their, their roles, so to speak. So if you have to do all that yourself, has that ever been challenging?
Have you ever thought about that and how, how did you deal with
[00:46:27] James: that? Yeah. Yeah. So we didn't spend a lot of time thinking about that. Cause we sorta had a blanket approach of, um, make everything. Keep everything as simple as possible, um, just to make it easier for you. So, so you could, you could do pretty much everything for us and you made a sound a lot better than, than I think we are, which, which stand out well.
So thank you for that. But, um, um, we did, uh, in terms of thinking about the end result, a lot of the time we'd have a guitar part that, uh, we took a lot of guitar parts out that just simply didn't add to the song [00:47:00] or like we thought it was cool, but, but it didn't like, it didn't make the song better. Um, and it would, would've just been hard to mix in.
Just extra auxiliary guitars. We took a lot of those out, um, purely for the reason that they didn't add anything to this song and we didn't want to have more than what was necessary. Cause it just would have modeled everything. At least in our eyes. We just wanted to make everything as simple as possible and get the best sounds out of what we had basically.
[00:47:26] Benedikt: Okay, cool. And about the, like the, I don't know about the part, like not ha not having someone next to you, like challenges you and pushes you to do better or get the best takes out of you. Has that ever been a problem or did you feel like there were days where you were like, Hmm, maybe I could have done better, but I was just done for the day and I don't know if that's something you thought
[00:47:48] James: about.
Yeah. Well I think one of the good parts about mark and I's relationship is that we're constantly pushing each other to, to get better and, and, um, and working together just to [00:48:00] improve ourselves and improve the other person. Yeah. Uh, even if it's like, I, for a couple of times I did a guitar take and all that, that's pretty good.
And he said not do it again. That was okay. Cool. That was crap. You hit a bum note there and I didn't even notice.
[00:48:14] Benedikt: So that means you were basically two people in the room for the guitars. Most of the time.
[00:48:19] James: Yeah. Uh, 95% of the time, uh, further guitars it and all the instruments. It was both of us. The vocals was different.
It was mainly me, but just because I did a lot of, a lot of takes and then I did a lot of different harmonies trying to figure out what was going to sound cool. And, um, what was, what I needed to do to just make it sound bigger and not like take too much away from the lead and sort of thing I did. I did a lot of different trying different things out with the vocals, but for the guitars, it was the two of us were there the whole time.
[00:48:47] Benedikt: much. Awesome. Cool. Yeah. That, I mean, that helps a lot because if you're on your own, it's very easy to just say, oh, that's good enough. And then move on to the official. Okay. Cool. All right. Then about the things you mentioned where [00:49:00] you now. You would, you would probably do it different next time.
What are some of those,
[00:49:05] James: um, vocally I think I'd add, I only added a low vocal in the courses and I think in the verses for blame, I don't remember why I ended up with blame, but I would do it for every song. I just to thicken it up. Um, even though you can't really hear it, just to thinking about, um, again, vocal harmonies, I probably would choose different ones.
I'd, I'd spend a bit more time picking the exact right ones. Cause I really only went for how am I going to make this sound bigger? Not how am I going to like add dissonance in one part or try and create a, a run on, on one part just to further the song I, I went specifically for just making the vocal, the lead vocal sound as big as possible.
Um, the guitars, uh, we would probably try and do. Longer takes a lot of the time we'd record the verse four times, then we record pre-chorus full [00:50:00] times, of course, full times. Uh, I think we'd probably try and, um, record as like the, as longer take as possible. Um, just to save us the hassle of having to splice things in and zoom in really close to, to, um, crossfade them and stuff.
Um, cause that we, we gave ourselves a fair bit of extra work doing that and trying to make that sound natural.
[00:50:20] Benedikt: Okay. Okay, cool. So, yeah, but it's interesting because all of the things you mentioned are about arrangement or workflow, but like nothing. Um, they, it seems like with the sounds you were getting your were pretty, pretty happy.
And it's interesting because that are the things that really matter, like not the sound stuff, but like the arrangement and having a good workflow, having a good vibe, not spending too much time on stuff that doesn't really matter or just, it's just tedious. So I think you're focusing on the right things here.
And I also, I hope that will be the answer and that whole. I really hope people pay attention to that as well, because these things like which harmonies can I add? Which additional layers can I [00:51:00] add? What maybe can I, um, w which parts can I maybe reduce? How can I create more dynamics? How can I make my workflow better?
How can I make it more fun to record and less tedious? Like these are the things, the things that really move the needle, and that really make a difference in the end. And you could have set now as an entrance, as an answer to my question, you could also have said, I, I think I'm going to buy a better interface or whatever, but that won't get exactly.
It's like that. Look at you. I dunno, maybe a 0.5%, uh, I don't know, improvement or whatever, but that's not really worth it. It's much your time and energy and money, and everything is much better spent on like, improving your skills as, as an arranger composer and musician, all that, because that is what actually matters.
And you already have tools that work and can capture well, what, yeah, exactly. And so. We
[00:51:49] James: only really cool, like we thought about now that, uh, has really, the microphone was the only thing that we weren't happy with. And since I bought this one is pretty much, we now sort of [00:52:00] have the tools, um, and buying slightly better guitars or a slightly better bass, slightly better interface is really not gonna improve our songs as much as us just being like improving ourselves, improving our songwriting, improving our delivery, improving our playing, uh, It's that'll get us much further rather than sort of blaming it on the tools, like just with the tools have got, how can we make the best sound possible?
Really was Al
[00:52:28] Benedikt: so go. So totally. Did you ever think about programming the drums instead of recording acoustic drums? Because I think you did a really good job as we said, and I'm very happy you did it that way, but, um, especially for younger bands and more modern sort of genre is it's, it's become so common that people programmed drums that I'm just wondering if that was something you thought about as well.
[00:52:49] James: let me write drums, uh, mark just programs them all in just because it's quicker to, to write them and get the demos down. Uh, everything's just programmed with, uh, it's called an empty power drum kit. [00:53:00] Just a basic it's free. Yeah. Um, that's that's that you might notice a trend of that is we do things for free.
[00:53:09] Benedikt: yeah, the right things.
[00:53:11] James: Yeah, exactly, exactly. Um, spend more money on getting the mixing done perfectly. And so things sound better in the final result. Uh, mark said, he told me the other day, part of the reason why, even though you can get a very good, uh, like, uh, programmed drum sounds, he wanted to say he played drums on the record was for one and number two, I've noticed in a lot of, a lot of modern bands, the program drums just seem program drums, sorry, scene.
They just lacked dynamic. I don't know. I don't really know how to describe it. They like, especially with like kick drums, you know, they're fake. Like it just seems to take away the character and we really wanted the drums to sound like punchy and, and really make it, it seemed like mark was there hitting the drums really hard in front of you.
Whereas with program. He didn't really get that. And although they're always going to [00:54:00] be exactly on time, they, they, I don't think they quite capture sort of the performance and the, the energy of the song as much as actually playing. I agree.
[00:54:10] Benedikt: I agree. I mean, it always, it gets better, um, almost every, every year or every couple of months when, because those, every time a new library comes out, um, I'm even more impressed by how realistic and how good these things sound.
And I've heard records, and I've also done records where that have been complete completely programmed. That actually sound pretty realistic. But, and so I think for some people it's a great substitute and the better way to do it, depending on, on your situation, what you can do, but in your case, I think what you did, that's sort of hybrid approach worked really, really well.
And actually. It wasn't so much hybrid as I thought it would be because I ended up using pretty much of your natural drums actually. So there's really just simple that augment the sound, but there's yeah. I mean, th the, the original performance is completely in there and it's actually most of what you hear on the record.
So, and I really glad that this is the [00:55:00] case, because there are some parts. Yeah. Also some really cool fills that mark did that were, I dunno, that have a stair, something about his style of writing drum parts and playing them that I really liked. And there are some, some Tom parts and some, some little details that I really liked that I think you wouldn't, you wouldn't have programmed them exactly that way.
It wouldn't, or at least it wouldn't have sounded that way that it is this, yeah. This sort of raw energy, but also, but it's tight at the same time. I don't know how to describe it, but I really think he has sort of a unique. Playing style and that really came through in the recording. So yeah,
[00:55:34] James: I do. I do tell him all the time that he's, uh, he's my favorite drummer.
Um, I do like the way, well, a lot of the fields actually where we're programmed, um, but we'd basically, we'd sit together in a room and we'd come together. Like I came in with, uh, with dissonant and losing sleep and he came in with, with frustrated and half of blame and I swear, I'm over you. And we'd, we'd come in with basic demos and [00:56:00] then we'd work on them together.
A lot of the times the drums was especially with my songs as I didn't really don't really know enough bedrooms to program them well, um, his he'd write the drums and I'd be in the room saying, oh, what if you do like a sort of thing? Cause I don't really know what I'm talking about with drums. Um, and he'd sit there for hours and he'd get a basic, a basic thing for the chorus and the verse done.
And then. Say, do we need to feel in this part? Like we need to feel for this part and he'd sit around and move little meaty items around a fair bit. Um, and then he'd sit there. Uh, one of the things I like about what he does is he sits in the chair and he taps his feet and he slaps his legs as if he was playing the drums to see if he can play it sort of thing.
Um, and he practices like that a lot too, which I don't know. I don't know how it works, but he plays everything perfectly live as well. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, a lot of, a lot of it was programmed. Um, some of the stuff was, he had programmed, it played a fill and then he'd go, oh, I can make this slightly cooler by doing this one slight thing or going half time in this part, [00:57:00] just to make it a bit more fun for him.
And a bit more sort of exciting for the listener as well. But most of it was programmed. Cool. Cool.
[00:57:07] Benedikt: Um, I mean, it seems to work for him and I think he's, he's very modest, like humble and like, because he wrote me, I remember him writing a message after, um, you got the mixed bag or after you posted the first single I think.
And he was, he was messaging me on Instagram, I think. And he was saying, thank you for making me sound like a, like, I don't know what he said. Like I think, thanks. Thanks for making me sound like a better drummer or like better than I am or whatever, something like that. And I was like, no, I actually didn't do that because.
All I did was I made the drum kit and like the, the production sound better, but it's your performance. You played that. So I didn't change. I didn't make you a better drummer. I just enhanced it a little bit and made it bigger, but yeah, that'd be really proud of, of what you did there and how you played that.
[00:57:54] James: yeah, no, he's, uh, he's, he's, he's modest enough when it, when it's just the two of us mark and around, we always, we [00:58:00] always like to make jokes about how we're the best band in the world. And, oh, we've never heard a fallout boy, and we've never heard of blink 180 2 and stuff, but, but, um, we don't really mean any of that.
We, um, we, we know our abilities and we know that we're not going to get anywhere by just saying, oh, we're great. We don't need to work on anything where we're going to continue to be better. And as long as there's people better than us in the world, we're going to keep practicing. We're never going to be as great a guitarist as the guards from Bolivia.
And we're never gonna be. Um, like as good as the drama, the drama was from, from bands like Slipknot or like the rev from avenged sevenfold or anything, but we're going to continue to progress and, and be as the best versions of ourselves as we can be.
[00:58:43] Benedikt: Awesome. Yeah. So it's cool to hear. Yeah. So I guess the most important question we haven't talked about, and that is why did you decide to do it yourselves in the first place?
And like, where's this going to come, like instead of [00:59:00] going to a studio and do it all there. And do you think that the DIY route that you went with and this approach that you took, is that something you're going to continue doing? Do you feel like that really works for you and yeah. Both of those questions?
Like why, why did you do it and do you think it's the right way
[00:59:17] James: for you? Yeah. Primarily, uh, it started out as just another way for us to save money. And we know that by doing dis uh, we can do it to a pretty high level. Like there's always going to be people that are going to do it way better than us, but we know with Diaz, we can do that fairly well ourselves.
Um, and just in terms of, of, of saving money as well. Um, w what was the second question? Sorry. Um,
[00:59:42] Benedikt: yeah, first of all, why did you do it? And then the second one was, do you think it worked for you? So like, do you think that, um, that's the right way for you to do it and do, will you continue?
[00:59:53] James: Yeah. Yeah, we definitely will.
Um, I think that's, for us, that's the best way to do it, cause we can, we can sit there [01:00:00] until 3:00 AM and do as many takes as possible. Cause, cause I worked during the days and, and mark works a lot of early mornings as well. Um, and, and during the day, so it's, it's, it's really good for us to just come out and sit in my bedroom.
Till 3:00 AM or the pizza and just do a hyper takes and change things. Uh, whereas we can't, you don't have that luxury in a studio to do a million takes. You've sort of got to go in there and do the best you can and then leave. Otherwise it just gets too expensive. So I think we'll definitely continue to do that.
Um, we know a few ways of how we're going to do a better next time. Um, but we'll definitely continue with that theme of, of recording everything ourselves.
[01:00:38] Benedikt: Yeah, totally cool. So that's good to hear because that's where, what, what, uh, I was going out because, um, I think the money is probably like the money topic is probably the first thing that people think about or what makes people first, like try recording and experimenting with that because obviously you can save money if you do it yourself.
[01:01:00] Especially if you use your set up over and over again, like maybe if you only do one record, maybe not so much because if you buy or if you have to buy all the gear and do it depending on your setup and the setup that you need, um, it can cost just as much as like going to a studio, but if you use it over and over again, or if you just buy the minimum amount that you need and then rent out other things like you did, then you definitely save some money.
Um, but the, the almost the most important, um, part of, of, of that is at least to me, that the most important and the biggest advantage of doing it yourself is that you have complete freedom to do things the way you want them to do. Like you're on your time, your schedule, as you said, um, you are the producers, so you have total creative freedom.
There's pros and cons to that, but usually that's all, but usually that's also pro if you know what you're doing, and if you're confident about your art and stuff, and then also think about it, you [01:02:00] can, if you do it yourself, you can do the demo, the writing, the demos, the pre-production and the actual production, all sort of in the studio, like in your studio.
And you can really do it the right way and go through the whole process. Um, which is pretty, pretty cool. Yeah, it's, it's, it's a luxury that you have because if you figure out things during demos during pre-production, that just work, you just, you can dial in those things and you can use that stuff later in the actual production process.
And if you would do that in the studio, like if you would rent a studio to do writing demos and then the actual production and figuring out tones during pre-production all that, like the way that big bands make records in big studios sometimes, or back in the day, more often than. And that will cost so much money and you have the luxury of doing everything in the studio, sort of.
And if you come across a cool thing during demos or doing during recording pre-pro, then you can just save that, make a note, and then come back to that during the actual recording. [01:03:00] And it's just this fluent process in the same space, which is really, really cool to me. And I think, I think that is a big advantage versus the pressure you have when you are on.
Yeah. When you have, when you are on a budget in the studio and you only have so many
[01:03:16] James: hours, I think we played like we, we performed better just not having the pressure being as well. Oh yeah.
[01:03:24] Benedikt: I absolutely believe that some people need, need that pressure. Um, but for most people, I think as long as you can have two people in the room and push each other the way you described, I think that works really well.
I mean, there are people who would probably be better off if they had someone that pushing them a little harder. But if you have two people that vibe like that and that yeah. The way you described it, then that works really well. And you just feel comfortable. You don't have the pressure, but you can still yeah.
Um, push yourself enough to do good work and, and get the best takes done. So, yeah. [01:04:00] That's cool to hear. So for future, um, releases, you are going to probably do the same thing, just improve and implement what you learned.
[01:04:09] James: Uh, keep the same, the same, uh, sort of vibe to it, but we're just going to do it better basically.
Um, we've got a few ideas. How are we gonna do it better? Um, I'm sure we'll learn more and more. Every day we watch a lot of YouTube videos on, on, uh, Like self recording and, um, we weren't sure stop. I know Dylan listens, listens to your podcast a lot as well. Um, and he just usually will relay that to us and we're like, oh, a sick idea.
Let's go, let's do it like that. So, um, it's a, I think what you've got going, the self coding band is like a really good sort of resource for, for people like us. Um, just to, just to learn a bit more about how to make it better.
[01:04:48] Benedikt: Thank you. That's the Atlanta glad that helps because that's the whole purpose of this.
And, um, yeah, the funny thing is, um, I, what I do there is basically what I did with you on that record. Like [01:05:00] helping people, giving feedback on the demo thing and stuff. Um, that's what I've been doing for years. And I thought like I'm teaching the same stuff over and over again. I'm telling people the same.
I come across the same issues over and over again, there are common themes and like, I just thought, why not give that to everybody or to all the people who find my stuff and listen to the podcast? Um, compared to just having it one person at a time. So, um, I just did what I always did, but made it public sort of, and it, and, and, and it works.
And it's glad because I can help so many more people now, and I'm glad it helped in your case. Um, okay, cool. So before we wrap it up, tell us a little bit about the schedule, a hat now. Like what are you planning to do with offset vision? What releases, um, can we look forward to, um, as of now, like we are it's September 1st now, um, they were tracking this, this episode.
You have one single out, one video out. The second [01:06:00] one will be out very soon. And, um, what else is next?
[01:06:04] James: Um, so we've got a blame, our second single coming out in a couple of days. Uh, the video for that is all my, I'm not sure if it's going to be done for that release, but sometime very soon to, uh, the EAP, the full five song EAP.
Uh, it's coming out October 1st. Um, and. We've got just local release shows due to cause, uh, we're from, from the state of Tasmania in Australia here, a little island down below, we don't have any COVID here, luckily. So we're still able to play shows. Cool. Um, which is good. A lot of them are only 80 or a hundred caps.
So, um, that's a little bit, um, hard, but it's still having 80 people at your show is awesome. Um, so we can't go over to Melbourne where our bass player Calin lives at the moment he's over there, uh, at uni doing, doing art. Um, he's stuck in lockdown, so he can't come down and play shows with us, but, um, we're just playing [01:07:00] local shows until the AP gets released.
And then, uh, we're planning to sort of promote that with a few more shows around our state. Uh, hopefully locked down ends and we can go up, go up to Melbourne or, uh, we know a band, uh, from a couple of bands from Adelaide that, that are really cool. And, uh, they came down and played with us and we'd love to go up to Adelaide as well.
Um, that's pretty much it, in terms of shows, we don't have a lot lined up. We tend to just, cause we, we can't schedule things too far in advance. We don't know what's going to happen with COVID, but, um, we know we're going to do one more music video, uh, which we'll release a bit later in the year, just, um, probably late November, early December, just sort of, so we have something else to keep releasing.
It's not just dump it and leave sorta keep the, keep the hype up type of thing. And then mark and I have a bunch of new demos that have half finished songs that we're going to keep working on. Um, and when they're done, we'll, uh, we'll send you the demos and, and see what you think. And hopefully [01:08:00] next year we can, we can get you to mix a few more for us.
[01:08:04] Benedikt: I'd be very happy to do that. So thank you. Awesome. Yeah. Um, maybe tell people where they can find you like, um, what's the name of the APU? What's the, the, the names of the singles again, what's your website. Everything people need to know if they want to check out the record, which you absolutely should.
If you're listening to this podcast, because I really, really, really liked the CP. And I really think you should check it out. If you're into, into punk rock, into pop punk sort of bands, we mentioned, you've got to check this out. So what can they find you? What's the record called? Where can they find the videos and the single
[01:08:36] James: releases?
Um, the record called glass walls. Uh, the first two singles, I swear, I'm over you and blame. Uh, by the time this is, this is, uh, edited and released, uh, will be out on Spotify, apple music, Amazon, all that, all that sort of stuff. Um, Ms. Videos on YouTube or Facebook is facebook.com/offset vision Oz. That's like Aus [01:09:00] Australia.
Instagram's the same observation was Twitter's the same, uh, Spotify typing offset vision. We come up as long as you're talking observation, cause there's a rapper called offset or something, but yeah, it's pretty much, uh, we have a, a link tray, which is, which is on our Instagram and stuff. And, uh, we've basically been trying to send people to that because that has linked trees, a great resource because we can, we can list at the moment.
We've got one, two hour music, video, Spotify and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all that sort of stuff. And it's all in one convenient place. So that's really good. Awesome. That's what I've been trying to send people to and they can choose whether they're Sunday, we use apple music. Some we use Spotify look on prospective Lincoln.
[01:09:44] Benedikt: Do you have, um, a website or is it just the link tree on, on, on just the link
[01:09:50] James: tree? Ah, we've been working on getting a website and some research done. Uh that's. Pretty much all Callum's domain. Um, we rely [01:10:00] on him a bit too much for that. He, uh, he does a lot for us and he's, he's really good at what he does.
So we appreciate him a lot. Um, but he'll, he'll work on getting some research done and, and getting a website up for us. Dylan are helping with that. He's good with that sort of thing as well. Um, but for now, yeah, it is just the link tree. Um, cause we've been super busy obviously with trying to line up shows and getting everything organized.
[01:10:24] Benedikt: Awesome. Cool. Uh, and then the final question, any physical releases planned for the DP or in the future?
[01:10:29] James: No. No. Uh, maybe in the, in the future, maybe we will think about doing something. Like, uh, a few CDs or like vinyl is really cool. I know vinyl is probably more popular than CD now anyway. Um, but we just don't think we'd sell enough at the moment to justify it.
Um, it's expensive to print that sort of thing and it takes forever. And I, I don't use, I don't remember the last time I used a CD. Uh, I have a vinyl player. I think I've used it [01:11:00] once I collect a few vinyls, just, just to have for decorations, really? Um, yeah, but personally I don't use, I only use Spotify is my thing.
Uh, Mark's the same on the use Spotify calendar. Same Dylan's the same. Most of our friends are the same. They use Spotify for music. Um, totally. Yeah, it's a, it's a, it's a new world and physical releases just aren't don't seem to be as important anymore if people, if enough people want them. Yeah. We'll make them.
But right now it's, uh, it doesn't, it's not really something that's on the cards. Exactly.
[01:11:31] Benedikt: Yeah. I always tell bands that you should. Only do that. If you have a good plan for it and maybe work with a label who, who sort of takes that with people who take care of that as well, because as you said, it's super expensive.
You have got to have a plan to really like also sell them. Um, once you play more shows, I think it's going to get more relevant maybe because you can, you sell most records that shows typically, but I personally wouldn't bother with it as well. Like without a label, especially I would have a label take care of that [01:12:00] eventually.
And then until then I would just do it digitally. And also, I don't know about what it is in Australia, what it's like in Australia right now, but here, if you want to make vinyl records that due to COVID and everything that has to do with it, it takes six to eight months, sometimes even longer to get a record manufactured.
And you also have to order like huge quantities. Um, and like, it's, it's really, it's just a pain to do that right now. So I think you're better off not doing it.
[01:12:27] James: So I've talked about that. And a lot of people in the, in our. Uh, scene or community, whatever you call it of they talking about how bands have these vinyl releases, but they just have taken months to, to ship out just cause because mainly because of COVID and just manufacturing.
[01:12:45] Benedikt: Yeah. Okay, cool. Awesome. I'll put all those links in the show notes as well for this episode. So if you go to the self recording band.com/podcast, you'll find all the episodes and this one as well. And if you click on it, you'll find the show [01:13:00] notes for this episode. And there you find the link tree, the Spotify, um, the opposition, social media pages, and all of that.
And again, check out these singles, the songs, the video, it's just, it's awesome. I am really highly recommended and I really look forward to what you're doing in the future. I think you did an awesome job with this IPI. Um, I really appreciate you taking the time today because I think this was really helpful and also encouraging for people to hear because.
It just shows what is possible if you're just willing to improve, to constantly improve, to invest in yourself, to, um, put in the, the, the work and the effort. And all you need is a pretty simple setup and just the drive and motivation to, to learn and do it. And I think it's really encouraging and I hope people feel empowered now to do that themselves.
Uh, so thank you for taking the time and explaining that. Thanks for having me. Yeah. And I wish you all the best and like all this success with that, with that record and whatever you do in the future. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. [01:14:00] Thank you.
[01:14:01] James: Bye .
The Essential DIY-Recording Gear Guide:
TSRB Free Facebook Community:
Free Articles On All Things Recording:
Outback Recordings Podcast - Benedikt's other podcast
Your Band Sucks (at business) - Malcom's other podcast
If you have any questions, feedback, topic ideas or want to suggest a guest, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
take action and learn how to transform your DIY recordings from basement demos to 100% Mix-Ready, Pro-Quality tracks!
Get the free Ultimate 10-Step guide To Successful DIY-Recording