As mentioned in my blog titled ‘Studio Project: Pre-production – Drums’, we’d anticipated the following recording session to run quite smoothly due to the amount of planning we’d done prior. In the day leading up to the studio booking we were still feeling positive about the plan we had in place including microphone choices and techniques, allocation of roles and the timeline we’d constructed.
We encountered a couple of problems that led to us running a bit behind schedule. One of them being the fact that all but one of the microphones we needed were being used for a class running in another studio for an hour and a half into our studio booking. We were aware of this the day before but hadn’t realised just how many would be missing from the list. According to our timeline, we were supposed to have finished setting up most of the mics and have done a preliminary sound check by 3pm. This obviously didn’t happen. The sups office was short of headphones as well as XLRs, which didn’t help. It was nearly 5.30pm by the time we finally got everything set up, including the drum kit, the rest of the microphones and the guitars DI’d directly into the back of the Neve in the control room (we didn’t realise one of the guitarists, who is also the vocalist, would be coming in to assist with the recording process as well so we also had to DI his guitar in). We had problems with a couple of the inputs and had to ask Ryan from the sups office to come and help us figure it out (we ended up using different inputs that worked). Some other problems that delayed us reaching the actual recording stage were the mic stands being faulty and the phantom blockers needed for the two ribbon mics we used being faulty, causing the desk to receive absolutely no signal. We resorted to labelling the phantom power button on those channels so as to avoid anyone accidentally turning them on and blowing the microphones themselves. I also think we underestimated the amount of time it would take to label the XLRs in the live room with the appropriate channel numbers (a confusion-saving trick we learned during a live sound lecture with Conor). Once we were finally at the recording stage of the process, our problem with running behind schedule eventually vanished. We knew our band was good but we seriously overestimated how many takes they’d need/want to do especially considering they’d decided on the five songs they were going to perform for us that afternoon. The songs they’d agreed on were Folsom Prison Blues, Dead Man’s Bones, Six Days On The Road, Kaw-liga, and Jambalaya, all well-known country/blues songs.
Two of these were completed in two takes and the other three in just one take! It was amazing to be working with experienced musicians who clearly knew what they were doing. We’d actually finished recording the fifth song by 6.35pm and were packed up by 7.45pm. A very successful drum recording session!