I went about recording this EP in a fairly solitary and semi unconventional fashion.
All of the ideas for the songs on the EP were conceived on an acoustic guitar. Once I had a basic song outline or feel I’d started building a demo in the computer. I would blend organic and electronic sounds, using the programs Reason and Digital Performer in conjunction. I liked doing it this way because I could build layers and change arrangement ideas with relative ease. This way, I knew if an idea was working or not before taking it all the way to the finish line.
From this point, whatever stage the song was at would inform me where it should go. I basically took my demos to a certain level of production, and rather than starting over from scratch, I’d use it as an outline and pick and choose what to keep and what to overdub.
The trickiest part of the lonesome overdub business was recording drums. For some instruments, I could just bring a mic into the control room. The drums wouldn’t fit in there, so I did a lot of running back and forth between the control room and the live room. If a song started with drums, I’d move all the audio over a good deal to give me time to get out there, and program a notable 4 clicks before the song started. If I took too long to get to the drum kit, I’d have to stop, run back in and do it again. That was also the process every time I messed up. I know that there are ways to control basic recording functions from an app on your phone these days, but I didn’t have any of that stuff.
If I was going to keep any electronic sounds, it was really important to me to try and make them sound Authentic. I used a good deal of Universal Audio plug-ins for that. The UAD plug-ins model old, analog, rack gear really well, so I figured they’d be a great tool for making the modern and sterile sounds feel more warm and alive. Anything I could do to make them sound less generic was a win. It’s amazing what running electronic drums through the Fairchild 670, EMT 250 reverb and Studer A800 tape machine plug-ins will do.
Although it was frustrating at times, recording in this way could also be very satisfying. There was something really fun about digging into a space by myself. I felt sort of like a mad scientist conducting experiments. I could try things without trying someone else’s patience. I learned lots about writing, recording, playing and layering by letting myself chase down ideas and seeing what worked.
Keeping a beginners mind and looking at obstacles as opportunities got me a long way with these recordings, and I’m trying to remember that for life in general.
Henry Chadwick is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. His New self-produced EP, Guest At Home, showcases Henry’s skills, as he wrote, engineered and played most of the instruments on it. Henry draws influences as much from music of the past (The Beatles, The Kinks, T-Rex, Nirvana, David Bowie etc.,) as from as from current artists who keep pushing forward stylistically and sonically. Henry makes catchy, thoughtful and usually energetic music with a unique perspective, edge and charm.
Henry Chadwick was raised in a studio environment, his father being an engineer who worked out of Cherokee studios in Hollywood through the 1980’s and continued to record in his home studio in the Santa Cruz Mountains moving in 1989 to raise a family.
Henry has been playing in bands and learning how to record music since he was a youngster. He plays drums in the touring roots-rock band, The Coffis Brothers and fronts the band My Stupid Brother (now on hiatus).
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