Recently I've had the pleasure of working with Spec8 in the studio - a duo from Melbourne who play a variety of covers in acoustic-style.
Reinette and Leeroy have been playing together for about a year now, and are extremely well-rehearsed, so my job as an engineer was simplified thanks to their musicianship and professionalism. This studio time has also been their first in-studio experience, so I feel so glad to be able to provide this to them. I absolutely love Reinette's voice, and with Leeroy’s skilled playing they create some really beautiful sounds, that should be recorded in pristine studio quality and distributed for many people to enjoy (as much as I do).
I am currently in the process of continuing to mix and edit the tracks. There were ten all up, and they will be split into lots of mini EPs - the first will be completed over the next few weeks. As I am working on them, I have thought how I really do not want to over-produce them - the style of the music wouldn’t suit that, and I think the performances are quite wonderful even as they are. I am really only applying light work that will correct where necessary and emphasise the great aspects, whilst keeping the performance raw and genuine.
Being in the studio by myself has always been a little daunting for me, but I am becoming more and more comfortable with it. Of course, the more time I spend in studios by myself, having opportunities to practice, think things through and troubleshoot, the more confident I'll feel. It is still a very new and exciting thing for me to be working in audio, so I am sure that the longer I do it, the more everything will become natural, hopefully even second-nature (as quite a bit already has).
Reinette & Leeroy in the Neve recording space
The duo performing their covers
The past week also marked the beginning of my group’s Live Sound intensive. I didn’t expect to enjoy live sound as much as I did and am. I haven't yet considered live as a future profession for me, as I haven’t really perceived myself potentially working in the area, so never attempted to learn heaps about it. Nor was live sound the motivation behind me actually enrolling in this audio course (that was more the ideal of working in a studio). After my first session though, I hold a completely new outlook towards live sound, as a sector of the music industry I would potentially work in.
As my tutor, Tim, was explaining all about what it's like to be a part of the audio of a gig, and the amazing performances he had been a part of, I thought how absolutely amazing it would be to have this as a job - giving sound to audiences, people right in front of you, to experience live music (one of the most wonderful experiences there is).
Thinking about it, live actually was, and continually is, a significant contributor to my desire to work with musicians and music. The environment of gigs and concerts, and the thrill of experiencing music played in real-time, has been a huge influence in me desiring to professionally work within music. So in that way, live sound is extremely important to me, and the more I learn about the ins and outs of it all, the more I am enthralled.
Tim showed an interesting time-lapse video of the setting up of a Muse concert - the amount of work involved was actually hilariously extreme, I couldn’t fathom it. All the small figures bustling around, focused on their own tasks and jobs, the amount of practitioners from separate fields all working in and around each other... It was so aesthetically pleasing to watch! The efficacy and organised-nature of it all.
My favourite part was, when all the constructive and preparatory work was done, and the stage was at the point it always looked when I attend concerts, the audience rolled in - completely unaware of the intensity of the set up, and what it takes to put on a concert of that magnitude. But that is what's so special about it - they shouldn’t know. The very essence of music, the way it communicates and connects to us, is a stand-alone feature - it’s all a bit magical. That’s what is nice about it.
But learning the behind-the-scenes perspective I'm sure wouldn't necessarily take that away - it would rather allow you to focus on deeper aspects, and the formative pieces that present the music as a whole. Plus, the satisfaction of a successfully produced gig would surely be as rewarding.
The software and hardware we use in this class was also intriguing... Actually just reading through the instructions for the Venue software and the S3 was enjoyable somehow! Venue is extremely enjoyable to work - its layout is seriously simple to follow, with everything clearly marked and outlined. The S3 is also a very cool console to use in relation. I’m looking forward to the times I get to spend working them, especially in putting on our live gig (featuring Spec8 as our opening act)!
Maybe I am liking consoles and software more as we go because I am getting better familiarised and learned with the processes involved, and slowly gaining the underlying audio knowledge and understanding to work these sorts of surfaces.
It does tend to be that the better you are at something the more you enjoy it (and the more you enjoy it, the better you end up being). I’m starting to think my mind isn’t necessarily non-disposed to technology, and maybe instead, that I just needed the sufficient time to understand it.