Updated: Sep 23, 2019
You may have heard of these guys supporting acts at Huddersfield's Parish or at events within Leeds blending a mixture of Wolf Alice and a lot of catchy riffs with a hint of reverb driven solos. I had the pleasure of recording and producing their first two singles Joyrider and Deepdive earlier this year and enjoyed how much their tracks have been enjoyed and shared which they rightly deserve!
Looking back on the track Deepdive, I thought I'd go and write up about what was involved in arranging and mixing this beast of track. It really is for anyone who has enjoyed listening to this song and wondered about the elements that went into recording and mixing it.
//The overall session itself!
To give you an idea of what you are seeing above, starting from the top we have the following
-Additional Rhythms/Guitar Adlibs
I usually have a go-to layout for when certain genres come into the studio but I shall briefly lay out what I used to record each element!
Drums featured some typical mic placements. As this was a rock/indie band, I didn't want to go too overboard with mic's. Just getting the right elements of each piece of the kit. Adding a room mic always adds depth to the drum recordings, and adding in a 'kick in' mic to mix in alongside the Audix D6 really helped add 'clicky-ness' and a spare mic to add crunch possibly!
Kick In - AKG D112
Kick Out - Audix D6 (Angled towards beater head)
Snare Top - SM57 Beta
Snare Bottom - SM57
Hi Tom - SM57
Mid Tom - SM57
Low Tom - SM57
Over Heads - AKG C414's (Cardioid)
Room - Spaced ORTF Stereo Rode NT5's (Placed 5ft away, low down, aiming at the kick drum)
For the session I got bass player Ciaran and drummer Ayden to play together in the room, allowing more eye to eye connection while recording the track. Mistakes and bum notes can be re-recorded afterwards as it is all DI'ed, so it is simply a case of finding the problem areas and re-tracking to get a more solid bass line with the drums!
Bass - Little Labs Red Eye (Pictured above)
As you can see we enjoyed doubling and adding extra FX to sections, giving a more fun and bouncy feel to the track. As sections come in and out during a phrase, it added a bit of ear candy to the track, allowing you to stay interested throughout the song.
Guitars - Peavey Triple XXX - 4x12 Matamp - SM57 (Half on and off the edge of the speaker cone.)
Crunch channel - Bridge Riffs,
Marshall JCM 800 - 4x12 Matamp - SM57 (Half on and off the edge of the speaker cone.)
Slightly driven gain to get a touch of crunch with the head, added boost pedal.
- Used predominantly for the riff, verse and chorus.
I tend to add a touch more mids to guitars as that's the area they should occupy in the mix. If I did want to cut some out, I can do that afterwards with corrective EQ'ing as adding it in I personally don't feel it has the same effect.
For Stanley's' vocals I used our trusted SE Gemini. It adds a nice 'airy-ness' to the vocals as it has a 10kHz boost and a nice flat response.
We decided with the chorus to go for a single vocal line to put more of a intimate focus on the words as the music drops down from the full guitar arrangement of the verses.
We added the doubles for the build ups into the bridge and verse solidify the vocals and make them more in your face as it helps when you are up against a full bands instrumentation.
Simple use of proximity to the microphone can help create even more intimacy, so during the final build up when everything goes away and it is just Stanley and 1 guitar, I got him to stand very close to the mic to get all the small details when he is singing, as if he was singing right in your ear!
Mixing a project with lots of elements can be a handful. Hopefully I can shed some light on a few simple tips that I did on the mix where I can manage the arrangement while being creative and having fun getting it to sound exciting!
//Buses Buses Buses..
Working this way helps me work on larger projects like this quickly and efficiently, allowing me to arrange the instrument groups while the track plays through, which would take way too much time to automate every single one to the right level once I got my balance.
// Writing in Automation / Creating a dynamic mix!
As the track plays I want to create interest by riding the fader to where more interesting phrases occur, highlighting them more! You can do this with vocals to even out the level with the rest of the track. Using a compressor can also achieve this, but it gives a similar feeling to when you mix vocals in a live setting.
This can be useful to get a contrast between verses and chorus but rising the whole section by 1 or 2 dB's to create a more impact.
// Allowing space using EQ cutting and Panning off the space
Most of the time, panning will help with masking problems. Allowing a track to sit in a space in the stereo field will be usually be enough with minimal cutting using EQ.
Due to the amount of guitars we recorded, a lot of lower rumble will build up if not checked, so general cutting up to 150Hz-200Hz with a gentile slope, allowing plenty of room for a more fuller and controlled low end! It is mostly deciding which parts you want to stand out and cutting frequencies from certain instruments to stop any masking issues occurring.
These are just my way of working and it definitely changes depending on the genre of music and the style they are going for. I am sure there are many other ways to work so please comment your methods or ideas on working with big projects as I am interested to hear them!
Have a listen of Deepdive below!
Keep an eye out for Deepdiver as they continue to release great tunes and hopefully play a gig near you.
Twitter - https://twitter.com/deepdiverband
Thanks for reading!
Dan AKA Morgs.
Check out my personal Instagram page for general studio day to day life and below average photography of studio gear - @dandrinksribena