Saturday the 10th of June was our second recording session for Brisbane Punk Band ‘Permanent Revolutions’ debut album. The first session (recording the scratch tracks), had gone very well with us achieving our desired milestone of recording all 10 tracks for reference in the 8 hours allotted. Session two was dedicated to recording the actual drum tracks for the album using the scratch recordings generated in session one.
Mic choices were identical to the scratch track recordings with one notable exception: rather than employing the left and right overheads for the kit, we opted for a mono set up using a single Royer R121 ribbon mic to attempt to recreate the sound of the earlier punk recordings (many of which utilised this method). This seemed to provide a warmer and more natural room sound with the figure eight polar pattern softening much of the overall sound source and giving the individually mic’d sections of the kit an opportunity to shine on their own. Mics used as follows:
- Mono overhead: Royer R121 (ribbon figure eight)
- Snare (top): Shure SM57
- Snare (bottom): Shure SM57
- Kick Drum (front): AKG D112
- Kick Drum (beater): Shure SM57
- Tom (one): Shure SM57
- Floor Tom: Sennheiser MD421
Quite a bit of work was done to find the correct positions for particularly two of the mic placements, whose sound was not what we had anticipated. Firstly the bottom snare SM57 was giving a distinctive ringing tone but when massaged closer to the middle of the snare, revealed the desired ‘crack’ or ‘smack’ we were all seeking. The Tom (one), was also quite boomy, this was rectified by moving the mic placement back a little using the drum mic mounting system we had opted for after running out of mic stands that were working effectively. We actually created a ‘naughty corner’ for these stands (there were so many), and identified the issue to the tech team after the session! I had never used these mounted connectors before and whilst they did change the sound marginally, worked really well and allowed for quick accurate adjustments.
By about 11am and after having the drummer (James), playing at about the velocity he would be for the takes, we had reached a stage where we were happy with the signal coming into the desk and into tools. We had been checking for phasing issues during this process, which were not evident. The lead singer Paul had also joined us now, so after getting the lads caffeinated and letting James stretch his legs and grab a snack, it was time to begin tracking. We were ready to go…11:30am.
James showed the professionalism that the whole band had during the first recording session and was (without going overboard), quite critical of his performances noting all errors he identified after each performance and directing us to the points in each track he felt needed improvement. This resulted in either a re-take of the whole track or having us drop him in at the relevant area to rectify. It also helped that all our team are musicians with a good sense of tempo and timing especially lead singer Paul who was obviously most familiar with the individual songs and his expectations as the front-man of the band. In saying that, the errors were few and from memory James even hit two ‘one track wonders’ needing no improvement which was quite impressive!
As with the set up, the pack down involved all of our team getting involved due to us not having a dedicated live room engineer but the vibe was positive and left everyone feeling positive about where we were at in the project and feeling confident about next Saturdays session which will be a little more complicated. Once again we had finished and packed down ahead of schedule!
Jaxon delivered a stellar performance on the DAW and has really developed an efficient manner of managing this important element of our recordings. Shay once again led from the front and I felt we all communicated well although there is always room for improvement in this area. The band members were stoked with the outcome and I believe their confidence grew in us as their production team. This was especially true for Paul who was present in the control room all session so not only was he able to get to know each of us more as individuals, was also able to see how we were doing what we do and how we were all working together to deliver the best possible outcome for this, Permanent Revolution’s debut album.