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PavlovsCat

Every Day - original blues influenced rock song

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This is a song I wrote back when I was 23 and a working musician (a drummer, but piano was my first instrument, organ my second, then drums) and planned to perform with an original band I put together in the 90s that never found a lead singer and disbanded before recording or playing out. So, I have a bunch of songs that no one ever heard but a handful of musicians out of Chicago a long time ago. I stopped performing as a musician around 2000 due to tendonitis but decided I could deal with some pain and got a new DAW PC and have been recording in the past year, so between not playing for two decades and tendonitis, I'm no longer much of a musician and I only did background vocals as a working musician, so the caveats aside, this is middle-age me covering young me.  I know next to nothing about mixing and mastering and rely on my ears -- which aren't great (I have a significant hearing loss)  -- so I would especially welcome insights on mixing. Yeah, those are a lot of caveats, but while I had a lot of confidence when in my skills as a musician, I was never a good singer and now I can't play very well, so sharing this publicly is not the easiest thing to do. So, I'm never going to be able to sing very well. I'm mainly looking for some advice on how to mix better. This song actually has a bridge, but I was playing it from memory and completely forgot how the bridge goes (there's a demo somewhere in my basement that would be a major undertaking to find) so I'm hoping I either can recall the bridge at some point or I'll just write a new one rather than spending 30 hours searching for the original demo. 

Everything was played using sample libraries via midi controllers. I played all the instrumental parts and sang the vocals. The "mmm mmm mmm mmm" female vocal is from Ehtera's Soul sample library. The guitars are mostly Orange Tree Samples' libraries.  While I've worked with Orange Tree Samples going back to their early days and have become good friends with Greg, I only started using the acoustic slide guitar library with this song -- that's what triggered my memory of this song. OMG, I am in love with that library. Anyhow, I welcome your constructive criticism to make this song better (and of course, I realize the first method would be to find a better singer! Hahaha. Unfortunately, that wasn't an option). 

 

Edited by PavlovsCat
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I think Jack is right, bite the bullet and push the vocal fader up!
(most of us hate/question our own voice)

I'll stay tuned for the re-mix and bridge...

t

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I can relate to the tendonitis story.  I've have osteo arthritis and play guitar gingerly now.  This is a really mature song for a 23 year old.  Could have been written by John Lennon.

Edited by David Sprouse

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Of all the advice you guys could give me, it has to be turning up my voice,  the instrument I least want people to hear!  I'll try it, but I'm not really comfortable with my voice and making it louder seems like drawing attention to the weakest link. I threw the towel in on my original band because,  after several months of auditions we couldn't find a decent lead singer. The keyboardist and I would give each other a look when a singer would audition and before he sang he would refer to my demos and say something to me like, "You have a really good voice,  why aren't you doing the lead vocals? " Every time we heard a singer say that it was like an iron clad guarantee they would be absolutely terrible -- even worse than me. I  didn't even pick me to sing in the band I led,  so turning up my vocal is hard to do because it draws attention to my vocal,  which really isn't that good. I actually thought I sounded better on the background vocals during the chorus. But you guys think I should turn up the lead vocal,  right? I mean, I'll try it, but it  just seems like drawing attention to the worst instrument in my song. 

Edited by PavlovsCat

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2 hours ago, David Sprouse said:

I can relate to the tendonitis story.  I've have osteo arthritis and play guitar gingerly now.  This is a really mature song for a 23 year old.  Could have been written by John Lennon.

Thanks so much. I suppose with the trons in the verse and drum sound, it's probably not very hard to figure out that I absolutely adore The Beatles music, so if you're going to compare my original songs to Lennon's songwriting,  I consider that a huge compliment. Thank you. The first song I recorded after not playing for 20 years was "I Am the Walrus." I bought my son a new PC and midi keyboard for Christmas and started showing him how to play keyboards mostly using Beatles songs he knew and before you know it I was hooked and thought I'd record myself playing then got my own DAW PC a few months later and added additional tracks until I had this: 

 

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@PavlovsCat Just a note on the side it is best to keep a single song to a thread you will get more attention that way.

I can only agree regards vocals and I rarely comment on vocals because Wookiee singing kills none Wookiee life forms within in a Parsec of the Wookiee that is singing.

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I agree with the above comments. Can't say I'm qualified to offer voice advice (just listen to one of my songs) but you could try something like Izotope Nectar or just play around with EQing the track. Melodyne is great for small pitch and timing corrections.

My dream is a decent voice vst. Hope I live long enough to see such a thing.

-Bjorn

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I brought up the vocals -- which I loathe doing because, well, I know my voice isn't very good --  and remixed the song with the guitars more upfront and decided to completely replace the drums to play them more like my original demo decades ago, which makes the song a lot more aggressive during the chorus -- which was how I prefer it, but I thought most people would prefer it less aggressive. I'd be interested what the folks here think. The drums are my first take and I'm not much of a drummer anymore, as I explained earlier, so it's definitely not polished, but I mostly wanted to see if people prefer this more aggressive version of the previous version I shared. 
 

 

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That snare is "poppin", yeah I like that.
Since you are the artist formally known as eDrummist, am I to assume that you are playing an eKit.
I must have that snare...

2 hours ago, PavlovsCat said:

remixed with the guitars more upfront

to better drown out your vocal in the chorus?

There's a kind of Tom Petty quality to your voice.
I get you are never going to be happy with the vocal, but you've got to let it "serve" the tune.
Let someone else mix this.

Its all good...

t

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33 minutes ago, DeeringAmps said:

That snare is "poppin", yeah I like that.
Since you are the artist formally known as eDrummist, am I to assume that you are playing an eKit.
I must have that snare...

to better drown out your vocal in the chorus?

There's a kind of Tom Petty quality to your voice.
I get you are never going to be happy with the vocal, but you've got to let it "serve" the tune.
Let someone else mix this.

Its all good...

t

The kit is from Superior Drummer. I turned up the vocal so high it is distorting, but I also turned up the guitars. So I will try turning down the guitars. To me it seems like my voice is loud, but clearly, the consensus was that it was not loud enough. It's not like I have someone I could give this to to mix it for me. I'm just a hobbyist playing songs I wrote back ages ago when I was a working musician. I was trying to take the advice and I'll give it another shot and probably try again tomorrow. But I was mostly trying to get a more aggressive rock mix with the guitars way up, which I suppose meant I probably turned up the guitars too loud and if I put them down a little, my vocal might be fine. But yeah, because I don't have a very good voice, I'm hesitant to have my voice too loud in the mix and draw too much attention to it. That is, I'm not trying to make it soft, I'm more concerned about making my voice too loud. 

But I appreciate the input. Aside from the vocals, you commented on the earlier version which had a much less aggressive mix and a completely different drum track. Do you recall which version you liked better? Because I wanted to share both and see which one was the more liked version and then work on that going forward. I'm really not knowledgeable on mixing. I use mostly Izotope's AI tools as well as Focusrite's Balancer -- which seems superb. So I am trying. I'm just a novice at mixing. When I was a musician, I was in bands that had sound pros and when I went in the studios I relied on engineers. I would do my own demos, but I really didn't know how to EQ anything, but I'm now trying to learn.  

- Peter

 

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4 hours ago, PavlovsCat said:

the vocals -- which I loathe

a common problem, but being your unique bad*ss self and doing what you do with conviction/feeling  is going to make for a much more interesting song.

handing off the mix to someone else might be worth a try just to see what happens. 

liked the energy/dynamics of the 2nd mix better, sounds like a nice direction to explore

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11 hours ago, jackson white said:

liked the energy/dynamics of the 2nd mix better

Jackson is right, I guess I should have made that clearer in my response.

13 hours ago, PavlovsCat said:

I'm just a novice at mixing.

Aren't we all? No crime there. Lather, rinse, repeat; that's my motto. Mixing is a skill set developed by constant practice.

13 hours ago, PavlovsCat said:

use mostly Izotope's AI tools

I have/use Ozone, Nectar, Neutron; but I don't "trust" them.
More like looking over someone's shoulder and thinking "can I use that technique to improve my work".

13 hours ago, PavlovsCat said:

When I was a working musician...

Fixed that for ya.
Similar background, I was busy playing and singing when in the studio.

Checkout Lord Tim's comments in Gary's thread (Tim is at the bottom), he shares some interesting thoughts/techniques on getting the mix right.

I'll definitely stay tuned....
(I guess I'm saying I like the tune; eh?)

t

as to the snare, Superior Drummer; got it.
Which kit?
Which snare?
Are you using one on the presets that SD provides?
The one thing I struggle with is getting the snare to "pop" right...
Think of the "hit" in Light My Fire or Born to be Wild

TIA

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Good song, good production....you've got all the right parts in their right places....agree about the Tom Petty quality to your voice, which is fine, maybe bring up a little....very good work!!!! 👍🎶🎹🔊

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It just struck me that people are writing to turn up the vocals and I turned up the lead vocal to the point that it's distorting and yet I'm still hearing that I  need to turn up the vocal,  which leads me to wonder if maybe the vocals that everyone is telling me to turn up really isn't the lead vocal but are the background vocals? The lead vocal starts in the verse and in the chorus it's quite restrained with a low pitch while one background vocal is me with a falsetto and in another I'm doing a blues type holler-- really loud. Is it both of those background vocals or one of those two background vocals that everyone is suggesting should be turned up or is it my vocal that you hear during the verses that you find needs to be turned up --- which as I mentioned that I turned up so loud in the last mix that it's starting to distort? 

Edited by PavlovsCat

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8 hours ago, PavlovsCat said:

people are writing to turn up the vocals

might have been more helpful to suggest making the LV more present in the mix, perhaps with some combination of complementary eq, compression, saturation?

here's another guy who "can’t listen to his vocals" and "claimed that he had only learnt how to sing 'recently' "

most (of my) vocal performances “make me cringe a little bit”

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