Recording My Own Music

In the last few years I have learned a lot about recording music. So much in fact, that I want to go back and record some of my old songs again, as well as adding to the backing band for my live shows. So after I record the whole song and export the full mix for my next CD Album, I then mute the lead vocal and lead guitar tracks and export (render) the backing band mix for my live concerts, a lineup I’ve called Mark and the Mp3s.

There is a saying about this city, Absolutely Wellington Weather! With a home recording studio I have a lot to do when it is no good for busking. I 1 studio A deskstarted recording this set with 3 songs I composed back in the 1980’s. The songs were performed for years solo without amplification. It is interesting using the computer to record 1 track at a time, multi-track arranging to sound like a full band.
This way everybody turns up for every practice on time, (so long as I remember to bring my phone). Learning to play the piano is challenging so I have been recording one hand at a time. That is not cheating! It allows me to pan bass left and the high notes to the right with about 20% pan. I use that technique with matching guitars and backing vocals quite often.

The solo songwriter has a lot more tools available now days. I only require a small 6 track mixer for input into a home computer. It has a 24 bit sound card and a program to record Wave files onto the computer hard drive. It is much easier to edit on computer than the old reel to reel tape machines that neinside bus tunnel studioseded time to run up to speed. One can add more effects and tracks on the computer, than most of us could ever afford to buy a rack full.
Another thing I have been also experimenting with is doing 3 and 4 part harmonies with many backing vocals (BV) Tracks.
Sometimes I will make a new track and put heaps of reverberation or long delay effect on that track. Then I select one word or phrase from the lead vocal track, and drag it into the effects track. The big deal about effects, is not to over-do it.


Cabbage Cake is what I call a 2 chord wonder. Blues-Jazz with a lot going on with a complex drum sample. Once I recorded the lead vocal and guitar chords, I copied the drums and pasted it at the end. Next I recorded a Bass Guitar track to complete the core band. Then started layering up the rest of the arrangement from there, so there is a big long jam after the singing is over. Copy and paste some of the Backing vocal parts here and there. You can groove in quite a few different ways around even just two chords.
The subject of this little ditty is about minimizing the harmful effects of smoking, by eating medicinal herbs. Although it is an attempt at using humor to express a point of view, reforming laws is quite hard and only some audiences will allow such artistic expression.


Re-Programming the Robots is a song about trying to busk in Queen Street in Auckland through the early 1980’s. This slightly more advanced 12 bar blues riff has 3 chords. This time there is a shorter jam at the end of the song.
At this stage I have most of the song sorted, the collection of robot samples is proceeding and voice robot effect are to come.


The 95% Tax Bracket is a song I wrote for Sir Piggy Muldoon. The ending has changed a lot over the years, and again once the former PM passed away. this take has another ending.
This time I made a big change to the lead guitar solo tracks. There are two guitars together, playing a set melody at certain times. The guitar treatment is quite a new and radical arrangement for this old song. I am presently finishing the repeat echo fade out at the end.
For those who used to hang out at the Blue Note on Cuba Street, Open Mic Night was a bit of a hoot in the early years after the great Y2k non event. Terry Shaw had a song about Doctor Who and would have the bar making Darlek Exterminate calls. This song would not be complete without the bar all attempting to do the Muldoon Laugh.



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