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Posts Tagged ‘drum tracks’

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Featured Artist: Eliza Kelley

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Studio Pros artist Eliza Kelley has been a professional musician for years, but not of the rock variety. With a master’s degree in French Horn performance from Boston University, she has been playing and teaching classical music for a living in her hometown of Atlanta, GA. “I play with the Greenville Symphony, and I play in Atlanta with the Atlanta Pops and the ballet and the opera,” she says. “Those gigs are very fun, but they’re also very serious, very focused and high-pressure.”

Looking to enjoy the lighter side of music, Kelley took up a hobby as a singer/songwriter, a decision she’s glad she made. “I’ve been totally having a ball with it,” she says. But she didn’t initially intend on playing the indie-rock that now defines her sound until she began collaborating with Studio Pros. Originally writing pop songs with cello and percussion arrangements, it was a conversation with Studio Pros’ head engineer Kati O’Toole that convinced Kelley to go the rock band route. “When I talked to Kati the first time, she told me about the full production,” she remembers. “I thought I’d try it. I’m really happy with the direction it’s taken with Studio Pros. It does make me want to find a guitarist and bassist that I can go out and gig with.”

Kelley found Studio Pros while searching for ways to get professional recordings of her songs. “I was trying to record my own stuff. I have plenty of friends that are musicians, but getting a good recording, I mean I’m not a sound engineer,” she admits. “I could use some help with it, and I loved that Studio Pros was a great package. You get musicians and pretty much everything’s done for you. I didn’t have to rely on lining people up and doing all of that. I really loved the way that Studio Pros was all-inclusive.”

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Choosing the Right Instrumentation For Your Song

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

We love giving musicians a lot of options for their songs, but not every option can be right for every song. You should always carefully consider the instrumentation you choose. Not only will the right instruments make your track sound appropriate for its genre, they will also allow you to showcase the parts that are most important to your song. Here are a few choices you may come across when picking the right instrumentation.

Real drum track vs. programmed drums

The first decision to make is whether you would like a live drummer playing a real drum set or would rather have a programmed drum part. Usually if your song is rock, country, and certain kinds of pop, you’ll want the sound of one of our Los Angeles session drummers to give your song that full band, live sound. But if you do R&B, hip hop, electronic or top 40 pop music, you’re most likely going to want the sound of programmed drums.

Real vs. synth bass

A great bass line is a key part of a great song. That bass line can be played by a studio bassist, or we can program a synth bass line. Once again, it all depends on what vibe you’re going for with your music.

Guitars

There are many types of guitars that make all kinds of sounds: solid body guitars, hollow bodies, acoustics, electrics, etc. There are tons of different guitar sounds even out of the same guitar, too: different pickups, distortion, clean, reverbs, delays, and various effects.  Different guitar sounds fit with different styles: acoustic goes great with folk and singer/songwriter music, hollow body electric is perfect for jazz, etc.

Guitars also sound good when they’re layered, and rhythm guitar parts are often doubled in songs you hear on the radio. But don’t go overboard laying guitars; more than 3-5 and your song starts sounding muddy and undefined.

Keyboards and synths

Keyboards are similar to guitars: lots of options, but add too many and the listener won’t know what they’re supposed to be listening to. With keyboard tracks, you can have piano, organ, electric keyboards (like a Rhodes or Wurlitzer), and synth instruments (including string sections). If the rest of your song sounds very acoustic or live, you probably want to stick with one of the basics like piano or organ. If you’re producing a dance track, you’ll probably want to have a lot of cool synths and sounds that aren’t quite as “natural” as your standard keyboards.

Vocalists

Vocals are instruments, too. Even if you don’t use one of our vocalists for your lead part, they can add a new dimension to your music with harmonies or other background vocals. You’d be amazed what a few tracks of “oohs” can do for your song!

Horns

Studio Pros also offers horn sections.  Horn sections are essential for certain styles like swing and Latin music, but you might be surprised how many songs in other styles use horns, too.  A horn section can add a very unique element to your song, and they often bring the energy level up considerably when added to a recording.

Don’t forget that you can always mix it up—there’s no rule saying rock music has to have a live bass track or that rap can’t have a real drum set. We love to hear artists experiment and push the boundaries of their style. Just remember to always pick and choose your instruments wisely…  You want to make sure your listener gets the experience that you’re hoping for.

Can Keyboards Give Drummers a Run For Their Money?

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

If you want a great drum track for your song, you might want to practice your… keyboard skills?

Well, if this video teaches us anything, it’s that we musicians should probably start shedding our keyboard chops if we want to record a funky, tight drum part:

And if you want to really rock out, just follow this guy’s lead (he really busts it open at about 1:20):

So the moral of these two videos is this: if you want to record a drum track, you can lock yourself in your room, practice drumming on a keyboard for hours on end, and then maybe in a few years you might be able to play something that resembles a real drummer. Almost.

…OR…

You can spend all that time that you would have been practicing your fake drumming skills working on writing great songs instead, and have a real studio drummer lay down a live drum beat for your song within 48 hours.

So let’s do a quick recap: years of practice, or a two-day turnaround? Something that sort of sounds like a real drummer, or something that’s actually played by a professional studio drummer? A $2,000 keyboard, or a $150 drum track?

I’ll leave it up to you to decide which is the better choice! And when you’re ready to have studio-quality drums recorded for your next song, have Studio Pros make it easy for you!

Featured Artist: Chord Slinger N Lola

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Chord Slinger N Lola used Studio Pros as the glue that held together their long-distance musical collaboration.

When Chord Slinger N Lola instrumentalist Don Wallingford first heard Lola sing, he immediately imagined how her voice would sound over his music. “I said, ‘My God, that would be so good for my music,’” he remembers. The only problem was that they were living in two different parts of the country: Lola sang in a metal band in New York City, while Wallingford was based in Cincinnati. “I sent her an email and asked if she’d be interested in a collaboration,” he says. “My music was very different, it was more ambient stuff. But her voice just sounded like a perfect match.”

Lola is originally from Greece, but came to America to pursue a master’s degree in psychology. Some of her influences include the Cranberries, Fiona Apple, and The Gathering; Wallingford’s inspirations skew a little more toward classic rock artists such as Simon & Garfunkel and The Who, but he also loves some modern bands such as Green Day. The two of them started putting music on websites such as Thesixtyone.com where they enjoyed some success on the charts. As they moved on to bigger sites, the duo realized they might need to start getting a little more serious about their recordings.

“We were on Reverbnation about six weeks and we were number one in the region and doing pretty well globally,” Wallingford says. “We thought, you know what, we probably need to take this to a higher level.” Inspired by all the positive feedback they were getting, they decided it was time to record in an actual studio–but there was still the problem of being in remote locations. “We had another problem because I play all these different instruments on the synthesizer, but when I use drum loops it doesn’t sound the same as a real set of drums,” says Wallingford. “I’m also not the best bass player in the world. I can’t get that professional sound because bass isn’t really my thing. When one person’s doing all of the instruments, it’s impossible to get really good quality.”

As he was looking for options, Wallingford saw that Studio Pros had been selected by Sound on Sound magazine as the best online recording studio–which he realized was the exact type of service he needed. He soon became impressed with Studio Pros’ personnel. “I got to reading about how [Studio Pros] has all these Grammy award-winning people that really have their act together to play with you and make suggestions,” he says. “I talked to Lola and she said we should do it because we needed something studio-grade.”

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Featured Artist: Kevin Tye

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Kevin Tye had never made a professional product with his music.  With the help of Studio Pros, he’s now taken his passion to the next level.

Kevin Tye has quite a bit of musical experience–he played in local bands for almost a quarter century. Eventually he moved on to writing his own material, taking advantage of the fact that he could set up a home studio very easily with today’s computer recording options. These days, he writes and records songs in his spare time when he’s not a this full-time job as a teacher. “I do it as a passion,” he says. “I just like to create things.” But until recently, he had never attempted to make a fully professional recording of his music.

Tye writes in multiple styles and genres, but as of late he has been focusing his creative efforts mainly on writing country songs. He saw an ad for Studio Pros in a magazine. “I decided I would give it a try,” he remembers, “to see what one of my songs would sound like through a professional studio.”

“I was a bit unsure exactly how it was all gonna play out,” he admits. But Tye’s confidence grew with each step of the recording process with Studio Pros; it started with a song sketch and built from there, while he gave his input on each of the tracks as he heard them. He was particularly interested in hearing the musical direction his songs would take by letting Studio Pros’ session musicians make their own decisions. “I wanted to see what the choices would be for people who are doing this thing day in and day out,” he explains. Then, giving more of his own feedback as the process went on, Tye struck a balance that he felt optimized his songs. “In the end I think it was a good mix of musical choices. For example, the singer did some slightly different things in the vocal than I had done, which I ended up liking quite a bit. So it was kind of that process where I was just feeling it out at first, then giving more input at the very end stages.”

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Featured Artist: Jeff Heiniger

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Jeff Heiniger knew the importance of a professional production–so he turned to Studio Pros when he didn’t want to settle for anything less.

Jeff Heiniger has known what goes into a professional production for a long time. In 1987, he won a national songwriting competition in the UK that was put together by Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman. The prize: a chance to record in the Stones’ state-of-the-art mobile recording studio with top producers Mick McKenna and Terry Taylor. “It was brilliant to work with actual professionals,” Heiniger remembers. “They turned our demo into something that was fantastic.”

Heiniger first started taking music lessons after getting a piano when he was 13.  He also started listening to all sorts of pop music, from Electric Light Orchestra to Depeche Mode, ABBA to The Beatles. Since winning the competition he has put together a Pro Tools-equipped home studio, but soon realized that without a professional producer behind the board he wasn’t going to achieve the same sort of radio-ready product he got with is winning song. “The problem is that I’m not an engineer, so I didn’t have anybody to record my stuff,” he explains. “What I found was really good about Studio Pros was that the production was sort of taken out of my hands in a way.”

When he found the Studio Pros website, Heiniger was actually looking for session vocalists on the web. “I couldn’t find anyone locally who was any good,” he says. “It’s quite laborious, taking your music to a recording studio and finding an engineer who will record a session singer who you may not like. It seemed quite a lengthy process, and one that may not yield results at the end of the day.” He found himself intrigued by the Studio Pros website. “The site itself looked very professional. Professionalism and price were important.”

With Studio Pros, Heiniger was able to focus on writing a song on piano, then letting our team of world-class studio musicians build the rest from the ground up. Along the way, he would provide input and feedback to make sure everything came together how he wanted it. In order to make it easier, Heiniger would provide reference tracks with other music that matched the vibe he was going for with each song.

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Featured Artist: Rich Marcello

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

A seasoned songwriter and poet, Rich Marcello teamed up with Studio Pros to give his productions the professional edge he needed, and keeps on coming back for more.

Boston based songwriter Rich Marcello is no novice when it comes to getting out the ink and jotting it down.  With over 30 songs professionally produced with Studio Pros, he’s gotten the continual experience of producing his tracks online, and is regularly bringing Studio Pros more material to produce.  “I’ve been writing for around 20 years,” says Marcello.  “At first I did a lot of the production myself but several years ago I decided to get them professionally produced, which was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

Marcello came across Studio Pros (which was at the time DrumsForYou.com) through an online search and decided to give it a try.  Starting with just a drum track, he heard the quality of Studio Pros’ production team and decided to try it out for a full production.  “By letting other really talented musicians work on my material it really took my work to a much better place. I knew I found a great partner in music and I’ve felt that on every song Studio Pros has done for me.  I think Studio Pros is the best in the business–I won’t ever use anyone else,” Marcello stated.

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Featured Artist: Robert Norris

Monday, May 17th, 2010

With a little Studio Pros magic, Robert Norris is making music fun again.

Robert Norris had all but given up on music by his early thirties.  ”Music just wasn’t fun anymore,” he remembers. “I basically ran out of steam and decided to get on with my life.”

Norris had been a musician since he was a kid, when he took drum lessons and started his first garage band in junior high. As time went on, he began learning music theory, became a lead singer, and even got to sample the rock star lifestyle in the beach town of Marshfield, Massachusetts. “The summer we graduated, 1975, the drinking age was 18,” he says. “We were playing in bars that we were barely old enough to be in. Lots of fun, great experience, and a taste of the life.”

After a brief stint at UMass Amherst as a vocal music education major, Norris sang in several bands around the Boston area and began writing original music. After a band breakup, he took to the studio to record a cassette tape of original songs called Nobody’s Dream Come True. But despite getting some local airplay and seeing some interest in his songs, Norris felt like he had hit a wall; music was set aside and life went on.

But as most musicians can attest to, the music bug doesn’t easily go away; years later, Norris wanted to start singing again. But having been removed from the scene and all his old musician contacts for so long, he needed to hire session players for his recordings. “I contacted a studio locally,” he says. “Having no other viable options, I scheduled a four-hour session to start my first song. He charged me from the minute I walked in till the minute I left with no allowance for the three breaks the musicians took. And to make matters worse, I didn’t really like what we had recorded.”

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Featured Artist: James Robinson

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

With the help of Studio Pros, James Robinson made recordings on the road and expanded his production company’s clientele.

James Robinson is one of the lead writers and producers of APT6 Entertainment, a music production team (also including Dwayne and Dwight Madison and Greg Edwards) based out of Los Angeles, CA.  As self proclaimed “R&B heads,” the team is heavily influenced by such classic R&B greats as Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and The Underdogs, as well as modern acts like Neyo, The Dream and Trey Songz.

“R&B is just our thing,” Robinson says.  “APT6 was birthed in the church/gospel music scene, so it’s only natural.”

Robinson joined APT6 in 2007, two years after it was formed.  Though originally brought on as a hip-hop artist, he was eventually made a co-owner.  Between Robinson, Edwards and the Madison Brothers, APT6 covered the composing/songwriting and keyboard playing side of things.  Studio Pros helped them have everything they need to be a full-service production team.

“Studio Pros is amazingly simple,” says Robinson.  “I can’t stress that enough.  We uploaded our WAV files, then we were prompted to leave notes and examples of what we were looking for. Within 48 hours we had our first sample! The engineer was almost dead on AND open to making adjustments.”

He soon learned to love the rapid turnaround time that Studio Pros offered.  “When we asked for adjustments on bass levels and reverb, we were shocked at how fast the turn around time was–I believe it was within a few hours,” he remembers.  “That was when I became a huge believer in the quality and customer service of Studio Pros.”

But the real kicker for Robinson was that he and APT6 did everything while they were on the road.  “We were going back and forth between in-home setups and handling a lot of business,” he explains.  Being in one place was close to impossible.”  And what did he think of what Studio Pros did with his simple recordings?  “The results were amazing.” (more…)

Featured Artist: Roger Miller

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Roger Miller, like many musicians, is a bit of a perfectionist. Luckily, Studio Pros is full of perfectionists as well.

At the beginning of summer 2009, Roger Miller acquired the funding he needed to record a full-length album of his Christian alternative acoustic music. In order to get a professional sounding product, Miller decided he would head to Nashville, TN, rent out a recording studio, hire session musicians, and put together an album that could hold its own against any major label production. But during his online search for recording studios, he came across a more convenient option that caught his attention: Studio Pros.

Unsure of whether or not Studio Pros could really deliver the top quality product he was looking for, Miller sent in just one song to test the waters. The final product convinced him to continue on with his entire album. “The final album and the songs, they exceeded my expectations quality-wise,” Miller says.

Miller sang, played guitar and even some cello on his songs, but one of his favorite parts of the process was working with the professional studio musicians that Studio Pros provided. Through this recording process, Miller had access to some of the best musicians in LA playing on his songs, while still involving him in the production of his album. “Going into it, I had pretty high standards,” Miller says. But he was impressed with the caliber of playing he received. “The drum tracks were incredible. They were a lot better than I thought they were going to be. The backing vocals were stellar.” Miller used a strategy that combined using his own very specific musical ideas in conjunction with letting the musicians improvise and do their own thing when the songs called for it.

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