Do you know what a "Remote Session" is? It’s a session where musicians, who have to stay home during the COVID-19 crisis, enjoy playing music together online. A lot of people collaborated with Gen Hoshino to create "Dancing at Home" and it became a hot topic online. That is also one kind of remote session. Many other remote sessions have been uploaded on YouTube, and so on, and there seem to be various different methods. YAMAHA has had an online ensemble service app called "NET DUETTO" for a long time, and upgraded it to a service called "SYNCROOM" in June. Currently, there are online meeting services like ZOOM and Skype, but it is quite difficult to play at the same time under different communication environments, due to the varying time lags. So how do multiple members perform simultaneously? This time, I actually challenged myself and my bandmates with a remote session, so I would like to introduce the process.
The title is "I tried Genesis at home!"
Nakajima: Vocal and chorus
Sudo: bass, rhythm, keyboard, etc., and mixing
The Beginning of things
The band that I (Nakajima) play with is called "Reprint Genesis", and is a Genesis copy band, which is active in Tokyo. We belong to a genre called tribute bands and we spend a lot of effort on what we do. Due to the influence of the COVID-19, such band activities have stopped. Even if we wanted to make music together, both live houses and studios are practicing self-restraint, and there would be no space to play. The event for Genesis fans scheduled in June was canceled as well. Originally we were supposed to play the event. At a time like this! !! !! !! First of all, we had an "online drinking party"! !!
One of the members has transferred to Fukushima Prefecture, and it had been a while since we were online, and even longer since we all got together. The talk was lively, and we were saying, "Which song would you like to do if you were able to work?" Still, at the time we were thinking "When does this situation end?", we talked about the remote session released by GOMES THE HITMAN in which Mr. Sudo plays. All the members were playing at home! It looks like fun! Drummers were hitting cardboard! ?
GOMES THE HITMAN / Carolina (2020 remote session ver.)
Mr. Sudo said, "I'll help you with your session for Genesis Reprint," but while I don't know how to do it, we decided to start with "Let's do it!" The song was easily selected -- Genesis’ “Throwing It All Away” from the possible songs that Nakajima mentioned. This song is a single-cut from the 1986 hit album "Invisible Touch".
Genesis / Throwing It All Away (1986)
The reason we chose this song is that the lyrics match the situation right now.
If you want to know more about the lyrics, please search "Genesis Throwing It All Away Japanese translation". Another reason for choosing this song is that it’s easy for all performers do a 4 beat song.
Currently, there are only four band members (not including the keyboards). First of all, we talked about what to use as a guide, and Mr. Sudo said, "How about each member recording their performance of the main track with a click track" to the original song (similar to a metronome, it’s a sound source with a nice counting sound). Click tracks were used as a guide to record each part and finally, to mix the sounds. In the end, this guide sound source will be deleted. In theory each part should fit well. Video recording was done in parallel. It takes a lot of work to edit, but anyone with a smartphone and a recorder can record their recording sessions. This is also theoretical. Below is a record of the work done by each member.
For the core fans of Genesis’ "Throwing It All Away", does it really matter? I figured it did not, so, when I received this request, I felt like, "Well, I’ll do what I can...". (No, it's not like that. It's a very good song, and I did my best. (^ ^；))
The guitar was recorded using a "HOHNER's headless". It does not take up much space and can be easily leaned against a wall without a stand. So it has been one handy piece of equipment in the long-term. I tried to get the right sound using the classic Line 6 POD. (Is it a little too distorted?) I still uses SONAR LE on my computer, which was bundled with something I got long, long ago. It's not a big deal, but is generally enough for my purposes. Usually, I copy the live version of a song, but when I watch the live footage, it noted the "semitone is different" and the sound I was sent was the studio version. So this time I based my cover on the studio version. One cool feature of this song is that it can be played with your fingers without using a pick. I'm looking forward to getting everyone's recordings and see what kind of Genesis we will end up with. 《Recording》 I used a Squier Strat (pictured left) instead of HOHNER for filming. It just looked better this way.
I (Nakajima), who live with his aged parents, don't have an appropriate environment where I can sing at home whenever I want to, so I recorded the vocals when my parents were attending the "Elderly Gymnastics Club". It was a Sunday afternoon! I used a SHURE microphone (SM58) → audio interface → PC (Mac). Monitoring is from PC via headphones (SONY MDR-CD900ST). I mixed it like karaoke, listened to it, and added more chorus parts.
I used Mix Pad software (free trial version). After checking the results, I divided it and saved each track as a Wav file. There were four tracks in all, and all were entrusted to Mr. Sudo, who mixed the sound without any effects. The work was easy, but there was some difficulty matching the vocals to the click track, the sound was flat, the lyrics were incorrect, and so I re-recorded it dozens of times during the finishing process. To be honest, I want to record even more. If this song were live, there would be a call and response with the audience. Is it possible to reproduce such a thing????
《Recording video》I bought a selfie stick with a tripod at a home electronics store. I filmed myself singing along to the music that I made. Singing along with the song, it felt like I was singing in a different dimension. Anyway, I concentrated only on the mouth being in time with the music. The mood is like a Showa singer who speaks a lot. But in fact, I had to do many retakes. Shooting was done with a smartphone. I was shooting with the curtains fully open so that natural light could enter the room, and I had to smirk once when my eyes met with the next door neighbor’s eyes.
●Bass, drive, keyboard part
This tale began when Mr. Nakajima saw the GOMES THE HITMAN remote session. The GOMES THE HITMAN was an original song, and each part was added to the vocal/guitar narration.... I wondered whether or not it would be interesting for a tribute band covering a tune to change the sound of the original. I decided to send a guide track to everyone to see what they thought.
While listening to the original (I tried to figure out the tempo and created the click track), the song was super easy for a Genesis song (although it was in a strange key), so I roughly copied it to the end of Verse 1. I recorded with the Fender Jazz Bass that I happened to have on hand. I copied all of the phrases to the end, but I felt it would be appropriate to alter the second and subsequent verse. (Sorry to Genesis fans!)
When I listened to the song after getting Mr. Matsuda's guitar part, I noticed that the keyboard was not all that difficult, and even the drums could be input using one basic pattern. So that’s what I did. The piano is CASIO PX-120 and the synth is KORG POLY-800. It's interesting that the synth part sounds a little like the original. I also added Kalimba-like sound in the background.
I recorded the bass and keyboards using line recording, and Pro Tools DAW. (I used a DEMETER Bass Preamp in the photo for recording the bass. I knew that it was a famous manufacturer because Lee Sklar used it.) 《Recording video》 The video for recording bass was shot live. Keyboard scenes were all recorded after the fact.
Three people have finished recording, so now we just wait for the drums from Mr. Genchu. However, it was hard to get a response from him. And when we finally did, it was an email saying, "You can proceed without me!" !! !! !! What happened!? What happened!? Will this project fail after all!?
Next time, a moving (liar’s!) finale!
"Remote session completed! YouTube release!"