Do you know what a "remote session" is? It’s a session in which musicians can enjoy music together while staying home during times like the State of declared to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Last time, I introduced the recording process (the previous article is here). This time, I would like to cover the process from mixing the sound sources, and editing the video, to the final release.
Title "I tried Genesis at home!" Part 2
Nakajima: Vocal and chorus
Sudo: bass, rhythm, keyboard, etc., and mixing
[Synopsis up to the last installment] I have recorded, Nakajima, Matsuda, and Sudo have all recorded for the remote session, but the drums and video for the drum part have not arrived. What happened? I received a sad e-mail from him, saying, "You can proceed without me." What on earth is wrong with him!?!?
● Drum part
I am Gennaka, who was transferred from Chiba Prefecture to Fukushima Prefecture on April. I couldn't even go home due to COVID-19, so I started the remote session with no equipment on hand. Eventually, at the end of May I went home and brought back my Yamaha MIDI pad “DTX-MULTI12”. While listening to the song on Saturday and Sunday of the next week, I was assigning tones to the 12 pads on the DTX, when I suddenly realized, "I need an expansion pad for the bass drum!?"
After some trial and error, I decided to do the snare and bass drum part with my left hand, but this is difficult (Trilok Gurtu did it with a cool face, but it was so difficult). In the end, I spent all of Saturday and Sunday on the task, but I could not reach a level where I could record, so I asked Mr. Nakajima if they could complete the session without me. He advised "Why don't you record the drums in the studio?" and I thought that a great idea. So I decided to put it into practice the following weekend.
I discovered that there are 3 studios near my current home, but when I called, but the answer was that the studios were closed due to COVID-19. But I finally managed to make a reservation with the the last studio I called.
Finally on the day of recording my part, when I headed to the studio, there was only one room, and it was small! I was thankful that I had a place, so when I tried to enter the room, I was warned that "Please change these sandals because shoes are strictly prohibited." Sandals for drums from now on. Moreover, specified sandals (tears). I was crying as I started setting up.
The drum set at the studio does not seem to have been maintained at all, the metal parts were rusty and the foot pedals could no longer be adjusted. I took steps to tune the snare and toms, but that took over 30 minutes.
When the set-up was completed, I went to the front desk to borrow a microphone for recording, and it was the guy who told me to put on the sandals. When I told him that I would like to borrow a microphone, he said, "I’m just helping out, so I don't know what’s going on". I managed to borrow the microphone, but for some reason there was only one studio ceiling recording microphone, and the other one had been removed because the cable was dead... In the end, I borrowed 3 vocal mics, put them in position, and managed to record my part.
I was told that the sound from the mixer could be recorded directly on the built-in CD-R recorder. So I tried pushing the open/close button on the disc tray to put in the CD-R I had brought. The tray didn't move. When I went to tell the staff that I couldn’t open the tray", he said, "What, again?" In the end, I wasn’t able to use the recorder, so I decided to use my own PCM recorder instead. I connected it to the mixer, but the sound was breaking up even if I adjusted the recording level, so I gave up on the mixer and decided to record with the PCM recorder using the built-in stereo microphones. Therefore, the above picture is a sad shot record of set-up microphones that were useless (lol)
When you look closely, I rented the studio for 3 hours but only finally got started recording properly after 2 hours. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a satisfactory level. At least I was able to gain an understanding of how familiar I was with my own equipment. I was left wondering if anything could be made of this recording... Anyway, I will leave it to Mr. Sudo.
＜Recording＞ Video was shot with a digital camera on a tripod. I am actually recording in the video at the same time.
"Sound Recording/Video Recording completed"
It's been a month since we started. Now we finally have all the sounds and video materials. The sound source and video materials from all of the members were sent to Mr. Sudo, and he got started on the release. All of the data is aggregated on the Internet. It's a convenient world because you can send data of any size.
"Mixing the music files"
Basically, only Mr. Sudo knows who is playing what. Let's take a look at the mixing stage. I got the sound sources from all the members, and it was relatively easy to mix. The guitar part sent to me at the very beginning had the same timecode as on my DAW, so I just imported the file and did not actually “mix” it. I just finished up by adjusting the volume.
By the way, I use a DAW called Cockos Reaper for the mix. The operation of the DAW is light, so it is convenient because you can immediately try something the moment you think of it. I used Pro Tools to record my own bass and keyboard and the drive drums, so I exported wav from that and imported it into Reaper. I also arranged the tracks for the original sound on the DAW.
A few days later, vocals, chorus, etc. were received. It probably had something to do the DAW environment, but the position of the file head was misaligned for some reason. So I adjusted that. I was working at 48kHz/24bit, but the vocal part file I received was 44.1kHz/16bit. However, Reaper is useful because you can mix any files in the same session. Also, the sound was tinny for some reason, so I corrected it with a multiband comp. After that, I added effects such as reverb so to smooth out the sounds.
The sound quality of the drum file was a little strong in the cymbals, so I also corrected it with a dynamic EQ. The sound of the snare was also a little weak, so I sliced out all the snares and triggered in samples to gently fix this. I used the AKAI XR10 snare sampling because it is close to the sound of the original and I was familiar with the drum that Genchu-san was actually using.
"Mixing of video and music data"
The performance videos were received from the members. These record the scenes that are actually being played, as well as some who played along with their recording. Everything is guided by the sound source with the click sound, so it should aligned well. If you look at it closely, it seems like it's surprisingly well done. If you turn off the sound, you wouldn’t know it, but in reality, the guitar, vocals, and keyboard are all in the act. Video editing can now be done with simply by studying Davinci Resolve video editing software during this time of self-restraint due to COVID-19. Also, Davinci Resolve's audio features are rich, so for a moment I wondered if I should mix with Davinci Resolve, but I stopped that thought in its tracks.
"The video is finally released!"
Somehow, all of the drama is packed in this little 4 minute video. It was a strange sense of accomplishment because it was also a mini recording of the collaborative work with musician friends I usually meet in the studio. As of June 2020, we are still not at a point where it is possible to open up large venues to attract customers, playing at live houses and so on, but I think that it’s not bad that we’re able to share music in this way as well. This time, the happiness of being able to make music with friends was reconfirmed for me through remote sessions even when we cannot get together.
And here is the completed video.
The Remote Session Challenge # We tried Genesis at home!
It would be great if you could feel the sense of all of us playing in the same place.
Now, when’s the "online drinking party"?
Genesis “Throwing It All Away” Cover 2020
Performed by Reprint Genesis（http://www.genesis-tribute.com)
Yasuo Nakajima/ Vocals, chorus
Matsuda Atsushi/ Guitar
Isao Gennaka / Drums
Toshiaki Sudo/ Bass, rhythm programming, keyboards
Production & Video Editing by Toshiaki Sudo