Miracle of Sound - Encore

Miracle of Sound - Encore
"Sweet L.A." and "Little Sister"

MiracleOfSound | 26 Oct 2011 16:00
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"I can transform, I'm a transformer" - Gnarls Barkly

An open-minded music fan knows that a good song is a good song regardless of the style it is presented in. Before Miracle Of Sound the biggest problem I always had was fitting into a genre. Most of you have probably noticed by now that I like all kinds of music and enjoy experimenting with many genres and styles. When I was involved with bands, record labels and the mainstream music business, this was quite a headache for all involved.

Fast forward to today and things are very different. When I asked you guys to leave feedback on which songs you'd like to hear about, there were two songs that completely dominated the responses - "Sweet L.A." and "Little Sister."
t makes me glad to know that my audience appreciates when I do something a little different, a little more adventurous and dynamic. Not many musicians have that luxury. You guys celebrate the variety and lack of a defining genre, rather than oppose it like everyone in my past did. For that I am extremely grateful.

I also got some interesting questions from you all, so let's begin with those.

Questions

What gear do you have/use?

This often surprises people but I have very minimal, cheap gear. Some of this may sound alien to the non-music people, so I will try not to get too into the jargon. My list is as follows:

  • Shure SM58 Microphone - this is the only mic I have! Pretty standard microphone for doing vocals, but I use it for everything.
  • Fender Squire guitar (basically a cheap Stratocaster knockoff)
  • Tanglewood Rebel 4K bass guitar (90 Euros in the music shop downtown)
  • Ancient, dilapidated tiny Samick amplifier, held together with sticky tape and hope
  • Yamaha children's keyboard from the mid 90s

And that's it. That's all my music gear. To record and mix, I use a software called Cubase, and to do synths/programming I use Ableton Live.

My drums/beats are created with "drum hits." That is, I have a library of single drum sounds, like "BAM" or "THWACK," (which I have gathered over the years from various music tech magazines) which I literally copy and paste into the patterns I need using Cubase.

All my effects/compressors etc., are done in Cubase.
I am hoping to save up for some proper gear soon; I am wary about tackling a game like Skyrim without a nice, epic sounding orchestral simulator. So you may hear some new styles yet again over the next year, depending on how many albums I sell, ha!

What would you do if you inherited an elephant?

Sell it and use the money for decent recording gear.

How do you make the songs sound so big and full when it's just you?

By layering. I record each part separately and the computer plays it all back together. For example, for vocals I will almost always sing the main lead lines twice or three times, add in harmonies two or three times each, then have the whole lot play back at once. It adds a feeling of a group of people singing, which on a primal level is meant to hit our group mentality instinct and make people more likely to want to join in and sing along. Usually in the choruses of my songs there are 7 to 15 vocal tracks going at once, for the verses I try to leave it more sparse. ("Sweet L.A." was an exception to this rule, most of the song has just one lone vocal, with some extras coming in now and again).

I'll explain more about the layering process in the "Little Sister" section, as that song has tons of it.

"Sweet L.A."

This is, to date, the only MOS song with other musicians on it. LA Noire had such a definite, distinctive sound and I cannot play sax or any jazz instruments and my piano skills are laughable at the best of times. So I called up a couple of buddies and asked if they'd be interested in contributing: Jack O'Rourke, a wonderful pianist, singer songwriter and good friend of mine; , and Gary Baus, a well-known local sax player and DJ and a hugely respected name in the local Jazz/music scene.

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