Few things bother me more than projects that go unfinished. I understand that sometime things come up, plans change and stuff happens. So we adapt and work through the changes. My project with COLDSHOT has presented some of these types of challenges and I've really tried to roll with the punches. Hopefully, despite some major set-backs we'll still be able to complete the project at some point in the future even though the band has re-located to Florida. Until then all I can do is reflect on the hurtles we faced and how to avoid them in future projects.
With the basic tracking done we set out to begin recording vocals at the bands rehearsal space in the basement below The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie. As usual I brought my Mbox/iBook rig and a choice of mics. Someone brought coffee and doughnuts and I neglected to advise the band's two singers to avoid the milk. Once we got the gear set up I asked which song they wanted to start with.We began with the only song for which they had actually nailed down their final parts for. The opening lines of the song was a screaming part. Nailing the scream part proved next to impossible with the milk-coated throats. So we moved on to other parts of the song, but with voices already strained we were compromising every step of the way. Then by mid afternoon we began hearing noise from upstairs. As it turns out there was an all ages matinee of bands beginning at 4:00 upstairs at The Chance so we had to call it quits.
The following week my Apple iBook called it quits.
The next vocal session we scheduled to have at one of the singers' home. Lacking the funds to purchase a new laptop I opted to bring my older Mac G3 "Blue & White" desktop computer to the session. A much slower machine than my iBook had been but certainly able to get the job of vocal overdubs done, although somewhat cumbersome to move. We avoided dairy products and got some good vocal takes that day from one of the band's singers. The new location seemed to be working out so we scheduled the next session to be held there as well. That following vocal session was attended by the entire band including both vocalists. The dynamic between these two very different style of singers is one of the qualities which makes COLDSHOT unique but that quality does come at a price it seemed, because there was considerable discussion and sometimes disagreement between them over each other's parts. Adding to that the presence of everyone else offering their opinion created a situation where there was a lot more talking than singing going on. Then when the girlfriend of the singer who's house we were in came home from work to find a house full of people the session was over.
The next session at the singer's house went really well for the first half of the day and we got most of the first singers parts done. After waiting a couple of hours for the second singer to arrive we finally heard from him and he was still hours away so we called it a day.
Now all throughout this project we were working under the specter of the bands impending re-location to Florida. The move date was pushed back several times but finally they all moved down there with the project unfinished. The plan is for each of them to get settled in to their new lives in Florida, then pick up where we left off. This could mean air travel for me, or them, or sending DVD back-up files down for them to complete the project on their own or with someone else. In the meanwhile here are some tips to avoid some of these problems in the future:
1) No Dunkin Donuts light & sweet coffee before vocal sessions.
2) Don't let the singer warm up with a scream.
3) The Chance Theatre is a good place to see a band, not a good place for a vocal session.
4) Technology is a tool which can never, never, never be trusted.
5) It's always easier to record singers who's words have been written down and agreed upon in advance.
6) A 1,400 mile long microphone cable is impractical.