Our second year FdSc Audio and Music Technology students have been Doing It For Real this week by taking part in a series of recording sessions in Confetti’s flagship studio, Electric Mayhem with drummer Jonny Aitken (Spiritualized) and bassist George Butt.
We went to meet students Joe Langford, Sam Shaw, Alex Hill and Chris Ball straight after their recording session to find out how they’d gotten on.
Confetti: Hi, how’s it gone this morning?
Students: It’s been a really good session, we’ve had a good time.
Confetti: Great! So, we know you’ve been recording drums, but what have you been trying to achieve this morning?
Students: Well, we’ve been in here for three hours recording the Beck song ‘Sexx Laws’ with Jonny and George. We’ve been trying to capture a really raw drum sound, so have used a stripped back micing set-up and have spent time experimenting with different mics and positions.
Confetti: Sounds good, so what did you end up going for? Can you talk us through your set-up?
Students: Well we used a matched pair of AKG C414 on the overheads. They’re condenser mics and sound really bright, we weren’t micing up the tom’s so these mics were really good for getting the brightness of the cymbals whilst still picking up the toms and capturing the really nice wood tone of the kit. We wanted to get a wide sound on the recording so we spent time experimenting with spacing. To begin with, the mics were just too close together so the width wasn’t there, we spaced them out more to make sure we got a really nice sonic image of the kit.
Students: For the kick we used the AKG D112. At first we had some issues with our positioning on the mic – we started off close to the kick drum and ended up moving further away to get a wider frequency pick up. Given more time we might have actually changed our mic selection for this one. It was quite dark and we didn’t get the punch we were after from the kick drum. We definitely needed to spend a bit more time with this one. We’ll be looking at trying to get some of the muddiness out of the track at the mixing stage.
Students: We only miced the top of the snare, we started with an SM57 but we felt it didn’t really capture the brighter snare sounds so we swapped it for a Neumann KM184 condenser, so we could get more of the rattle of the snare into the recording. I think it was really just a time thing why we didn’t try micing up the top and bottom of the snare. We’re really quite keen to do some more experiments, perhaps micing from the side of the snare. We were reading an article where Tame Impala said that’s how he captures his signature snare sound, we really want to try it!
Confetti: How was working with Jonny?
Students: Working with Jonny was awesome, he’s a really cool guy and was really patient with us and up for letting us experiment with micing techniques. He’s a really knowledgeable artist (and ex. Confetti student) so he helped guide us when we were having difficulties. He was really enthusiastic and offered loads of great advice.
Confetti: Jonny how did you find the session this morning?
Jonny: It’s a real pleasure being back in Electric Mayhem – it’s a fantastic studio. It really stretches the student’s knowledge because they are using the analogue desk and it’s a real industry setting. I thought their communication was spot on and we ended up with some good recordings. It went really well!
Confetti: Thanks everyone we’re looking forward to hearing the final mix!
The FdSc Audio and Music Technology students will be working on recording other instruments for this track over the coming weeks. Keep your eye out for the next instalment of In The Studio.
Want to be recording in Electric Mayhem? Check out our degree level course in Music Technology.