How Bekah Kelso & The Fellas Recorded NO STRANGER
Recorded at Zinc Media, This project reflects one way of thinking towards production. Capture as much of the original performance as possible. For this we spent weeks rehearsing and performing these songs. Bekah’s previous albums had been recorded through a “Production Style” lens that allowed us to experiment with parts as they are being created and captured. Now it was up to the performers to have all those things embedded in the performance. The rhythm section, Keyboards, Bass, and Drums, were captured in a two-day session.
Our goal was to capture the moment with minimal, what we call, “ProTooling”. We wanted vibe, feel, and all those other intangible superlative qualities.
Tracking for the rhythm section was done 10/4 &10/5 2014. Since we knew what went where and why it was a matter of picking the best take.
Set up was done the day before tracking. Ryan(Drums) and I spent about 5 hours tweaking and tuning drums, placing and replacing microphones. Essential tools were masking tape and 3-In-One lubricant for rattles and squeaks. Bass drum had an EV RE-20 and snare had an Audix i5 (top)through Universal Audio’s Apollo Unison Mic preamp using API Vision Channel Strip. Bottom snare had an Earthworks small diaphragm condenser. Toms had SM57’s. Hi-Hat had an Earthworks. Overheads were a matched pair of Ride NT5s in an X-Y configuration through a Langevin Dual Mono into an Avalon Vt 747sp Tube Compressor.
Keyboards(Ricky) and Bass(Damian) were recorded direct(D.I.). Keys went through Universal Audio’s 4-710D and the bass went through Universal Audio’s Apollo Unison Mic preamp using their UA 610-B.
Even though we had Bekah isolated from the drums, the acoustic guitar proved troublesome to capture along with the vocal to our standards. We could have used the line output but we wanted the microphone sound. Any movement while recording caused frequency inconsistencies between the vocal and guitar mic. So, If I applied equalization to the guitar then the vocal would take that too introducing phasing and comb filtering. We felt the need for more control of the Vocals and Acoustic guitar so we decided to overdub. What was different about the overdubs was we were all in the same room “jamming and grooving” to Bekah’s performance as she was recording first the guitar then vocals. We didn’t plan on it. We didn’t say,”OK, you know what would make this awesome?” It just happened. I was facing the computer. We were all in headphones. I begin to feel Bekah’s already near flawless performance kick up a notch. When I turned around it seemed Ricky and Ryan were in their own world visualizing their parts and “feeling” the tracks. We all noticed and continued to oblige throughout the rest of vocal and guitar tracking. Maybe its nonsense but we can’t deny we all felt “it”. Vocal was recorded using a Dave Pearlman TM-1 Tube Condenser Mic into Universal Audio’s 4110. Acoustic Guitar was tracked using an AKG 414 XLS also through the 4110.
We sang our harmonies together(Ricky,Ryan,Damian), again for vibe and feel. We were lightly isolated from each other so the minimal bleed didn’t let us use pitch correction which was something we wanted to avoid anyway. In this case, at the mix, I found the bleed actually helped “glue” the harmonies together. For harmonies we used Blue’s Baby Bottle, Neumann TLM 193 and AKG 414.
The album, No Stranger, was release February 27th at Sam’s burger joint in san Antonio,TX here’s video of “Wicked Love” featuring Dooley.