I've just finished an 8-hour recording session. Well, eight hours less the time for supper. But by and large, we spent that time working. Figuring out the songs, finding just the right tempo, then playing through it to get the piano tracks right.
To make sure the tempo stays the same throughout the song, I play the reference tracks to a 'click track'. Imagine singing a song while wearing headphones on that are feeding 'tick-tick-tick-tick' constantly into your ears. I started giggling and almost asked "what is that mysterious ticking noise?" but restrained myself.
Apparently I am some sort of click track prodigy. According to Tim the Producer, it usually takes several tries to get it in sync, but I'm generally managing to keep the tempo right the first time through.
After that's done, I stop playing and sing the same song through, now with the piano recording I've just done playing in my headphones. That's done two, three or more times depending on how it goes. These aren't the final vocal cuts, but you never know, I might get a little piece of vox that's just perfect.
The microphone I'm singing into is beautiful. It's vintage. It's ridiculously expensive. A 1968 Neumann something-or-other, but there must be some sort of magic pixie dust inside it because it sure makes me sound better than I think I do.
This is not the norm, but I am adding some BGVs (background vocals) to the reference tracks. I had them swimming in my head and wanted to see if they worked, so Tim very obligingly is recording these.
I listened to the final playback of one song today and teared up. I didn't know it could sound so good. And these are the 'reference only' tracks. What will it sound like in the final cut?
I found myself wishing I could tell Josh about it and hear his take on it.