Recording - August 2016 - 24

I love recording studios. Every single one possesses a disI had initially planned to track the whole band live, for
tinct set of characteristics that comprise its 'personality': its
the freshest and most spontaneous takes. David agreed
sound, its look, its temperature, its smell, its vibe.
and said he'd always felt his vocals sounded their best
All these traits can, of course, have a significant impact
inside the Westminster Presbyterian Church, where he
upon the performances rendered within their confines and
currently serves as a deacon.
the music that comes out of them. Capturing the acoustics
It is at this point in the story that I should mention that
and aural 'feel' of a space can prove even more elusive
everything I love about recording studios also applies to
(illustrated by the scores of ads, articles, tools, and techchurches. Aside from their peaceful beauty and reverniques devoted to that quest within these very
ent feel, each has a distinct aesthetic personality
pages), as is determining how much or how little
that fascinates me. The wealth of thought and
of this information should even be present.
love that has gone into the design and construcPicture the tight, closely miked, overly deadtion is almost always readily apparent, as is a
ened and almost vacuum-like tone of mid-'70s
particular emphasis on the room's acoustics.
era drums. There could not be less of a presWith his church being the actual "home" of the
ence of the space within which they were
songs David writes, I asked if he thought we
recorded. Right? Now picture how prominentmight try an on-location recording session, where
ly featured the spaces are throughout produclisteners could hear and appreciate this room
er Daniel Lanois' work in the '80s and '90s
from his perspective, onstage. We even thought it
with artists like U2, Peter
might be great to utilize the
Gabriel, The Neville
church's organ, too!
Brothers, Emmylou Harris,
Goin' to the Chapel
and Willie Nelson. From
the stairwells of Kingsway
Our initial meetings
to the expansive splendor
focused on developing a
of Teatro, the studio is a
strategy from a logistical
By Sven-Erik Seaholm
big part of the sound
standpoint. To begin with,
throughout all of those albums.
while David often has help from any number of congregation
Studios like these and others often rely on projecting their
members in his performances, he doesn't regularly perform
unique personality consistently. Once Motown started enjoywith a band of his own. Assembling a group of players that
ing phenomenal commercial success with the hits they'd
would bring the right combination of discipline, dynamics, and
recorded at their own facility, everything in that studio was
creativity wasn't difficult, but multiple attempts at reconciling
nailed into place, so as not to disturb that winning Motown
the schedules of those four particular individuals (on top of
Sound formula.
David's and mine) proved fruitless. So we had put a band
With each new project I take on as a recording producer, I
together, just not all at the same time.
try to carefully consider the space where this group of songs
This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because we
will live (regardless of that setting being real or imagined) and
ended up with a more focused, rock-solid foundation for the
how to best utilize that information to frame each song. I feel
songs from which to build upon: David's acoustic guitar and
this approach helps to define a project's character, while servscratch vocal and drummer Ric Lee's soulful, swampy grooves.
ing to provide a sonic signature.
We came up with a session date that worked for us, with Ric
and David scheduling an additional rehearsal prior, to go over
The sound of worship
about a half-dozen or so of the songs.
With one client in particular (worship music artist David
The first thing I decided to do was panic.
Brauner), we've operated under a
What was I thinking? I didn't have a
slightly different overall stylistic
mobile recording setup ready to go.
premise each time, over the course
Maybe I had all the makings of one,
of several releases. The first album
but not a sleek, efficient, tried and testGod Is Love was firmly rooted in
ed option, no. Had I done location
Folk and Americana, so acoustic
recordings before? Yes. But that was
instruments were the focus. Lord Is
using the long-discontinued Roland VSMy Shepherd was mostly tracked in
880 digital recorder, and not in a
Nashville (with me producing the
space the size of this very large church.
backing vocalists in San Diego), so
I have a Dell Latitude E6250 laptop
this leans more to the country side of
with a 2.8 GHz Intel processor and 4
things. Spokes on a Wheel rocks a
GB of RAM. It has a battery life shorter
little harder, with more electric guithan it takes to pour a cup of tea, so it
tars making their way into the mix.
must always be plugged into an electriThe last album we did together was
cal outlet. This significantly tethers the
Fountain of Love, which took things
computer's "untethered" possibilities, as
into a totally new direction with
does the FireWire 800 cable it uses to
delays, guitar feedback, and an
connect to my PreSonus StudioLive
assortment of electronic textures pro16.0.2 mixer, which would serve as
viding a more 'liquid' ambience, in
both our recording and monitoring
keeping with the record's theme.
mixer and the system's digital audio
For this new project (entitled No
interface. My DAW of choice is
Man's Land), the goal is to capture
Presonus' Studio One 3, which was
and project the essence, energy, and
installed, updated, and tested for stabilentertainment of a crack band supity by recording 10 tracks simultaneousporting David's inspirational Sunday
ly to a Seagate external hard drive (via
morning performances.
USB) with this setup.

Takin' It To Church!

(mis)adventures in location recording

24

RECORDING AUGUST 2016



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - August 2016

 Contents
Recording - August 2016 - Intro
Recording - August 2016 - Cover1
Recording - August 2016 - Cover2
Recording - August 2016 - 1
Recording - August 2016 - 2
Recording - August 2016 - 3
Recording - August 2016 - 4
Recording - August 2016 - 5
Recording - August 2016 -  Contents
Recording - August 2016 - 7
Recording - August 2016 - 8
Recording - August 2016 - 9
Recording - August 2016 - 10
Recording - August 2016 - 11
Recording - August 2016 - 12
Recording - August 2016 - 13
Recording - August 2016 - 14
Recording - August 2016 - 15
Recording - August 2016 - 16
Recording - August 2016 - 17
Recording - August 2016 - 18
Recording - August 2016 - 19
Recording - August 2016 - 20
Recording - August 2016 - 21
Recording - August 2016 - 22
Recording - August 2016 - 23
Recording - August 2016 - 24
Recording - August 2016 - 25
Recording - August 2016 - 26
Recording - August 2016 - 27
Recording - August 2016 - 28
Recording - August 2016 - 29
Recording - August 2016 - 30
Recording - August 2016 - 31
Recording - August 2016 - 32
Recording - August 2016 - 33
Recording - August 2016 - 34
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Recording - August 2016 - Cover3
Recording - August 2016 - Cover4
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