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Band EP issues looking for advice/input.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Highroler79, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. Highroler79


    Apr 24, 2013
    Hello Talk Bass, looking for some feedback/insight.

    My Original band is working on recording our EP, me and my brother write most of the songs our singer has written a couple and we have a home studio.

    I finished the ruff mixes, we are a 4 pieces rock and roll group, on some of the songs I added triggers to the drums to give more dance or EDM fell to the songs. My thinking is that rock music doesn’t really sell so I am trying to incorporate other popular genres into our songs for more mass appeal.

    I was planning on re-tracing most of the drums and vocals to get better takes, the vocals I tried to get our singer to do new harmonies/takes so I could stack/blend them and experiment with them. But I wanted to get copies to the guys so they could work on there parts and be ready to re-track them.

    Long story short our drummer does not like the mixes at all, he doesn’t like the synths/keys, the heavily process vocals and especially the triggered drums. He has a friend who is a local producer and wants to do the EP with him for a more traditional rock sound.

    I am hoping for any insight from the Talk bass community, what do you guys think? Is Rock and Roll dead so we focus on more experimental sounds?

    If anyone wants to listen, I added 3 of the tracks below,
    I would appreciate any feedback or input,


    Attached Files:

  2. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    No matter what, your odds of making significant money from your project are slim at best. Moreover, if you can reproduce the music on stage, you aren't going to be able to get gigs and expand your base.

    Focus on making the music the best it can be, and what you enjoy creating.

    There are plenty of rock bands out there.
    MonetBass likes this.
  3. darkwasthenight


    Oct 17, 2010
    OK, so I took a listen through these three tracks over lunch and had a bit of time to have a think about them.

    From the information you've given us I get the impression this is a project mostly led by yourself and your brother, but I think you still need to have a discussion with the other members involved about the musical direction you're going for to make sure you're all on the same page. If one of you is extremely unhappy about the mixes then there's eventually going to be trouble further down the road. Did you discuss the production before you went into recording or was it sprung on the drummer afterwards? I can see how he might be annoyed having his performances replaced by triggered sounds without consultation - petty perhaps but music is a very personal thing and musicians often have what might be considered 'irrational' feelings about aspects that other people wouldn't consider important.

    I'm not going to go too in depth regarding the actual production, because if you're happy with it then that's the important thing, but from a constructive criticism angle I would say that it's an unusual production technique for your style of music and while that's not necessarily a bad thing I'm not sure it has the effect you're looking for. For example, of those three songs there is practically no stylistic overlap with any other aspect of modern EDM or Dance music so you probably aren't going to pick up many fans in that area, and a lot of people who might otherwise enjoy you as a straightforward rock band might get turned off by the production. I didn't have many reservations about the vocal production which was fairly processed but still interesting - I definitely thought that the synth and vocal additions were a lot more sympathetic than the drums and could work as part of a modern rock sound in a different context.

    I understand the pressures and complexities of getting a decent acoustic drum sound in a home recording setup but I felt like the particular samples used for the electronic sounds began to sap power from the songs rather than adding any; perhaps a more 'acoustic' set of samples might help in this regard and also appease the drummer somewhat? I have found that modern rock drummers are possibly more comfortable with triggered acoustic sounds, which are now a fairly regular part of the metal and hard rock palette, than they are with an entirely synthesised sound. Failing that, perhaps a mix of the acoustic and sampled kits could complement each other?

    As mentioned above, there are a million rock bands out there doing the same thing so approaching a project from an unusual perspective isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the important thing is that you're all happy with the finished product. In this case you aren't, so you have a need to either compromise the music in order to make the musicians involved happy, or compromise the lineup and replace the drummer with someone more sympathetic to the production choices. Unfortunately a tough call either way!
    DirtDog, MonetBass and Ross W. Lovell like this.
  4. Highroler79


    Apr 24, 2013

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply, and insight.

    I was looking to have the drums sounds more like a EDM/dace drum beat, so the songs would sound more like music that is getting air play, Some examples of newer bands that I was referencing were,

    Imagine Dragon, Panic at the Disco, OneRepublic, Charlie Purth, etc,

    These type of bands is also where I was getting ideas for the vocals.

    I know what you mean by saping the power, ie on FMOW even the FC the snare sounds a little week, my main focus was on making the kick sound like a big 808. After I fist mixed them I was thinking of have all hi-hat and rides taken out and replaced with drums, wood blocks etc. On most modern music I hear the cymbals are almost non existent ie Muse and I knew he would not like that idea.

    here was the Drummers text,

    Hey man I have been thinking about it and respectfully I just wanna be honest I don't like the recordings there to busy, and focus is all over the place it doesn't even sound like the band which is a concern I honestly have to turn them off, i cant get through one I find them hard to listen to too I am just really confused about it and I am a rock drummer and all my drums are electronic and there so many extra instruments we cant replicate

    Thanks again for taking the time to listen and offer your input.
  5. Highroler79


    Apr 24, 2013

    Thanks for the reply and listening,

    The chance of making money from any original project is slim,
    When I listen to most 90's rock it all has strings, keys etc in the background to add to the song and those bands didn't tour with a orchestra.

    I would say there are plenty or "rock" bands out there but "rock band" in 2018 is 21 pilots, panic at the disco, muse, these bands are very far from what I would have considered 'rock" 15 years ago. With the exception of Greta Van Fleet.
  6. BlueShox

    BlueShox Registered Turtle

    Jul 14, 2007
    West Columbia, SC
    Sounds a little like some early Interpol with a little Tame Impala mixed in. Fire the drummer, you guys can always use backing tracks live to fill the sonic space. Or don't, and nobody will probably notice or care. I saw Panic at the Disco live about 3 years ago, and they performed as a 4-piece band. They did have some tracks, but the majority of their set sounded like a 4-piece rock band interpretation of their heavily produced radio songs.

    The 20,000 people at PNC Pavillion didn't really seem to mind.
    DirtDog likes this.
  7. Highroler79


    Apr 24, 2013
    Thanks for the replay and input,

    I just quickly check out Interpol, yes this is what I want the music to sound kinda like rock and roll "inspired" catchy and familiar but kinds new and fresh. Tama's sound is awesome too.

    I know what I will be listing to tonight for reference, I am just getting into "newer" music I like most people listen to a lot of the music that I grew up with, and am trying to get out of my comfort zone with music. I just really got into muse about 3 years ago.

    I actually really like Charlie Purths new album, I just downloaded it for reference after hearing the baseline on Attention.

    I am just getting into Panic at the Disco, but everything I hear is unique and sounds great, and that is what I am thinking when we play live we are very tight and sounds good, but I want to try to push things on the EP a bit, I really liked Smashing pumpkins in the 90's I saw them live a couple times and they were great, but some songs were different than the album. I will see if I can find a PATD show without a drummer just to check it out.

    Thanks again, if you have any other band suggestions that I check out I would appreciate it,
  8. darkwasthenight


    Oct 17, 2010
    The pop-rock band I play with uses track live and incorporates electronic sounds into the songs to complement the drummer in the same way as those bands would, if not exactly the same musical style, so I understand the context you're trying to use them in.

    The difference I'm hearing is that these tracks and parts weren't originally written with that vocabulary in mind and you seem to be focused on sounds that might work in a purely electronic context but not in a full band mix. In terms of sounds, a muted 808 kick is not something I would generally associate with the thump and click needed to make a kick stand out in a rock track, and it's not the more aggressive electronic sound that Muse might use either.

    In terms of parts, when my group use electronic sounds on a track alongside our acoustic drummer he writes his parts with the programming in mind and leaves a lot more space to make them effective. Your drummer hasn't had that time to prepare and so wrote his parts for acoustic kit so they're appropriately busy and dynamically designed for that instrument. The lack of cymbals in Muse tracks is a perfect reference; Acoustic drums and programmed percussion are two very different instruments and you can't just hard swap parts written for them in the same way that you can't just replace a bass guitar with a synth bass. I mean you can easily just copy and paste a million wooden blocks instead of toms, but it has a tendency to come out at the other end sounding like a college kid halfway through their first MIDI project!

    Now I'm not really suggesting your project sounds like that, but of the three tracks I've heard they do have moments where they feel like an audio experiment bolted onto a straight ahead rock band. I think if you're definitely looking at focusing on an electronic/modern rock sound you need to take a look at your songwriting and/or arrangement to find more common ground with the bands you're wanting to sound like, because their arrangement and production techniques aren't just as simple as replacing the acoustic kit with an electronic sound.

    The good news is that your drummer appears to have brought the issue up quite constructively instead of immediately throwing a fit and quitting, so if he's a solid drummer and you want to keep him on board then after a sit down and a chat you might be able to come to a compromise and not have to go looking for another one!
  9. BlueShox

    BlueShox Registered Turtle

    Jul 14, 2007
    West Columbia, SC
    I think I may have worded that a bit weird, what I meant was they performed as a 4-piece rock band in that they had a drummer, bass player, guitar player, and front man. They did use some tracks live, but for the most part their songs sounded like straight forward rock interpretations of their heavily pop-processed radio hits. I think you can do both, too. You can make a more pop-processed album and still play them very rock like live.

    Not exactly the same genre (but the same context), my favorite band is Manchester Orchestra. Their last album was very dialed back in terms of guitar tones, using a lot of glassy cleans and reverb; its very angelic and pretty. However, when I've seen them play it live, the gain is at 10 and they rock everything out and its awesome in a whole different way. Nobody says that your album and live performance have to be the exact same thing, and in fact they very rarely are going to be.

    My band (link in sig) uses some light tracks live, but our album has a ton of digital drum triggers and synth parts that we can't recreate live as well as some layered guitar parts. We get things as close as we can, but also make it different enough that we're not reaching for 100% replication. I would much rather my band's live show feel different than the album as opposed to less.
  10. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    Frankly, the question of whether the new mixes are better is putting cart before horse. You have a competing vision problem within the band that needs to be hashed out first with a heart-to-heart discussion. It doesn't matter if the tracks are better and you can win the argument by getting consensus from TB that they are. If I'm reading correctly, it sounds like the drummer was unilaterally steamrolled on a major band decision. Maybe he's wrong, but feeling left still feels like being left out. If so, that's a bad sign of trouble for the future.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
    RiffwRiter and knumbskull like this.
  11. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    Agreed - sounds like you (OP) are putting the cart several miles before the horse!

    i had a listen - if it was me, I'd re-record in the studio. i didn't mind the vocal processing but the drums were definitely not doing it for me. a nice punchy rock drum sound would make it much better, in my view.

    for the record, i think it's a mistake for a new originals band to try to change their sound to second-guess "what the market wants" - much better to try to find sounds that YOU like and develop them into something good.
    RiffwRiter, GBBSbassist and MonetBass like this.
  12. Highroler79


    Apr 24, 2013

    Thanks for getting back to me, the issue of just swapping the acoustic drums for triggers was just like you said. After I had the electronic sounds set up I felt needed more space or less hits when we re-track them,

    Thanks again, your info had been very useful and helpful
  13. Highroler79


    Apr 24, 2013
    I checked out your band very cool tracks,
    and the live version/acoustic version of storm was just as good, I like when bands do acoustic version/re-interpretations of there songs,

    I will check out Manchester Orchestra today, I was also checking out another band "Night Move" that I need to look more into
  14. Highroler79


    Apr 24, 2013

    Thanks for the reply and checking out the tracks,
    I am not looking to win a argument because I am always right (JK)

    I am just curious of what the TB community thinks about releasing "new and original" music,

    In the last 15 years I have seen most of the live venues in my state shut down, attendance to any of the rock bars is at a all time low, and this is a collage town. DJ's/Clubs/ ect are what people want now (I know there are people who say bring back rock and roll but they all seam to be older musicians who only listen to the music they grew up with and don't buy or support any new rock acts)

    Even worse than the live shows are CD sales and revenue from streaming services ie Spotify, it takes 25K streams to make $1,000.

    I am looking at ways to have a new/unique sound to the music and to do something a little different to help build a fan base, I grew up in the 90's and the music was taking inspiration for every genre and style and combining it into rock music. I also want the band to start releasing 2 covers every week on youtube and do band comedy skits or music news skits etc. There are guys like leep frog studios who are doing "metal" covers of every type of song under the sun, but he does it in a unique and interesting way, he is getting a million views on each cover he does.

    I don't fell like I am steamrolling the drummer, when you joining a project or group you will get some input but at the end of the day the Band Leader or Producer has the last say on the album. We all like different music, but especially live you are there to play for the audience and what they want not what you want. but I can be a little stubborn and hard headed so I do appreciate your view, I do think the drummer is decent and he has come up with some good ideas for "pauses" etc in some of the songs, but he is also the newest member of the band we have been playing with him for under a year, our last drummer was here for school.
  15. Highroler79


    Apr 24, 2013

    Thanks for listening, and the reply

    I always had the intention of re-doing the drums even before we recorded the tracks, because we had only been with the drummer for a couple months before we started recording the tracks.

    I just got Additive trigger when we were recording so I had the mindset that these drums would be very experimental, and I don't listen to much music that uses these sounds. So these mixes were very much trial and error, I know what you mean about the drums not being "punchy" enough especially the kick it is all low end muted 808, and I found that there is not enough space for the drum sounds ie snare hit once every bar instead of every quarter note, or maybe using a acoustic kit and have triggers on some hits, or sections etc.

    I really like you last paragraph

    think it's a mistake for a new originals band to try to change their sound to second-guess "what the market wants" - much better to try to find sounds that YOU like and develop them into something good.

    This is what I am going for, finding the right sound that suits the music.
    knumbskull likes this.
  16. GBBSbassist

    GBBSbassist I actually play more guitar... Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2010
    I only listened to one song, FC, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

    You said you're a 4pc rock band. Does the singer play keys? Or is it just bass and drums with one guitar player and a vocalist? Because if that's the case, you'll never play the majority of those parts live. Sometimes it's fun to go crazy in the studio, but more often then not, we get carried away because can, not because the song needs it. You may want to dial it back, or least make sure the keys sit a little quieter in the mix.

    I'll agree with the drummer about not liking the drum sound, but simply because you've made them sound like programmed drums.

    I think the vocals need to be redone. I would remove a lot of those harmonies unless they're done properly. The thing about backing vocals is that unless they're done well, they both distract the listener from the main vocal and they detract from the entire song. For example, on the tail of that first chorus, you layer more harmonies in gradually each time, but it just ends up sounding worse and worse, and by the end, it's really tough to get through, as is the vocal part after the solo. There's a lot of conflicting notes in there.

    Truth be told, there could be something there though, and you guys would likely benefit greatly from having a producer, assuming he knows what he's doing.
  17. Highroler79


    Apr 24, 2013

    thanks for the reply and listen,

    the main synths on the FC song are from the Future impact pedal, I split my bass into 3 tracks, one with just low end, one with just above 250, and one with the Future impact pedal.

    The singer play guitar, and yes the vocals need to be redone the harmonies are not very tight, most of them we came up with during the recording session and they do really need to be ironed out before we re-track them, I gave a copy of the songs to our singer with no vocals so he can work on them, I know vocals especially today are the most important part of the song and are the main focus. I also did a version with no drums for the drummer.

    I do think we would benefit from a producer, when we stared recording the songs my ideas was these would be our "demos" that we could use to really figure out all of our parts, then we could use them to find a producer to work with.
    RiffwRiter and knumbskull like this.
  18. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina

    Nothing wrong with having a vision an insisting on being in charge to realize that vision as long as everyone else in the band understands that preferably up front and explicitly. I've been in a band like that where the leader dictated everything we did from the clothes we wore to the brand of instruments we played. But because we knew up front the expectations and because we respected the knowledge he had of the genre and his skill we went with it, produced some great music and actually enjoyed doing it.

    So the question really isn't whether you feel you didn't steamroll him. Does he feel he got steamrolled? You can find that out by asking him. I'm trying to help you either avoid having to replace a drummer when he gets fed up and quits at the worst time possible, or to figure out if he's ok with the power structure as is, and if not, arrange to cut him loose and replace him in a more seamless manner.
  19. Highroler79


    Apr 24, 2013

    Thanks for the input, I am grateful for the TB community's input and insight. We are getting together on Friday so I will discuss with him then.

    I hate those guidance councilors "How do you fell" approach (JK)
    knumbskull likes this.
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