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Vocal Prep

Lesson 20 from: Studio Pass with Tommy Rogers and Jamie King

Tommy Rogers, Jamie King

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Lesson Info

20. Vocal Prep

Lesson Info

Vocal Prep

but yes, for vocals. Like I said, I mean, there's ah, you know, as I discussed yesterday with the guitars and, you know, we're tracking drums, tracking guitarist and bass players. I mean, you want the vocals to be to be comfortable and, um, you know, to be, uh, to have everything they need a lot of, you know, try to provide vocalists. A lot of locals come in preparing, they have water. You need to stay hydrated, you know, And you know, members t. You know, except that helps. You know, I'm actually be prepared and be able to skiing get their best take or whatever. But, you know, I usually as an engineer producer, I usually try. Vocals are kind of different from playing drums or bass or guitar in that, you know, it's your your using your voice, your human body. Yeah, so, you know, I try to, you know, I try to preface the whole vocal tracking session by telling voters like, Hey, man makes you try to make sure you get good sleep yet, you know, try to you know, you know the vocals I've read...

. The vocals sound best is like a six hour window in the day where vocals air. Usually the best for most people in is that I think it's like if you're up for like to four hours, you wake up. Your voice is kind of like gravelly and lower and pitch. And then throughout the day, your your voice, you know, cleans up and you know you have your normal voice. And as you get closer toe bedtime, the pitch, your voice and your you tend to get, you know, horse or gravelly and low pitch, you know, closer to get to good a bit. Some people like to try to capture that toe. Okay, For this part, I want to really gravelly. So you'd record that first right off the bat? Yes, either. Right off the bat. Hey, let's wait and do that last night. So you can actually utilize that type of stuff like this dark talk over part or something that you want a grungy tone for. Yeah, but so I tried Teoh try to encourage vocalist Teoh to be prepared. Yeah, you sleep and you know, like said, stay hydrated, eat whale like that. Feel good. So they put this physically prepared. So when so when, like Tommy comes in to do vocals do you usually start first thing in the morning like or like mid day. And then you start with that Or do you sometimes, like you're recording guitars and you're like, All right, you ready to do vocals? It is totally up to the artist. Okay, I said, Yeah, because you know, I've had some people like, Man, I feel best. I feel like I get my best vocal performances early in the day. Yeah, and I had some people like, Yeah, I do letter at night. Yeah, more like Showtime. And that's what I'm accustomed to. So I usually ask the art because I feel like guitar players and drummers and stuff. They can adapt a little easier because they're not using their body for the what they're doing this much or whatever. So you know, like like that's cool. If you want to track vocals at night, we'll go ahead with tracks and guitars early in the first half a day, and then we could do locals after dinner or vice versa, where you know it's a choice. But I just let us just let us know when you're ready we'll take a break and we'll go ahead. Hit vocals were hot. Why you're feeling? Because it's like said, I mean, what makes a good vocal performance to me? It's obviously it's gotta be in time and into new things like that. But it's, you know, trying to put that motion or energy our attitude of the lyrics totally into the performance. And that's because you know large importance, particularly with the music that you know, that is being written for the masses you know you want. The first thing that the average listener is gonna connect to is the vocals and leaders they don't they don't know how crazy that are paid you is on guitar double bass. You know, they can't really relate to that. But you know, they can really relate to some relatable lyrics. Yeah, and you know, if it's the lyrics are about pain or anguish refers about there about love or if they're about. And if the vocalist is really putting that into it, and it's gonna be more likely they're going to really latch onto the song and really feel good about that, you know? So when Tommy's Tommy's out there warming up right now he's walking around. He's got his head phones in saying and doing his warm up stuff. Do you usually just leave him alone and then let him check in and just totally let him do his thing? Yeah, yeah, Tommy for last few albums and I worked with him. He's got he's think he's, I think, the latest Melissa Cross for her, whatever I think are, I don't know. But he's met with a few vocal coaches, and he's got his own, like, warm up routine that he does. Yeah, you know, it's it's probably more elaborate than most of vocals. A lot of vocals coming in. There's Let's do This, just told they don't even clean it. And sometimes it's fine. You know, sometimes they come in and, you know, I almost always let the vocalist, just like with the guitars like Hey, let's get some guitar tones and drummer Hey, jam through that so I could get some gain structures and, uh, and things of that nature, whatever. Almost always, let the vocals just kind of jam and warm up. Hey, man, just run this a few times, you know, because I'm checking stuff and I need to check on my end like game structures and compression levels going in. And, uh, but it also lets them warm the vocals up and get in the zone for the song and vibe about things like that. So, uh, yeah, normally like that, I'm just I let the vocals do their own thing. Yeah, you know, had you know, some people are like, Hey, I need to go smoke a cigarette, like, you know, that works. You know, whatever works for you, You know, um you know, you know, like, so I just let them do their thing and just let me know when they're ready to jam it or whatever. Go. Yeah. I don't think there's anything else fours vocals, but yeah, the, uh What What do you do, Teoh? Ah, firma vocalist? Because it seems like that because you said it's it is so much. It's so personal. Oh, yeah, like someone somebody singing. So when somebody is out there and you can tell that they're lacking confidence or they're not totally comfortable, what are some things that you do toe like? Especially if you don't like you and Tommy, have a great relationship. You guys are friends outside. So there's a There's a Yeah, I don't feel like I have to be, like, you know, stroke his ego or anything. Like totally. Yeah, just be honest with him, you know? But, you know, But I do believe that first what? You want to stay positive? You wanted to start talking negative. Try to give people the same speech. I'm like, you know, You know, I tell everybody I preface this situation we're like, you know, give everybody the same speech and, like, you know, hey, you know what I just said? I'm like, What makes a good vocals? The focus on the light don't focus on pitch. I can adjust that Don't focus on rhythm so that that I automatically breaks down like Okay, I don't have to like seeing pitch perfect from this. Do whatever I'm like. Just focus on putting the energy and good clear pronunciation. I think that's important. You know that people can understand the lyrics, particularly in aggressive styles of music. You know, the percussive in the pluses and things get lost in the mix. If you don't really, you know, focus on trying to make sure the lyrics come come across correctly and particularly with screaming. It's hard for the average listener to understand that stuff anyway. So if you're not conscious about that, you know, you know some vocalists, it's natural for them to scream or seeing clearly. Some vocals need a little, you know, coaxing. You know, if it's like if I'm sitting there and I'm listening to it and I can't understand what the vocals of saying, I'm assume that nobody else is gonna be I don't understand it. So I'm just like, Hey, man, can we do that again? Just to just try to make the words come out a little more clear things like that, you know, but at same time, be positive if it sounded really good to se, you know, it's insanely great. I mean, there's been a lot of times where sometimes it's like, you know, it's obvious the vocalist is like under the weather yet, for, you know, it's just a bad time of day. And I did. It's up, you know. I feel like it could be better. Do you feel like it could be better if we just come back at this another day or later today? For some of that nature, whatever. And you know, in a nice way, just being like, Hey, it's not the poor right now. Yeah, you're gonna be happier with the product of way. Absolutely. So where do you when do you do vocals like? If you're doing a full record with, say, Tommy, do you do do you say vocals to the very end? Not necessarily. A lot of times we start, you know, with a with With Between the bearing Me it's gonna work out that way Because Tommy's West Coast on the East Coast, he's got a flyover system. It would be sort of the end, but normally you track the drums to have the drunk want izing done. Then I'll track the you know, the rhythm guitars and usually debase. And then the vocalist can start in. You know, while we're tracking keyboards and texture stuff for percussion, whatever. And then we can have some people like you start trading off. But usually, you know, oftentimes vocalist particular with singing vocals. It's kind of good to have the bass guitar in there helps with the intonation, seeing it pitch and things like that. So just have something they can buy ball. Some vocals need everything there like I need leads because this is just weird. You know that there's a There's a texter part. It's usually there, it's not there. And it sounds weird to me. Sometimes you have to wait two everything's doing, but it's really whatever is comfortable for the vocalist. You try to make it, you know, like whatever they need. Try Teoh. Try to have it track, trying to have it tryto, you know, work up. What makes us part of why I kind of editing kind of mix a little bit as I go. So the mix sounds decent, inspirational for the vocalist, and you know that you know the psychological psychology of the tracking vocals. It's huge, you know? Yeah, they have to be in a good state of mind, had to be positive, and yet you were negative. If they're trying to do that, you know I don't play these, you know, throw guitar pedals at vocalists like some producers and try to get crazy, and but I try to encourage them to find, try to get in their mindset. Had people put up like Mementos, reminders or photos, things that means something to them. Exactly. Only the vocalist in my band, Like I mean, he'll strip down to his boxers because he feels like it helps him, like, just get in the zone and focus on, you know, like the near nudity or whatever you like. But you get in the zone. I don't know. Yeah. What? I'm just I'm five or whatever. Yeah, Yeah. There's no illegal drugs or whatever going on. Whatever. I'm usually cool down whatever they want to do. Yeah. In what? Tommy, I know we've got some requests for toe, actually. Hear what Tom is doing out there warming that people would love to hear that, but Tommy doesn't want, I mean, and that's like a perfectly so yummy doesn't want. He's like, No, this is my time. I'm gonna warm my voice up and doesn't want people to hear, and that's that's part of it. It's like it didn't want that being called for me. Yeah, Yeah. I mean, I've got, like, said another, and this is like, six goes back to what we were talking about yesterday. Like, if you were tracking Do you want other people present while you're doing it? A lot of vocals and Tommy for most of records. He's like nobody else in the band's even there, you know, it's one of those things were like It's just, you know, it's a comfort, but it's just what you know. It's a comfort level. Whatever. They whatever something like said, some vocalists, like other people to be in rooms will feed off that energy some people like. Dude, I don't want anybody here while I'm doing the vocals because I want, you know, like, it's this distraction for me. Yeah, And I'm you know, I'm cool. And I feel like it's part of my job to try to make the situation happen. Yeah. People home wanted here. You're talking literally just used to scale. Yeah, I do. A basic. It's actually you. I'm sure you have heard of Melissa Cross. She, um I saw her a few years ago for a few hours, Honestly, just for some knowledge on vocals because I wasn't trained in anything. Okay, Um, so music in general just been a learning process for me and vocals? I didn't really I never understood what what's happening, you know? So I was like, I need to go to somebody and kind of, you know, I learned what's happening with singing with screaming and sing singing. Especially as always, it's been the hardest, um, for me, naturally, just cause I grew up just screaming and hardcore bands and stuff, but, um, yes, she has, ah, warm up on her site that, um I just do that. And I kind of tweak things here and there for me. I think the key is finding what What pitches? Natural for you. And, uh, not over doing it. The main thing for me, especially live, is just getting comfortable being in your element. I like to be my myself. Um, not around a lot of people which relaxing, Stretching a lot, you know, stretching my neck, just getting warrant. Look, just like you goingto play sport, you know? So but you have the actual warm up is just different intervals. Kind of your star from the lowest. Yeah, just get out of your register and go to the highest register, right? Yeah. I try to not scream as far as my warm up. Yeah, screaming has never been It's kind of weird when you're just doing it by yourself for people e I never People like how you scream. It's like I learned by doing it playing with a band. No, I never was like in my car like it's like it was playing with dues in a loud room. Just figured out how to do it, you know? So I kind of don't do that at all for warming up. And I mean, there's a lot of factors you got. You got to think about the first song, the set. You know what? How? How how prepared do you need to be as far as, like, the high notes, the beginning? Like we had a set last year. We did parallax, too, in the beginning, that record we the vocals, the very beginning of some of the hardest singing for me. So I would have to want I warm out like I would go through my warm twice every night. There's a lot of things, and health is a big, a big part of it, you know, taking care of yourself. I don't think a lot of singers realize how important that is. A special on the road, Um, because you have a lot on your shoulders. If you get sick? Yeah, Shows get cancelled. You know, I lost my voice less. Oh, yeah, they were. Really? Dont record first time my whole life I've never I mean, I've been singing for 15 years and this is the first time I ever lost my voice And of course, it was on the road. And the last show is a disaster for me and we had to actually move. We were filming a DVD two days from that, so we had to move that around. So there's a lot you really need to be careful about your approach and how hard, Ugo, if you do scream or saying, um, there's so many factors.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Jamie King - Tommy Rogers - Gear List.pdf
Jamie King - Tracking Template.ptf

bonus material with enrollment

Tommy Rogers and Jamie King - Syllabus.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Zachary Towne

Thanks for two outstanding sessions. Tommy, Jamie and the Creative Live folks really did a great job elucidating the studio recording process for producing honest, listenable, and powerful rock and metal recordings. I particularly appreciated the individual treatment of each instrument as well as how they all integrate into the mix. I found Jamie's methods to be straightforward and effective and I'm really looking forward to applying that to my own production.

a Creativelive Student

Another well done class from Creativelive. A glimpse into the daily life of a pro musician and pro engineer. Some great advice, tips and tricks that anyone can use to make better music. Was hoping they would get more into the business side of things, they did briefly discuss it towards the end, however a more detailed, longer discussion on the topic would have been good. You do learn some cool ways to record and mix. Some of these are obvious, some not so much. I am sure that for most people you will get something of value from this class.


This was an awesome 1st half of the course! Jamie touched on so many things that I've always had questions about in the production environment. I can't wait for the second day! This course is a MUST HAVE!! I will be purchasing it soon!! Many thanks for the Livestream!

Student Work