I had exactly one goal this weekend: record vocals over three or four of my band's songs. My husband recorded some instrumental tracks at my band practice last weekend, and since I really need a quickie demo CD, I wanted to get some vocal tracks down in a hurry.
The band's been having a lot of trouble getting the sound we want. When I brought the guys into our home studio, they weren't very comfortable playing in that environment. The guitarist was particularly unsatisfied with the sound he was getting plugged into the digital mixer. He ordinarily plays at full, bone-crunching volume through a Marshall stack, and the digital emulators we tried just weren't producing the same sound and feel.
Thus, we went with the live sound just to get something to work with for now. I'm sure we'll go back into the "real" studio again eventually, but not in the next few weeks.
So anyway, it turned out that the audio files on the laptop just did not want to be transferred to CD and taken upstairs to the studio. It took forever for my husband to coax them all out, one by one, so they could be set up for my vocal tracks. Grrr.
After an abortive recording attempt on Friday evening, we tried again on Saturday evening. I warmed up, tackled the first song and managed to get a pretty decent take on about the third or fourth try. Then we moved on to one of the songs that I kick myself for writing to be so difficult to sing. I did about five bad takes in a row and then gave up.
On Sunday, we managed to squeeze in one more song between lunch and my husband's band practice. It's another one that's kind of challenging to sing, so I have a feeling that my husband/producer will end up putting together the vocal track from the "good pieces" of all five takes. Sorry, honey.
I need a minimum of three songs for the demo I have to provide to enter a Battle of the Bands next week. I'll probably revisit the song we gave up on Saturday evening and hope things go better this time.
My husband and I had a long talk over the weekend about the weaknesses we perceive in our own musical performances these days. He feels that his timing isn't as good as it used to be. I find that there are some flaws in my vocals that I can't seem to fix, even though I'm aware of them. He thinks his solution is to practice more often (and hope that the problem doesn't stem from one or more of his medications). I think it may be time for me to find a new vocal coach. It's probably been 15 years or more since I last took lessons.
I'm certainly no perfectionist, but it frustrates me to be kind of good at something that I'd like to be really good at. I hope that with more practice, a little training and persistence, I can get to where I can effortlessly sing any vocal line I write for myself. In the meantime, I guess I'll keep plugging away at take, after take, after take...
Update: I got in touch with a local voice teacher and I'm scheduled to start lessons on Thursday. If I keep this kind of thing up, I won't be able to call myself a procrastinator anymore!