For a good part of last year I worked with the band NOUR on their EP (released November) and their Sleeping Beauty/Happiness Punch double single (released January). All the tracks where recorded at Rooftop Recordings. This band were a pleasure to work with as they had come into the studio with all the songs fully practiced and ready to go, with a clear vision of what they wanted (yet still open to ideas from me), thus helping me produce them in a way that pleased all involved.

We recorded the drums with a very simple method as to create the lo-fi/punk sound they wanted, only using 7 mics (close micing on each drum, 2 overheads and 1 room mic). The bass was recorded using a technique I almost use all the time for rock bands as it is simple but effective, close micing using a dynamic on the outer cone of the amp to pick up the low frequencies, and a small diaphragm condenser on the centre of the cone to pick up the higher frequencies and clarity of the bass.

I used a new technique for the guitar because the amp they used was a stereo amp and they always had some degree of chorus effect on, therefore I used 2 dynamic mics pointing to the middle of each cone (off-axis) to pick up the chorus effect happening. I also used a small diaphragm condenser facing inside the back of the amp because this picked up a very mid frequency tone (adding to the lo-fi sound) and picking up the full amp. When mixing, I hard panned the dynamic mics and kept the condenser mic panned in the middle. By doing this, one guitar take sounded like it was doubled, giving a very unique sound to the tracks, and emulating how they sound live (which I always like to do when producing bands). We only doubled/overdubbed guitars when we felt was necessary to the track to prevent it sounding too messy and losing its clarity. Plus most of the overdubs was done using more conventional guitar micing techniques, but when mixing the original guitar takes was much higher in the mix to keep the unique sound.

For the vocals, I used a technique which I have used before for punk influenced bands and lo-fi bands as it always works well for them genres. I used a large diaphragm condenser to pick up the full frequency range of the vocalists voice, however I also used an SM57 which creates a lo-fi sound to the voice. When mixing I slightly distorted the 57 and then mixed both mics to find a nice tone, creating a lo-fi sound yet still sounding professional.

When mixing the tracks I used different reverbs and delays for the vocals as most tracks were varying in sound and emotion. For example I used a longer reverb and a delay with more feedback for Sleeping Beauty as it was a more delicate song than the others, benefiting the softer tone of the vocals, however I used less reverb and a slap back delay for songs like Pyramids and Lessons as they were more aggressive songs. For Addicted, we decided on having a distortion and chorus effect on the vocals because it benefitted the style of the song and the vocals, creating an almost un-human sound which the band and I liked.

The end result of the tracks were really positive as it sounded professional yet still raw sounding, which the band was looking for at the start of pre-production.

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