Peter is out now!
Scratching, the musical project of Perth's Grace Sanders and creative partner Ezekiel Padmanabham, have unveiled their new single, Peter. To celebrate the release, the duo have shared with MILKY five things they've learnt from bedroom recording.
"This song was initially written as a poem and was inspired by old soundtracks from musicals such as The Sound of Music and the woeful crooning of singers such as Doris Day, Skeeter Davis and the Mellowmen. We wanted to create something floaty and dreamlike that referenced that feeling of dissociation within the naive optimism of music from the 50s/60s. The song later became much more influenced by artists such as Lana del Rey and beach house as we put our own modern spin to those initial references and discovered how the story wanted to be told." Sanders says of the track.
GEAR DOESN’T MATTER
A little can go a long way. The most important thing is to chase the sound (and the songs)- not the equipment. If you know what you WANT something to sound like, you can figure out how to recreate it. Research, experiment and don't be limited by your budget- there are always shortcuts and many ways to achieve the same result. Sometimes, the limitations forced on the process by restricted access to gear and studios forces creativity and weirdness in a more unique way.
Now, this all being said... upgrading gear makes a huge difference. The main point here from our perspective is the way this can impact workflow and productivity - jumping through fewer hoops to achieve the results you're chasing can be an incredibly vital way to improve the quality and quantity of your records. Expensive gear does NOT necessarily make something sound better... but it can be a huge time saver.
TAKE YOUR TIME
If you're in a bedroom set up, the main thing you have at your disposal is the luxury of time... so use it. Don't settle for the first part or melody that comes to mind. Strip the songs back, create different versions, push the music to its limits and discover how many different ways you could make it work and then go with the best one. The best thing about the privacy of this set up is the freedom to experiment, without the self consciousness of fellow producers and musicians around to intimidate or disrupt the flow of ideas. Allow yourself to feel comfortable and free within your space to use it to its full creative potential.
DON'T LISTEN TO TOO MANY YOUTUBE TUTORIALS
Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has a perspective. I (Ezekiel) have watched a million youtube tutorials on recording, but it's important to take other people's advice with a grain of salt. For instance, there is a huge emphasis on the 'necessity' of using a properly treated vocal booth.. but loads of influential and successful artists record their vocals in the spaces they feel comfortable. Infusing space, and vibe and the 'story' of how the record was created into the recordings (and therefore the finished product) is a vital way to give your records personality and meaning. Simon and Garfunkle recorded the snare on 'The Boxer' next to an empty elevator shaft because they liked how BIG it sounded... Lana Del Rey records her vocals at the control desk... and Bono uses an SM58 without headphones in front of monitors to get his best vocal takes. Listen, take guidance, and learn... but don't limit yourself to the 'rules'. Sometimes the most interesting way to do something is the way no one else has said to do it.
YOU CAN'T POLISH A TURD
At the end of the day, everything comes down to great songwriting. If you've got a solid song, the recording becomes less about 'dressing it up' into something worthwhile, and more about allowing the essence of the music to shine through. A great song with 'bad' production is still a great song.. but a bad song with great production can't be made into something it's not. Learn from the greats, listen to music you don't usually listen to, try chords and progressions you're not used to to push the boundaries of how you create and zero in on crafting great songs from the get-go.
Peter is out now!