For my very first project of the year, I get to work with a really cool young band currently known as Wax Lyrical. (More on their name later.)
Meet the Band:
They are a band from Cape Town, South Africa that plays an interesting kind of Alternative Rock music. The band is made up of four members.
The lead singer and only girl in the group (although she more than makes up for it with her stage presence) is Talia Bernhardt. She is a powerful young singer who has a voice well worth a listen. With a style heavily influenced by Blues and Jazz she brings an old school flavour to the band.
The second member to mention is the guitarist, Ryan Hand. Playing an interesting riff-filled Rock style, Ryan brings a lot of groove to the band with guitar parts that will have your foot tapping in no time.
Moving into the rhythm section we get to bassist Liam Girie. Liam is cool calm and collected on stage, never seeming phased by any eventuality. Being able to lock in with both the guitar riff and the drums at different times in the song, he brings an even tighter, more emphasised groove to the band.
Last, but most certainly not least, is drummer Dylan Rowell. Dylan is a talented young drummer with a firm grounding in theory. He has very good rhythm and feel for the groove that the song needs, and therefore is a firm backbone to the group.
The band has been called Wax Lyrical for a long time, and if you ask me it’s a really cool name! However, there appears to be a prominent cover band with the same name and to find Wax Lyrical Cape Town you have to search just that. There is also a candle making company called Wax Lyrical, which comes up first in a facebook search for the band. For this reason, the band is going to have to change their name before the release of their first studio single. At the time of writing this post, they have not decided on a new name, and so until they do, I will continue to call them Wax Lyrical.
The band and I have decided that we will record two tracks in the near future and we will be aiming for a result that is of radio quality. These will be the first high-quality releases for the group, but they have done some demos in the past which can be found on their Soundcloud page. (https://soundcloud.com/waxlyrical_sa) It’s important to bear in mind when listening that these tracks are demo recordings to showcase the songwriting and arrangement, and we will be hoping to improve drastically upon their shortcomings on our new releases. If you want to get in touch with the band, or just want to follow their progress, you can do so through their facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/waxlyricalcpt/
Production Stage 1: Pre-Production
The band and I started on the pre-production phase of the project already. After first hearing the band at their practice space at the beginning of February and deciding that they were, in fact, worth the time investment, I invited them around to my home studio to play their entire catalogue of original songs. While they played I recorded a multi-track recording of every song, so as to have demos to reference later.
The goal of this exercise was twofold. First, to see how the band handled in an environment that they were not used to while being carefully scrutinised by myself and a few trusted musicians and producers. Second, if they passed the first part of the test, it was to choose the songs that we wanted to record.
The process was successful (obviously, otherwise this entire blog post would not exist) and we decided to do two tracks. The first is a song with a really fun groove, called The Victor. The second song was the one that is probably the furthest from their “regular” sound, but it caught my attention right away; it’s called Stranger.
The next step in the production process was to have a pre-production meeting to discuss the recording process, finalise the arrangements of the songs, choose a time to have the recording session and to answer any questions the band might have. One other thing that was very important for me to do, was to discuss the band’s influences with them. First, I asked each member who they thought their influences were, and then I asked the band to pick a few as a whole.
The goal here was to understand how they heard themselves, because when they have been playing their songs, in a bad sounding room, with limited gear for so long, the way they hear their own music may be quite different to someone like me, or the final listener.
We spent a large amount of the four-hour meeting working on the song arrangements, because after listening to the demos a few times I had some suggestions, and at the time Stranger was not even finished being written yet.
By the end of the day, we were all very happy with the songs and we started discussing when the recording session should be. We decided to schedule two full days of recording at my home studio, to give ourselves plenty of time to get the songs done; the 4th and 5th of March.
The reason we chose to do the recording at my home studio (with somewhat more limited gear and space) as opposed to my college’s studios (high-class studios with amazing gear and microphones) was so as to give ourselves plenty of time and to be able to have a relaxed working environment. Also, I know my home studio setup much better than my college studios, and so the chance of wasting a lot of time with technical issues is drastically reduced.
On Tuesday, we plan to have a session of just sitting and listening to reference tracks together. So that we can dig even deeper into how each member of the band hears their sound in preparation for recording day.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read what quickly became a very lengthy post. I really appreciate it!
If you have any comments, questions, opinions or you just want to say hi, then please leave a comment below. I’m excited to discuss the process with you guys!
Have a great day!