My Previous blogs and project recaps this Trimester include:
Becoming Mr. Me Too - Song Xploder
Creatin 5.1 Psyround Sound - 5.1 Studio Production
Recording live to Tape at Soundpark Studios - Tape Project
The Dark Art of Mastering - Mastering
Each Trimester at SAE continues to out trump the previous in terms of enjoyment, advancement in knowledge, developing new skills, networking and allowing our creativity to flourish. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more fun than after our Trimester Four assignments on the re-make of Toy Story 3 (Post Production) and hosting a live gig experience (Live Sound), we got to tackle projects that I feel all students thought we would’ve got to do early in Trimester One. It was great for me that these weren’t thrown at us 18 months ago, noticing how far I've developed as I reflect on the time that I didn’t even know what a DAW was let alone the intricacies of plugins.
I’m not sure if it was by luck or some kind of subliminal course design, but I feel each group project I worked on was a natural progression from the next for me individually, as I was able to incorporate basic principles learnt from one project to the next.
For our first assignment we were to make one song in a day, using just phone apps to bring in the sounds which we would then mix in Ableton. Our two-minute banger of “Can U Feel It” brought the energy as expected from our intended Brazilian-techno style. Whilst this isn’t one of my core genre interests I learned a lot from my fellow classmates in such a short session, tricks that I would be able to apply to my production style, and the fact that something so “fun” could be made so quickly gave me more confidence in my potential in the box.
Our Song Xploder is a project I wish we could just do on repeat for the rest of my career. Researching our favourite artists and trying to replicate a song using their techniques was fascinating and I found just as much enjoyment in delving through archival footage about The Neptunes as I did in mirroring their methods. I was pleasantly surprised at the wealth of information available and learning how they made the tunes I grew up loving-that helped shaped me as a man-was a nourishing and motivating experience which has pushed me to delve further into the techniques of my idols. It wasn’t all bapes and ice creams though as I definitely learned how the values of time management, quality of your recording artists and efficiency during those initial recordings can make everything a lot smoother, and therefore produce a better quality end product. I took on the initial feedback received, softening the vocal whilst making it slightly more gravelly to reflect the subtley distorted vibe The Neptunes, in particularly Pharrell, made a signature. This also masked some of the breaths that were more evident in my first submission. Increasing volume of the samples and just a better overall re-mastering with techniques I would learn later in the Trimester have also made this a much better overall listen (Snowman, 2014 p 405).
After going from making a song in an afternoon to a full song over three weeks, it was only natural for my third intensive, my Studio Production in 5.1 Surround Sound Project that we would be making a 5-track fully mastered EP with Album artwork that was released on Soundcloud. This is where all the CIU classes paid off in that whilst we may have taken a little longer than we hoped in actually getting started to make the tunes, we initially applied proper thought and reason in our preparation. By having the end product in mind, this in turn helped us make clearer decisions as we encountered minor-obstacles through the production process.
I couldn’t be prouder of the end product for Awakening, and the skills I learned from my classmates in each project this tri make me wish we could have had even more class time allocated to bring the best out of one another.
Seeing the mastering work Aldie and Guarav did on Awakening was then cemented that those methods were correct as we entered the mastering intensive, which then again would carry over into my freelance work.
For my freelance project I solicited two clients for which I was to make a series of audio commercials for them to use on their websites and social medias. An added extra for them when releasing their weekly club photos and a way of mixing that in as promotion for the following weeks event. These have been submitted to each client but yet to be published on their respective pages as, for Somewhere Bar they are waiting on video footage to which this audio can be applied, and the Pawn and Co ads are for future branding of which the campaigns have yet to commence.
It was challenging to try and reflect the vibe each venue exhibits for its corresponding night but I feel proud of what I presented each of them, as they are really my first completed projects that are not 100% just for school. Back and forth feedback from clients can be tricky, particularly when dealing with a committee but I was also lucky enough to have Ben Lawrence, who is a resident DJ at both venues and that the clubs were proud to have as their endorser, be available to voice these commercials as it saved me time in the recording process by having him record all voice-overs for both clients in one session.
Having the same voice on these ads could be raised as an issue if they were to air simultaneously on radio, particularly as they are competing for the same demographic, however the open communication and laid back relationships of each venue owner, and the fact they are going to be used on their online medium relaxed any potential worry in the same voice representing both brands. After all, Mr Lawrence does resident at both venues and was promoting his specific night in the case of Somewhere Bar.
Overall I submitted 10 commercials raging from 15-to-100 seconds in length, including different edits with a selection of styles, and tops and tails providing ease for any overdubs required for future events. It was important that the ads would have the continuity of their branding theme, whilst still having different feels so the commercials could appeal to a broad audience and reflect the nature of each specific event (Peterik, Austin & Bickford, 2002, p. 193) . In classic Pawn & Co nature, they also wanted something entirely out of the box, which is why they liked the rap for their upcoming techno event in September.
Each Project this term continued to expand on the previous for me, and the gradual process of building my knowledge and repertoire of skills will hopefully climax in my final project for CIU and launch my career, from SAE to infinity and BEYOND!
A massive thanls to all lecturers and teammates on my various projects this term, particularly David Turner, Tristan Meredith, Darren Hulcombe, Aldie Nusa Putra, Gaurav Harwani, Gradi Masudi, Callum Shenk and Harley Harley Sievewright-Rischbieth.
Peterik, Austin & Bickford (2002). Songwriting for Dummies. New York, NY, Wiley Publishing.
Snowman, R. (2014). Dance Music Manual - Tools, Toys and Techniques (3rd ed.) Burlington, MA. Focal Press