Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Studio Blog 3 (12-4-07)

I woke up early again today and went and worked out. I drove home, took a shower and jumped in the car to go pick up Ash. I got Ash and we headed off, getting Stephen's a few minutes after 11. Stephen was listening to "Pleased" when we got there, trying to figure out what else it needed. After a few listens we figured out it just needs some guitar parts done by Stephen later on. These 2 days of overdubs are specifically for trying to get as much stuff from me as possible, so Stephen's stuff will have to wait, if possible. So, we moved on to "Something Beautiful".

"Something Beautiful" took a really great turn...it still has an 80's vibe, but instead of 80's pop, it's more like 80's pop/rock. The little synth intro is gone and replaced by a big guitar/bass riff. It's real punchy and cool.

Today, we sat down and started off with Stephen laying down a rhythm part. I would normally play it but the part is a little more complex than usual, and after a couple of tries, we decided that Stephen should go ahead and lay down the part just for time's sake. He went to work and after a few takes, he had the part. I sat down at the keyboard and laid down a nice little piano part. As soon as I figured out the part, I laid down the part and then we added some effects to it to mess it up a little. We changed the piano sample from a grand piano to an upright piano...for those who don't know: grand piano would sound a more like 70's & 80's Elton John...upright sounds like John Lennon's "Imagine" or some Coldplay stuff. The upright sounds a little dirtier. After we figured out the sample, we put a distortion on the piano, which made it a little more dirty. Then we added an echo delay, which finished up the "messing up" of the sound.

I then moved on to a synth part. Stephen just got this new program called MiniMonsta. It's a synth based program that samples all the great Moog sound from the 70's and 80's. It has a ton of presets to start with and like 20 knobs that you can then turn to change the synthesis and the way the sound is produced. It has filters and knobs just like a regular Moog, so you can really get great, great synth sounds that other programs I've messed with have failed to recreate.

I started off laying down a synth part on the verses. The part was just a simple one part melody that was contrapuntal to the verse melody and I moved on to the pre-chorus part, which was an arpeggiated melody that fit really nicely under the melody. We listened to it a few times and really felt we loved the synth part and Stephen added a really, really simple melody on the chorus underneath the vocal melody.

Stephen then went to work on another big rhythm guitar part. He laid that one down a little slower because it was vital for this specific part to be exact. It's a little crunchy chunky part he did with a strat through an old 70's Marshall head that kind of had that Police "Every Breath You Take" vibe to it on the verses. On the choruses, he did an octave part that kind of added some movement in the choruses. It was really cool.

I then got an idea to double the bass part on the verses with a synth bass. We got this really great 80's-sounding synth bass with a great filter sound (you can hear it opening up and down). On top of the real bass it gave it this really cool Maroon 5 or 80's pop/rock sound.

As we finished that up, Stephen went to work on some more guitar parts. Sarah stopped by and she stayed for a little bit while we worked. While we working I uploaded a bunch of photos from the first day of studio work on myspace. I also played some Tiger Wood's Golf on PSP.

I had to leave a little early because I had a show tonight. One of the larger booking agents in town also has a sports side of things. They were having a banquet tonight to celebrate a piece of their side of things where they put on Faith Nights at sporting events. They were meeting with well-to-do people to contribute to their idea, as they just moved from a 'for-profit" to a non-profit. They wanted to give the meeting the feel of a Faith night, so they had music and a testimony from a Christian pro athlete. I was the music.

I sang 3 songs and it went really, really well. And now I'm back at home and I'm going to bed early. I work out again tomorrow morning and then it's off to the big studio again for my tracking session with Will Owsley. Tomorrow is really cool...Jim Bogios, the drummer for Sheryl Crow for several years and now the drummer for Counting Crows (which is of course one of my favorite bands) is flying in from San Fransisco to play on these 3 songs! I am pumped!!!

Anyway, today was a great day. We got a lot done.


risalea said...

I admit it. You've lost me with some of your music jargon this time. But that's ok, as I know it's going to all add up to a great collection of songs! (that I understand!)


Badpacifist said...

Curious about your new Taylor. Are you using her in the studio or just for some of the shows and are you using drop D tuning on any more of the songs as yet or just that one part of pleased.

Tom in ATL said...

Hey Dude -

Thanks for the updates - one vibe I am getting from you is you must be a perfectionist - constantly looking to add that one hook or twist that will make the finished product that much better.

Can't wait to hear what you're up to -

Peace -

Tom in ATL

ChrisSligh said...


My Taylor is a 614ce special edition. It's a red wine color and fades into black at th edges...it is beautiful.

And I don't know that I'll use Drop D on anything else...even that part was just a weird use of it...it didn't necessarily need it, it just worked.


amandarhea86 said...

Chris, i want to see this pics so bad, i feel like im missing out on a big piece of your journey as a artist. I really wish i could hear the music on your myspace, but i guess i will wait patiently, i had to for Jordin and im still waiting on the Blake cd. Anyways please continue the prayers for Tyler guys. Love to you all goodnight.

Carrie said...

Three days and i'll be back.

Chris, glad you are having a great time in the studio.

I bought Blake's CD today. Thinking of reviewing it when I'm up to it.

Everyone please keep me/my family in your thoughts until I return Friday or Saturday. Stuff is just ridic. Thanks.

gdahimself said...

To Chris Sligh,
From GDA,

Can you explain the following in more lay terms.
"We got this really great 80's-sounding synth bass with a great filter sound (you can hear it opening up and down).

Badpacifist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Who Am I? said...

I really enjoy hearing the play by play of your studio time. It makes me feel like I'm part of things. It will make the finished product feel more special. Thank you for bringing us along on this adventure.

ChrisSligh said...


Basically, when you listen to really great 80's synth stuff you'll what sounds a little like a wah (a wah is actually a filter that opens up and down). So, the sounds seems to open and close.

Not sure how else to explain it.


Anonymous said...

hey bro-

it would be awesome if you turned "full feeds" on for those of us that read in an RSS reader.



rosalee said...

I'm enjoying the musical detail you're bringing to your blog.

Back in the late 1980's I got my husband a Hanukkah present of a "Crybaby", which is a wah-wah pedal for his guitar. It must be a similar effect to that. Harry also has Gibson Les Paul, but the model is a Custom/Black Beauty. What's a Tradition Les Paul? Is that really a Les Paul Standard?

I know I've commented before on your "fondness for distortion". Be careful with it. Use it judiciously.

And you're supposed to tell us whenever you have an event! I want to put it up and the fansite and inform MJ (and sometimes Rickey).

rosalee said...

Oh man - Just saw this on MJ's:


Jason said...

Its really awesome to be able to read about your experiences in the studio...it really helps us to understand that hard work that goes into recording an album...

Toni said...

Hi, Chris.

I'm a striking member of the WGA and we're protesting working conditions for the story producers at American Idol. We're having a huge rally this Friday at Fremantle4000 W. Alameda in Burbank. We'd love for you to join us in solidarity. Please go to www.wga.org, where you'll find details on the event, and email me at tperling@gmail.com if you can attend or know anyone local that would like to join us. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Oh man, is right! Wonder what possessed her to do that?

rosalee said...

Clarissa -

Money and exposure. Probably more for the exposure. She has to stay in the public eye.

risalea said...

Girls. It's a commercial. It's exposure (and not the kind that your mama would be ashamed of--LOL) and it's probably a nice check. We should all be so lucky. : )

rosalee said...

Risa -
There's nothing wrong with doing a commercial. Chris should do one. But that one is corny.... (in my opinion)

ChrisSligh said...


Saw your comment...sorry it took so long to respond. I am actually in the middle of making a record in Nashville, so getting to L.A. would be tough. Please know that I'm there in spirit.


chastity said...

chris this is off topic & i know your REALLY busy but could u please mail out my sons prize from the lookalike contest?? he is driving me insane about it and i have written to the fansite numerous times with no results. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE????