it would take an hour...

June 22, 2014 5:54 AM

Feeling a bit down tonight so I went looking through my projects and tried to fix up old throw away songs. This is one that's not too bad. An idea I hadn't quite fleshed out instrumentally. But why not throw on some improve vocals to make it feel more whole?

posted by cicadaverse (7 comments total)

This is promising cicadaverse. Sounds to me like you're not confident in your voice and kind of hiding it in the back of the mix under a cloak of slapback echo/room reverb. I was a bit like that once upon a time. I haven't got a great voice but what the f*ck! I'd like to hear a fresh mix of this with the vocal more up front and less gloop on it. A more intimate sound would work well with the guitar parts I think. Hope you don't take that the wrong way - meant to be constructive rather than destructive.
posted by Josh Rogan at 1:26 PM on June 22, 2014

Hey thanks!
Yeah, I continue to struggle with the vocals. I actually seem to be getting worse at them! I am very guilty of just throwing on a bunch of effects to try to disguise and cover what I see as my crappy vocals. I have trouble with control and delivery and though I have really tried to be more confident, it hasn't worked out well. In any case I end up spending 4 hours or more trying to record vocals and end up with something like 10 or more tracks or different takes which I try to mix and match and I'm still no where close to being satisfied.

Though, I wouldn't mind finding a vocalist to fill in for me, I haven't been able to get anyone willing to actually devote the time and effort to laying down some tracks so I've been resigned to admitting I'm going to actually have to step up and do it myself. I really do want to try to make it work. I think I will maybe wait until I can take like a few weeks off from work, lock myself in and just go for it full-throttle and lat down vocals to all my tracks.

I think I've recorded like probably 60+ tracks in the last 2 years and only maybe 5 or 6 have vocals on them (all of which I'm not happy with!). haha. So yeah, I'm going to have to shift gears soon if I ever want to put a record out.

Sorry to rant on but yeah, thanks for the words or wisdom. It's definitely constructive and I never take it personally when I get feedback. That's a large reason of why I'm posting, so I can learn and improve!
posted by cicadaverse at 5:55 AM on June 23, 2014's some more advice that might help you. The main thing with singing is whether or not you can hold a tune. That sounds a bit trite, but let me explain. I'm guessing that you don't like the sound of your own voice - maybe it doesn't sound like your favourite singer or whatever. Or it's not what's deemed to be "a good singing voice" - whatever that is. what. What's more important is that it sounds like you. I had similar problems to you years ago. Hated singing (still not my favourite activity) took loads of takes to get something, layered it in gloop. Yup, been there. But gradually I got used to the sound of my voice. So...I'm not a great singer by any stretch or by common conceptions of "a good singer" and, hey, I don't really give too much of a shit about that. I can hold a tune (sometimes with a bit of judicious cheating via pitch correction) and I don't sound like anyone else. I'm good with that. So should you be. Things is, wannabe singers tend to end up sounding like the people they admire. I guess it's the same with instrumentalists too. But if you actually don't want to be a singer but through force of circumstance find yourself in front of the mic, it can have a really cool outcome. You don't have "heroes" that you're trying to emulate or copy. You're just there thinking "fuck...I hate this, can't someone else do it??" Think about people like Dylan or Neil Young or Tom Verlaine or loads of other artists - I bet they didn't fancy singing much to start with, and they sure as hell don't sound like anyone else. And we love 'em!

That's also a sort of spittle-flecked email - so I guess we're even!
posted by Josh Rogan at 7:23 AM on June 23, 2014

You already know I agree with Josh Rogan on this point. To go along with his point about vocalists that don't sound like vocalists, are you familiar with Anders Parker/Varnaline? This song kind of made me think of his voice. A good, relevant-to-you example of an effective vocal, even if it isn't "perfect": The hammer goes down
posted by edlundart at 11:18 PM on June 27, 2014

Thanks both. I do have a lot of vocalist I've listened to in the past that I've liked that haven't quite been opera singers, ie - The Cure, Dinosaur Jr, Sugar, REM, Joy Division, etc...

And I do get that, "fuck...I hate this, can't someone else do it??" feeling white often while trying.

I am planning a stay at home vacation in a few months time and one of my goals is to record as many vocals for as many songs as I can. So I better get busy writing lyrics I guess.

I sing in the car all the time, making up tunes and melodies so I guess I'll consider that vocal practice coming up to these sessions.

Elundart, hey I liked that song! I've just spent the last 35 minutes listening to the full album on you tube. Thanks for that.
posted by cicadaverse at 5:53 AM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

That's awesome, glad it struck a chord! And good luck with your songwriting vacation, even if it's maybe a while away.
posted by edlundart at 9:40 PM on June 29, 2014

Hell, Randy Newman can't sing worth a damn and that didn't stop him. You have a good natural tone, but if you're not happy with your control I highly recommend taking voice lessons. People have always liked my voice but I wasn't happy with its limitations, so I began lessons a few months ago. It's made a tremendous difference, and I have much more confidence in my singing now. Give it a shot.

Also, nice track.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:48 PM on September 13, 2014

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