Modern Dolls are recording our new song ‘Stay’ and changing recording studios. The new studio is a major improvement and will allow us to finish up some new tracks for spring that we’ve been writing. Stay tuned for more updates on our next SoundCloud release ‘Stay’ and thank you for checking in!
One Sunday last month I was walking around downtown Galveston, Texas and found myself across the street from the beautiful old Martini Theatre building at the corner of Church and 21st streets. Closed in 1975, the movie theater was one of eight owned by the Martini family.
The art deco theater was built in 1937 and features a marquee facing 21st Street. There are currently no plans to restore or redevelop the property, but many islanders would like to see the theater revived writes Laura Elder in the Galveston Daily News. Originally the marquee sign lettering was mounted vertically on the corner of the building as in the photograph below.
Modern Dolls selected to use a close-up image of the neon lights and marquee as the background image in our SoundCloud header.
Listen to Modern Dolls on SoundCloud, and be sure to check out the Martini Theatre next time you are in Galveston!
I am continually blown away by the plethora of talent showcased in SoundCloud and the sheer volume of great new music that pours forward! This is truly the golden age for DIY recording artists, independent labels and musicians looking to collaborate with others worldwide. Both the internet and advances in DAW recording have provided anyone who wants to record and distribute their music a path to be heard!
I decided to create this new section of the blog called the Recording Corner to talk about my experiences in the studio. There are so many DAWs, effects plug-ins and recording hardware options — not to mention microphones, guitars, amps and instruments — a musician can easily be overwhelmed with choices to make.
I’ve gone through many phases of recording — from recording on tape to completely in the box, from working with full bands and tracking live to sequencing drums and other tracks behind guitars and vocals, from having nothing but an SM57 and a SansAmp to acquiring a myriad of pedals, guitars, effects and plugins in pursuit of that golden sound. In the end, I’ve settled on the belief that you really don’t need much — all the effects in the world don’t change what happens between your fingers and the strings of a guitar or what comes out of your mouth and goes into the microphone. Ultimately, a song is an expression of you and your band despite the limitations of the technology, the time or the studio. Capture the emotions and energy and you’ve got something real.
I’ve always loved the idea of recording music. I remember sitting in my mom’s office as a kid listening to her blast music from the other room and pretending that the polka dot pattern on the wallpaper in front of me was a giant speaker! I pushed some imaginary sliders on the desk in front of me and made James Taylor a little louder!
Years later in college I purchased a TASCAM Portastudio 488 8-Track Cassette Recorder and spent the next 6 months learning how (and how not) to record, mix and master songs. I played and recorded drums, bass guitar, mic’d guitar amps and acoustic guitars and recorded vocals. My first 6 song demo was definitely lo-fi and not something I was quite ready to share with the world! Honestly, the process was exhausting and I felt like I was my own worst enemy, sucking the life out of my work by doing things over and over. But I learned three valuable lessons recording those demos.
First, while some magic does happen in the recording studio, it’s best to know where you’re going with a song before you commit the time and energy to record. It’s like the old saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” At the very least, make sure you have a great chorus melody. If you also have some verse melodies, even better, but a killer chorus melody (placeholder lyrics are fine) will at least ensure you’re headed in the right direction.
Second, get it right in the recording and don’t try and fix things in the mix. I remember my friend HK Kahng, producer and lead singer of Buddha on the Moon, subtly telling me this one afternoon while I fretted over a mix. It was not exactly what I wanted to hear at the time. No one wants to hear that after spending hours trying to mix a track. But it was what I needed to hear. And it was what I needed to realize on my own. No combination of effects or doubling or fancy mastering is ever going to fix a track that is missing soul and energy, is not the right part or just doesn’t feel right.
And this leads me to the third and final lesson learned — feel. There’s no meter or monitor that can tell you how something feels when you’re listening, and you only get one chance to actually hear something for the first time. So remember how a track feels in those early takes on playback, and recall that feeling later on to know when to stop recording, punching in, mixing and mastering. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s time to take a step back. But if it feels good, it might be time to wrap up and move on to the next song!
Modern Dolls have released their debut single “Good To Be Back Again” available for streaming at SoundCloud. The band is working on multiple new tracks and hopes to have more songs available for streaming in spring 2021.
The band wants to thank SoundCloud fans and listeners for early feedback from the demo release on December 7, 2020!
Listen to the song here:
The demo mix of “Good To Be Back Again” is available at SoundCloud. Thank you all for your support! So pleased with feedback from other artists and listeners. We’re doing the final mix and planning to release the mastered single Monday December 28, 2020.
We are recording final tracks and mixing “Good To Be Back Again” and planning a SoundCloud release on Monday December 28, 2020.
We’re happy to say that our graphic designer has finished up the Modern Dolls logo, and we thought we’d share it with everyone on the website!
Also, we are wrapping up the final recording of our first single “Good To Be Back Again” and will have a mastered mix uploaded to SoundCloud in the coming weeks.