As a school project, I’ve been asked to realize a “Sound-A-Like” project. The goal is to mimic as close as possible a song of your choice. To do so, I’ve been working with some of my classmates as a group. We agreed to recreate “Hoops” a song performed by “The Rubens“.

We have to abord a profesionnal approach and to do so, we commited ourselves to a “job-a-like” rôle. The roles were defined such as Producer; Engineer; ProTools Operator; OutboardGear/Patchbay Assistant; Heaphones/Runner Assistant.

I have been assigned as the OutboardGear/Patchbay Assitant for the first part of the assignement.

First thing to achieve our goal is to analyse the song.
The analysis has to be as wide as possible and contain informations about various aspects of the song such as :

• Structure
• Instrumentation
• Performance
• Arrangement
• Dynamics
• Rhythm
• Harmony
• Melody
• Production
• Technology
• Mixing
• Vibe

Structure:

The song is firstly played at 96bpm. After a short drum intro of half a bar, the song goes along for 62 bars. It’s played in 4/4 in the key of G#Minor . The main chord progression goes as G#m , B,  D#m,  G#m, E, B D#m, G#m.  We divided it as following :

• Intro (4 Bars)
• Introductive Chorus ( 4 Bars)
• Verse 1 (8 Bars)
• Chorus 1 (8 Bars)
• Verse 2 (8 Bars)
• Instrumental Chorus (4 Bars)
• Middle 8 (8 Bars)
• Chorus (16 Bars)

Instrumentation:

These are the musical elements present in the song:

• Drums
• Bass Guitar
• Electric Guitar
• Vocals + Backing Vocals
• Keys
• Synths
• Strings
• FXs (Electronic Beeps, Windblow)

Performance:

The Drummer is already provided by the school such as the drum kit.
Members of my groups will also assure guitar and bass performance (Lewis), Strings (Aaron), as well as the keys and synths (Ben). I’ll try later on to pull out some Fxs stems or even some alternative keys.
Aaron also found us a vocalist which knew the song and performed it in the past and he should be avaible when vocal recording is up.

Drums:

Drums will be the first step and so the base of our project. As I wrote earlier, the drummer and the drum kit will be provided by the school. Our recording session is on Wednesday 8th of June.
I decided to focus on the drum part for now and will extend this article along the assignement.

So the track is played in 4/4 at 96bpm. The drum kit is completed with some drum machine samples along the track. Here is all the hits I could extract from the track :

Kick, 808 samples, Damped Snare, Clap Samples, Snap Sample, DrumMachine Groove (mpc like) , closed hi hat,open hi hat,  ride, crash, shakers, impacts and floor tom.

The drum pattern is fairly regular along the song with only a few drum fills and some kick added to build the track.

I think we’ll need to first record  only the kick and the snare  which are crucial elements of the song in my opinion. Then we can focus on the elements around it.
I’ve mapped the different section of the track in a Pro Tools session and it’s up to go along the drummer headphones who can choose between the song, the drum stem or the click as a reference.

According to Ben’s research, they’ve also recorded kick hits through a bucket of water. I think I can distinguish these few hits throughout the song and they can be replaced later on with some samples with some mixing tweak to give that underwater sound to it.

Mic I’d use : small preference for the AKGD112 but can’t decide against this beautiful M88-TG.
The snare needs to be tuned low and damped ! I’ll bring along some towel and eventually some duck tape, I don’t have any moon jello’s so I have to figure out other techniques to get as close as possible to the track’s sound.

Mic I’d use: Beyer M201 on the top and a SmBeta57 on the bottom snare for that RATTLE !

Hi Hats probably need to be recorded separately because of the bleeding…
We could try to mask it with blankets/towel or whatever but I think it is at high risks that I’m probably not encline to take.

Mic I’d use: SM 57 as I don’t see any small condensers on my list…

Overheads shouldn’t be much of an issue but I’d still get them seperate from Kick and Snare Tracks because of the bleeding.

Mic I’d use: AKG C-414 set up as an AB… no mid side for today. Cardio/hypercardioid pattern in consideration.

The floor tom also sounds tuned quite low as well as the snare. I don’t have any recommandations on this cause it’s only present like 5 times in the track and I’m not a Tom expert anyway.

Mic I’d use: Sennheiser MD 421 for suuuure !

 

 

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