recording

Ask Billy + New Videos

I’ve been answering reader questions every day on the blog…head on over and feel free to leave a question or comment.

Also, got a new YouTube page. Just posted some shorts videos of recording with Raine Maida and Steve Mazur from Our Lady Peace, as well as my All Time Favourite Recording Moment with Stan Behrens. Head on over to http://www.youtube.com/billythekidofficial and don’t forget to become a Subscriber so you can be up to date on the latest vids as they are posted.

Thanks for your comments,

Billy the Kid

Home Recording

This from Zimmy:

what kind of computer & programs do you think are good for self-recording? i listened to ‘catastrophe’ just now (the version you put back up). it sounds really good!! it always did. what did you use to record it? can you easily self-produce stuff with drums/electric guitar/bass as well? or is that too difficult for getting a proper sound? (sorry that the question is so technical!)

I use Protools and an MBox Mini to do all my demos. It only has a few inputs, which is all I need for laying down an idea. There are lots of similar programs, I know Mac computers come with Garageband and lots of people use software such as Reason etc.

When I’m doing stuff with a full band (like the new Billy and the Lost Boys album) I have access to a studio with a great live room that has drums and amps and stuff when I’m in L.A. but I know from experience (and 4 albums) that not everyone has this luxury. There are lots of ways to build your track with or without studio access.

Stuff like guitar and bass you can do “in the box”, meaning that if you live in an apartment or place where you can’t make a ton of noise, you just plug your instrument into your MBox/Digi002 etc and that goes in to your computer. Easy. There are a lot of programs to make beats with (or, just borrow beats until you can get yourself a real drummer) and I see a lot of people doing it this way when they’re in the demo stage. It’s great for playing along to, getting ideas and doing pre-production. Then you can email the track to a drummer who has access to a studio or book yourself a room for a few days.

If you’re doing the home recording thing (a lot of bands book studio time for drums and bass and then do things like guitars and vocals in the comfort of their home in order to save money and be able to take their time) then I would recommend one thing: invest in a good condensor mic. When I was researching what to buy I found a great used mic that was the same cost of a new one and I think that’s helped me get half decent vocal and acoustic guitar sounds in my crappy little concrete apartment.

Does that help at all?

Random Billy Fact of the Day Number 19: Two years ago I had never recorded anything on my own in my life. Now I’m working on an album where I’m producing, engineering and playing everything on my own except drums. How did this happen? I bought a couple books and spent hours trying to figure out how!

Gearing Up

Guy from Five For Fighting is recording in the studio right now. He just came out and said hi…nice guy.

I’m sitting in the backyard contemplating arrangements and lyrics for upcoming tunes. These upcoming tunes are actually old tunes that I’ve put on hold for the last year as I focused on creating and releasing my first solo album The Lost Cause. I’ll always have rock in my blood…and I’ll always have those folk-y slow songs comin’ out of me too. I like doing both things. Actually, I like doing lots of things. My mind wanders easily and the more I have on my plate the less time I have to be distracted.

Tomorrow I start finishing the new Billy and the Lost Boys album. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a long way away for even being CLOSE to done, but at least I’ll begin the last of the vocals and guitar of the first batch of tunes. Then we’ll start drums etc. for the next batch. I’m planning to spend most of my summer doing this (or at least whenever the studio is free) and I’m hoping that by the time I go back to Canada I’ll have something to consider releasing.

I also have to start working on an exclusive track for the Swim Drink Fish Music people who so kindly asked to include me in their next compilation CD (past/present contributors include Broken Social Scene, Bruce Cockburn, Gord Downie, Pete Seeger, Stars, Sarah Harmer, Great Lake Swimmers and Wintersleep).

Then it’s off to Raine’s to finish mixing the rest of the songs on his had drive from the last time I was in town. I cannot begin to express how much I am looking forward to doing something, ANYThing even closely related to music. After I got back from that tour in March I’ve barely played a single note let alone a show. Anyway…here’s to the future 🙂

It Is Highly Unlikely That Anyone Knows The Following Day 10: When I was a kid I was in Tae Kwon Do and was the only person to ever “skip” a whole belt. I went from green right to red. Did that make me any more of a superb ninja? No.