Down-N-Out -Original Blues/Rock

Bruthish

Hair Metal Roxx!
Came up with this the last few nights while my lady has been out of town. I wanted to try something with some "space" and "dynamics". Not sure if I accomplished that as everything I do ends up being hard and loud lol.

I have been F'n with the chorus vocals for hours and hours to get it to sound the way I was imagining and still not sure if its there. Verse vocals were just thrown on there but they are not too bad. I intentionally brought bass way up since everyone tells me its too low on anything I submit.

Let me know what you think for the mix. I won't be offended.

Lyrics:

Well I've been wandering all alone
trying to get back to you
But If I know if my timings right
I'll see you again

Finding out the Hard way
I can't be left at bay
Feel all this mayhem
I'm Down and Out and lonely again

These days are going on and on
they never leave me be
Someday I'll find my way
I'll be with you again

Finding out the Hard way
I can't be left at bay
Feel all this mayhem
I'm Down and Out and lonely again



Updated link with edits(4/6)

Really SMASHED the bass with a limiter to try and even out notes
Compressed hard guitars
Added misc lead in parts
 
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andrushkiwt

Well-known member
Yo dude, I think the mix is really good. The thing holding it back, to me, are the drum patterns. It's clearly not written/performed like a drummer would do it. In the verse, for example, the hi-hat is following the exact rhythm and emphasis of the guitar . In other words, assuming right handed players, the right hand of the guitar player is doing the exact same thing the right hand of the drummer is. There are places where cymbals would help, and places where they'd be more variation in the time keeping pieces.

As I said, it's a really good mix. You've got that part down. It'd all be up a notch if you can sort out the drumming. Vocals sound fantastic too. Nice work man
 

Snowman999

Active member
Very nice. The only thing I heard that didn't sound perfect were a few guitar licks muddied the vocal near the beginning. Since you said you just threw on the verse vocals, perhaps it's your vocal running on the licks. But, all in all very nice. I like the blues, sends me back to seeing Johnny Winter playing the meanest ass slide.
 

Bruthish

Hair Metal Roxx!
Yo dude, I think the mix is really good. The thing holding it back, to me, are the drum patterns. It's clearly not written/performed like a drummer would do it. In the verse, for example, the hi-hat is following the exact rhythm and emphasis of the guitar . In other words, assuming right handed players, the right hand of the guitar player is doing the exact same thing the right hand of the drummer is. There are places where cymbals would help, and places where they'd be more variation in the time keeping pieces.

As I said, it's a really good mix. You've got that part down. It'd all be up a notch if you can sort out the drumming. Vocals sound fantastic too. Nice work man

I really appreciate the comments Taras, really means a lot! I have listened to this thing dozens of times in many different locations and I think it's close mix wise to being good. Listening to it now, I agree with you on the hats on the verses. The drums were done by a live drummer using samples, so I know he played it that way but it doesn't sound right in the verses, probably the way I am playing against it? As far as vocals, I have never been a good singer. I think I have more control over the raspy vocals and it goes with blues pretty well. Again thanks brother
 

Bruthish

Hair Metal Roxx!
Very nice. The only thing I heard that didn't sound perfect were a few guitar licks muddied the vocal near the beginning. Since you said you just threw on the verse vocals, perhaps it's your vocal running on the licks. But, all in all very nice. I like the blues, sends me back to seeing Johnny Winter playing the meanest ass slide.

Thanks for the listen and comment! Those guitar licks were just jamming along with no special intention. I probably need to brush up on my blues licks and re-track them! I will definitely take a look and see whats going on there! Thanks so much!
 

andrushkiwt

Well-known member
The drums were done by a live drummer using samples

Ok, then I'll update my comment to: I'm not sure I like the way he's playing with the rhythm guitars, then. I thought it was programmed, because they do sound like samples, and we usually include drum programming in the mixing portion of comments. My bad. It's more of a performance aspect then.

I'll say again, this mix is very good. The vocals came out great man.
 

Robus

New member
I agree with what Taras said. The mix sounds great. I really dig the connection between the bass and rhythm guitars on that riff that you keep repeating. Sounds heavy. The lead guitars and vocals are good too.

The drum pattern is not locked in with the other parts. It doesn't share the same feel as the guitars and bass and is throwing off your groove. For a rhythm heavy song like this, the drum part has got to be solid. I'm assuming this is programmed. It's worth another go and programming it.
 

Bruthish

Hair Metal Roxx!
Ok, then I'll update my comment to: I'm not sure I like the way he's playing with the rhythm guitars, then. I thought it was programmed, because they do sound like samples, and we usually include drum programming in the mixing portion of comments. My bad. It's more of a performance aspect then.

I'll say again, this mix is very good. The vocals came out great man.

OK, here's what I mean....They were played live via an electric kit using samples. Not "programmed" but using samples and midi yes. So not everything is on perfect beat, but fairly close. I can manipulate any of it. I just to go back and figure out what doesn't sound good and fix them
 

andrushkiwt

Well-known member
OK, here's what I mean....They were played live via an electric kit using samples. Not "programmed" but using samples and midi yes. So not everything is on perfect beat, but fairly close. I can manipulate any of it. I just to go back and figure out what doesn't sound good and fix them

Yeah, I figured you meant he triggered those samples via electronic kit. And then that it was imported into MIDI which you can manipulate. Yeah i'd just examine the verses, in particular, and see what hi hat rhythms you can come up with. Again, though, that's just me. It's the first thing I noticed when listening. The drum beats weren't enhancing the tune, to me.
 

Bruthish

Hair Metal Roxx!
Yeah, I figured you meant he triggered those samples via electronic kit. And then that it was imported into MIDI which you can manipulate. Yeah i'd just examine the verses, in particular, and see what hi hat rhythms you can come up with. Again, though, that's just me. It's the first thing I noticed when listening. The drum beats weren't enhancing the tune, to me.

well you and Robus said the same thing so must be legit! Thats why I post stuff on here...to have things pointed out to me that I don't hear myself!
Thanks!
 

Bruthish

Hair Metal Roxx!
Taras and Robus, can you be more specific on what I need to do with the drums? I guess I need to be schooled some. I really liked the pattern it was playing but I can see that the "groove" is somewhat lacking. Any advice would be helpful...
 

andrushkiwt

Well-known member
Well, they're really just suggestions on how someone else would play it. Your drummer did it how he would - nothing "wrong" with how he played it, that's his style, I guess. I think Ray and I were just saying that there's some sections where they aren't driving the tune and the energy doesn't always follow as well as it could. Anything I would recommend would be my own preference and not some "right" answer.

So, then, I guess I'd look where cymbals in the chorus will help and where the hi hat variation in the verse can add to the groove. I'd look at throwing some double time (sorry, i don't know the musical terms) hi hats in the verse instead of the pattern they're hit now. Like I said, right now the hi hats are doing the exact same thing the rhythm guitars are. They are following the strumming identically. Double up the hi hat hits in some type of groove once in awhile, maybe.

It's hard to say how something should be played since it's your song and another drummer's work. Again, I just think a modified drum groove in some spots would help.
 

Robus

New member
It feels to me like the drums are chasing the groove instead of driving it. For example, take that fill that starts at 0:16 and goes through 0:19. It starts with a late snare hit and never comes good. Can you hear the awkwardness and hesitancy there? In any kind of blues-derived genre, the drummer has to lay it down--simple, solid, driving. It's that drum and bass pulse that enables the vocalists and lead guitarist their flights of fancy.

Listening to the drums and bass in this track, I'm hearing lots of similar examples to the one I mentioned. Even apart from the fills, if you mute everything else but the bass and drums and just listen to them critically for a while, I think you'll come away with the feeling that they could be tighter. I got the feeling that the bass was frequently playing ahead of the drums, or the drums were lagging behind. You might zoom in on the wave forms for a visual. Compare the drum tracks and bass and just notice where the notes are starting in relationship to each other.

I didn't realize when I first commented that you are playing an electronic kit. First of all, kudos on that. Playing drums of any kind is more hand/foot coordination than I can muster. All my songs start out with patterns that I program by hand or adapt some MIDI loop, then they go off to ibleedburgundy for real drums.

I'm curious, in what order was this tracked? What I'm finding is this. When drums are done as an overdub on previously tracked bass and guitar parts, I can hear it. Obviously we are not talking about elite level productions where studio cats can do anything in any order to a click track and it all turns out great. On the level where I'm at, I can hear it when the drums are playing along rather than driving the song. Once I get a song back from ibleedburgundy with some killer drums, I scrap a significant part of my demo tracks if not all of them and retrack, starting with the bass. To me it makes a massive difference.

Just my thoughts.
 

andrushkiwt

Well-known member
Once I get a song back from ibleedburgundy with some killer drums, I scrap a significant part of my demo tracks if not all of them and retrack, starting with the bass. To me it makes a massive difference.

I retrack all guitars and bass after the final drums are written. If I end up changing a drum fill that would influence the way the guitars might be played, I punch in there too. Good point.
 

Bruthish

Hair Metal Roxx!
Hey guys thanks so much for taking the time to write about this!

I was hoping to have a live drummer would give it some "human" factor. But I went back and made sure everything was on the beat perfect. Once I did that I realized the bass was off beat...then guitar....and so on. The verse vocals will have to be re-done I am pretty sure as they followed the old groove.

So, I took your advise. Not sure if it was was what you all had in mind. The verse hats I tried everything and nothing sounded good until what I have now...which still follows the strumming but it does add an open hat. On the chorus I took away the ride and added hats and crashes. Sounds more energetic for sure.

(Robus I like the first fill that you commented on but I do hear you on it. I like the break, but maybe I can manipulate it some to be more on beat)

https://soundcloud.com/bruthish/down-n-out-v4k
 

Nola

Well-known member
I was hoping to have a live drummer would give it some "human" factor. But I went back and made sure everything was on the beat perfect. Once I did that I realized the bass was off beat...then guitar....and so on. The verse vocals will have to be re-done I am pretty sure as they followed the old groove.

Just wondering why you recorded with a human drummer only to put everything on the grid perfectly? I liked the groove of the first one. The second one is fine, too. The first one just felt looser (those blues players, especially Delta style, had loose time). To me it feels rigid now. I always program my snare hits late and put swing on the hat/ride to compensate/avoid this rigid feel.

Mix sounds good. Little bit of harshness permeating throughout it. Song is cool, too.
 

Bruthish

Hair Metal Roxx!
Just wondering why you recorded with a human drummer only to put everything on the grid perfectly? I liked the groove of the first one. The second one is fine, too. The first one just felt looser (those blues players, especially Delta style, had loose time). To me it feels rigid now. I always program my snare hits late and put swing on the hat/ride to compensate/avoid this rigid feel.

Mix sounds good. Little bit of harshness permeating throughout it. Song is cool, too.

Right now just experimenting. I tightened it up so I could figure a better way to finagle the hats(which I agreed didn't sound right). I learned a lesson a long time ago, when experimenting, keep your first DAW file lol So I have it to go back to if need be. Plus, it was really hard keeping on beat during the verses as the kicks were off so I had to tighten them up or move them anyway. I appreciate the listen and comments. Good to hear that you heard the "looseness" in the first mix. I was trying for that but it doesn't always work.
 

Nola

Well-known member
Good to hear that you heard the "looseness" in the first mix. I was trying for that but it doesn't always work.

I thought it worked, but was on the cusp/loose.

Update: I had my GF listen, and she felt take 1 was out of time a bit. She thought take 2 was better.
 
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andrushkiwt

Well-known member
This one sounds tighter, yes. Personally, I like crashes/rides in choruses. In this here tune, I would've kept the ride in the chorus, or maybe tried a cymbal, mostly because you have that fill that uses the open hats. To accentuate that, I'd change up the time keeping cymbal being used so it isn't too much of one thing. Like I said earlier, that's why it's hard to say to someone how to play or write something. There's a whole vibe/song in mind and the way someone plays it is their expression and how they're hearing it. It's your tune and I'm not sure how you want it to be...

But, again, I did think this one was tighter and the verses had a better energy.
 
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