Days Spent Recording

Days Spent Mixing

Total Number of (Very Long!) Tracks Recorded

Voices Beyond Gospel Collective – A.W.E

The Voices Beyond Gospel Collective came to us to record their first E.P which is their British take on Gospel music.

The gospel group consists of two tenor, two alto and two soprano singers with a backing band that’s essentially a Jazz quartet with an amazingly groovy drummer, super fluid bassist, inventive keys player and funky guitarist.

With such good musicians it was pretty obvious from the outset that this would be a fun project to work on!

Preparation

We spent a good amount of time planning the sessions and talking to Voices Be to find out what kind of sound they were going for. American Gospel is typically pretty Pop or modern R’n’B sounding and so were the examples tracks Voices Be provided. It was pretty clear that following suit would be the wrong choice because of the Jazz flavours the band were kicking out. In the end we opted for a more natural sounding Soul/Motown vibe for the instruments and a more modern, crisp and punchy sound for the vocals to help retain clarity when all six vocalists sang together. 

Recording

The drums were recorded dry, in our live room, and we persuaded Voices Be to hire an additional snare and symbols so we could match sounds for each song and have some variety between them. This made a massive difference to the tone and flow of the E.P.

The Keys and Bass were pretty much inseparable, in fact neither musician ever played the same part the same twice and they riffed off of each others ideas, so they were recorded together to help keep their fresh feel.

The backing vocal parts were recorded in Tenor, Alto and Soprano pairs, with the lead parts done separately. The guitarist couldn’t make it to the early sessions so they were actually the last parts to be added – quite a task given the lack of sonic room left in the mix!

Mixing

Even though these compositions are written with strong musical knowledge it’s still a challenge to mix in such a way that each individual part has its own space to breath. At many points in every track there are ten musicians performing at once, and nobody is ever doing something simple!

Being able to dedicate a lot of time to mixing as we could on this project means we can spend more time finding signature sounds and vibes for each track, rather than doing something that’s tried and trusted, quick and effective, but that is essentially generic. Hopefully if you listen to each track you can hear that they’re pulling in different themes. You Make Me Wanna and Worship are crisp, punchy and modern whilst Castaway and Ever Faithful use warmer, longer vintage verbs.

All of the tracks sound deep and wide, more so than you’ll get with less mixing time. This is because we have been able to work on layers of delay and reverb that build up the depth of the track. You can’t get this effect out of a single reverb and it’s necessary to test combinations to achieve the right results for each track, hence the necessary time commitment.

Mastering

We persuaded Voices Be to get these tracks mastered professionally. For a little extra cash the mastering process can change a track from a rough gem to something that’s packaged and ready for a wider audience. Pete Maher (U2, Rolling Stones, Lana Del Rey, Snow Patrol, Noel Gallagher, Damien Rice) did the mastering and was very vocal about the quality of Voices Beyond Gospel Collective and our mixing – something that’s great to hear as a brand new studio. You can read what he thought in the testimonial section of front page!

Find out more about Voices Beyond on their website:

www.voicesbe.co.uk

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