Recording From Home
One year later and recording from home has simultaneously gotten easier… and more complex. Cloud Theatrics’ Dream Roles Cabaret was an exciting new challenge for my home recording setup- I’ll set the scene for you.
First thing to do was find the quietest space in the apartment. I’m gonna be honest- space was not the highlight of this place so that was a little tough- but I finally settled on the hall closet, as far away as I could get from outside noise beyond the windows in the bedroom and living room. Then I started to test the “liveness” of the area I had chosen. Too much flat wall space or high ceilings can cause the sound to bounce around, making the recording muddy or echo-y. In a dedicated recording room, one might have soundproof padding or fabrics set up to deaden the room (walk-in closets full of hanging clothes make excellent recording spaces for this reason). Without a padded and enclosed space at my disposal I had to improvise. And guess what we had a LOT of in this beachy Airbnb? Towels.
I put towels around to “soak up” any extra sounds that might damage the recording, hanging them behind the mic and behind me to enclose the space. I don’t claim to be a recording studio expert, so I’m sure some of this looked quite silly and extra, but I let my ears be the guide and tested the sound until I got what I felt was the clearest result.
Now I was ready to record.
I had the absolute pleasure of recording vocals for a variety of songs for this cabaret: “Marry Me A Little” from Company, “Moscow'' from Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, and “All for The Best” from Godspell. Each song had specific technical requirements and focuses.
For my solo “Marry Me A Little,” I could be a little freer in the timing since it would be only my voice. The challenge was being close enough to the mic at the beginning for the quieter moments, while not blowing out the mic as the song increased in vocal intensity. I’m not gonna lie- that took a few rounds of practice.
“Moscow” is a trio, so during recording I had large gaps of time between my vocal parts. I had to be careful not to step on any of the space before or after my own because, while the music appeared open as it played through my headphones, I knew it would eventually be filled with the beautiful voices of Anna Rose Deleon Guerrero and Liv Ginski when our tracks were edited together.
“All for the Best” took this to the next level, as all our voices would make up the final chorus, and therefore timing was increeeedibly important. The guide vocals and click track (the metronome in the background of the accompaniment) really came into play when recording this. One note held too long or cut off out of place, and it would muddy the overall performance. Recording separately to sing as a choir- now that was an exciting new challenge.
What I loved most about working on and watching Cloud Theatrics’ Dream Roles Cabaret was the beauty of collaborating with artists across the globe. Knowing that we each had our own recording setup, and while our voices were going into the mic alone, they would be edited to play together in a beautiful chorus. Now that really is a dream.
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