So, I am a pretty obsessive music junkie and one aspect that can really make or break a record for me is the vocal aesthetic. Now, the vocals on a given record do not have to show off the pipes of an individual (that to me is the same as excessive guitar soloing) nor do they have to be perfect (autotune blows people please stop using it). The vocal performance or arrangement needs to add something to the sound of the record, a bit of je ne sais quoi if you will. Some of my favorite records owe to that little indescribable bit that the vocals add to them.
With this in mind, when the time came for me to track my vocals for the Gholas record, Here I Am, Here Is Infinity, there was a lot for me to live up to in my own head. I spent weeks writing and rewriting the lyrics as well as working on the vocal arrangements in preparation of the recording. There was no nervousness just a subtle anxiety because some of what I was going for was new to me.
Vocals were tracked late at night Saturday and then Sunday. Since most of the vocal duties in Gholas falls to me, I recorded as much as my voice would allow until it was shot in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Good thing because vocals on the two heavy songs (“Her Trainwreck” and “Do We Dream”) were mostly completed; although I must admit to harboring slight tinges of unhappiness with some of the performance on those, mainly because the final product did not turn out the way they were initially envisioned. However, there is a good amount of satisfaction with the final overall sound because I did accomplish some of what was planned.
The third song, “Always Ill, But Never Dies”, was a challenge from start to finish due to it having a much different feel than anything else that we had written to that point. The vocal arrangement is obviously different, but while recording much fun was had trying different recording techniques and such to give the song a character that I thought it lacked. In some ways this song is my baby and am very proud of how it turned out while in other ways I just wish that it turned out exactly as it sounded in my head. After talking to my brother (the other baritone guitarist of Gholas) recently about the song, he explained to me why he thought it worked, and I find myself having a new appreciation for the song.
Overall the vocals were interesting to work on from conception to performance; it was the first time that much effort was given on my part for them. The lyrics deal with some of what was going on in my life at that time masked by a certain author's imagery and ideas on gnostic theology masked through his own science fiction writing. The whole process was awesome and really quite challenging.
Check back for the third and final installment on the making of Gholas Here I Am, Here Is Infinity as well as pictures of the record and recording and such.