I’m super excited to let you know that this week sees some beautiful new music coming out of the studio! The track is ‘Late Nights’ by new singer/songwriter Katherine Labra. The track was an absolute pleasure to work on both as a producer and a session musician. The feel is delicately mellow and heart felt and I think it shows great potential from this young artist. Check it out on the Spotify player below and read on for a bit of information about the recording process.
This project came to me from Katherine after another producer had created a couple of really rough demos to draw from. After listening to these demos I really wanted to create a greater sense of structure and differentiate the chorus from the rest of the track. To do this I decided to simplify it back down to the original vocals and acoustic guitar and build the track up again from scratch. I really felt that the heart of the song was really strong and wanted to make it the focus point of the track.
After spending some time discussing the direction Katherine wanted for the track and establishing some extremely contrasting reference tracks I began layering up ideas the best concepts into what became the chorus. As I knew I would need the flexibility of moving project to the studios at work I found myself doing all of the software instruments with Logic Pro X which was a fun challenge.
The main acoustic guitar is my old Fender DG-4 Captured with an AT2020 and a vintage AKG D190E. I’ve ended up with three of these D190E’s and the frequency response is great for layering acoustics. The electric guitar was my trusty Fender Start recorded direct through my Focusrite 18i20 with Logic’s guitar amp plugins. I would usually record guitars amps but I wasn’t sure of the exact tone I would need until the vocals were tracked. The drum programming was trap influenced but notably less aggressive and the bass is a mono single oscillator sub bass to give it some weight.
The vocal sessions were some of the most fun I’ve had in the studio for a while. I went down to the studio at work to record them and took basically every mic I had to add to their collection incase we could find the right tone. There was a couple of AKG C414’s in the studio but they really didn’t work for this track and we ended up swapping them for my AT2020 and a SE Reflexion Filter through a Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56. I haven’t got one of these filters at the studio currently but they really do help reduce the ambient noise and unwanted reflexions, especially for vocal sessions. I ended up with Katherine in the control room for the session as it felt more comfortable and we could talk really easily between takes and make adjustments together. I am finding more and more that I’d rather have the singer in the control room with me, everything feels more immediate and they seem more relaxed. Maybe this will change in the future but I prefer it that way for most sessions. The only creative editing after the session was the layered vocals at the end of the song which we both absolutely loved how they lift that final chorus and give a much needed counter melody.
After the vocal sessions came a series of mix down sessions without the artist and bounces being sent across until we felt the balance and feel had reached the final stages. It was at this point I left the Logic plugins as I use bunch of third-party plugins for mastering. The mix was intended to have a modern commercial sound but avoiding being overly compressed. I am really pleased with the outcome and the speed with which it came together. Hopefully I will be working on future releases with Katherine as I can see the honesty of the lyrics she writes really resonating with a lot of listeners. Let me know what you think of the track in the comment section below and don’t forget to add the track to your playlists!