Genevieve PM Roy
Studio CME a memorable recording experience !
With Genevieve PM Roy, Angel Lin , Etienne Tremblay and Dominique Wong
Last week, I had the pleasure of welcoming my good friend of 14 years at my place in Montreal for a week. Angel Lin is a talented Taiwanese pianist who I happened to meet at a music camp that I participated in as a violinist several years ago. Naturally, we were both tickled at the idea of spending quality time together and I was eager to show her around Montreal and to enjoy all the amazing attractions and sights that my city has to offer.
However, the true highlight of her visit was when we decided to combine both my vocal and her piano musical talents and record a mini souvenir album together.
For Christmas, I have just received a Prestige Giftbox set that included a 2 1/2 hour recording session at CME studios. We have just finished seeing both the PBS TELEVISION PREMIERE OF “LES MISÉRABLES 25TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT AT THE O2” as well as the touching in-theater film: Les Miserables and we agreed that performing a couple covers from the musical would be most appropriate to remember our time together.
Many budding artists do not have a good understanding of what to expect when they enthusiastically say to their band mates: “Let’s record an album.” For professional musicians, recording an album can become a very costly and tedious process. Factors depend on the type of music you’re recording, the number of instruments or people that are involved, the sound you are after, and how much you are ready to invest. It can potentially take anywhere from a few days to several months to complete a full album project.
Whether you are a professional band or just an amateur who wants to record a song or two with a friend for the experience, the most important point for those attempting a first studio trial is that you need to ensure that your songs are REALLY ready. It may be that you feel that even with little or no preparation or rehearsals, you might think you sound great and you are ready for recording, but then the studio recording brings out all the little problems that you may have overlooked and corrections can cost you a lot of extra time (and money)!
My advice is to borrow a tape recorder and listen to your raw performance. Are there parts that need working on? Spots that sounds funny? Are you always together? Is the tempo consistent throughout the song? Rehearsing and double checking the right tempo and pitch with your colleagues is key before you head into the studios.
Now you’re ready to record.
While the recording studio can be a truly rewarding and awesome experience, it can also be an intimidating environment where frustrations and tension can run high with the clock ticking away. Everyone wants their moment to shine and it is important that both the instruments and vocalists can be heard equally and clearly. Vocalists are usually the last to be recorded and their process can be laden with a multitude of expected problems: pitch, enunciation, etc..
While you are rehearsing in the comfort of your own home or basement, mistakes are easily overlooked and a live show usually runs more on energy and adrenaline rather than precision. In the studio, however, mistakes can spring up unexpectedly. For the most part, minor corrections can be fixed and pitch can be “tweeked” by the technician, by doing slight adjustments on the dashboard. The two most important things to remember are to relax, concentrate and listen to yourself and your partners. By just doing the basics, you will be surprised by how many flat notes and mumbled lyrics can be self corrected. Several runs of the songs may be needed before everyone feels relaxed and you obtain the sound you want.
Once you have successfully recorded all your tracks, the technician can begin editing, mixing and mastering your songs.
Editing consists of cleaning up count-ins and fade outs as well as correcting minor errors such as pitch, misplaced words or phrases with the help of a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) (aka: computer).
Mixing is the step where the decision is made as to the sound quality of your songs: The focus is to ensure your pieces sound great from everything from large speakers, CD’s or even mono stereo car radios. Mixing can take anywhere from one to several hours per song. Thus, it is important to set goals right from the beginning of the session. Where and on what systems do you want your songs to be played?
The final step, mastering is the process in which you take all of your pieces, order them correctly, ensure steady audio levels and compression, adjust the amount of silence between songs and make your album sound as good as it possibly can.
Our experience was one that was both humbling but very educative and ultimately satisfying. Conveniently located near Pointe-Aux-Trembles, we both loved that the CME studio space was clean, clutter free and spacious. The rooms were all well aerated (this becomes important especially when you have a group of people recording together in a tight closed space!) . The mixing room had several sofas to relax on which opened the path for discussion and down time. The most important element of our recording session was the guiding hand and help of Etienne Tremblay, our very patient and experienced sound technician, with whom we managed to record and produce three songs and bring home a shiny new CD at the end of the day.
Not bad for a first attempt!
Here below are links to the three songs Angel and I recorded together :
For more information and to book a studio session at CME Studios please contact:
11 863 Notre-Dame Est