The First Mix, Crystal’s New Technique!

Yes, the blog entry title is a Sailor Moon-esk episode name format because I have been watching it like crazy lately XD

It’s 1:24 AM over here on a Wednesday )well Tuesday but you know how that goes) and I have just spent the past three hours mixing. Why is this mixing session any different than all of my others? Well, because I was mixing an original song I wrote! I’ve mentioned this before, but yar I’ve been working on original works lately. For a few days I had to step away from this particular one, and start laying out the melodies and lyrics for the others before returning to polishing this one up. I listened back to my rough draft of this and figured out what I needed to layer and add to make it sound the way I wanted it to. After I recorded the new tracks, onto the mixing phase!

It was more difficult going into this song’s mixing, for sure: With other songs, I have a base mix to go off of. A lot of the times, I listen to the original for a basis to go off of and try to emulate that mix the best I can, or go off of how the instrumentation of the backtrack sounds and play off of that to process my vocals a certain way. With this track, however, not only did I not have a backtrack to work off of, but I was mixing my vocals, and my vocals only! I only added some very scarce percussion sections, and the rest of the layers were my voice.

I knew going into this was going to be difficult: After all, I had mixed some other a cappella covers before, and had never gotten the fullness and richness of tone that I hear in so many a cappella covers. I wanted it to sound like there was a full choir of Crystal’s in the background, and wanted it to not be obvious that there were separate layers, and spaces where I was breathing etc etc. I had yet to accomplish this, and from the get go I said “It’s not going to be how I want it to be, but I’ll try my best!”.

My awesome going-to-school-for-audio-engineering friend gives me tons of pointers on mixing, so I asked her how exactly to get that fuller vocal/choir sound. She said to tinker with reverb, and in my head I was like “Pshaw I have never had reverb be thaaat effective, but ok I’ll mess with it”. I usually just use a preset for my reverb on my tracks, because I don’t quite get the terms and things in the program, but tonight I figured hey, this is original, so I will tinker with an original not-preset reverb.

I was shocked! From the get-go, I had the sound that I wanted for my background layers! I had to tinker with things in drastic increments just to see what was affecting what, but after that point I really just set it to what I wanted, and bam! Nice, full, choral sound. With only four backing layers too!

I do the exact same thing with delay: slap on a preset and goooo. I didn’t do that this time, as well, because I wanted a specific sound. After messing with parameters on the default (everything set at a basic, not very effective setting) I got the sound I wanted for another subset of vocal layering, whoazah!

What I realized just messing with these plug ins tonight is something I should have realized a while ago. I needed to be messing with these things without presets sooner! The possibilities are so endless if you just tinker, and your creativity really flows when you’re not feeling like you’re restricted to a set of 10 or so pre-determined effects for your mix. I’m already planning some things for my other originals, and fan made works mix-wise via tinkering, and doing trial and error with these effects! This got me sooo excited, I just had to write about this before my excitement died via…falling asleep and not on the high of “Oh yeeeah, I did this and it didn’t come out crappy!” XD It needs a bit more tweaking probably, but I couldn’t be happier about learning the sky is the limit with these effects, and probably many more! I can’t wait to read up on reverb and delay more tomorrow!

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Confidence is Key

I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it: Seen someone doing something either online or in real life that you’re all like “Pshaw, they don’t have half the experience I do in that subject!” “They don’t know anything about ___, they have no right to be doing that, the nerve!” and yet, they’re selling their services in said craft, or auditioning for things in your field. What’s the major difference between you and them?

Confidence!

No matter how much I poke fun at these people, I always admire their confidence. They’re putting themselves out there, with enough confidence and ego to not get the nervous jitters to stop themselves. No matter how misguided they may be about their skillset, the fact of the matter is, they are putting themselves out there and you’re not. So, of course they’re going to get opportunities’ and chances that you’re not.

The biggest thing that I’ve realized recently, is that you really need to put yourself out there. Not only that, but come what may, you need to have the confidence to do so. Lately, I’ve been auditioning for things (which I haven’t done in years) and recording things that I wouldn’t usually do. Why is that? I figure, if people with an over-inflated confidence level can do this, so can I! I mean, in the end what are you losing if you audition for something? Nothing but your time, really. The worst thing you can get is a ‘No’ and honestly, more people need to get used to hearing this so they can muster up the strength to do things they wouldn’t normally do.

The worst thing you can do is run from your fears, instead of fight through them. There is nothing more stifling than yourself: your brain is your worst enemy. Fight it, get a bit of an ego, be confident in yourself and your abilities and get out there and go get your dreams! Raaaawr!

Swimming Home Evanescence Cover and Go Fund Me Update

Hi guys…so, I have been trying to figure out what to post today and can’t think of much – I’ve been super busy this past week with other projects and just really…got blog burn out D: but I do have some news! My Go Fund Me Campaign has a few donations – thank you to all who have donated and shared so far! There are some new reward levels added to the page, and the video changes every so often, so it’s a fun page to check out (and share wink wink).

In other news, this is my latest YouTube cover! There are plenty of others there as well since I last posted, but since I update that so frequently it’s hard to keep up with posting links here, as well. If you like to hear me sing, subscribe to the channel!

And that’s all for this week! I will be back on Tuesday with another post. Have a nice weekend everyone! 🙂

My Lyric Writing Experience!

Whenever I see an independent artist say something like “I was so inspired, I wrote 100 songs this year!” my immediate response is –eye roll-. But after this weekend, I’m inclined to believe them a bit more!

Long story short, I got an idea for an album about a week ago. Well, an EP – just to get my feet wet in the world of song writing. I usually have just written lyrics and shoved them into my ‘Lyrics’ folder on my computer and never look at them again just because I’m far too overly-critical of my work, and I figured “Hey, I will never be able to make the music I want to accompany these lyrics so what’s the point”. But that is old Crystal’s mindset! New Crystal’s mindset is now “I’ll use whatever I have to make these tracks and sell them to make money for new equipment wiki wiki”

First, I planned out the EP with some research – like, it’s nature themed, so I looked up things on the specific topic I was going to be writing about, and got track titles from there. I wrote out outlines as to how I wanted the instrumentation to go, and what I wanted the song to cover, and then..got to work writing lyrics! My end results so far are all lyrics have been written, tweeked, and two of them have been given demo melodies. One has a demo track to it I need to spruce up, and make sound fuller, but otherwise – yep, I wrote lyrics for 3 songs in a weekend, gasp! Do I think they may not work? Possibly! But I am slapping perfectionist Crystal as I so often do and just rolling with it. And honestly, I couldn’t be happier!

Now I am a full-fledged believer of that inspiration bug hitting you and you just creating, creating, creating music! It’s such a great feeling knowing that you’re being so productive, and I am so excited to finish recording for these and having my first, fully thought out original tracks by me! Even if they aren’t perfect in the end, I did it all myself and I will wear that badge with pride 😀 and hey, it’s going to be a great learning experience for me and a great stepping stone for making more original works, and I have no idea why I was so afraid of doing this in the first place!

Writing Lyrics for the first time!

Whenever I see an independent artist say something like “I was so inspired, I wrote 100 songs this year!” my immediate response is –eye roll-. But after this weekend, I’m inclined to believe them a bit more!

Long story short, I got an idea for an album about a week ago. Well, an EP – just to get my feet wet in the world of song writing. I usually have just written lyrics and shoved them into my ‘Lyrics’ folder on my computer and never look at them again just because I’m far too overly-critical of my work, and I figured “Hey, I will never be able to make the music I want to accompany these lyrics so what’s the point”. But that is old Crystal’s mindset! New Crystal’s mindset is now “I’ll use whatever I have to make these tracks and sell them to make money for new equipment wiki wiki”

First, I planned out the EP with some research – like, it’s nature themed, so I looked up things on the specific topic I was going to be writing about, and got track titles from there. I wrote out outlines as to how I wanted the instrumentation to go, and what I wanted the song to cover, and then..got to work writing lyrics! My end results so far are all lyrics have been written, tweeked, and two of them have been given demo melodies. One has a demo track to it I need to spruce up, and make sound fuller, but otherwise – yep, I wrote lyrics for 3 songs in a weekend, gasp! Do I think they may not work? Possibly! But I am slapping perfectionist Crystal as I so often do and just rolling with it. And honestly, I couldn’t be happier!

Now I am a full-fledged believer of that inspiration bug hitting you and you just creating, creating, creating music! It’s such a great feeling knowing that you’re being so productive, and I am so excited to finish recording for these and having my first, fully thought out original tracks by me! Even if they aren’t perfect in the end, I did it all myself and I will wear that badge with pride 😀 and hey, it’s going to be a great learning experience for me and a great stepping stone for making more original works, and I have no idea why I was so afraid of doing this in the first place!

Reverb Nation Page

I’ve been a member of Reverb Nation for a while, but never really used it. My manager has been actively posting things and snizzy over there (thanks!) so I wanted to just link the page over here. If you’re an artist, it’s a great community for singers, may it be you’re just starting your career, or are signed to a label. The community is one of the best I’ve seen: Everyone is really nice and supportive, no matter what genre of music they sing, and you really feel a sense of community and not being alone in this big bad scary world that is the Music Business. I’d highly suggest joining it if you already haven’t! Has a lot of awesome features that are too numerous for me to explain, so just take a gander at Reverb Nation, and if you sign up over there I’d love for you to say hello!

A New Challenger Emerges! Video Editing Blind?

I have been so curious about this and have found no answers via google, which was surprising to me. But, I’ve been wondering: Is it possible to do video editing without seeing the footage? I do just use a picture and copypaste it throughout my songs, but I am wondering like…would I be able to take footage from say, a movie or TV show, and use it with the effects of Movie Maker? And section frames off into different parts of the screen, use brightening and different effects on Movie maker, that sort of thing. Of course you’d have to have a sighted person look over your work, but is it possible to play the clip by ear in a sense? Use the audio queues of the clips to at least know where the clip is playing/where the frame is placed, manipulate it, and then mute the sound of what you don’t want heard so your music can play over it?

I haven’t seen any blind forums or anything talking about attempting this, so I figure, I shall try it! For science! I don’t know why I have the urge to even attempt video editing, but hey if I can do it without seeing, it’d be cool to know that I can right? I still wouldn’t a lot because I know people who do a far better job than I, but windows movie maker is already fairly accessible, so I feel if I could do it in any program, it would be that one!

I’ll be keeping you guys updated on my progress! This is going to be a fun little project XD