Steve Lockett – Daily – Reader Track

1 What is the title of your track? What is your artist/band/musical identify/name?

The title of the track is Daily and I’m a music hobbyist who goes by the “artist” name Schprocket.

2 What type of musical genre does this track fall in?

Alternative, Electronica – I don’t set out with an aim to fit a particular genre, I just indulge myself and hope someone somewhere can get into it just for whatever it is.

3 Tell us a bit about you recording setup. Is it all iOS or do you combine iOS with other recording technology in some way?

It’s generally a bit of both.

Steve Lockett 01 - Gadget - OverallFor example, my original submission was going to be a simple cover of Eleanor Rigby using Chordion on an iPad 2 to drive via WiFi MIDI a string VST in Mixcraft 6, then recording the vocals in via a Zoom R8 used as the audio interface.

Not having a studio separate to the house, I have to wear headphones for mixing monitoring, in spite of having decent monitors.

In the case of the submitted track, it was all recorded and mixed in the iPad 2 wearing headphones.

4 What was the key equipment – software and hardware – that you used to create this particular track?

Hardware-wise, a 16 Gb iPad 2 and an Apogee MiC.

For software, first and foremost, the track would be nothing without Korg’s Gadget. The second most important piece of software, from the vocals perspective, is Auria.

Steve Lockett 02 - London DetailsThis isn’t just a workflow story, by the way, it’s also a newbie story, one of faltering steps due to jumping in head-first into it all, so the use of some remaining apps may seem superfluous.

With that in mind, the software list continues with:

AudioShare and AudioCopy/AudioPaste for working with file transfers.

VocaLive for vocal effects.

Tape, this is where the newbie comments kick in.

MasterRecord, to aurally glue the Gadget tracks and vocals together.

5 How did you start to build the track? What was the first element you created and how?

Daily started life as an attempt to make something with an “in yer face” bass-line at a NIN slow tempo, then it went downhill from there!

Steve Lockett 03 - Miami DetailsThe first two Gadget Synths I loaded were London for percussion, and Miami for the bass-line. Nothing fancy there, pretty sure they were stock presets.

6 How did you build from that point? What elements came next and how were they created?

Once I’d got the first scene set up as I liked it, I progressed onto developing the pad, using Helsinki. The scenes were repeated a few times, modulating a couple of the individual Gadget scenes to makes things a little less static rhythmically.

Steve Lockett 04 - Helsinki DetailsFinally I introduced Marseilles for the lead – the guitar preset wasn’t chosen because I thought it made a great guitar sound – it was chosen purely for its bitey-cheese factor!

Once I felt that the Gadget arrangement was completed, I uploaded it to SoundCloud (where it may be found), however I then felt it needed some vocals.

For this I started by importing the Gadget track into Auria, developing the lyrics and the vocal melody, then recording the vocal track. Wanting to experiment a little, I exported just the vocal track into VocaLive and ran it through the presets. Finding one I liked, I proceeded to mess with it until I had the sound I liked even better.

7 Were there particular parts/instruments that you feel are critical to the finished piece? Was there a particular iOS app (or apps) that you used to achieve this?

Steve Lockett 05 - Marseille DetailsUltimately, this track was about me forcing myself to learn about developing an iOS workflow. I wouldn’t say any of the apps were “critical” other than I was trying to see what I could do with what I had.

8 Having created the arrangement/individual tracks, how did you go about mixing and/or mastering the track to produce the finished audio file?

All final mixing was done in Auria, with Master Record for the mastering process – at this stage I’d point out that I don’t feel that have a handle on either!

9 In producing this particular track, what elements of your workflow do you think were particularly effective? Equally, are their limitations (particularly with any iOS element of the workflow) that you found you had to work around?

Steve Lockett 06 - Auria ConsoleWithin their respective categories, Gadget and Auria I initially had no problem with workflow, other than the limitations imposed by the hardware but the impact was negligible.

The wheels started to get wobbly when I introduced VocaLive because I had a learning curve in terms of import/export. Import was soon rectified but exporting proved to be a challenge which I attempted to solve using Tape to record to. This was the workaround I introduced because I felt that Auria was proving too much a drain on the iPad 2’s resources.

In hindsight, had I known of the memory-flush-by-reset workaround, I would have given that a go and that may have worked.

The next learning-curve ascent was using Master Record. Again I could import the track but the interface initially left me bewildered. I had a break of a couple of days and suddenly it all fell into place!

Steve Lockett 07 - Auria TracksOne day, I’ll go back and revisit the track since there’s aspects of the vocal effects and the mastering which now sound heavy-handed – no track is ever finished, is it?

10 Tell us a little about yourself and your musical interests/background.

Although I’ve played guitar and sang on and off for about 35 years and recording for about 6, I’ve never devoted that much attention to music recording or production as I have over the last 9 months.

Steve Lockett 08 - VocaLive FX setup - dropped octaveMusically I’ve been heavily influenced by The Beatles and I believe that as a result have always listened to other bands and genres. Until the last couple of years, I haven’t really listened to music since I was a teen. Being in a job where I can use my phone to listen to music is probably the most significant factor in opening up genres I neither had time nor inclination to listen to for some time.

Steve Lockett 09 - Generic MasterRecord screenshotSince I bought the first iPad in late November 2013, I’ve been gravitating towards the production of electronica, despite a lack of any keyboard ability. I’m also sure this is subject to change…

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    Comments

    1. Aaron McPherson says:

      Very funky – you’ve made me want to go back and explore Gadget further. It sounds like the tools drove the musical conception, rather than the other way around (no Eleanor Rigby in there that I can hear! :). Is that true, or did you have the musical structure in mind before you started?

    2. Steve Lockett says:

      Thanks for listening, Aaron!

      Sorry about the tardy reply – I didn’t expect any comments :)

      I think Gadget is a lot deeper than the “toy” which some people have dismissed it as being.

      There was an idea for this song and that was to make a dark NIN-like track but since I really had no idea how Trent Reznor does what he does so well, I resigned myself to the fact that this was my own take on something dark…ish.

      I did a little exploration work with this one but since it was only my second Gadget track I didn’t really fully explore as much in synth modulation as I coud have.

      There’s two more Gadget tracks (of three so far) on the SoundCloud site if you’d like to listen to them for comparison… and what I do is nothing compared to some of the stuff I’ve heard :)

      Cheers,
      Steve

      • Hi Steve…. I’m nothing more than a casual fan of NIN but I can hear where you are coming from here…. :-) Gadget is such a cool app – keep at it…. best wishes, John

    3. I really like the synth sound you’ve got there and how you get it to fade in and out. I think it sounds really professionally mixed and put together.

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