• Bob Hanna

The importance of environment Part 1


Environment plays a huge role in how a musician performs. No doubt. As portrayed in this clip, everyone is relaxed and in the moment. As Jay Laury warms up his guitar just before he is ready to perform, Derek Olsen is using the time and the calm moment to collect some thoughts and revise some of his lyrical content. It was important that we got to this place, particularly because we almost didn't. We struggled in the beginning, trying to figure out why we weren't getting the takes that we knew Jay was capable of getting. I originally had him set up between the Control Room monitors, without headphones. The concept is that the player feels a bit more like he/she is playing with the group, in a room, as opposed to being isolated in the cans. In most cases, it works wonders. This time we just wondered. So, we tried headphones. It sort of seemed like it was better, buuut... it wasn't. Finally I thought, maybe he needs to be next to his guitar amp, (as opposed to being isolated away from it in a separate room.) My logic was that, first of all, he normally plays next to his amp in practice. The reason this matters (in my mind) is because with headphones or not, when standing next to an amp, there is going to be vibration, sympathetic ring and overtones, and even a certain level of pressure to the air which you can feel, even more than you can hear. So, Jay set up in the Isolation room, about 2 feet from his amp, and bingo. Jay was back. We proceeded to get better and better takes as the sessions progressed, and tracking guitar was highly enjoyable & rewarding. It's a really tough thing to guage sometimes - while you're in the heat of battle... im always trying to keep an ear out for "but is this exciting?" Because if it isn't, in some way... If it isn't truly enjoyable, something probably isn't right, and it needs to be diagnosed quickly. In this particular case, although not a drastic change, it was the environment.

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