Posts Tagged ‘fans’
Vocalist/lyricist Nick Kelly is ending his journey with Division (after 11 plus years). Bassist Tim Regan is doing the same (after 11-ish months). The duo have only 5 more shows together with one of the most storied local metal bands in DC history. As part of their agreement, Nick and Tim have agreed to interview one another during their final Act.
The first stop on the Farewell Tour is December 9th, as Division joins Chopper Trike Rebels and The Maiden Project at Memories in Waldorf, MD. This is the last show Division will perform in 2011. It’s a Friday night, and it’s cheap. Hit the band up for tickets if you plan to attend.
Each show comes with its own interview question between Nick and Tim. Here’s the first in the farewell series.
TR: Masquerade (from 2004′s Trinity) tops the list. The solo switches off from one guitarist to the next, then they join together.
nK: I’d put that near the top, too. I always want to sing along with Mike’s solo, and throw in my ad lib line “The veil I hide behind” in the middle of it. Maybe I will during these last few shows.
nK: Do you have a second favorite?
TR: The same CD brought “Greed” aka “The Prophecy”. That solo fit the same formula. One soloist, then the other, than a harmony solo. I like that one also.
nK: I like that one, too. Once the double-bass kicks in, it’s bang your head time. Got a third?
nK: Here are a couple that come to mind. Dave Evans plays with a very unique style. He loves King’s X, maybe even more than I do. So, two easy examples are his solos in Soulmate and in Short Attention Span Society. Mike’s solo in Perfect Little Slave is another guilty pleasure.
Divisionaries can hear all these songs at the first stop of the Farewell Tour. Join as at Memories to close out 2011, and keep your ears peeled for the final Division shows with Nick and Tim.
See you from the stage!
Hey all, Nick here. Since I sing (exclusively) in Division, I figured I’d return to the blogging game with some tips for singers. This post will cover some aspects of mic(rophone) control techniques. Listen up, if you’re a lead or backup singer, this stuff is important to you, your band, your fans, and even your ears.
What do I mean by “mic control”? Simple. Mic technique is understanding your projection and adjusting your position and distance from the mic to compensate. In simpler terms, if you sing a low note with little projection, but the same note an octave higher with massive projection – well, your mouth can’t be as close to the mic for both notes.
Got it? Good. Let’s move forward.
What makes mic control important? Let me list two very important scenarios. The first is dedicated to the touring musician. The second is more about your ears.
Touring musicians might hire their own personnel to handle lights and sound. These hired guns know every mood change and can assist in the band’s attempts to reach out to the fans to personalize the performance. They might know every note, the order of the songs in the set, or even the points where the audience should be moved by a sudden on-stage action. Most bands don’t have this. Instead, they have the sound and light guys who cover every band that perform on their stage. They have no idea when the singer might growl, shout or spike in volume. Their ignorance of the band can actually scare off casual fans. One man’s lack of a band’s catalog can literally isolate dozens of potential new fans. If the sound engineer doesn’t know how to manage the volume of the instruments, two things can happen. First, the mix may wash out some of the band’s strength, like a signature guitar solo, or great vocal performance. Second, if the monitors on stage aren’t done right, and the musicians and singers can’t hear what they’re doing…look out. That’s the quickest path to a lousy performance.
Singers, from casual to professional, should also make sure they aren’t suddenly bellowing in to the mic. In addition to hurting the band’s performance, it can also hurt your ears. In-ear monitors can be used to isolate voices and instruments, and to block out all sound. If a singer’s voice has a direct path to your eardrum, and that singer suddenly goes from singing to shouting as part of a performance, it can cause serious damage.
Distance is your friend when it comes to mic control. The distance from a singer’s mouth to the microphone can affect three things; volume, strength, and enunciation. Singers who tend to get very close to the mic can lose enunciation and make their voices sound warped. Jon Tidey describes trying to record these singers on the ProSound Web Blog HERE. Marc Acito writes a whole blog about the Broadway trend of swallowing the mic to be heard HERE. A well-trained singer doesn’t need to have her lips and teeth on the microphone in order to be heard. Learning how to project with the mic just a few inches from the mouth can really help a singer learn to project and to help her sound engineer.
Another technique that assists in maintaining tone is to move the mic away when holding a note that is intended to fade out. Don’t attempt to lower the volume and intensity of the note at the same distance from the mic. Hit the note strong. Hold the note strong, and move away. That ensures the same tonality of the note from start to finish. It will clash less with the supporting instruments, and require fewer takes when recording.
Are you the singer in your band? Are these tricks you use every rehearsal, recording and performance? If not, was this helpful? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Got an opinion? Let’s hear it below. Till then, see you at the next show!
Nick here again with some vocal advice that has been passed down from generations of talented singers, vocalists, front men, front women, and egomaniacs. Actually, I lied. It was a lesson from my vocal coach to me, and one I find myself tripping over every once in a while at rehearsal. (Sort of like the head down thing that I blogged about HERE.)
Many trained vocalists know about the dangerous syllabus that cause us to close up, or swallow, certain vocal sounds. We get away from the vowel sound and accent the consonants instead. Unless you’re shooting for a particular emotional effect, that’s technically not the correct approach. (Let’s face it. No ear, nose and throat specialist or dentist ever said, “open up and say ‘Uhlllllllllll’.”) Instead, proper vocal technique requires acknowledging the three parts to a vocalized syllable. The entry (a consonant or imagined consonant like the invisible H – I’ll blog about that one another time), the sustained vowel sound, and the exit (either a consonant or a vowel sound, depending on the lyric and intent).
The issue I want to discuss in this session is the center of that three-part vocalization; the vowel sound, and the danger of losing that when singing the dreaded monster of vocal monsters – the three-syllable word.
To start, let’s look at a few of those consonants that cause us to naturally close up and lose the vowel sounds in favor of dominant consonants. Some examples are -er, -ur, -em, -um, -el, and -ul. Often we hear singers swallow these vowel sounds, leading to an almost mumbling of the vocal tones. Now, some vocalists just perform this way. Scott Stapp, Eddie Vedder, Jim Morrison; these guys just deliver a very throaty approach.
It is very hard to go from a clean, clear, frontal approach to the throaty delivery and do it the right way. Two guys I know do it very well – DC music veteran Michael Sheppard, and Kem (our generation’s Barry White)
Here’s where those vocal sounds can really sneak out of the weeds and catch you – when they’re the middle syllable of a three syllable word. I admit, it sounds odd at first, but think about it. Ok, don’t think about it yet, let me throw you some examples first, and you tell me if you find yourself subconsciously burying the vowel sound in the middle. It happens in speech, even more than it happens in singing. Here’s a few examples:
Ok, so some of these don’t show up in every Top 40 pop song, but that’s not the point. The point is that swallowing certain sounds can cause a singer to lose momentum and delivery of her line. That is enough to send a trigger to the listener, even if they don’t have any musical theory training, or ever picked up an instrument. It’s like putting a speed bump in the middle of an Interstate. It’s a bad practice, so let’s agree together to avoid it.
Instead, focus on words like this and practice keeping the middle consonant open. Here are some suggested improvements:
memory (meh-murr-ee) (meh-MAH-ree)
battery (batt-urr-ee) (bat-TAH-ree)
yesterday (yes-turr-day) (yes-Tah-day) (R isn’t really required)
sustenance (sus-tuh-nans) (sus-Tah-nens)
understand (un-duhr-stand) (Uhn-Dah-stand) (same rule, try it!)
infantry (in-fuhn-try) (In-Fahn-tree)
understand (uhn-duhr-stand) (Uhn-Dah-stand) (Trust me on the R thing, really)
restaurant (res-turr-awnt) (Res-Tah-rahnt)
syllable (sil-uh-bull) (Sil-AH-bull)
I feel like I just assigned homework, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I know how I felt leaving rehearsal tonight. I have room for improvement. Read this, and let me know your thoughts. Maybe you do. Maybe you don’t. Either way, please share your thoughts. We’re all students here. Some of us have more stage experience that others, but we all have room to improve. If we didn’t, well, who knows where we would be?
Thanks for your time. One Love!