017 R&D – California Sessions Part 2 | Rollz and Dice Climb A Mountain


After we finished with California Sessions podcast part 1, we decided we needed a fresh pair of ears since we had been in the lab all day and were in a bit of a fatigue. Also, we acknowledge that we can get attached to our work in a way that is biased since we generally spend a lot of time in the studio.

That was when we recruited my lovely girlfriend Leah to take a listen and her first reaction was regarding some minor mixing that we addressed and her second reaction once we fixed the mix was that this “intro” sounded more like an “outro”. Dice and I thought about it for a minute, took a step back, and realized that she was right! Everything about it was more like an outro! We set out to make a few minor tweaks to the mix and ended up making the actual intro an extension of our first track. That wrapped up our first couple sessions and we took a breather over the weekend.

When Monday morning rolled around, it was time for the vocal session. This session was a grinder. We got levels so we could have consistency throughout as far as input gain and sound was concerned. Using two Shure SM57s, we took vocals. Although these mics aren’t traditionally used for studio vocals, we love using them because they tend to isolate sound relatively well. It also happens to give us the sound we were looking for to record vocals at the same time which is one of the things that we like to do on our tracks. We’ve always liked the performance sound to come through on our recordings.

We decided to record three takes and if we needed any punch-ins, we would focus on that after. This turned out to be a good strategy as we didn’t dwell on any one track too long. Once we made it through all the tracks, we hung it up for the day and were ready to move on to the scratch session and vocal overdubs.

After the grueling vocal day, we were able to have a more laid back scratch session the following day. These takes were were when we were using both Serato records and the Rane SL2 for our signature “warehouse funk” cuts as well as the classic Redman and Chuck D cuts that litter Dice’s record collection. We went from front to back and put the scratches in between the vocals and tastefully throughout. That was super fun!

Next up was the overdubs. This was also relaxing and easy because all we needed to do was add layers and back up our existing vocals. It went really well and we recorded more than we actually needed. We purposely did this so we could pull out the extraneous vocals in mixing. It would be easier to take away then it would be to add in this particular case.

Boom! We bounced the rough cuts and listened on a different set of speakers taking mental notes from our initial impressions. We are now sitting on the raw tracks ready to mix! Both of us decided the mix sessions will be done over the coming weeks and will be discussed over the coming episodes of the podcast.

Other than one more touch up session, we wrapped up with our California Recording sessions the day we recorded this podcast! Stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks!


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