Tag Archives: SoundCloud

New Song: “Subtle Energy”

I invite you to plug in, put your headphones on, press play and relax for three minutes.

I created this today.

Enjoy.

Steffy  🙂

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Field Recording at Dunany Point, Co. Louth, Ireland

A couple of weeks ago I brought my Zoom H4N handy recorder to my favourite secret beach- Dunany Point, Co. Louth.

Dunany Point, Co. Louth
Dunany Point, Co. Louth

Dunany Point (Dunany being the anglicisation of Dún Áine -the fort of Áine) is said to be a place of deep sorrow, where the beautiful Áine sat in her chair of stone and looked across the sea towards her love who never returned. It is said that the black rocks at the base of the cliff were Áine’s attempt to build a causeway so she could see her love one day. Alas, Áine never did see her love again and slowly went mad with grief.

Stones and rocks at the base  of the cliff
Stones and rocks at the base of the cliff
The shore at Dunany Point
The shore at Dunany Point
Looking towards the Cooley Mountains
Looking towards the Cooley Mountains

This recording might be nice for those who wish to hear a mostly unvisited, unspoiled beach in a quiet corner of Ireland!

Please enjoy this recording and if you wish to use it in your project, don’t hesitate to ask for permission!

SoundCloud; Here’s the Drop… April Fool’s Joke or Hack?

I logged into my SoundCloud account this evening to find my stream plastered in “Here’s the Drop” graphics on waveforms [insert mega-surprised vinyl rip here!]. Like every other SoundCloud user right now, I’m totally baffled!

Here's the WHAT?! My SoundCloud stream a moment ago.
Here’s the WHAT?! My SoundCloud stream a moment ago.

And it’s not just on other users waveforms, there’s plenty of these ugly graphics on my own tracks!

My own tracks have also been hit....
My own tracks have also been hit….

A quick scan through forums and Twitter, users are noticing and there’s mixed feelings. Some believe it’s an early April Fool’s joke SoundCloud is playing on their users and find it funny… some feel like their creative work has been defiled and are furious… there’s plenty of talk about a possible hack and of course, there’s uproar that a term normally associated with Dubstep music is getting plastered on metal, rock, live recordings, video game music, etc!

The Drop meaning in terms of music..Urbandictionary.com
The Drop meaning in terms of music…Urbandictionary.com
My favourite "drop" meme...young master Skrillex :)
My favourite “drop” meme…young master Skrillex 🙂

At first glance I thought it was a clever new gimmick SoundCloud were testing, the arrows seemingly did point to spikes in waveforms but after closer inspection I did realise it was all completely random.

Personally I believe SoundCloud has been hacked this weekend. Did anyone else notice on Facebook that their newsfeed activity was completely random? My newsfeed was chocablock with bizarre memes and what not. Of course, this has all disappeared from their App page now.

I tend to take SoundCloud a bit seriously, I use it every day and I prefer it to other social media music platforms (MySpace is dead! Reverbnation never appealed to me as much as I tried! Twitmusic doesn’t cut it either) and I take pride in my profile. For me SoundCloud is the cleanest, easiest and most efficient means of putting my music out there and keeping track of my stats!

Maybe it’s all one big marketing move to get us talking about SoundCloud? 😉

I hope it’s not an early April Fool’s joke, would SoundCloud really do that to us? 😉 (but maybe the fact it’s premature is part of the joke?!)

Stephanie Caffrey’s stream on SoundCloud – Hear the world’s sounds.

UPDATE: It’s called the Dropometer and it SEEMS to be a gimmick! read about it here (I just hope we can remove it from our tunes cos not everyone uploads Dubstep to Soundcloud… though I still think it’s an April Fool’s joke, haha!) : SoundCloud » Debuting Today: The Dropometer.

DkIT “Popcast”- My Role (Part 2).

This blog post is a continuation of my role in the Music and Audio Production class group project for our module “Communication and Popular Music”. Our project is a 4 part series of podcasts which show the importance of popular music to the wider college community. As I mentioned last week, I am on the production team and specifically working on the promo.

I collaborated with my classmate Mark on this and we worked closely. I contributed the initial idea/structure of the promo which I posted both on my blog and Moodle. Mark sourced a lead guitar lick to kick it all off and a crackin’ tune for the background (composing and recording a jingle was just too time consuming with all the other assignments going on). He sent me a rough demo via email so I could get a taste of his vocal approach for the script we collaborated on.

We had a very manic, busy week in college between final studio production sessions and sample recordings but we managed to get a 2 hour block which suited us both to get together and record the real voiceover.

We recorded in the isolation both in a Mac lab using Mark’s Rode K2 microphone, my Roland Cakewalk UA25 EX audio interface and my Macbook Pro using Pro Tools SE 10. We recorded a lot of takes and after 25 minutes we were happy we got everything we needed.

Recording the voiceovers in the isolation booth. We weren't using the tie-lines as we were using my Macbook Pro instead of the dedicated iMac.
Recording the voiceovers in the isolation booth. We weren’t using the tie-lines as we were using my Macbook Pro instead of the dedicated iMac.

Later on I edited down to those special takes, the ones I wanted to comp into the final playlist. I popped in some fades to get rid of any nasty pops and glitches that occurred through the editing process. The lead guitar track needed a low pass filter to get rid of some high frequency crackles and I also popped some eq and compression on Mark’s voice.

Ready to edit?!
Ready to edit?!

I had fun with the end of the promo with the wildtrack of Mark ad libbing “DKIT!” and “POPCAST!”. I added 2 new tracks with the same eq and compression settings and added a short delay on both. I panned each hard left and hard right and dragged the right track slightly behind the left one. (You’ll hear the effect when you listen to my SoundCloud link at the end).

Fun radio effect on the "DkIT" "Popcast" samples.
Fun radio effect on the “DkIT” “Popcast” samples.

For an extra bit of fun I created another new track, added the first sample of “DkIT”, chopped out the “kIT” leaving me with only the “D”, inserted a medium reverb directly onto the track, bounced out… I then brought this bounce back in to a new track and reversed it, giving me a lovely swell of “ddddDDDDDD” which I popped in leading up to the “DkIT” sample.

Reverse "ddddD"'s :)
Reverse “ddddD”‘s 🙂

So my finished promo looks a little something like this:

Final mix of promo #1
Final mix of promo #1

Listen to it via DkIT Popcast Promo by Stephanie Caffrey on SoundCloud – Hear the world’s sounds.

More work to do… I will be putting together small separate episode introductions next.

My Music Production Project Recording is Complete!

Party over here! I have completed my 3 recording sessions for my music production project “December”, written and composed by Keith Caffrey and myself, featuring Shane Taaffe on cajon and Ciarán O’Brien on double bass.

Monday morning was my last 3 hour studio session, I had 3 blocks of 3 hour sessions over a 6 week period to record the song. Time was extremely valuable and every minute counted in these sessions (especially when the song itself is 5:02 long, one take alone eats up 5 minutes…).

In this final studio session we recorded the lead vocal (Keith Caffrey), my backing vocal (thanks to my assistant Shauna Kearney for engineering for me here!) and a rainmaker. The session was the most relaxed (for me at least!) and though we kept a sharp watch on the clock, we were not under as much time pressure as the previous sessions.

Although it wasn’t ideal to record vocals at 9am, it had to be done and Keith was warming up his voice from 6.30am. The set up was simple- a Neumann U87 with pop shield and reflection filter going through the Audient ASP 8024 to Pro Tools. It would have been ideal to record with compression because there is a broad dynamic range in the vocal performance but as we’re still in early days, the compressor wasn’t patched in. We recorded some takes adjusting the gain for the loud and soft parts and also recorded the contrasting sections separately. It did occur to me after the session that I could have set up an AKG C414 right up beside the U87 on a separate track and adjust the gains of each microphone, so one would have a lower gain than the other. Hindsight! Every day is a school day…

Keith in studio
Keith in studio

Nonetheless I got what I needed committed to Pro Tools. Using the same set up with a tad extra gain I laid down my backing vocal, taking care to double up. Backing vocals are not a requirement of this project but one of the defining sounds of Shock Sorrow (myself and Keith) is our vocal blending. My sweet, soft voice is a nice contrast to Keith’s powerful and deep rock voice.

The rainmaker was the next recording- we set up 2 AKG C414s (mono tracks, cardioid pattern, no filter), and recorded the gentle sway of the falling beads during the intro and outro, this is a nice falling rain-like sound as opposed to a rhythm. I have two rainmakers, one bamboo and one plastic, the bamboo one was the rainmaker of choice as it sounded much more organic and watery! The plastic one sounded like a hail storm!

Me and my bamboo rainmaker :)
Me and my bamboo rainmaker 🙂

With 15 minutes to spare before wrap up time (once the clock strikes 12 we had to be out- mic’s put back into their cases, cables tidy, stands collapsed, wrap up time had to occur at 11.45), we recorded 2 lead vocal ad lib tracks for fun. I was impressed with Keith’s improvisation, counter harmonies, whispers and echoes. He gave me so much good stuff I can’t bear to edit them! 😀

Ready for your close-up Rockstar? :)
Ready for your close-up Rockstar? 🙂

Later that afternoon after my last lecture, myself and Shauna headed to our beautiful, ambient Winter Garden in the college building. The Winter Garden is probably my favourite place to hang out between classes for it’s greenery and general peace and quiet!

I had my own recording set up with me- Macbook Pro (with Pro Tools 10), Cakewalk UA25 EX audio interface, Samson S-Amp and Rode NTK microphone. I wanted to record a couple of extra tracks to see if they might work in the project- violin and small djembe drum. I wanted the massive natural reverb so I placed my microphone in the middle of the garden and stood about 8 feet away.

My on-the-go recording set up
My on-the-go recording set up

I actually didn’t play my own violin (the Chinese violin my parents bought for my 13th birthday- too long ago!!!) although it did sound really nice. One of my lecturers actually loaned me his 100 year old German violin for the recording! I’m honoured to have played this violin and even more honoured that I’m the first person ever to have actually recorded it! Not even my lecturer has recorded it! It was beautiful. Beautifully smooth and amazing tone. It was slightly smaller than my own violin (it wasn’t 3/4 size but just slightly smaller than full size) and as light as feather.

Me playing the beautiful 100 year old violin in DkIT's Winter Garden
Me playing the beautiful 100 year old violin in DkIT’s Winter Garden

I played the djembe for the first time in my life (it’s been sitting in my house for years as a decoration!), I just wanted the simple accents, “snap” sounds with that lovely reverb. It actually sounded really lovely and different! My right hand is in absolute bits, 3 lovely bruises on the insides of my fingers! But definitely worth it!

We actually spent 3 hours in the Winter Garden, it was busier than I thought it would be and most takes were spoiled by the noise of people opening doors, walking by, chatting, cleaners hoovering, you name it, I heard it through the sensitive Rode mic! I did expect such noise in the public space and it was really after 5pm that we started recording “clean” tracks.

I was absolutely shattered after all this but after 2 hours of chilling out at home I was back in Pro Tools, editing and starting the first rough mix until the small hours. Of course the point of the project is to not fix anything in the mix but I did need to comp the vocals and go through the violin takes while it was fresh in my mind. All I have left to do is some fades, an micro edit here and there and adjust the mix balance.

Then the write up… 😉

So expect to hear the final mix of “December” on my SoundCloud in… December!

New Song – “The Key” by Stephanie Caffrey :)

I have been feeling creative lately! I’m announcing the follow up track to “Ashes Forever” which I posted online a couple of weeks ago… “The Key”. 🙂

Composition for this piece started about two weeks ago in my bedroom studio. I wished to complete it before my trip to Oxford so I could mix it over there, but feeling this song was coming from somewhere very deep inside me, I didn’t want to rush the creative process.

I had composed all the music by the time I got to Oxford and there I mixed what I had and structured half the song.

I returned home to Ireland in a whirlwind of emotions and penned the lyrics and vocal melodies shortly afterwards. This song is a deep one to me and I hope the listener enjoys my creation.

It’s the first time I’m publicly showcasing my violin skills on a recording and also my lovely B flat tin whistle, I was really surprised how nice it recorded, adding just a touch of reverb! It’s probably also the first song I’m actually not playing guitar! Written, composed, recorded, produced, mixed and mastered entirely by myself with the exception of giving my friend Lee Fitzpatrick some deserved credit for advising me on my equalisation curves at the early stage of mixing!

Me and my violin! (This picture is back to front, I’m not left handed!)

So put on your headphones, sit back, relax and breathe and enjoy “The Key” 🙂

Steffy xx

Have You Heard the Voice That Belongs to Monica Heldal Yet?!

Monica Heldal 2012

I’m so excited to share this with you! This is a project that I have been working on for a couple of months and I’m delighted to introduce you to one very talented young lady- Monica Heldal.

Monica is a singer-songwriter from Bergen, Norway and at 21 years old, she has already taken the international music scene by storm and is one very busy lady! Her love for American country-blues and the music of Irish legend Rory Gallagher has brought her on a very busy musical journey so far. After playing the Rory Gallagher Festival in Ireland last year, Monica has been invited back to play again this summer during her busy Norway-Netherlands-France tour.

I have produced this song “Silly Willy”, a personal favourite from Monica’s original set. A delightful, bluesy, shuffling song which brings a smile to everyone’s face who’s heard it already! Monica exhibits raw, natural talent in her advanced acoustic guitar fingerstyle performance and in her alluring vocal on this recording and I think you’ll agree with me when I say that this lady is blessed with a gift!

Drums were performed by Daire Stanley, bass was performed by Sean Moher, electric guitar was performed by Darren Mc Eneaney and my recording assistant was Shauna Kearney. I recorded, produced and mixed the song and threw in some additional keyboard and electric guitars.

I really enjoyed this creative process and I’m pleased with the mix-down. This was my first full-band mix on Pro Tools (Logic Pro user!) and I hope you enjoy the song as much as we do 🙂

You can find lots more Monica material on her Facebook artist page: Monica Heldal.

Monica Heldal
See Monica perform at the Rory Gallagher festival this month

Listen to This! Trend-E feat. Stephanie Caffrey “Don’t Assign Yourself” (Extended Vocal Mix)

Have to share this! I’m so excited about this song!!!

Completely spontaneous, completely natural, definitely inspired!!! I present my latest creative, collaborative production; “Don’t Assign Yourself” composed, mixed and produced by the brilliantly talented Trend-E!

Trend-E

Trend-E is a young, up-and-coming electronic music producer based in Drogheda. We actually got to know each other through Facebook after our bands played a few gigs in the town (Sarsfield’s Bagfull of Songs open mic night, the Purple Room’s Jam for Japan, multi-band charity night to name a few!). Trend-E is also a very talented rock drummer! He got in touch with me and we got to know each other, sharing music videos of our favourite bands (of which we have alot in common actually!) and sharing our original compositions through SoundCloud.

We actually never formally met until last week!

Trend-E uploaded the original instrumental mix of “Don’t Assign Yourself” last week online and when I listened to it, I was immediately inspired. I don’t consider myself a vocalist (only on rare occasions!) but this music really turned me on! I quickly downloaded (ahem, bold me- much to Trend-E’s amusement!) the mp3, threw it into Logic and recorded some vocal ideas. I bounced a rough mix and emailed it to Trend-E, thinking he probably would be flattered if anything and carry on as normal.

Quite the opposite! He immediately Facebook-ed me back and was so excited about my ideas, we met up that afternoon (for the first time!) where we exchanged the vocal audio files. I told him to do whatever he wanted with them, in-fact he asked for more! He asked for a verse and the next available moment I had to spare, I wrote some lyrics and recorded the verse! An hour after that we met up again and exchanged the files.

3 hours later the mix was complete, much to my shock and amazement! Not only did he place the vocal parts where I recommended, he chopped, edited, filtered, sampled and tweaked several of my vocal parts and added them in all over the song, it sounds CLASS! Trend-E the Ableton genius!

I am highly impressed and addicted to the song! I love the creative things he did to my vocal, it’s nice to be on the opposite side of the glass, so to speak! Normally I’m the one editing and processing vocals, and doing all the fun creative music stuff, mixing, producing, it was nice to record myself and just give the files to someone else to have creative fun with!

Completely unexpected! I didn’t expect to fall in love with a song and actually collaborate with a DJ! Oh yes, by the way, DJ’s rock! 🙂

Have a listen, if you’re in the mood to head out clubbing or dancing or driving your car or whatever, this should lift your mood and I hope you want to sing along! Just in case you do, here’s my lyrics;

Don’t Assign Yourself

(lyrics by Stephanie Caffrey)

Don’t assign yourself,

Don’t assign yourself tonight.

Read the signs,

And choose your path.

Read between the lines,

And tear the map.

Find, find, find the light.

Find, find, find the light.

Don’t assign yourself.

(a sign, a sign, a sign…..)

Don’t assign yourself.