The music can not cease, and indie musicians who have been hitherto making do with residence setups are actually turning to recording studios once more. Right here’s how Chennai are discovering methods to navigate the operational challenges posed by the pandemic
Not many people would have managed to tide by the lockdown with out songs — and different types of artwork — to offer us solace, calm us down, and amp us up as and once we wanted it. Making music that does all this requires not solely expertise but in addition a staff, a whole lot of tools, and technical know-how. As recording studios round Chennai regularly reopen, they’ve challenges to navigate.
For example, “You can not put on a masks when recording vocals,” states Mervin Thomas categorically. It will distort or muffle the singer’s voice, and thus have an effect on the tune as a complete, says the founding father of TASE Studio, explaining one of many many challenges that recording studios in Chennai — and elsewhere — should circumnavigate throughout Unlock 4.0.
As COVID-19 instances proceed to rise, Chennai’s music producers are nicely conscious that hygiene can’t be a secondary concern. However how does one hold confined areas full of temperature-sensitive tools operational and secure? The primary issue is belief. “For now, I’m solely working with musicians I’m accustomed to,” says Mervin. This sentiment is echoed by Ashvin Vinayagamoorthy, who runs Shimmr Studios in Mogappair. “If we’re launched by pals or if I do know them personally — mainly, If I do know that they’ll comply with a sure work ethic within the studio, we name them in,” says Ashwin who works with the town’s up-and-coming indie musicians in addition to business expertise.
Work ethic is vital, as a result of the foundations, particularly now, are many. Singer-composer Alvin Presley describes his first post-lockdown recording expertise from final week. “I went to Voice and Imaginative and prescient Studios in Kodambakkam, run by Alaap Raju. The studio has guidelines: there must be a most of three individuals; everybody ought to put on a masks until the individual is singing. There’s a recording sales space and a studio room. Contained in the recording sales space they’ve a foot-operated hand sanitiser that we labored with a foot pedal, along with one other hand sanitiser on the entrance of the sales space,” he recollects.
Whereas the three-person cap is smart when it comes to security and social distancing, it has different implications. Goutham Healer, drummer of the band Huge Sam, observes that whereas it labored fantastic for his or her recording session with a vocalist and bassist, it additionally signifies that some music preparations typically nonetheless can’t be recorded in a studio, no less than for now. “A full band can not are available in collectively. And if somebody desires to document a complete string part — let’s say 5 or ten individuals taking part in the violin collectively — they can not do it.” The one individual allowed to take off his masks throughout their session, he recollects, was vocalist Samuel Vijayan whereas singing.
The purpose, says Alvin, was maintaining the artistes’ bodily contact to the minimal. “We had introduced a few of our drum tools alongside, that have been wanted significantly for this recording and was not out there on the studio. Lijesh on the studio had set all the things up beforehand, so we didn’t have to the touch too many issues, and we saved letting him know what tools we wished to deal with. Mics had already been arrange and have been to not be touched. The one different factor we used was the sofa.”
Although studios take the lead in security, musicians who step in are anticipated to tug their weight, too. Says Alvin, “I’ve a house studio setup, so I had executed some groundwork — primary construction and placements — beforehand. When the three of us went in, we had a strong four-hour session, wherein we have been in a position to end a tune known as ‘Camouflaged feelings’ utterly, and in addition do a tough observe of one other tune.”
This new mission comes a bit over a month after the discharge of Alvin’s debut EP ‘Fall Right now’, that he had created fully at residence. So why go to a studio now? Merely put, whereas the standard of music depends upon the expertise, the standard of its sound depends upon the correct circumstances and tools. Explains Alvin, “It additionally depends upon what I’m programming on a software program and what I’m recording reside.Whereas recording at residence, it was tough for me to get the correct vocal recording high quality. I needed to discover the correct spot the place the reverb wasn’t an excessive amount of and on the identical time not too lifeless. Studios have a vocal sales space made only for that. The aim of the place is recordings alone; our properties are designed for different issues.”
The very design of a studio, nevertheless, might be what throws in operational challenges as nicely. For example, rooms should be soundproof and tools needs to be saved at very low temperatures to keep away from overheating when used. Which might be why Mervin, upon strolling to his studio for a test two weeks into the primary lockdown, discovered a termite infestation. “My studio has a whole lot of woodwork and poor air flow,” he explains, “I needed to utterly redo one wall and do a remedy. I reopened after this final lockdown; we took only a few purchasers and went gradual.”
The largest concern, he says, is the vocalist, who has to sing with out a masks and be very near the mic. “Much more essential than sanitising the mic is sanitising the pop filter, that sits between the mic and the vocalist. We sanitise each of them, in addition to all our headphones, with isopropyl alcohol-based sanitiser earlier than each session,” says Mervin, who works with impartial and gospel musicians.
Shimmr Studios has a bit resolution for this, courtesy the open area proper outdoors their rooms, on the terrace of the impartial bungalow the place the entire studio is situated. Says Ashwin, “We give bands that giant area to jam and rehearse, after which come inside in turns simply to document.”
Ashwin provides that pacing out the purchasers is essential. “If vocalists are concerned, we attempt to hold a day and a half’s hole between purchasers — by no means two singing periods in the identical day. For everybody else, we swap out the micsfor every session. Overdubs assist for bands: we document two individuals at a time and replay that recording for the opposite band members to play alongside to.”
Ashwin’s clientèle, he says, consists of not solely indie expertise like Kevin Fernando and Shravan Sridhar, but in addition the likes of Sid Sriram, Chinmayee and Harini. “However the business has taken a backseat throughout lockdown; it’s the indie musicians who’ve continued to create music all through.”