n-Track Studio's Featured Artist of the Month

MAY 2002

The Five W

Featured Artist's Web Page: http://www.aconthemic.com/

New Hampshire, USA

Who: Andrew Connell

When: [..] "The beginning is perhaps with the supposed story that before i could talk, I was humming Deep Purple's 'Smoke on the Water"

[..] "Music is everything"

What: Rock

In Short:

Influences:[..] The bands that have had the biggest impact on me would be Alice In Chains. first album i ever bought was 'Dirt' and to this day it's still one of my favorite albums. closely following would be Spacehog, Radiohead, Stone Temple Pilots, Supergrass, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and many others. the grunge/ alternative rock scene was what I most related to. I'm all about good honest rock and roll with creative twists, anything i'm gonna listen to depends on my mood like switching up the Doobie Brothers to Project 86. more recently, the artists I've been finding a great liking to have been The Who, Bjork, Incubus, Mogwai, Reel Big Fish, The Stone Roses, Air, and others in other otherwise categories. the tastes vary greatly, but for some reason most the music i make ends up being acoustic folk rock-like. i hope to dabble with some more electronic sounds without sounding too Depeche Mode, and hope to incorporate more styles in the future.

AC on the Mic
by Alessandro De Murtas

Featured Songs: 

The Storm
#note:This is a song i had stuck in my head for months before i was able to lay it out on the guitar. it took so long to figure out i needed to tune the guitar differently. it's about having a baby.
#note: this one i wrote in the thought of a bad person, a really really bad person. it's appropriately entitled Politic.
Coward (I'll See You in the End)
#note: i wrote this song on 9-12-01. the video i was watching on the news was pretty stomach turning. the lyrics were written in the view of a victim and the such. i tried to create two different feelings for the verses and the chorus, horror and hope.
#note: this is the first full-blown instrumental i've recorded. it started out as a freaky acoustic riff, then i just kept adding to it. it wasn't complete till i recorded the guitar solo throughout the track. it has a nice heavier feel that i'm looking for.

[..] "Music is everything. The beginning is perhaps with the supposed story that before i could talk, i was humming Deep Purple's 'Smoke on the Water'. good taste as a lit'l 'tike. played the saxaphone throughout the school career, only enjoyed playing in jazz band though. picked up my mother's guitar in the attempts to mimic my brother's playing while i was in junior high. i'm a lefty. so when i picked up the righty guitar, I held it upside-down. I've been playing like this ever since. Started making up short little riffs and decided to record them on the pc with my little crappy pc microphone. then started adding a second guitar part and simply mixing that into the first. using a simple .wav editor i recorded my first song which included a Casio drum beat and a tropical-like guitar harmony. It wasn't until a year later that i discovered multi-track recording on the pc. Ever since i've been learning and trying to get better at it. Each time I completed what i wanted, i wanted to do more. after creating a little over 14 songs, many test recordings, and buying more and more instruments and equipment, I'm just about ready to start final recordings for my first album."

Tips and Tricks from AC on the Mic using n-Track Studio.

Gear: (Hardware)
I play a Yamaha FG-402 acoustic guitar, generic bass (Memphis), generic crappy crappy shitty electric guitar i bought off my friend's little brother for $40 (Strat style with modified pick-ups), Yamaha PSR-540 keyboard (for drum sounds, piano, and all that other cool stuff i might throw in the mix), Rimo Djembe, and other accessories.
for recording equipment, I started out with a SB 16-bit sound card and one of those microphones you mount on your monitor. through the years I've upgraded to a Midiman Omni-Studio 24-bit sound card with an awesome break-out box (highly recommended), Superlux CM-H8B condenser mic (quite a decent mic, I was gonna get an AudioTechnica but this was cheaper). and most recently I got myself a Tube Works Blue Tube overdrive pedal (works great on any audio to boost warmth and add some smooth distortion).

Gear: (Software)
For basic editing and chopping I use Goldwave while for more powerful editing and effects i use Cool Edit. My favorite program of all is n-Track Studio.For my drum samples (bitchiest part of all) i use a little ditty called The Drums Pro. Anyone who's heard of this know's how old and weak this program is, but i'm yet to find something better.

"For tips and tricks, it's hard to lay down a few simple facts that I know of. I've been recording for a little over 4 years now. I've just kinda fumbled my through figuring out how to 'not make it sound like crap'. But for starters, the acoustic guitar is extremely hard to get it to sound right. I'm still working on it. I use a straight up Yamaha acoustic guitar, and mic it with my Superlux side-address compressor mic. The thing that so greatly throws off the quality of an acoustic guitar track is the slap of the pick. The position you strike the strings at as well as the position of the mic all matter. I happen to place the mic about half a foot away from where the neck meets the body and placed towards the high strings. After the track is recorded, using Cool Edit, I perform a "De-Esser" compression to soften the smack of the pick, and add a slight spatial echo. Then in n-Track, I purchased the Compression Plug-in (highly recommended), and apply it to each track including the guitar. On top of the compression I add a large room and stereo reverb effect. This results in a decent sound of the guitar, and other lack of quality is simply because I'm recording it in my bedroom.
For people who are doing home recording by themselves, drum tracks are a huge problem. Unless you own a drum set and can play it well, you're forced to use MIDI samples for your drum sequences. So do I, and it's my biggest tackle. I use a very old program called "The Drums Pro", but you can use Cakewalk or something else that allows you to map midi sequences. I map out the entire song's drum sequence in software, using loops wherever possible. I then take the MIDI output and send it to my Yamaha PSR 540 keyboard. The keyboard has built in effects make those weak little MIDIs come to life. I apply whatever effects I feel suite that drum track on the keyboard, then send it back to n-Track for recording. I apply a peak compression in Cool Edit, and also apply the compression in n-Track as well. Slap on some reverb and boom, half-decent drum tracks. I can't stress enough how important the keyboard is in this picture, straight up MIDI drum tracks just don't cut it

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