Apr 10, 2011

Welcome to the Website!

First of all, welcome to the official site/blog of LightsOutStudios, my name is Daniel Luces. In this place I will post updates on the latest projects I´m working on in my home studio as well as news regarding my band Ad Intra or any other projects I have been/will be involved in.

For those who don´t know me, I´m a 23 year old Venezuelan living in Spain, with a decent amount of years of experience playing bass in a few bands in Venezuela, most notably Intestinal Infection, Athlos and Lotuss. I´m currently living in A Coruña with my wife Yessika with whom I share the band "Ad Intra", currently recording our full length debut at my home studio. I have no official studies in the realm of Audio Engineering but I do have a great passion for it and have learned and practiced a lot thanks to friends I´ve known both in real life and over the internet, and to some excellent resources found all over the internet.

I offer services related to recording and producing music, and although I´ve mostly worked with Extreme types of metal, I am completely open to any genre even slightly related to Rock/Metal music, rates will vary depending on the project, and will always be previously arranged with the band.

My main services are:

  • Recording/Production: These go hand in hand as they pretty much happen at the same time, at least with my workflow. Although for the tracking stage the band would normally come to the Studio, obviously this many times will not be possible due to location issues (like big blue oceans between the band and myself) and thus any production related issues can be handled at a distance, or through Pre-production which is more recommended (see below for Pre-production). Even at a distance, I am perfectly open to offer assistance for the band to track the material at home or at a hired studio. This can be done through e-mail, or if schedules allow it, it could be done live through Skype, Msn or other services. The most important aspect of this stage is for all musicians to get their performances done as good as possible, as a good performance along with gear in good state (set-up guitars, new strings, new drum heads, etc.) is crucial for a good end product, there is no way around that. The rates for this service will usually be included withing the mixing rates unless it´s a special case where mixing will not be done by me, in which case the rate for this service will be previously discussed with the band.
  • Mixing: This is the bulk of the work, making sure everything that was recorded has its own space between your speakers and is as crystal clear and upfront as you want it to be, which will obviously vary between different sets of ears and musical values. My philosophy with the mixing process is to try to let the source material, from the songwriting to the performances recorded, dictate the path the mix will take. Instead of trying to stamp my own "sound" into the songs, or simply following my easy steps to a "politically correct" mix, the point is to let the songs themselves decide how the end product will be, obviously with the help of my most expensive and valuable tool in my arsenal: my ears, to mold that set of soulful raw tracks into a balanced song with just as much soul as it had before being processed. As stated above, for the mixing stage it is crucial for the source material to be well played and well recorded, options can get very limited when the source material is of below par quality.
  • Mastering: Although it is recommended to master with a dedicated mastering Engineer, I can offer in-house mastering for a small fee for bands on a tight budget. This stage aims to give the finishing touches to the mix in terms of frequency balance, dynamic control and overall loudness of the final product, also ensuring that all the songs of the recording play at a similar average volume level and are coherent in all terms with one another.
Besides these main services, I also offer extra services that may or may not be done with projects where I am also mixing and mastering, such as:
  • Pre-Production: Many musicians underestimate the importance of a well done pre-production. This is at first a process of problem-checking before actually going into the studio, which includes preparing all vocal and musical arrangements, tempo mapping the songs, and others. But it is also a great tool for refining the songs and even better preparing the musicians themselves for the actual recording process. I also work with Guitar pro so if the band does their songwriting and/or arranging with this software, it can make everyone´s life easier as it´s a great tool to communicate ideas through it without going through the hassle of recording stuff just to try out small ideas, plus the tempo maps will be a breeze to make and save us precious time when preparing the tracking session.
  • Editing: Mostly applied to drums, it can also be applied to any instrument, including vocals. This is the process of changing a performance after being recorded, normally by chopping parts of the performance and moving the hits around in order to achieve an inhuman tightness which in many metal genres is a desired effect. This is merely a tool to achieve a goal and is not to be seen as a negative thing to be done to a musician´s performance, nor that someone´s playing is being edited because he "sucks at his instrument" or the recording was "played badly", because this is rarely the case, and even when it is, editing can only go so far to actually "fix" a bad performance. If a project I record requires editing, it will be charged as an extra fee withing the project´s final rate. If you own a studio and need to outsource editing tasks due to time constraints, a per song fee will be negotiated beforehand, and an acceptably fast and pre-defined turn out will be delivered with guarantee.
  • Bass session playing: Besides recording and mixing, playing bass is my first musical passion, so I am also available to do any session playing on any project, and I will deliver bass lines suited to the level of creativity and upfront-ness demanded by the person who hires the service, with the guarantee of a high quality and well performed end product. When hired in conjunction with the mixing of a recording, a small extra fee will be charged. When hired independently of my mixing services, a  per song fee will be pre-negotiated with the person hiring the service.

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