The Pop Culture Information Society...

These are the messages that have been posted on inthe00s over the past few years.

Check out the messageboard archive index for a complete list of topic areas.

This archive is periodically refreshed with the latest messages from the current messageboard.

Check for new replies or respond here...

Subject: By Request, how to record Parodies

Written By: skittlesking on 01/25/07 at 7:34 pm

With the recent development of the Am I Right Parody Station, and the unity being brought in it, I have had a few people ask how I started recording, and how they can get in on it too.

The main concern is usually (and rightfully) the background music. . .Obviously Karaokee tracks usually contain supporting vocals (I ran into that when I first started recording and trying to match wits with a Beyonce imitator on Bootylicious (now Chubilicious) was near impossible)  Karaokee tracks are very close to the original, but are copyrighted and although realistically because it is being parodied, and not for commercial use, it is legal--many people will hear that and recognize that the original karaokee track is being used.

The next idea was midis. . .well midis usually are recognizeable, but when I first started recording something bothered me about this.  Most midis contain loud annoying vocal tracks that are hard to compete with, and even if you do it succesfully they really bring the song's quality down and cause excess noise on your track. . .ah but then bliss

I found Anvil Studios, a midi altering device that allowed me to remove or soften anything in a midi I wanted.  Which I did, to EVERY midi I had. . .the result. . .many of my songs sound close or identical to the original.  My songs have consistantly battled in the charts since being re-recorded and many don't even recognize that it's midis. . .a good example of how good a parody can sound to these midis is

That's Dead End Jobs. . .original song was Five for Fighting's 100 Years.  Most of my songs sound that close.  Every Call I Make and Careless Whispers quality are both just as good.

--to be continued.

Subject: Re: By Request, how to record Parodies

Written By: skittlesking on 01/25/07 at 7:38 pm

Ok, Step 1 of recording

Obviously this is finding backing track, again look above for quick references, but for good ones either A. contact me and I'll help you ;) or B. find a Midi online that sounds close to the original keeping in mind that you are going to be removing vocals and can edit it. 

Using Anvil Studio, you can go in and remove instruments that are annoying, loud, or disporpotionate, all of which deplete the qulaity of midis. 

I personally do this and then record it using Creative Wave Studio and record sounds in my computer, which can be done by changing your recording properites under the Control Panel to record "What You Hear" as oppossed to the other options.

This allows for a crisp sounding backing track without any air sound.

Then burn the track(s) to a CD (I usually pick about 15-20 songs at a time I hope to someday parody) and walla, you have high quality backing tracks to your music.

Subject: Re: By Request, how to record Parodies

Written By: skittlesking on 01/25/07 at 7:42 pm

Step 2 of Recording

After creating a backing track, the next step is TO LEARN THE SONG YOU ARE PARODYING. . .

Obviously, writers in the game for awhile know this.  Phil Alexander, Myself & Merry & Pippin have many songs that you can hear the song and actually mistake it for the original.

Writing is a big part of it, but when it comes to performing, singing the original is essential to learning how to imitate the original artist on the next level.  I myself Karaoke to the original (I guess my secrets out of the bag--I have had voice lessons so I have a bit of an advantage here, but I swear they were minimal and it was just enough to get me to where I felt comfortable enough to compete in high school in solo competitions)  Karaoke CD's or even online Karaoke Midi tracks are a great way to do this. . .you can also just listen to the original at night on repeat silently as you sleep to learn the song, I know it sounds weird, but believe me. . .listen to Chubilicious and tell me it didn't work. . .

Obviously learning your own lyrics is essential too, but first you have to understand the sound the original artist was going for.

Subject: Re: By Request, how to record Parodies

Written By: skittlesking on 01/25/07 at 7:51 pm

Step 3. . .

After practicing immensely. . .choose a recording device. . .If you have the financial means this can be an elaborate studio like Exactly Midnight (just look at the picks on his page and then the quality) or like me, a Logitech Sony Microphone which actually came with my purchase of Karaoke Revolution 2 for PS2. . .it works on computers as well.

Also you'll need a CD player for the original track unless you want to do it the hard way.

I get my quality by playing the song at full blast (well not all the way) but very loud

You'll sound like you are drowning yourself out to you, but it picks up vocals much louder than soundwaves, which is important to remember.  No matter how loud you think the music is, it won't pick it up as loud, no matter how soft you think you are, likewise, it will be louder--you want the mic closer to the CD Player than yourself and DO NOT HOLD OR MOVE THE MIC WHILE RECORDING (learned that the hard way it will pick up movements as I danced during the original recording of Don't Sleep, it picked up every move I made like I was dropping the mic)

Using Creative WaveStudio you can monitor how loud you are compared to the original.  I use it because you can alter the volume throughout the song and do cool things like fade in or out.  You should very rarely be out of the green range, but the goal is to have the recording in the upper green on volume the whole time, obviously that's not easy-but as long as you don't go into the red or yellow too often you'll be ok.  Testing yourself on a few lines is a good way to see how you need to perform.

I find that drinking a glass of water right before you sing helps a lot with soothing the vocal cords and settling anything that might be going on in your tummy (I actually had my stomach growling show up in the original recording of Jock Itch). 

I usually then double the volume (again neat thing about Creative WaveStudio) so that the song's volume is equivelant to other songs.  One person who's songs are very loud is Kristof Robertson, if you listen to any of his music it's very loud, high quality recordings.  I myself aim for a slightly lower volume so that to match other songs, but the goal is to be at least as loud as most other music so that people don't have to adjust their volume to hear you in the car, anyone who heard the original recordings of my first 14 know what I mean about volume, as all of them were quiet.  Generally you'll want to increase it by 176% on the volume meter.

Subject: Re: By Request, how to record Parodies

Written By: skittlesking on 01/25/07 at 7:54 pm

Step 4

As you'll notice with my songs, I take a photo or design one somewhat unique to each song, this helps identify it to other people.  When they see my Pizza Outfit photo, they think of Pizza Night, one of my many songs. . .that helps to promote it because it makes it unique against other songs and more importantly perhaps, unique amongst your own.  By having each song with it's own photo, people can find songs unique to them.  That's why I've had so many songs in the top 100 and why it seems everyone who finds my page ends up leaving with a different song, each person is attracted to a different idea of mine. . .something they may not of noticed if I didn't take the time to differentiate my songs.  Phil Alexander also does this very well, and not all artists practice this as it is not really required.  I however have found that variety helps.

Subject: Re: By Request, how to record Parodies

Written By: skittlesking on 01/25/07 at 8:11 pm

I'd be more than happy to help with any song you wish to record.

Background tracks especially. . .I have no problem with taking a midi and altering it to fit vocalists needs.

Many have commented on my singing.  I especially liked what Tommy Turtle had to say, it made me feel. . .well not Below Average. . .about my voice.  I would be glad to perform songs for writers entirely and would make a new account, however those who have the means to record their own obviously the more recorders out there the better.  Also the idea of doing an AmIRight Collaboration is always a great idea in my book and I'd always be happy to participate as a secondary vocal for those who need backup vocals for parts of songs.  As for performing though, I ask that you understand I have a pet peeve about burning a CD for one backing track, so unless I've already recorded it, it will have to join the next project after the one I'm working on.  (At the time of this writing that was P3) . 

Good Luck and Good Recording

And Yes, I practice, I practice a lot.  I know I don't have a terrible voice, which helps me immensely in recording, but I also know I need to work on my confidence so this helps me a lot to know that so many of you appreciate my work and my recordings, it validates my being here.  Well I'm here to tell you wether you cannot sing (Pun on Nuclear Bubble Wrap) or you have an absolutely fantastic voice, recording is fun--it's just as fun if not more so than writing.  Listen to Josh2, Listen to Vocally Challenged, they overcame fears similar to that of others on here, and while they admittangly don't have the best quality, they had fun recording, they accomplished what they set out to do, and darnit--it's on the net, and people do listen to their music, and while I can't see their statistics, I mean we are here to make people laugh. . .if Weird Al sang like an angel I don't think he would have taken up parodies, just jump in and get your feet wet.  Even all I do isn't really necessary.  I just have high expectations on myself because I've been recording now for awhile, something Stu made me realize in his post on my song "Careless Whispers".  I am Below Average Dave, and I'm telling you, if I can record so can you. . .I will help any way I can even if it means singing for you.

I'm always up for being a secondary vocal in songs that have two distinctive harmonizing parts (I'll record my side and send) and I'm always up for a collaboration.

Happy Performing Guys,  My New Site on Recording is almost done also. . .Thank you all for your continued support of my music.

Subject: Re: By Request, how to record Parodies

Written By: Red Ant on 01/28/07 at 6:03 pm

Apologies for getting to this great thread so late, Dave. It is most helpful, but I've got some really lame questions, so bear with me:

// I personally do this and then record it using Creative Wave Studio and record sounds in my computer, which can be done by changing your recording properties under the Control Panel to record "What You Hear" as opposed to the other options. This allows for a crisp sounding backing track without any air sound.

How do you eliminate other noises, like a whirring hard drive, cooling fans, static, etc.? My Rode mic picks up damned near everything, and getting total quiet is much harder than I thought. There has to be some easy way to eliminate that noise w/o putting my computer in a soundproof box or doing a ton of cleanup editing.

My house uses an ungrounded electrical system, and I've been told that may have something to do with the noise. If I touch the metal ferrules of the cables with my hands, the static drops dramatically (I suppose I am the ground at that point - not a particularly reassuring thought).

I think getting good quality cables would eliminate some of the noise as well.

If you know any good sites that feature Midis, music equipment, etc., please let me know. The closest music store to me is over 40 miles away, and I've not had good luck finding Midis on the net for most of the songs of which I've made parodies (and that I can sing halfway decently).

Also, if you've got a recommendation on Email accounts to use (preferably that are free) that can handle recording-sized files, that would be of great help as well.

Subject: Re: By Request, how to record Parodies

Written By: skittlesking on 01/28/07 at 8:16 pm

Actually, believe it or not, Yahoo Can help with the email

I use a basic Logitech Microphone, and I had the same problem you are describing when starting out.  The thing about it is, by default. . .your audio properties likely have "Mic Boost" on, that causes it to pick up sounds all over, which is why if you heard my original recording of "Don't Sleep" , you heard laundry from the kitchen in the background.  I changed this by first, upping my volume on the CD device I was using.  I also made absolutely sure it was as quiet as can be as for my surroundings.  Most importantly I turned of Mic Boost and got in a very comfortable position with the mic sitting quietly on top of a sock that held it in place, but was soft enough to where it didn't roll off or bounce the noise around.  It also helped soften my vocals a bit as I tend to be loud.  Reducing noise obviously is key, but turning of Mic Boost will help seriously.  This can be acheived by going into your volume properties, clicking on the advanced tab underneath Microphone and then selecting off Mic Boost.  I myself no longer have Mic Boost off as I have started recording at night when things are naturally quieter and less things are going on.  Short of getting professional equipment, it's almost impossible to eliminate all noise, but as you can see in my recordings, it can be lowered enough to be pretty decent quality.  Nylon stockings over the mic can also help filter out a bit of unwanted sound.  Keep in mind, that turning the volume of the CD player up will also help to make other sounds inaudible and that the mic won't pic it up nearly as loud as it picks up your vocals.  If you make a piece that simply isn't loud enough, I can run it through my Creative Wave Studio and fix that for you.  To see what that can do, simply check Josh2's songs and listen to how much louder they are, you can hear them now without turning up the volume:)  Anyway, keep firing questions,  I want to help you get on the box and recording away.

Hmm, My midi sources are scattered.  It usually differs from genre to genre.  Sites that have great pop genres for example, tend to suck for rock, and ones that have decent rock midis often lack good oldies, those that feature oldies rarely have newer songs, and same vice versa.  Ones that feature all genres evenly rarely have ANY that are good.  I can help you find backing tracks.  Just email me or and I can help point you towards a particular song file or even send you an altered one.  Don't forget that I do have software that can get rid of vocals on midis for you. 

Check for new replies or respond here...