September 6, 2018

‘Virtue Signal’ by Steve Stroud

Virtue Signal by Steve Stroud

I finally got around to writing and recording a new original track which is titled ‘Virtue Signal’ by Steve Stroud.  It’s my first new solo song since I finished my solo album ‘Lavalamp‘ in 2017.

I had a piano riff in my head and based it around that. It was also a good opportunity to put to use a couple of new plugins I’d recently purchased.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Waves Abbey Road Reel ADT is a brilliant replica of the Automatic double tracker the Beatles first used in the 60’s. Great for analogue sounding chorus or flange effects.
The Universal Audio Galaxy tape echo is a psychedelic sounding old school tape echo / reverb unit that adds a bit of retro other-worldliness to your delays.

Anyway, I expereimented and wrote and recorded the song in a few hours one morning recently. It’s now on itunes, spotify etc, but I’ve put the link to my Bandcamp page below if you’s like a listen.

Let me know what you think?

You can hear the results here and don’t forget to get in touch here if you want me to work with you on your next project. CONTACT

Written by Steve Stroud ©2018
All vocals and instruments – Steve Stroud
Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Steve Stroud
Recorded and Produced at Big Cloud Productions in Liverpool
www.bigcloudproductions.com

 

July 6, 2018

‘These Blues Now’ Album by Franki Doot

Franki Doot - These Blues Now

On the 9th of May, Franki traveled from Dorset to Big Cloud in Liverpool to start tracking for his third Album project to be produced here.

We’d previously collaborated on his albums ‘Still Runs‘ and ‘Tastes‘ and Franki was so happy with the productions, he wanted to produce another album here in a similar way.

Franki wanted to experiment with a slightly different way of working on this album. In the past, he would come in with the songs written and with concrete ideas about instrumentation, arrangement and the overall sound and feel of each track.

This time, Franki wanted to write the songs as normal, but then hand the raw tracks over to me where I would be free to add whatever instruments I felt would work for each track with no direction or input from Franki. I’d then Mix and let him hear and offer suggestions before the final Mastering.
This was all Franki’s idea and at first I thought it was a) very brave and b) unusual.

Most musicians like to micro manage the production process. I’ve been guilty of this myself when working with other producers. It’s just the way it always is.  Especially when you’re working on songs they’ve written themselves. To hand them over to a producer and basically say “Do whatever you want” is just unheard of.

I was excited by the challenge, but I have to admit I was concerned about the possibility of spending months working on the album only for the artist to ultimately say “Nah..that’s not what I had in mind at all!”
So we developed some ground rules, Franki didn’t want any input, because he wanted it to go in a different direction to what he would normally do, but I was to try and make decisions that I thought he would like going off our previous work together. He would get a final Veto if anything turned up that he hated.

I set to work adding instruments to his basic acoustic demos on May 10th and by June 22nd I was ready to share 8 rough mixes with him via the Dropbox.

Needless to say, I was a bit nervous, but thankfully Franki came back to say he loved them all and was really delighted with the results. (And Breathe…)
Franki imputed a few minor mixing tweaks here and there and a few days later I was ready to master.

By 4th July, the Masters were all done and approved by Franki and the project is (for me) now complete.

You can hear the results here and don’t forget to get in touch if you want me to work on your next project. CONTACT

All Songs written by Franki Doot ©OAM 2018
Lead vocals on all songs and acoustic guitar on ‘Don’t Give Up on Love’ – Frankie Doot
All other instruments and backing vocals – Steve Stroud.
Additional vocals on ‘These Blues’ – Sarah Jeory & Harvey Stroud.

Recorded / Produced / Mixed / Mastered – Steve Stroud at Big Cloud Productions 2018

 

December 2, 2017

‘Tastes’ Album by Franki Doot

'Tastes' Album by Franki Doot

Early in September 2017, we started work on the ‘Tastes’ Album by Franki Doot when Franki made the long trek from Dorset to Liverpool to begin recording tracks for his latest original album.

We’d previously collaborated on his last album ‘Frankie Doot Still Runs‘ back in 2016.

On  the last album, I’d only collaborated on 7 of the 12 songs he recorded and another studio in Dorset Mixed and Mastered the album.

This time, Franki wanted to do all the work here at Big Cloud Productions, so this time I’d be collaborating on all 12 tracks and also Mixing and Mastering the finished Album.

So in September we had an initial tracking session, where Franki recorded guitar tracks and vocals and we discussed what else was needed for each track.

After Franki had recorded his parts I set to work adding Drums, Bass, Guitars, Piano, Keys, Strings, Brass etc.

I would then send Franki progress mixes via the Dropbox and once he gave me the thumbs up , I’d move on the next track until we had 12 basic mixes done.

Franki came back to Liverpool for an additional Tracking session in October 2017 where he added harmony vocals, extra percussion, some extra guitar, piano, mandolin, bass etc.

Then all that was left to do was edit and mix the whole album. I’d send Franki all the edited, eq’d and mixed tracks and once he was perfectly happy with the Mix I’d done in Steinberg Cubase 9.5  I moved the Mixes over to my Mastering rig in Steinberg Wavelab 9.5 .

My basic Mastering Chain consists of UAD Ampex Mastering Tape, SSL Bus compressor, Liner EQ, UAD Massive Passive Mastering EQ and a final Limiter.

Franki was very pleased with the finished Album, he sent me this message.

“Many, many thanks for helping me to bring my songs alive.  You’re a great musician/producer.  I really appreciate the time you’ve spent on it and I’m proud of the results.”

You can hear the results here and don’t forget to get in touch if you want me to work on your next project. CONTACT

All Songs written by Franki Doot ©OAM 2017

Lead & Backing Vocals / Acoustic Guitars and Percussion / Additional Electric Guitars, Bass and Piano – Frankie Doot
All Other Instruments – Steve Stroud

Recorded / Produced / Mixed / Mastered – Steve Stroud at Big Cloud Productions

June 26, 2017

Cover Versions by Jukebox Duo

Jukebox Duo

Mark and Andy (aka Jukebox Duo), two brothers from Huyton, Liverpool have formed a new wedding duo.

Really nice lads and talented too. They wanted a couple of new cover version tracks for the Jukebox Duo website. https://www.jukeboxduo.com/

They popped round with some backing tracks and I recorded their guitars and vocals for them. I then mixed, mastered and delivered the finished versions via the Dropbox.

If you’re a singer, duo or band who needs new content for your website or page, get in touch as we can do everything from live acoustic sessions, to backing track sessions such as this to full live band records. Whatever you need. We can help.

Please, feel free to get in touch today for a free no obligation quote. Contact

 

February 9, 2017

Album Production: Lavalamp Album by Steve Stroud

Lavalamp Album

I’ve just completed work on the Steve Stroud (ie: Moi) solo Lavalamp Album .

It’s a really nice feeling to complete an Album as a songwriter.  I’ve released a few over the years that I did not produce, but I think it’s even more involved and rewarding to complete one that you’ve wrote, performed, recorded, edited, mixed and mastered yourself.

For the Lavalamp Album, I’ve been writing and recording a song as a basic demo and then just releasing it instantly on Bandcamp/Soundcloud as soon as it was ready-ish. I started that process with the first Basecamp demo about 12 months ago.

Now, a year later, When all eight tracks were done, I went back to the original Cubase sessions and fixed anything obviously annoying, remixed and eq’d the lot of them from scratch.

Then once mixed, I took all of the eight songs into Steinberg Wavelab 9 to Master the finished files.

Mastering the new Steve Stroud album ‘Lavalamp’ #mastering #wavelab #uad #waves #lavalamp #studiolife #stevestroud #liverpoolmusic

A photo posted by Big Cloud Productions (@bigcloudproductions) on

Once done, I uploaded to Bandcamp to sell and sent them all off for digital distribution, so the record will also be available on Spotify, iTunes and Amazon etc.

Then I exhaled noisily and had a cup of tea. Have a listen!

You can download and buy the album here if you are so moved.

Thanks to everyone who’s encouraged and supported me in producing this new album. As you can hopefully tell, a fair amount of work has gone into making it.
Please do have a listen, download if you wish, buy it if you must, but most importantly, enjoy it you big, serious meatbag. X

https://stevestroud.bandcamp.com/album/lavalamp

If you’d like to record your original songs here with me in the same way, get in touch! CONTACT

September 30, 2016

Studio Life: Racks, Kempers and Preamps!

So, I had a plan to improve my day to day set up.

I decided I needed an extra rack mount with two more more preamps, a kemper and a power conditioner. I did a little doodle…

2016-09-01-16-15-50

First off I bought two Golden Age Projects 73 microphone preamps. I already owned one, which I loved, but I was sharing it between vocals, acoustics and guitar/bass DI. This involved lots of faffing and changing levels whenever a new instrument was needed that wanted to use the 73.

I already have lots of inputs on my Focurite Pro 40 interface, all with pretty good mic pre’s , but this is a specialised ‘coloured’ preamp, designed to sound just like the legendary Neve 1073.

It ended up being a bit of a nightmare as the pre’s a ordered ended up in Japan by mistake, then turned up damaged, but I eventually worked it all out with the seller and got a replacement for the broken one, so all’s good now.

Now I have one dedicated for Vocals (with a Neumann TM103), one for Acoustic Guitar (with a AKG c414) and one for Bass/Gtr . Much better!

2016-08-26-11-28-06

Then I got a second rack mount and added the Kemper Rack and a Furman power conditioner.

2016-09-02-12-44-30

The kemper is mindblowing to be honest. Maybe the best piece of Studio gear I’ve bought in years.

If you’re a studio user and/or a guitar player who records and you’re not sure what the kemper is or does, please google it. It’ll change your life.

Basically, in the past,if you wanted a decent guitar sound on record, you had to get valve amp, crank it and stick a mic in front of the speaker. Valve amps are incredibly loud things, it’s possible to have them set quiet, but everybody agrees, they only sound really fantastic when you crank them right up. They just don’t sound that great quiet. To capture that great tone, you ideally want them turned right up, almost at the point of feedback.

This lead to lots of producers and studio musicians using guitar modellers and reampers to get around the issue. One one hand it was great, you could usually get a pretty good guitar sound at a manageable volume without upsetting the whole neighbourhood, but it still wasn’t amazing. You still missed the ‘really’ great tones, but it was close enough to make lots of people want to compromise.

Like many others, I was getting a bit frustrated with my recorded guitar sounds. I owned several quality Fender and Marshall Valve amps, but was using reampers in the studio, mainly because it was quieter to record, easier and quicker to set up.

I heard about the Kemper Amp Rack online, and was intrigued. The Kemper isn’t a modeller, it’s a profiler. Basically people all over the world ‘profile’ their real life amps and save the profile to their Kemper. ie: Someone in NYC hooks up their Marshall JCM800 stack to their Kemper and ‘captures’ the profile. The next time they record, they don’t even have to turn their amp on, they just plug into the Kemper and the exact same sound is all there, fully customisable and perfect, even at low volumes.

The best bit is, they can then share their recorded profiles with other Kemper users all over the world. You get to download them all for free. The Kemper comes loaded with hundreds of profiled Fender, Marshall, Orange, Vox, Blackstar..you name it. They’re all there, but if you need more or different profiles, either profile your own amps or just download new ones (for free) from the rig manager.

It’s blown my mind how great it sounds. My Fender Valve amp was on sale on eBay within hours of me hooking it up. It’s that good!

So, if you get me to record any bass or electric guitar for you from now on… it’s more than likely to be played through the Kemper. The best bit is, you can ask me for any amp sound in the world and I’ll probably have it.

2016-09-02-12-44-43

September 30, 2016

Song Production: ‘European Song’ by Steve Stroud

Lavalamp Album

 

So, Brexit happened. That was a big deal right? Jesus. I voted remain, but rather than moan and fight with everyone on social media, I thought I’d be better off writing a song.

I wrote and recorded this and ‘Just a Boy’ in a frenzied week of politically charged activity. Poor Cubase didn’t know what hit it.

Anyway, the song that came out was just a stream of consciousness, obscure, semi cathartic shout . It’s nice, quite a lot of people got in touch to say they like it. Thanks! x

D.J. Waters, an Australian Fine Art Photographer who’s based in Germany, asked if he could use the song on his latest promo video. I was very pleased to say yes. I took out the kids voices on the coda for him, but other than that, it’s the same. You can watch and listen to it below

D.J. Waters Fine Art Photography Video

by the way, he take beautiful pictures, is a wonderful guy and I urge you to visit his website here http://www.djwaters.de/startseite.html

Back to the music, here’s a link to the whole song. See what you think?

Written by Steve Stroud © 2016

All instruments and vocals by Steve Stroud

Acoustic Guitar: Gibson J-45
Electric Guitar: Fender Stratocaster & Gibson Les Paul
Bass Guitar: Gibson EB14
Piano: Steinberg The Grand 3
Synth: Steinberg Retrologue 2
Drums and Percussion: Fxpansion BFD3
Strings: HALion Symphonic Orchestra
Vocals: Neumann TLM 103 through PRE 73 MK II

 

Written by Steve Stroud © 2016
All instruments and vocals by Steve Stroud

Produced, Arranged and Mastered by Steve Stroud using Steinberg Cubase 8.5 Pro at Big Cloud Productions March 2016

Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Steve Stroud

Recorded at Big Cloud Productions in March 2016

September 30, 2016

Song Production: ‘Just A Boy’ by Steve Stroud

Lavalamp Album

I wrote this song for the Lavalamp album a few months ago.

I was getting concerned with the amount of pressure my 6 year old son was being put under at his infant school. I didn’t blame his school or the teachers, but the Tory Government, who under the then Education secretary Nicky Morgan were hell bent on STATS for little kids and other pressurised measures. (It’s now since moved on to being all about Grammar schools.)

It’s pretty simple really,  just some acoustic, bass, drums , with a little bit of jiggery pokery.  Oh and Jesus Gonzales lent me his Kazoo.

It was recorded really, really quickly and dare I say it, a bit shoddily, but the general feel is about right. It reminds me of my son whenever I hear it, so that’s nice x

See what you think?

Written by Steve Stroud © 2016

All instruments and vocals by Steve Stroud

Acoustic Guitar: Gibson J-45
Electric Guitar: PRS S2 Semi Hollow
Kazoo: on loan from Jesus Gonzales
Bass Guitar: Gibson EB14
Piano: Steinberg The Grand 3
Electric Piano: Steinberg
Synth: Steinberg Retrologue 2
Drums and Percussion: Fxpansion BFD3
Strings: HALion Symphonic Orchestra
Vocals: Neumann TLM 103 through PRE 73 MK II

Written by Steve Stroud © 2016
All instruments and vocals by Steve Stroud

Produced, Arranged and Mastered by Steve Stroud using Steinberg Cubase 8.5 Pro at Big Cloud Productions March 2016

Produced, Mixed and Mastered by Steve Stroud

Recorded at Big Cloud Productions in March 2016

January 24, 2015

We’re moving to a new Studio

Exciting times here at Big Cloud.

We’re shortly going to be moving to a new Studio premises in Woolton, Liverpool.
We’ve just finished up the fantastic original Tim O’Neill song ‘Hunger Games’ and have also just completed some great backing tracks for The Deltatones live music show which means we’ve now we’ve cleared the decks and are ready to pack all our studio gear up and get ready to move.

So, if you’re thinking about hiring us at any point in the next couple of weeks whilst we’re moving to the new Studio, firstly ..PLEASE STILL DO SO! (We’d love to hear from you), but please bear in mind we might not be ready to start tracking straight away, there will probably be a short delay whilst we move studios and get everything set up.

We’ve still got access to email/internet etc, so if you have any questions, please just get in touch 🙂

As soon as the new studio is ready, we’ll update you all again.

Thanks for your understanding guys!

Steve

January 24, 2015

Song Production : ‘Hunger Games’ by Tim O’Neill

Big Cloud Productions - Audio Production for Songwriters

Another gem by the ex Magic Bullets frontman Tim O’Neill.

The fourth song of our ongoing collaboration is ‘Hunger Games’, a really strong track, written by Tim with all his usual intelligence overflowing with thoughtful lyrics, artistic chord changes and at least fourty fathoms of depth.

The last session we did together ended up producing the glorious ‘Honey’s Dead’, which we recorded with Lisa Von H. Everyone involved was very pleased with that track so we wanted to make sure we came back strong. The result is ‘Hunger Games’.

What started as a rich, but sparse acoustic guitar driven track was transformed by both Tim’s suggestions and also, (I like to think) our own musical input.
Tim wanted to utilise the world famous Amen drum break somewhere in the song and also had great ideas for backing vocals and bass. So I started working on getting the right drum beat and sound.
I laid down the acoustic rhythm, after studying tim’s initial demo and then the bass was recorded DI with my brand new Gibson EB14 bass, which was lovely to play with btw. I then added wah, wah guitar, backwards guitar lines and started arranging the strings. Tim then had the genius idea of getting us to add some flutes.
After one more brainstorming session with Tim, where we added some more vocal harmonies, guitar and synth parts. We believed we’d cracked it!

It’s always a real pleasure working with a true craftsman and talented songwriter such as Tim. This kind of session is exactly what Big Cloud Productions is all about. And on a personal note, it’s great to end Big Clouds time in the Eslington Street studio on a high. We’re now packing up our gear and moving to a brand new studio set up in leafy Woolton.

Anyway, have a listen to the finished mix. We think it’s boss.

The song credits are as follows.

Song Production : ‘Hunger Games’ by Tim O’Neill

Hunger Games by Tim O’Neill

Written by Tim O’Neill (C)2015

Lead Vocals / Acoustic and Electric Guitars – Tim O’Neill

Acoustic Guitars / Electric Guitars / Lead Guitars / Bass Guitar / Drum Programming / String and Woodwind Arrangements / Hammond Organ / Synths / Backing Vocals / Engineered / Produced / Mastered – Big Cloud Productions

If you’d be interested in working with us here at Big Cloud, get in touch with us TODAY!