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

 

September 6, 2018

‘Our Whingy Gayle’ by David Barker

Our Whingy Gayle

Had a great time recording the original song ‘Our Whingy Gayle’ by David Barker , the Jack Russell music recording artist this month. He brought the wine and his music all the way from France to come and record here, so he’s a little bit like Dionysus in my book.

Dave wanted a 6o’s vibe on the song and after tracking his vocals and a guide guitar, he left me to my own devices to add the other instruments. I’m pleased to say David is very happy with the results and is planing to release it as a single on vinyl.

Dave also mentioned he wants to come back later on in the year to record a full original album with me, so that’s something to look forward to.

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 David Barker ©2018
Lead Vocals – David Barker
Backing vocals and all 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

March 23, 2017

Let’s Stay Together by Vanilla

Let's Stay Together

Great live session tonight with Vanilla duo.

Julie & Nick are a duo from Liverpool who came to record Let’s Stay together by Al Green. They sounded fantastic and were really lovely to work with.

Nicks an amazing guitarist and instrumentalist and Julie is an actress/singer with a voice to die for. They’re both really nice and funny guys too. Hope to work with them again really soon.

This was just a simple live recording session. Nick used my Gibson J45 acoustic guitar which I mic’d up with an AKG 414 which then went into a Golden age 73 pre.

Julie sang beautifully into my Neumann TLM 103 condensor mic which also went into a Golden age 73 pre.  I used UAD 1176 compressors and Pultec Eq’s on their channels. I also used a UAD EMT 140 plate reverb on the voice and guitar.

As it was such a simple session with no overdubs, I offered them the great rate of £50 a song total ( including mixing and mastering!)

I’d be happy to offer the same price to anyone who wants to do something similar.

If you’d like to record here like Nick and Julie did, get in touch TODAY.

 

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

November 24, 2016

Song Production: ‘Stage Fright’ & ‘Mynah Baby’ by Steve Stroud

Lavalamp Album

Two songs for my solo album Lavalamp have been recorded and produced here in the last few weeks. Stage Fright and Mynah Baby. You can hear and buy the album here https://stevestroud.bandcamp.com/album/lavalamp

Stage Fright

Acoustic Guitar: Gibson J-45
Electric Guitar: Fender Stratocaster
Bass Guitar: Gibson EB14
Synth: Steinberg Retrologue 2
Drums and Percussion: Fxpansion BFD3
Brass: HALion Symphonic Orchestra
Vocals: Neumann TLM 103 through PRE 73 MK II

Written by Steve Stroud © 2016
All instruments and vocals by Steve Stroud*
*except “Freak Out” vocal: Harvey Francis Stroud

Engineered, Produced and Mastered by Steve Stroud using Steinberg Cubase 8.5 Pro at Big Cloud Productions in October 2016

Mynah Baby

Electric Guitar: Fender Stratocaster
Bass Guitar: Gibson EB14
Piano: Steinberg The Grand 3
Synth: Steinberg Retrologue 2
Drums and Percussion: Fxpansion BFD3
Flute and 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

Engineered, Produced and Mastered by Steve Stroud using Steinberg Cubase 8.5 Pro and Wavelab Elements 9 at Big Cloud Productions in November 2016

If you’d like to record your original songs here with me, get in touch today CONTACT

November 16, 2016

Production Sale

Great News! We’re having a fantastic SALE right now at Big Cloud Productions.
£50 off any single song project
£100 off any EP project
£150 off any Album project
So if you’ve got any project, song, ep or album planned, get it touch before Jan 1st 2016 and we’ll get you booked in at your discounted price.
We now offer two main services as Big Cloud Productions.
Our classic singer/songwriter production service. Perfect for artists without a band.
and our new full band production service, for bands with drummers or groups that want to record live in a large studio setting.
I’ve also been making lots of cool gear additions to the studio, like Kemper, Goldenage 73 Preamps and UAD2 gear. so ,  if you’ve recorded here before, I’ll have lots of new equipment to show you and use on your sessions too.
Hope to hear from you soon,
Get in touch TODAY! CONTACT
Steve
ps: For acts with a slightly larger budget, I’ve also entered into an exciting production partnership with Marc Joy (Credits inc: Oasis, Primal Scream) called The Bewlay Brothers. Get in touch if that’s of interest to you or your band.
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 15, 2015

Song Production : ‘Paint On My Toes’ by Harry Bowness

Fantastic first solo recording by Harry Bowness. First heard on The Big Cloud Podcast EP1, Seventeen year old Harry came back to Big Cloud Productions in Liverpool to record his brilliant Studio Version.

Here is the finished Big Cloud Productions version Produced by Steve Stroud.

 

The song credits are as follows.

Song Production : ‘Paint On My Toes’ by Harry Bowness

‘Paint On My Toes’ Written by Harry Bowness (C)2015

Lead Vocals / Acoustic Guitar – Harry Bowness

Acoustic Guitar / Slide Guitar / Bass Guitar / Harmonica
Drum Programming / String Arrangements – Steve Stroud @ Big Cloud Productions

Engineered / Produced / Mastered – Steve Stroud @ Big Cloud Productions

 

See the Original version as played on The Big Cloud Podcast EP1 here