BGVs Day 1 and 2

4 03 2008

It’s the end of another day of background vocals and we are halfway through!  Scott returned to Houston on Sunday night and we got to work on Monday morning, spending the day on BGVs for Be Glorious and Light of the World.  Today Jess did most of the work as we finished up Shout it Out and Undone.  On most of these songs it is taking longer to complete the background vocals than it did to finish the lead vocal, but it has been great fun figuring out the parts and being creative with how we use the vocals.

The process of recording background vocals is perhaps the most collaborative and open-ended of all the things we’ve done on the record.  While the lead vocal has been written and, for the most part, is set in stone, the background vocals are a blank canvas.  We begin by heading to the logical places a song might need background vocals – the chorus and the bridge typically.  We listen through a section of the song a few times trying to decide if that section needs background vocals at all, and if so what kind.  Some places call for a counterpoint line, a harmony part that mimics the melody.  In other places a vocal stack or pad that fills in rhythmic and sonic space is more appropriate.  In some cases these collections of stacked, weaving vocal lines may not even be recognizable as voices when we’re finished.

Once we make a decision on a direction it is time to figure out the actual part – notes, words and rhythms.  This part of the process would probably appear rather comical to an outsider as we all listen through the section humming things to ourselves and then trying to teach each other the part we’re hearing in our heads.  After a few tries the decision is made and one of us goes to record the track, after which we start all over again with the next section.

We continue to find great fulfillment in the creative process.  There seems to be an echo of our Creator-Savior in the way we can bring something small from nothingness into existence.  How much greater the loving creativity of the World-Maker.  It is a humbling, perspective-giving thought.  We look forward to finishing the recording process this week – and perhaps even finding a day of rest somewhere on the other side! 

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One response

5 03 2008
clay w.

That sounds like a blast. The effect BGVs can have on a track is astounding (imagine Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album without them, for instance. Or a Bon Jovi or Van Halen record without the signature harmonies).
Knowing you two, and getting a sense of the fun and freedom you’re experiencing with this project, I’m sure we’re in for a treat!

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