Ahead of our Shure Call For Legends unsigned band competition, we interviewed producer Chris Kimsey (Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton, Peter Tosh), about his expectations for the winners. Here’s what he had to say:
“The music industry can only survive by encouraging new talent, which is one of the reasons I’m really excited to start hearing the entries for this competition. I’m especially looking out for innovative bands who are creative and bring something original to the table.”
Fast forward to March 2014, and the competition winners Fingertrap have certainly lived up to expectations. Driven by the band’s creative songwriter Sion Carver, Fingertrap have crafted a unique blend of Rock, Pop, and Swing with a hint of Ska to produce a truly fresh sound. This signature style is reflected on the bands first release, entitled: ‘Until We Get There’, which gave the band valuable studio experience ahead of their Kore Studios session with Chris.
Recording with Chris at Kore
Fingertrap hit the studio on March 17th, and recorded a total of 3 tracks over 3 days. Recording was a smooth process, thanks to the bands preparation and Chris’s experience. Chris ensured that what went ‘down on tape’ was of the highest possible quality – highlighting the raw talent of each individual band member. “There was never any question of fixing things in the mix” comments Paul from Shure UK. “If something didn’t sound right, it got re-recorded. If a guitar part was interfering with the bass, it was moved up an octave. You really got a sense of compromise not being an option from Chris”.
Shure Microphones at Kore
All engineers will have their regular ‘go-to’ microphones from all manufactures, and it’s important to know you can rely on them no matter what. Many microphones from a number of manufacturers were used, but a few Shure models stood out for particular applications. Here are a few select examples and a few words from Chris….
The KSM313 is a premium bi-directional ribbon microphone. The bi-directionality means that one side of the KSM313 provides a brighter character for vocals, while the other side offers a rich, full sound that’s ideal for guitar amps. The band used the KSM313 for guitar amps and vocals during their session. Chris commented with the following:
“I am hugely impressed with this mic. I think this will almost be a secret weapon for me from now. I think you just need to get people to try this mic and I guarantee you they will start using it. We ended up using the KSM313 mic on guitars and on vocals – the fact it is dual voice makes it multi-purpose and essential! For guitars I used the KSM313 and also an SM57 – the KSM313 sounded outstanding, full fat sound but with a top end not normally heard on a ribbon. It sounded ‘electric’! You could use it alone – the SM57 was adding more top and ‘spike’ but not really needed. That really impressed me. This is simply the best ribbon for guitar amps. You really don’t need any other mic for elec guitars. This is ‘The Guv’nor’ , the best sounding guitar mic!
As with all my recordings I tried a few mics to find the perfect sound. The KSM313 was the preferred choice on one of the vocal recordings, sounding more fitting to the track than my U67.
Another Lead vocal combo was The KSM313 and my favourite ever Shure mic, the SM7B. The SM7B delivered the punch and the KSM313 the body. mmmmm!!”
The Beta 181 is a compact, small diaphragm side-address condenser microphone with interchangeable capsules for different polar patterns. The Beta 181 is great for a number of acoustic applications, including overheads and snare drums. Chris used the 181 as a side mic for the snare (pictured below) and commented with the following: “I had previously never used this mic but we used it on snare, placed looking at the shell of the drum. I could hear all the grace notes and the warm depth of the drum, another must for future recording.
We’ve written previously about the benefits of condenser mics for toms, and we’re delighted Chris found a place for the popular Beta 98 during the Fingertrap sessions – “We used these on toms because they sounded clear & deep and do not pick up spill from cymbals. I love the directionality and tone of these mics.”
The Beta 27 is unique in the industry as the only side-address, supercardioid condenser mic. (used for a myriad of acoustic applications due to its superior transient response) – ”This is a hidden gem!! Used it on organ, drum ambience, backing vocals. Smooth and detailed sound. Will be using this one a lot more.”
Finally, and proving you don’t always need a posh mic to get pro results. The Beta 58 even made an appearance…..
“We did one vocal in the control room with the monitors turned up and used the Shure Beta 58. A hell of performance from Sion the singer and the Beta. Love the fact that you can have minimum leakage of the studio monitors and get a clear sound from the Beta 58.”
Montreux & Beyond
With recording at Kore now complete, the band can look forward to the next stage of their Call For Legends prize – a VIP trip to Montreux, playing on the free stage at this historical festival. You can follow their progress on the Shure Call For Legends Website. Please join us in wishing Fingertrap the very best of luck going forward
“Fingertrap are a very talented band and great songwriters. With the right support, I’m certain they will go on to achieve great things” – Chris Kimsey