what professional bands (if any) do you know of that don't record to a click track?


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Three11Rules
10-11-2010, 06:57 PM
my whole band doesn't want to play with a click, even including our producer/engineer. and this is at a pretty professional studio, nothing real big or anything but it's a good studio for sure.

they all say that "it's more organic without a click" "things are too mechanical when you're using a click" "bands in the 60's and 70's did it without a click." (just so you know we don't sound retro or anything like that) "songs need to breathe" "songs naturally ebb and flow"

...


So my question is do any of you know of any professional, signed bands i can listen to that don't use a click track (Metronome)? Are they out there? I've wasted a lot of money recording my band because we didn't originally do things to a click and had to go back in and completely re-do the drums etc, and I want to see how ridiculous everybody is being saying "no i dont want to use a click."

granted we're kind of Radiohead-like/Pink Floyd-like in some songs (may mean we can be more loose?), but not all.

thanks

TommyRack
10-11-2010, 07:03 PM
Are you laying it down in one take, or is it multi-tracked? If there are going to be any overdubs, it's just silly to not record to a click.

T

Windwaker
10-11-2010, 07:05 PM
This is a really great question. My band frequently employs polyrhythms and tons of time signature changes, so it isn't really practical for us to record to a click all the time. That being said, I think it's extremely important to not drag or rush throughout a song, and to maintain solid tempo. Our decision to not play to a click is solely based on the fact that it would take a day or two to program the click, and to figure out what rhythm it should go to during multi-meter sections.

I think it's really your decision. If your band is really tight and rhythmically precise, I think it would be a good idea to not record to a click. Otherwise, it can really tighten up your sound. Good luck!

Warrior47
10-11-2010, 07:07 PM
If you're recording it like with all of you playing at once, I don't see a need. If you're recording every track one at a time though, why would you not use one? I fail to see any advantage of playing without one if you guys are laying down the tracks separately since you're going to need everything to line up with all the other tracks. The only reason I could see is if you guys have a great rhythm and are doing some crazy time signature stuff.

KG6_Steven
10-11-2010, 07:11 PM
Whether you're all playing at once, or recording individual tracks, it only makes sense to use a click track. This will ensure that the tempo remains the same and the track sounds professional. Having the tempo change part way through the song, when it's unintentional, sounds amateurish. Pro bands use a click. Why not you?

Here_is_no_why
10-11-2010, 07:17 PM
Jimmy Chamberlin, formerly of The Smashing Pumpkins refused to record to a click track. He recorded the song 'United States' in one take.

AlanHB
10-11-2010, 08:30 PM
An important point to to take note of is if your drummer is not used to playing with a click, the studio is no place to learn. That's just wasted money right there. It could be possible that your producer has seen this, and why he's suggesting you don't.

The click alone doesn't make things less "organic". It's just an electronic beep that never goes out of time. The point is to maintain a constant tempo throughout the song - don't let anyone tell you differently.

If "organic" is the foremost concern, record it live as a band together. If having the studio polished sound is the main concern, record with the click, or maybe just one person (you) record with the click first and the other guys lay their tracks around it. If they can handle it.

I'll just repeat this, the studio is no place to learn how to play with a click.

due 07
10-11-2010, 08:57 PM
The White stripes don't, but that is their sound. I'm sure plenty of punk/indie bands do.

Zycho
10-11-2010, 09:53 PM
It's not uncommon for bands to record without a click, it all depends on what works for the individual band.

krypticguitar87
10-11-2010, 10:03 PM
An important point to to take note of is if your drummer is not used to playing with a click, the studio is no place to learn. That's just wasted money right there. It could be possible that your producer has seen this, and why he's suggesting you don't.

The click alone doesn't make things less "organic". It's just an electronic beep that never goes out of time. The point is to maintain a constant tempo throughout the song - don't let anyone tell you differently.

If "organic" is the foremost concern, record it live as a band together. If having the studio polished sound is the main concern, record with the click, or maybe just one person (you) record with the click first and the other guys lay their tracks around it. If they can handle it.

I'll just repeat this, the studio is no place to learn how to play with a click.

+1

the singer I used to jam with recently spent 4X as much money recording an album, with his new band, than he wanted to because they never played with a click before then...... then they broke up..... but I guess that's beside the piont, anyway, if they had played without the click they could have had the whole thing recorded in a month, this took them almost six months, spending tice as much time in the studio each day than they wanted to and never even finished it..... apparently they had another four or five tracks written, that they hadn't gotten to record, all because they were told that they had to record to a click, and the drummer, who was normally really good, would just fall apart, and become distracted by the click... this caused problems between the band members and now they don't even talk anymore.....

scguitarking927
10-12-2010, 12:16 AM
Generally just the drummer plays to a click first in my experience. After that everyone just plays to the drums.

I personally can't play to a click track, just can't do it.

slaptasticdave
10-12-2010, 01:44 PM
One way you can get around this if you're going track by track is to throw together a midi drum track that's quantized and in time and everything, then have whatever instrument is playing the main idea of the song record to that (if he can play in time to the midi drums) then have your drummer play off of the main idea track that is in time

This is all assuming that you're having trouble playing to a click, and not that you just don't want to

isabiggles
10-12-2010, 04:22 PM
I don't like having the click when I record stuff. It distracts me. That said, I use programmed drum beats so they're all perfectly in time.

axemanchris
10-12-2010, 06:51 PM
Steve Albini recorded Nirvana's In Utero without a click.

His philosophy is basically, if you can get away with doing it without a click, great. If you can't, or have not yet practiced this skill, don't.

If a click will help you keep things tight, then do it.

CT

AlanHB
10-12-2010, 07:22 PM
Steve Albini recorded Nirvana's In Utero without a click.

His philosophy is basically, if you can get away with doing it without a click, great. If you can't, or have not yet practiced this skill, don't.

If a click will help you keep things tight, then do it.

CT

Out of interest Chris, you run a studio.

What would you do/advise if the band couldn't play to a click? I don't run a studio, but I think in this case I'd advise that they wouldn't to avoid loosing extra money learning how to. It would equate to less money for me, but also less stress for the band and myself and there would be more possibility of being recommended to record for other bands.

Thoughts?

axemanchris
10-12-2010, 07:49 PM
^ Agreed entirely. You'll get the best performance - and subsequently the best recording - when the players are happy and comfortable and confident. A "beyond the gear" approach.

CT

Damascus
10-13-2010, 04:15 PM
The click alone doesn't make things less "organic". It's just an electronic beep that never goes out of time. The point is to maintain a constant tempo throughout the song - don't let anyone tell you differently.

This isn't brought up to contradict ^^ - and I can't for the life of me remember where I was reading this - but I was reading something about psychoacoustics and in the section on rhythm it noted that what we would percieve as a constant tempo isn't necessarily always what actually is a constant tempo.

In other words, it was suggested that a constant tempo can make something less 'organic'-sounding because we're not as good at counting time as a metronome. Like I said, I can't remember where or what it was I was reading, but my memory of it certainly makes it seem fairly credible.

Warrior47
10-13-2010, 05:50 PM
This isn't brought up to contradict ^^ - and I can't for the life of me remember where I was reading this - but I was reading something about psychoacoustics and in the section on rhythm it noted that what we would percieve as a constant tempo isn't necessarily always what actually is a constant tempo.


This is true. I mean, there are recordings of classical works that you could bang your head to cause the beat feels so strong and constant, but they're constantly stretching and squishing phrases and the tempo is alternating slightly. A more modern example could be something like the White Stripes. The beat isn't always constant, but they play together very well and have a strong sense of the beat.

GrisKy
10-13-2010, 07:53 PM
the studio is no place to learn how to play with a click.

this, but i gotta ask, do they not want to use a click track because they truely believe the song will somehow end up sounding better, or is it because they don't know how to play to one?

if it's the later, perhaps you shouldn't be taking them to the studio at all just yet?

my drummer is a human metronome, we've tested him. the freak can call out tempos on the dot time after time and be right, so we feel safe playing to his beats.

...but he's a freak. if there's any question as to how well your group can keep time as individuals, i suggest you give them the crash course in playing to a click, THEN record them.

and tell your "producer" to eat a dick. he obviously doesn't know wtf is going on, and/or doesn't give a shit how your tracks turn out, and/or wants to rape you with charges for more hours while he "pro tools" everything.

EDIT: there's something to be said for AC's "beyond the gear" approach, but it seems to me that based on TS's post, they're not looking for rough, unpolished, "retro", or anything like that. Seems to me like atleast HE (maybe not the whole band?) wants a polished sound due to his concern over the metronome. if it wasn't he wouldn't have made this thread, he would've just sucked it up and played without the click.

z4twenny
10-13-2010, 08:08 PM
and tell your "producer" to eat a dick. he obviously doesn't know wtf is going on, and/or doesn't give a shit how your tracks turn out, and/or wants to rape you with charges for more hours while he "pro tools" everything.

this isn't always true, i've heard several bands that are quite consistently on beat live and are bands that would benefit from live multitrack recordings as what is mentioned above about feeling more organic is true to a degree. when the music speeds up or slows down a tiny bit we can feel it and tell and it adds to the dynamics of the song. all this being said, all the bands i can think of that play that tightly live wouldn't have any problem at all playing to a click track.

axemanchris
10-13-2010, 09:33 PM
I wonder if the producer was thinking of making his own life easier (at the expense of the band's, mind you....). If he has everything to a click, he can edit away much more quickly.

CT

King Turi
10-13-2010, 09:38 PM
I find drum samples are easier to play along to than the click tracks.

Just play an acoustic or something along to some drum samples, piss the drum samples off, have the drummer play along to the acoustic backing track, piss the acoustic off, and then you're drummers recording should really be in time.
It'll waste an extra 20 minutes or so..

Or, just do the whole thing live at once, not gonna get a more organic feel than recording it all at the same time.

Mr.Cuddles
10-13-2010, 10:45 PM
you should use a click. it's alot easier to work with a song that's in time on pro-tools, and if you sound like radiohead,you will definitly want to use a click, as radiohaed sounds very tight, and definatly use metronome (and programmed drums, which stay in time.)
Recording to a click track should not make you sound any less organic, and should probably sound much better, and more professional.
(just make sure you PRACTICE with a metronome for a long time up until the day you record.)

slaptasticdave
10-14-2010, 01:04 AM
I find drum samples are easier to play along to than the click tracks.

Just play an acoustic or something along to some drum samples, piss the drum samples off, have the drummer play along to the acoustic backing track, piss the acoustic off, and then you're drummers recording should really be in time.
It'll waste an extra 20 minutes or so..

Or, just do the whole thing live at once, not gonna get a more organic feel than recording it all at the same time.

I agree with the first part, except play whatever you would want to be the final take. Never throw away a take, it just might be the best way you ever play it

the_perdestrian
10-14-2010, 04:31 AM
what my band did was do a live take. so everyone gets recorded at once. then run that through head phones and let the drummer play with that. then the bass player played to the original. than I played guitar to the original and sang over the individually recorded tracks.

FrauVfromPoB
10-28-2010, 08:58 PM
My band tried recording to a click, but I couldn't handle it (I'm the drummer). Instead I drummed along with PowerTab files. Came out great. Side note: Up until their most recent album, Mastodon never played to a click.

'93
10-29-2010, 11:15 AM
red hot chili peppers never use a click...but chad smith is quite a tight drummer and the often change the speed (slightly) in songs

jalaniftw
11-02-2010, 08:21 PM
Van halen records live (they play all at once). but im not sure if they use a click or not. My band recently recorded without a click and the recording went really well. You just have to make sure everyone knows their stuff

chris024
11-02-2010, 08:55 PM
my band was dead set against it going into the studio, our producer wanted us to try it, it worked on most songs. songs sound amazing when you can go from a high energy verse to a calm/lower energy chorus but maintain the same tempo, that is something that takes alot of practice and discipline to do without a click. now we have time and tempo changes that would require changing the click so we did just kill the click and go with it, but punching in, over dubs, editing, all that it 5000x harder when its not in consistent tempos, and its next to impossible to take say 5 drum takes for a song and in the best take theres one drum hit, or crash or something that didnt come out perfect and you wana splice it in

we were afraid of losing the organic aspect of it, so we did all the drum tracks with one 2 or 3 of us(whatever the drummer wanted) in the room playing along to help keep that feel, and we think it did.

GrisKy
11-02-2010, 11:59 PM
what my band did was do a live take. so everyone gets recorded at once. then run that through head phones and let the drummer play with that. then the bass player played to the original. than I played guitar to the original and sang over the individually recorded tracks.

this is the best method IMO for a band not wanting click tracks. problem is, as chris024 points out, editing tracks without steady time can be a huge bitch.