Introducing City Of The King - Thanks IK Multimedia

A friendly place to share your music and collaborate with other IK users. Show off your hard work here!

Introducing City Of The King - Thanks IK Multimedia

Postby JBaptista68 » Sat Dec 21, 2019 7:19 pm

Hey folks, just wanted to share with the folks at IK Multimedia as well as the music making community, my project called City Of The King.

The following is from our website and explains how we used technology to create this album. Other than the vocals, everything is virtual...

City of the King is a band that is many years in the making. My name is Joe Baptista and this project is the culmination of close to a year of work. I’ve written many songs and collaborated on many other projects over the last 35 years but this is my first full length solo album project. Many bands of the 60’s and 70’s would build their albums around a central theme and the first album from City Of The King is based on a theme as well. The central theme of Uprising is one of rebellion, politically charged division and the ramifications of what would happen if a group of people challenged government. Today we see many examples whether it is the protests in Hong Kong, the political division throughout the world and the fundamental quest for freedom by the citizens of the world.

Growing up in the 70’s there was so much great music. Making music over so many decades has given me such a wide range of inspirations. My favourite artists include Pink Floyd, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, U2, Daniel Lanois, Yes, Supertramp, Deep Purple, Styx, Journey, Rush and more. There is also quite a bit of modern music that I really enjoy. When people listen to the music I think they may recognize some of those influences but each song is very unique. Lyrically it tells the story of a future rebellion, it mirrors some of the things going on right now and some of the signs we are seeing where things could easily escalate. While some of the subject matter is a bit heavy I tried really hard to keep the theme together.

There are many ways to make music and electronic music making has evolved so much over the last 30 years. When you listen to this album you will recognize this as clearly being a rock album from a rock band so what makes it electronic music? While every single note on the album has been played in real time, the main difference for City of The King is that the band itself is made up of all virtual instruments. I started making music at a very young age and in the 80’s I started collecting synthesizers and used them to create music. There were many instruments that were elusive to an electronic musician to faithfully reproduce. Back then, it was drums and certainly guitar. Today, that has changed and the power to recreate any instrument exists. I have a large home studio facility that I have used to create this album and the high horsepower computers to bring my virtual band to life.

One of the things that I wanted to do was maintain a consistent sound across the album. When a band goes into the studio they would consistently lay down the tracks using the same instruments. So when setting up the sound palette I wanted to pick instruments and stay with them consistently throughout. This included the drums which use a new instrument from IK Multimedia called MODO DRUMS which are a virtual drum instrument. This is the first time that drums have been software simulated vs sampled and the resulting sound is amazingly realistic and musical. The main drum kit is a Pearl Studio kit and just like in a regular studio we have interchanged a few different snares including a Pearl Studio Snare, Ludwig Vintage Snare and a TAMA Star Classic. Throughout the whole album all of the songs were tracked in the same room space.

The Bass tracks feature another IK Multimedia instrument called MODO BASS and feature a handful of bass guitars and the same bass amplifier combination. A Modern FENDER PRECISION, VINTAGE RICKENBACKER and MUSICMAN 5 string bass are used on the tracks run through two B series amplifiers. The great thing about this bass instrument is that we can fully customize the guitars. Our bass guitars were set-up with new strings which gave it a really great sound. A couple of the tracks featured a bit of distortion grunge via distortion pedal.

When I started out it was a real challenge to create guitar tracks that were believable. Lots of guitar pedals and special techniques were required. I know that most of you will say, then why not just get a guitar player? Part of the challenge for me was try and create guitar parts that were so realistic that you couldn’t tell. Composers such as Hans Zimmer have been renowed for doing this where nobody could tell. I had some cool gizmos throughout the years including a piece of hardware that would simulate strumming on any MIDI instrument. Several years ago a company named Musiclab released new software called RealGuitar and then suddenly we had the most realistic acoustic guitar instruments and I finally had the ability to play completely accurate and realistic acoustic guitar parts. They also then released, Fender Strat and Gibson Les Paul versions of these instruments. We throw in some of the most realistic amplifier simulations and I had the guitar arsenal I needed to complete my band. On this album I used several different six string acoustic guitars and a very cool 12 string. The Strat and Les Paul were run through various amplifiers including a Fender Reverb, Orange Tiny Terror and a few different Marshall amp configurations. All in all I am pretty stoked about the tone and the musicality of these instruments.

I have owned almost every major synthesizer that has come out with the exception of some of the super synths that only a handful of people had access to. My first synth was a Roland Juno 106 and from there whenever something new would come out I would do what I could to get one. Right now my synth arsenal includes all of the latest hardware synths from Roland, Korg and Yamaha. I’ve also owned a vintage Hammond organ. For this project, and in keeping with the spirit of the project we used all virtual synths. A company called Arturia has a very cool collection of Vintage synths and they featured prominently on this project from Vintage Moogs, Rolands, Yamahas, Solinas and also the most exclusive synth the Synclavier. Part of this collection includes several Grand Pianos and a beautiful B3 organ which round out the sonic landscape of the project.

Tracking and Recording
The cool thing about modern technology is that it is easier than ever to grab ideas and to turn them into a completed song. All of the songs on the album started as simple melody sketches either on piano, synth or virtual acoustic guitar. Once the structure of the song was put together then I wanted to capture each performance in it’s entirety. Front to back without interruption. I really wanted to capture performances wherever possible for the major components of the songs. There were certainly smaller overdubs, and since it is impossible to play all of the parts simultaneously this was the best way I knew to capture the feel of a real band. This isn’t much different than the way some of the my favourite albums were done.

Mixing and Production
The devil is the details and the mixing and post production process was lengthy. I spent quite a bit of time making sure that each component was just right, that each part that needed to be heard was there. There are so many parts that make up a great mix and I could fill an entire website with some of the techniques used on this album. Needless to say I am super pleased with the sound of the album and I hope that you take the time to listen to all of the tracks and the work that went into all of the songs.
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:44 am

Re: Introducing City Of The King - Thanks IK Multimedia

Postby CrazySchmidt » Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:41 am

"Old" never gets "Old"
User avatar
Posts: 291
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:19 am
Location: Auckland, NZ

Return to The Jam Session