Ruby Calling

The official website

Another recording session

Yesterday we were asked if we have ever recorded before.  I said, “Yes, twice.”  But my band mate quickly reminded me that wasn’t true.  We had actually to that point recorded 5 times.  Three times at the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls (in two separate bands), once in a our basement practice space and once at Jackpot! Studios.  Oh yeah!  I forgot about those first three times.  I guess they were kind of practice sessions.  I think it is worth it to get some recording experience before you, “go for the gold.”  There are many things to figure out and to learn.k

We did have a recording session yesterday at Nettleingham Audio in Vancouver, Washington.  We recording a single song called the Enchantress of Numbers.  The engineer recently graduated from recording school and our drummer had never before recorded so it was a day full of learning.  All in all it was a good experience for everyone.  Molly, the drummer, was a champ as was engineer Jay.

We can’t wait to hear the results and we can’t wait to share them with you!

Recording Enchantress of Numbers on Sunday!

The band, in its new iteration, is going back to the studio on Sunday, May 19, 2013 to record the song about Ada Lovelace entitled Enchantress of Numbers.  We are excited to be working with new recording Engineer, Jay at a studio in Vancouver, Washington.  We will keep you posted on how things go.

In the mean time, if you want to hear some Ruby Calling right now…go to for a quick fix.

My Ruby Calling Recording Experience – Part 2

In this post I want to tell you about Ruby Calling’s second recording experience.  To find out more about our first recording experience, go here.

There was a lot of thrash about when we would record.  I had originally wanted to record in the spring but our schedules didn’t align to make that happen.  Honestly, I had a bit of a crisis.  I felt like I was committed to recording but the rest of the band was not.  In fact, I felt like I needed quit the band and start a new band of people who wanted to record!  After an emotional heart to heart with my band mates, we decided to set a goal to record in the fall — together.  We spent a lot of time honing the list of songs to record and practicing them and practicing them and practicing them.

Jean and I had done some research on recording studios in Portland.  We narrowed our list down to two which we visited.  We liked both of them but the funky 70’s colors mixed with the high-tech vibe of Jackpot Recording Studios appealed to both of us.  There were two recording engineers at Jackpot!: Larry Crane and Kendra Lynn.  Having been a huge fan of TapeOp magazine and knowing that Larry Crane had recorded many of my favorite bands (Sleater-Kinney, The Gossip, The Decemberists), I was partial to him.  One of my band members thought it would be cool to have a woman engineer.  We decided to go with Kendra.  Kendra was super responsive and very professional.  We had not recorded in an official recording studio before and she was very patient with our questions.  Our band fumbled around a little but Kendra never missed a beat.  She got everything set up and ready to go.  She told us what to do and expect.  She guided us to record the very best takes.  She was an absolute pro with the recording software and driven to find the best sound.  She was very calm and made the entire recording session a pleasant experience.  It was awesome.

And then…she took our raw tracks and performed magic on them.  Not that we don’t really sound that good [insert winky eye here]…but she took the best of the best and wove them into something…more.  I am extremely pleased and proud of the results and happy that we went with Kendra.

I am not going to lie though…recording was kind of brutal.  Even after practicing the same thing over and over, I am not sure we were prepared to play it again and again with the added burden of being recorded.  At one point I thought my fingers were going to fall off!  (Who wrote that damn bass line..oh yeah…I did).  And recording isn’t all playing and playing and playing.  It is more playing and playing and sitting and waiting.  It is exciting.  And scary.  And totally fulfilling.  I loved it.

My friend Mike, Ruby Calling’s official cinematographer, came and shot some photos and some video.  I am curious to see what became of it…perhaps he is still working on it???  Mike???

After the recordings were agreed upon we had to get them mastered.  Since we were adding in a song that wasn’t recorded with the rest, we needed to find someone who could take two different recording sessions and make them one seamless EP.  We chose to go with Sky Onion and Gus was great to work with.  He mastered the songs such that they flowed from one to another plus he helped us determine the order.  I enjoyed working with him.

So here is the end result:  We are a band of many, many songs.  These songs represent but a sampling of our repertoire.  I cannot wait to share the rest with you.

My Ruby Calling Recording Experience – Part 1

In the past year, Ruby Calling had two very different recording experiences.  The first was a “basement recording” of Crow Girl where an engineer came to our practice space (said basement) and recorded us.  The drummer and the guitarist were in one room.  The bassist (me), the bass amp and the guitar amp were in another room.  This was our first experience playing in separate rooms.  It was strange!  We recorded the instruments with several takes of the song along with a scratch vocal*.  Then, we recorded the vocals on top of the instruments with a big fancy microphone.  It was a pretty low key experience for me and I enjoyed it.  I especially liked singing while NOT playing an instrument.  This was very freeing and made me feel like a true rock star.  I was able to really focus on what I was doing.  When I was playing bass I was totally focused on that and when I was singing I was totally focused on getting the best sound I could from my voice.  After we finished recording, the engineer took the recordings home to mix them.  We went back and forth a few times over email trying to get it just right.  I am really pleased with the results which can be found on our EP.  Take a listen here:

* A scratch vocal is a “throw away” vocal that is recorded on an early take.  It is piped into headphones and then the instruments play along with it.  It helps keep the song timing and keeps vocals from bleeding into the other instruments during recording.

Debut EP – Ignite almost ready for release

While our absence from this web page may lead you to believe that we disappeared, we have not!  In fact, we have been in the studio recording our very first EP entitled Ignite.  The EP will contain 5 songs and will be available via Bandcamp.  We will let you know when it is available.

RPM Challenge and Recording

 Ruby Calling is still together and going strong.  We have had a quiet winter practicing and working on a few new songs.  On December 31, 2011 we had a mobile recording studio swing by and record one of our songs.  After a couple of back and forth emails with the engineer, we have a new rendition of Crow Girl that we are really happy with.  As soon as we are sure we have the final copy, we will post it.

The band is also participating in the RPM Challenge during the month of February.  The challenge is to record 35 minutes or 10 songs of previously unrecorded music.  We decided to do all new stuff and picked the theme of “Great Women.”  An informal Facebook request yielded a whole bunch of possible great women.  Within the band we are picking the great women who most move us and are writing songs about them.  So far we have 5 sets of lyrics written and one song just about complete.

In addition to writing a bunch of new songs Erin is learning to record the band for the challenge.  The learning curve is steep but the reward of learning a new skills will be lasting.  Since the challenge is bounded by the month of February we aren’t necessarily expecting to end of with great recordings.  However, we are hoping to do some recording in the spring when we have more time.