Amazingly it’s less than a year since The Parsnip and I first set up this blog but along the way we’ve already met a number of interesting supportive characters. Perhaps the one that’s made most impression on the team is Mark De Julio who performs solo and as part of a duo with his wife Delores. It’s difficult now to put a finger on the moment our paths first crossed. I seem to recall him favouriting a tweet we made somewhere along the line. Mark is based in the Las Vegas area and describes himself as a singer-songwriter-entertainer. Since making his acquaintance his YouTube channel has provided us with much entertainment in the office. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDMEdG48RAE In fact Mark’s performances became so popular in the office that when it came to ideas for a celebration of our much-loved colleague Nillan’s 30th wedding anniversary the answer was obvious. Nervously we posed the question, “Would you be able to record something special to celebrate the occasion?” Never in a million years did we expect a positive response but I’m pleased to say that Mark did us proud. You can hear the touching results below:
As you can imagine, this was like a magical ray of sunlight through our dreary, rain-filled, Manchester skies and it was much appreciated by the happy couple. So when we recently stumbled upon Mark’s latest exploit, an a capella motivational piece we couldn’t resist returning the favour.
We hope you like the results. If you like what you hear from Mark ‘like’ him on Facebook and be sure to let him know we sent you:
- Mark Di Julio on Facebook
- DE JULIO X 2 on ReverbNation
- Mark’s YouTube Channel
- Mark on Twitter
- Mark’s Alternative Twitter
This one came really naturally. I’d been listening to some music by Sean Lennon’s band, Ghost Of A Saber Toothed Tiger and they had a track featuring a slow stabbing mellotron flute. I tried a similar approach with the flute but it didn’t quite work. Swapping to piano quickly brought it to life and within an hour the whole thing was done. I applied a few effects to Mark’s vocals and used an Eric Harland Dr OctoRex rhythm from The Loop Loft. I quite like the end result and any similarity to a number one record from the nineties is purely coincidental. Some day I may try to turn these chords into a song. Cheers signore Mark!
The Parsnip’s take
I wanted to create a calm, floating and ethereal backdrop to Mark’s vocals. It was important not to detract from the spoken words. They are the focus. I also imagined this as a piece you would relax, sort your breathing out and close your eyes to listen to, to achieve a state of mindfulness and take in the full import of the words. I slowed the vocals down a bit and introduced breaks between phrases to give the hypnotic, measured delivery. I tried stretching the vocal track in Reason and it wasn’t bad but there were some subtle but noticeable artifacts introduced, so I slowed it down in Ableton Live instead and reimported into Reason. Two pads were the order of the day for the background. One providing a slowly evolving high end, one providing the bass low end. Overlapping note timing and length gave movement to the top end. Stereo image was cranked up as far as it would go and a large helping of diffuse echo applied to smooth any transitions. Overall, feels a bit like Brian Eno’s Dune Prophecy Theme so I’ve got to be happy with that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7XY2sZpbL8 I processed the vocals to remove a lot of bottom end and add some sparkle at the top to get it to sit well in the mix. It was tempting to add more of the background music in the mix but this track is all about the words not the music. Light vocal compression balanced the vocals but a few phrases were not prominent enough in the mix and I wanted every word to be clear. I added sidechain compression to the Pad Bus driven by the Vox Bus to introduce almost imperceptible ducking which allowed each word and phrase to shine through the mix. The Vox Bus had a tasteful bit of plate reverb and stereo imaging applied and I blended in a parallel Vox Bus channel with a full wet RV7000 “VOX Long Tail” patch for a sprinkling of added gravitas. Nice one, Mark. Ispirazione!