Pls help - band wants in but facing tech problems

jellisjeniusjellisjenius Opening Act
edited November 2009 in The Rock Band Network
Okay, so I am but a meager RB fan and RBN lurker (I'm interested to see what the process looks like, which bands are participating, etc). I am not, like most of you, a musician, moderator, code author, or any other such cool title.

And this is why I need your help. I have emailed one of my favorite bands, a well-known indie band (by indie standards I mean...their Myspace page has ~1 million hits). I followed recommended etiquette etc, and wasn't sure whether to expect a response. Well, it took a few days, but I got one from the front man no less, and it was a lot more thought-out than I expected.

Basically, these guys love and play RB and have been looking into RBN (not sure how extensively). The problem they face is apparently related to how they record. According to the band,
"unfortunately [RBN] require "stems" (which are mixes of just guitars, just drums, vocals, etc.. all separated) and we don't have those types of stems.. so we're trying to figure out a way around it
Again, I'm no musician, but wouldn't it be highly unusual for them not to have recorded separate tracks for each instrument? Am I missing something here? Are THEY missing something here? Or is it just a no-go unless/until they rerecord differently?

I really want to help out, but maybe the best way I can do that is to direct them to this board. I just thought I'd throw this out first to see if anyone had thoughts/ideas or even follow-up questions I could ask the band.

Thanks in advance!

Comments

  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited October 2009
    jellisjenius;3190569 said:

    Basically, these guys love and play RB and have been looking into RBN (not sure how extensively). The problem they face is apparently related to how they record. According to the band,

    "unfortunately [RBN] require "stems" (which are mixes of just guitars, just drums, vocals, etc.. all separated) and we don't have those types of stems.. so we're trying to figure out a way around it

    Again, I'm no musician, but wouldn't it be highly unusual for them not to have recorded separate tracks for each instrument? Am I missing something here? Are THEY missing something here? Or is it just a no-go unless/until they rerecord differently?
    Not necessarily highly unusual. Just depends on what studio they used to record their songs, or if they did it themselves perhaps on like a little Tascam 4-track.

    What they're missing is separated master tracks for their songs. Without those, they will not be able to use RBN. So yeah, they're going to have to re-record, this time actually capturing each instrument separately.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    Maybe they aren't missing separated master tracks for their songs. Maybe the issue is a mismatch between their definition of stems and RBN's (although it does seem like they have read the RBN docs).

    You might ask them politely if they have master recordings of their songs where each instrument is on its own track.
  • RockAuthorsRockAuthors Unsigned
    edited October 2009
    Sometimes recording studios don't give bands master recordings unless they ask. So it could just be a matter of having them ask the studio where they did the recording. I would say they just need to track them down. Unless they recorded it themselves and tried to get it out quick, they should have separate tracks for each instrument.
  • seinmanseinman Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    It could also be that the master tracks were lost. An independent band I work with is going to be in RBN, but they had to re-record the song. The master tracks were stored on a hard drive that failed.

    Remember, kids: back up EVERY important file you have. If your band records an album, it's probably smart to get a couple of external hard drives, put copies of the master tracks on there, and distribute them to members of the band. Sure it'll cost you $200 or so up front for a pair of big drives, but having multiple offsite backups (in addition to the original copy on whatever computer you recorded on) will make it pretty impossible to lose the data.
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited October 2009
    seinman;3190716 said:
    It could also be that the master tracks were lost. An independent band I work with is going to be in RBN, but they had to re-record the song. The master tracks were stored on a hard drive that failed.
    True, we're going through that right now ourselves. All of the masters for our 6-song EP were lost a few years ago in a fire at our producer's studio. And yes, there were 3 different copies...unfortunately all in the same building. :(
  • jellisjeniusjellisjenius Opening Act
    edited October 2009
    Thanks to all for the responses - should help me put together an informed reply to the band, and hopefully they do have proper master tracks out there somewhere.
  • Soror_YZBLSoror_YZBL Road Warrior
    edited October 2009
    seinman;3190716 said:
    It could also be that the master tracks were lost. An independent band I work with is going to be in RBN, but they had to re-record the song. The master tracks were stored on a hard drive that failed.
    Woo hoo! I'm not the only one! My old band has to re-record a bunch of tracks because all of our masters have been lost over the past 5 years or so. then again, we broke up about 5 years ago, so who the hell thought we'd ever need those masters again?
  • lowfatevanlowfatevan Unsigned
    edited October 2009
    This band may have recorded, and still has all the separate tracks. It seems to me that the most common issue, is that a band has either a full Pro Tools session, (or the multi-track tape master), but not stems. So a lot of times, the original session will have to be pulled up and stems will have to be made from the masters, using the original processing that was done for the mix in the first place.

    I think a lot of people misunderstand this, and think that you can just "use the masters" and that'll work fine.

    It's definitely something that artists should, and probably will start considering during mixing in the future, to make things easier for getting their music into Rock Band.
  • WalterrrrWalterrrr Unsigned
    edited November 2009
    Wasn't there mention in the press about The Beatles: Rock Band that Giles Martin had to work with some of the early recordings to separate the tracks by frequency or some such trickery?
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited November 2009
    Walterrrr;3224369 said:
    Wasn't there mention in the press about The Beatles: Rock Band that Giles Martin had to work with some of the early recordings to separate the tracks by frequency or some such trickery?
    Yep. It's a very complicated process that took him months of work to complete. That's not the kind of thing any regular band is going to be able to accomplish on their own, without the assistance of a very expensive studio engineer. :)
  • WalterrrrWalterrrr Unsigned
    edited November 2009
    So it's definitely possible if the band likes their release version enough. That's great to hear! From what I understand, the majority of The Decemberists' album Picaresque was recorded around a single microphone (in a church!).
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