In the Recording Studio

Posted by d2cadmin on August 31, 2015 Blog | News | | No comments

DTC Live Show

Preview “Heading Out”

Recording our music with a great team

It has been an amazing experience to play lead guitar and work with Andy, Carlos, and Carl of Driven to Clarity. We are blessed to have worked with such amazing people.

Ian Richter at the Peabody Conservatory – engineer “Be Alright”
Steve Steckler at Asparagus Media – co-producer / engineer
Tyler Lefebvre – mixing genius
Zach Herchen – golden ears mixing engineer
AMP by Strathmore, Mike Morper, Throwing Wrenches, and Jocelyn Faro for making our album release absolutely epic!
OUR FANS = thanks to an Indiegogo campaign where we raised over $3000 our album Heading Out is available on iTunes,, CDBaby, Spotify, and more!

Our music video of WANNA SAY (HEY GIRL) LIVE at our sold out AMP show is also out!

We have more to share in the following links if you want to check out our videos, show dates, and more:

DTC Band in Recording Studio
Andy, Dave, Steve, Carl, Carlos

The process of making this album
You can’t beat making an album live in the room with great musicians. We rehearsed these songs to perfection and played them live many times before recording them. Because we did this prep work, we didn’t have to edit more than a couple of passages of the bass and drums. Andy re-recorded his acoustic and vocal parts after the initial tracking session. We kept some of my scratch lead parts but re-recorded most of them afterwards. 

Recording Drums and Bass
Drums and Bass with Carlos and Carl

Andy on Songwriting

Writing for me has mostly gone like this: I write an initial chord progression. Then, I scat/hum/mumble melodies until I fall in love with all the lines. After that, lyrics come to me pretty quickly. When the core of the song is created, it’s ready for the rest of the band’s input. Dave will often help shape the song and add a lead guitar line. Carl and Carlos will shape the song further and solidify the tempo and grooves.

Andy Branigan recording on his Taylor Acoustic


Dave, did you improvise your solos, or to write them ahead of time?

Les Paul Standard
Dave playing a Les Paul Standard

As they say in Boy Scouts: “always be prepared.” As much as I wanted to improvise every note of every solo, I decided to work most of them out ahead of time. The only solo that had a major element of improvisation was the one in ‘Weigh Me Down.’ What I planned was generally where my fingers would be on the fretboard, what scales work well, and some cool licks. This framework allowed me to play what I felt in the moment.

Custom Fender Strat

Custom Fender Strat

I wrote the rest of the solos note-by-note ahead of time. I spent some time with our co-producer Steve Steckler to work out where the solo in “Wanna Say” was going to go. Being the sage that he is, he gave me this advice: “PLAY FEWER NOTES! We all know you can play fast, but we want to hear some meaningful whole notes and half notes once in a while.” Because of his help, this solo took on a very melodic approach. The solos in ‘See it in Your Eyes,’ ‘Be Alright,’ ‘Weigh Me Down,’ and ‘Heading Out,’ have the blistering, lots of notes in your face approach. This album helped put into perspective where these kinds of solos are appropriate and where they might not be so much.

Dave’s Keys to Melodic Soloing

Quarter notes, half notes and whole notes
Match the emotional and musical quality of the vocal line(s)
Show off, but do it “here and there” and tastefully!

Guitars, Guitar Amps, and Guitar Pedals

Ibanez Artist AM 50
Ibanez Artist AM 50

There were a bunch of cool amps and guitars to choose from on the walls of the studio. It was a little overwhelming! The guitars I chose to use are below. Some were Steve’s, Carl’s, and borrowed from a friend.

  • Gibson Les Paul Standard – ‘Heading Out’ solo
  • Gibson ES 339 – ‘Heading Out’ rhythm parts
  • Fender Custom Strat – ‘Wanna Say’ rhythm parts
  • Fender Traditional Strat – ‘Wanna Say’ solo
  • Gibson Les Paul Studio – ‘Weigh Me Down’ solo
  • Ibanez Artist AM-50 – ‘See it in Your Eyes’
  • PRS Solidbody – ‘Rest of My Life’
  • Fender American Telecaster – ‘Be Alright’

The amps from the studio I chose to use are below:

  • Fender Twin
  • Hayseed
  • Marshall Stack
Hayseed Guitar Amp
Hayseed Guitar Amp

 Guitar Pedals and Accessories:

Digitech Delay with Kickdisk

Digitech Delay with Kickdisk

In a true old-school fashion, we recorded with guitar effects going into the amp. We were thinking that we’d get the sounds we wanted in the room and do our best with the mix later. Some of the pedals we used were:

  • Digitech Delay
  • Dunlop Crybaby
  • Fulltone OCD

A favorite piece of gear is the kickdisk. It allows you to control pedals with your foot. It’s awesome!


We’d love for you to hear the album. Check out the links below, leave a comment, and share on facebook/twitter!