Ken-Del Studios has played host to a Mid-Atlantic all-star recording for the Toys for Tots benefit CD, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. The session, produced and engineered by Ken-Del’s Paul Janocha, was a remake of John Lennon’s classic “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”.
The initial tracks were recorded in Pro Tools 7.1 ReWired to Ableton Live for the percussion tracks, and Propellerhead Reason for the bass and string sequences. “Our initial thinking was the typical acoustic guitar, mandolin, vocal kind of treatment,” says Janocha, “but that would have been safe, predictable, forgettable.”
Janocha and co-producer Mario Padovani relied on urban loops from the Sony Acid Hydroponic Hip-Hop library. “We changed the time signature from 3/4 to 4/4, giving the vocalists a chance to stretch out their lines a bit. It took them a minute to get used to it, but once they did, they loved it.”
The session included performances by Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Paul Lewis, members of Philadelphia area bands Ike, Otipsunk, Stygian Veil, Laura Cheadle, Steve Ketterer and SoulOh. Each vocalist recorded two takes of the song from top to bottom. Janocha and Padovani would later chop up the performances in Pro Tools to create the final comped vocal. Minor pitch problems were easily corrected using Celemony Melodyne Essential.
Sales of the CD will benefit the Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots Foundation,which delivers new toys to underprivileged kids at Christmas. The disc is
available online through www.wstw.com.