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Our TOWIE session and why we got it.

If you're a TOWIE fan or have recently spent any time on ITV be, you might have seen this years Christmas ident, the one featuring the classic song Carol of the Bells, albeit with some major lyric edits and Chavvy slants.

We were approached to deliver the vocals for a very specific brief, highly trained, professional singers 2 girls and 2 guys who can sing with an exaggerated, choral group vocal style.

We are very lucky to be able to step in on projects like this. With such a great pool of emerging young talent at our fingertips we are in a position to respond to a common problem many producers with smaller budgets have to deal with.

Shortly after hearing about the job, several quality singers were approached and within 24hours we had a small group, briefed and rapidly getting up to speed as well as a studio date booked.

Another of our appeals is that we have a commercial grade, recording studio, it is perfect for projects like this where any larger and far more expensive venue would be overkill.

While we can not boast the same floor space as a £1000.00 a day premises, it is entirely possible to produce competitive radio and TV audio from here.

The fact that it is ours means we can consider every budget and have access to it 24/7.

Michaela Betts was central to making this happen, as well as being the first point of contact, she was on hand as a musical director and a contributing singer also. Michaela is a very accomplished pianist, with a deep knowledge of vocals and a specialist understanding of Musical Theatre, her ability to steer the group and respond to the producers needs, to be able to make changes on the spot make her a high value assistant to the project.

The team in the end consisted of Jon Griffin - Audio Engineer, Michaela Betts - Musical Director and Singer, Tom Ping vocal, Cerian Holland - vocals, Louie George Daniels vocals, Composer and producer Tim Oliver and ITV Producer & Lyricist Beth Lishmand.

Recording wise we chose to adopt a stripped back old school approach, one where the singers would cluster around a single mono microphone and then manipulate the balance themselves, this gives a more natural vibey feel and forces the singers to work off of each other.

The goal was to record the vocals without overdubs or double-tracking but still make it full sounding, so in order to get some sense of stereo spread a pair of mics were also set up over head which could be blended in if desired.

What is key to a successful recording, more than the studio itself is the quality of the sound source and this is always our primary concern. We know if we can make a good sound that we are 98% of the way there. Professional, quality singers who can take direction or alter course quickly make for the most successful sessions under these conditions.

The end result was great and it is satisfying to hear the finished edit pretty much on constant rotation during the beginning of this festive season

Suffice to say we'd certainly like to hear from you if you need help putting together a vocal group session, require a studio or if you are a particularly talented singer we could call on in the future.

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