What if I told you that one TRR reader landed an original song in a major TV commercial (along with a big fat paycheck), all from a recording he did in his bedroom and his car? That’s right people. Check out TRR fan Todd Roache’s work in this Mobil 1 advertisement. Can you tell that he tracked the vocals in his car on an SM58 and his laptop?
The Studio Setup
Todd’s studio is centered around Logic Pro 9 on a MacBook Pro and the original Apoggee Duet USB interface. Electric guitars were recorded direct through Logic’s own Guitar Amp Pro plugin. Acoustic guitar was recorded with a Shure SM57 an old Rode NT1. Drums were created with the Abbey Road 60’s Kit plugin and bass was recorded direct through the Softube amp plugin. And like I mentioned above, vocals were recorded in Todd’s car through an old Shure SM58.
I grabbed the SM58 I’d been overlooking for ages and did the vocals in the car (MacBook battery etc) cause it was evening by then and the neighbors have a baby I didn’t want to wake. – Todd Roache
From Procrastination To TV Airplay
Todd is very candid and honest about his procrastination in his studio the past two years. In fact, it wasn’t until he got the opportunity from the ad agency to submit a song for a potential commercial that he finally got motivated to write and record an original piece in one evening. Check out his thought process in his own words, it’s humbling.
I’ve finished almost nothing these last two years, because I’ve been telling myself these exact things: ‘I’m gonna wait till I get the perfect mic before I record my vocals’, ‘I’m gonna wait till I’m a better singer’, ‘I liked the pencil mic that guy used on my acoustic that time in the studio, I’m gonna wait till I have one of those before I record’, ‘I have no private luxurious space to record at home, boo hoo, that’s why I’m not recording’.
And here’s the killer bit – someone asked me (having heard my old records) – to write music for an advert – and BLAM!! All these ‘reasons’ that had stopped me recording for years – went out the window INSTANTANEOUSLY – Todd Roache
Can you identify with any of those statements? I sure can. I can basically talk myself out of creating great art because I don’t have everything that I “need” to get it done. But Todd took it a step further. Not only did he just use the equipment he had on hand, he got it done in one evening!
I leapt into action and wrote and recorded the song in the same night, blasting through my previous ‘barriers’. ‘But I haven’t got the definitive mic for my vocals…’ – screw it, my old sm58 will be fine … ‘but there’s nowhere to record vocals?’ – I’ll do them in the car, it won’t disturb the neighbors, it’ll sound fine through a dynamic – ‘but I haven’t got that nice small diaphragm condenser I wanted for acoustic’, I’ve got an old NT1, that’ll do fine, ‘But on real records they’d mic a guitar amp for their guitars’ – plug ins will be fine, they’re ad guys not bats, they wont notice… and so on.
And you know what? I finished that advert pitch fast. I used the vocals I recorded in the car that night. It felt SOOOO GOOOD to listen back to something FINISHED, just to have been creative and seen it through start to end. And … I got the advert, and a big fat pay cheque. – Todd Roache
Todd’s Big Takeaways
In this incredible story, Todd got much more than just his song featured in a major TV commercial and a paycheck, he also learned some valuable lessons. Lessons I try to teach on this blog each and every week. Check it out…
A lot of lessons finally went in from that experience – the “it’s better to have 1 plug in you can really use than 5 you can’t ” got hammered in more – as I had to move very fast and get results, and instinctively went with things I was already adept(ish!) at.
Also – everything I used – the mics, the guitar amp plugins – were things I’d been rejecting using on my own ‘serious stuff’, cause I was holding out for better, the real deal, who knows?!
It’s a good example of the truth that everything you already have is just fine – I thought it wasnt – but … clearly it was! That’s the most I’ve ever got paid from music, it was a real thrill to get that ad. And all the same stuff is sitting there right now just waiting for me to do more. – Todd Roache
What’s holding YOU back from doing what Todd did. Is it gear? Is it confidence in your skill? Is it lack of discipline with your time? Why not take some motivation and encouragement from Todd’s story and identify what barriers you’ve put up in your life and remove them today. Get back to making music and see what’s possible when you actually are working instead of talking about working. Way to go Todd!