Vocal Technique - Coaches

February 27th, 2011 | by VoiceCouncil

NEW Vocal Coach in Residence: Basix


We are getting 6 for the price of 1! The entire team of the hit a cappella group Basix are our new Vocal Coach(es) in Residence.

With their energetic and dynamic vocal harmonies, Basix first skyrocketed to fame in Denmark and are now internationally renowned.

They are also experts in teaching and performance –- and will share their incredible insight with our vocalist community for the next 8 weeks.

Today they take us behind the scenes revealing secrets, lies and classified information behind their performance success.

Pre-performance routine:
Check zipper, in-ear and mic –then look thru the set-list in case there are any songs with a history of my forgetting the lyrics. (John)

Peeing, check in-ear and mic – and make sure there’s a bottle of water on stage. (Niels)

Voice-check, get in touch with my body and the ground beneath me, sometimes do push-ups, and tech check. (Peter)

A loooooooooong shower☺ (Anders)

A few minutes alone to focus – thinking through my song-presentations. (Toke)

The perfect mic for you.
Condenser mics work well for my singing, – because it’s easy to do mic “dynamics” without getting that really thin and tinny sound that happens when I’m too distant from a dynamic mic. However, a Shure Beta 58 works REALLY well for my beat-boxing. I can spit and breathe into it one without ruining it AND it’s inexpensive. (John)

I can’t come up with a better answer than John’s… (Niels)

The ones we have ;) (Peter)

Really like the ones we have right now (Shure KSM9) but a Shure Beta 58A is a very good microphone for the price. (Anders)

Shure SM58 (Toke)

Worst singing advice you ever heard:
“When you have a cold, you just have to try to sing as loud as possible” (John)

“When you use breath control it feels like when you go to the toilet…” (Niels)

Every piece of advice that starts with: “The voice is a mysterious thing….” (Peter)

“It takes 7 years to build a voice…” (Anders)

“Look down when you do the high notes.” (Toke)

A favorite nerves remedy:
Breathing! (John)

Gardening. (Niels)

Cava and Smoking. (Peter)

The rain on my face. (Anders)

Closing my eyes and breathing deeply. (Toke)

Villain.
Classmate Mark (I changed his name…): fake, cheat and nasty. (John)

There are many villains around the world and some of them are about to lose their power these days! (Niels)

Right-wing-extremist-political-leaders. (Peter)

Those who don’t have room in their hearts for people in need (economically, physically, mentally, social etc.) (Anders)

My Latin teacher in high school – he was just plain mean. (Toke)

Weirdest thing to happen in a performance:
Once I had food poisoning before a performance. I felt sick on stage, ran towards a door that was placed right behind the stage (in full view of the audience!) and threw up all over that white door. I then ran out, fetched some paper towels, wiped off the vomit, and went back on stage. Basix didn’t notice a thing – but the audience did! (Peter)

Where most singers mess up with vocal health:
By not listening to “signals” from the voice that come when we are sick and/or tired. (John)

When a singer wants to give 130% and the body and voice is only ready for 75%. (Niels)

Being overly voice-conscious and forgetting to wake up the body. (Peter)

Singing should NEVER hurt. Not even when you rehearse. Don’t think that it will be better in a little while. (Anders)

Not listening to your body – it tells you when you need to rest. (Toke)

Favorite Album.
A Danish Jazz-album by Frans Bak, called “Det blå Skrig”. (John)

Joni Mitchell: “Hejira”, Anne Sofie von Otter: “Grieg songs”. (Niels)

India Arie: Acoustic Soul (Peter)

Richard Page – Shelter me. (Anders)

The Cardigans – Long gone before daylight (Toke)

Best advice someone ever gave you about performing:
Find out who you are, and if what you think you are matches what other people think you are. If it doesn’t, find out why. (John)

If you’re nervous and feeling out of control, focus on your feet and/or your breath. (Niels)

Be aware of each song’s story – and find the storyteller in you. (Peter)

Don’t try to be or do something else than you want to. (Anders)

Be yourself and be confident. If you appear insecure, your audience will as well. (Toke)

Top recording tip:
It’s more important to feel it, than to sing in perfect pitch. (John)

Try to make the process funny; the recording situation can be really awkward sometimes. (Niels)

Focus and have fun with it – Don’t stress yourself with too expensive studio hours etc. Make sure you have enough time. (Peter)

Remember that recording is a very personal experience that you can’t expect others to understand – but believe in yourself. If you have special needs or don’t have a good vibe with someone then don’t try to “get over it”. The magic is in FRONT of the microphone☺ (Anders)

Be alive – not a machine. Perfect singing in the recording studio is not necessarily interesting.

Bad thing to say to a sound engineer:
“It sounds bad.”

“I’m ready when you are!!” (Niels)

Every sentence where you pretend to know something about his profession – when you actually don’t know anything about it. (Peter)

“It’s your fault.” (Anders)

“I don’t like the sound!” (Toke)

Good thing to say to a sound engineer:
“I love it; you’re the best!” Or, if needed, “I prefer the sound to be brighter/darker.”

“Don’t worry, just take your time.” (Niels)

“You’re doing a really great job – I feel very confident on stage when you’re doing the sound – can I get you a cup of coffee?” (Peter)

“Can I help you?” (Anders)

“I trust your judgment”. If you’re not happy with the sound, be specific about what you want instead of just saying that it sounds bad. (Toke)

Favorite quote about singing:
“When I sing, everything around me disappears, and there is nothing but me and the song.” (John)

“God respects me when I work; but God loves me when I sing”
(Rabindranath Tagore) (Niels)

“It’s a good weed for me” (Joni Mitchell, when asked about smoking cigarettes and singing) (Peter)

Wow did you guys search for that? I don’t know any quotes☹ But I do like this “The right entrance is where the doormat is” – even though it’s not true (but that’s totally another story…) (Anders)

The perfect day.
Wake up at home with plenty of time for breakfast. Work with my other passion, computer programming, for a few hours. Spend time in my garden. Go to a nice venue with the band, have fun on stage and do a great concert. Go back home: red wine & sit up and talk most of the night. (John)

My perfect days are rarely planned. Sometimes it’s small events that make an average day perfect: a spontaneous barbecue in the garden with the other residents in the house, a bicycle trip to the beach on a Monday afternoon, six words and three chords on the piano that MIGHT be the first seed for a new song. (Niels)

Waking up to sunshine and friends coming over for breakfast, singing, playing cards, drinking GTs and smoking a lot of cigarettes. Having crazy wild sex and falling asleep on the beach by a camp fire after telling secrets and sharing life wisdom. (Peter)

I have a lot of them cause all I do makes sence to me☺ Love singing with Basix, teaching, recording, writing, nature, the wind, rain, snow. I’m going skiing in Norway next week with my family and look so much forward to ski with my 2 nephews and my boyfriend—it’s gonna be a lot of perfect days☺ (Anders)

Waking up on a sunny day. Having plenty of time for breakfast. Playing the piano – finding the inspiration to write a song. Fooling around with my family in the afternoon – maybe at the beach. Eating a nice dinner, which I’ve prepared myself. Enjoying a glass of red wine. Watching a good movie, holding hands with my girlfriend. Reading a few chapters in an exiting novel before sleeping. (Toke)

Your life philosophy in 10 words:
Never waste life on things with little or no meaning. (John)

Always do your best to be a decent human being. (Niels)

Notice what makes you happy and do these things more! (Peter)

You CAN make this world a better place! (Anders)

Be Present – be curious – think positive. Love and you’ll be loved (11.5 words ☺) (Toke)

With a grand total of 4 international CARA awards, including “Best European Album” and “Best Holiday Album” the Danish vocal pop group Basix has proven themselves to be among the very best of a cappella groups worldwide. Follow the group on www.basix.dk or www.facebook.com/basix

Basix will be giving feedback for the next 8 weeks on our Peer Review videos – sign up to get their latest words here.

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