Recording in space and which microphone to use for an Astronaut

For the purpose of this blog post, I am not going to mention names as the recording to which it refers is not yet released. But it’s the first project I’ve done where NASA has been involved!

Ok. So, this is new. Or new to me at least. I was quietly minding my own business one day when an email came in.The subject simply read “Interstellar File Sharing” and it was from a dear friend.  Inside that email were all sorts of strange sentences like “what do you know about interstellar file sharing?” and “I’m starting a project with a buddy of mine who’s on the space station and wants to record a song while he’s up there.” Excuse me, what?! Was I actually reading this right?

My response email was equally as bananas…”Holy mackerel! I have never worked on a project from Outer Space,” and “So he would play guitar and sing in SPACE and send the files back to us for overdubs?” “I can’t believe these sentences I am writing… Record in space… Overdubs on Earth… how psychedelic!”

Fast forward a few months and that’s exactly what has happened. The rocketeer recorded three vocal takes IN space, plus a few guitar tracks. No big deal. When we received these recordings they were imported into the recording that had been done here.  He did a great job singing so it was not hard to make them work, we simply sifted through the takes and used the best parts of each.

For recording in space, a simple Shure SM58 microphone was chosen. Why?  Because it tends to focus its sound on what is placed directly in front of it while rejecting sounds that are further away. This was going to be useful because who knows what machines are bleeping and blopping away in the background of a spaceship. These microphones are also durable. They can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. It’s a no frills choice but he wouldn’t have to worry about his technique as much as he would with a studio condenser mic. I’m sure he has enough to think about up there! Best to allow him to just concentrate on his performance and not the equipment.

Heck, this is good advice even for us back here on earth. If the artist needs to think about the equipment too much during their musical performance, you might just be be using the wrong equipment.

The latest text I received from my buddy reads like this: “NASA is getting behind it.”  Whaaaat? I mean really. What does that mean?! I don’t exactly know. What I do know is that this is probably the closest I will ever get to being in space.

Keep it simple, follow the music … wherever it goes.