Vocal Layers in songs like "Oh Caroline"

How do you approach vocals in a song like this where it sounds like theres a few lead doubles in the verse (maybe?), and a crazy amount of lead vocals in the chorus. So easily this would sound like gang vocals, and borderline cheesy… but in this song it sounds like a thick layer of leads that are so aligned, and yet not “phasey”. This is definitely a part of the 1975 sound and its done so well. Thanks!

Thanks for the kind note and great question!

It goes without saying… it obviously helps to record incredible singers with experience layering and matching their tones and inflections.

In general when you’re layering vocals, it sounds better to edit everything manually instead of trying to automate the process. A computer is much more likely to match two takes in a way that causes them to phase than you would if you were doing it by ear.

The most important thing to you can do while editing vocals is take your time and go through each layer on its own and with the lead. I always get the lead exactly how I want it and then build each layer around it one at a time to make sure they don’t stack up in a way that sounds artificial. Stretching and (even manual) pitching can cause artifacts, especially in consonant sounds, which can come across as phasey. Best practice would be to comp in the original unedited consonants. In general, stretching is a tool I rarely use. If I needed to lengthen or shorten a word to have it line up better, I’d do it by looping or cutting out tiny sections of the word.