I programmed a rough drum track to keep time when recording vocals, keys and bass live together as a guide track. We would later replace all of those parts and add new stuff, but we wanted to hear the song in it’s entirety so we could think about the arrangement and further production.
So, we went about replacing the live keys with a virtual instrument, adding more detail to the drum performance, recording a new lead vocal, etc. and the song took shape. But did I remove that original guide track once those parts had been replaced? Hell no! It was a good vocal take and you could hear the keys and the basic drum beat reverberating in the room. Placed low in the mix, that rough recording adds a lot of “live” energy to the track.
Play with this “ambient” concept and see how it impacts your mixes. Play a shaker or simple drum loop in the background while recording an acoustic guitar. Or have the singer play a guitar while tracking a guide vocal. Don’t mic the guitar, let it bleed into the vocal mic. For this to work well, it’s best to have a good-sounding room. Make the room pretty dead if you have to. Even an almost dead room will contribute some ambience / live energy to the recording.