Monday, January 18, 2010
Day Six - Last of the bass, overdubs, production and acoustic guitars
Hope you're enjoying this blog. This has basically been for all you guys to get an inside view into the process of recording an album... well our process anyway! Hope it hasn't been too technical. I've tried to make it as easy a read as possible but give you muso's something extra.
I got up at 5:30 this morning for some bizarre reason?! Excitement probably as it's been a joy to participate and watch our album unfold day by day, layer by layer. First up was trying to record the "Jukebox" bassline on Juki's altered tuning 5 string. I managed to knock it off in one take with one minor fixup as it's a really simple part, tight on the kick drum so could really concentrate on the feeling of the part in context of everything that had been laid down before. I rarely get the chance to track with the full band and extras in my headphones as I'm either recording after drums or to the band with drums and "live" guitar parts so really enjoyed doing that. So bass parts on the album in the bag :)
Next we worked with Matt "back of the bus" James on cleaning up and rough mixing 3 songs from our first session recording "Shark" late last year. Man oh man, felt sorry for Matt as there were so many extra tracks to delete, comp into other tracks and volume balance. But he's a champion and managed to get them sounding ship shape for Gordon's inspection in no time.
The overdub and production stage is a cool part of the process as it adds that extra sparkle and fatness to the song that you don't necessarily get just from all the band members jamming in a room. It's kinda the difference between a live performance and a studio album. Each band has their own vibe with regards to this as some prefer the raw vibe of the basic tracks while others layer their recordings with loads of melodies and textures. I think our band falls somewhere in the middle and it's very song dependent. Because we've come up with loads of different sounding songs us as well as Gordon have definitely taken different attitudes based on what the song needs. So that in mind, we worked on "Jukebox" once Gordon got back from his Long Street expedition and came up with an instrumental string-driven middle eight. This involved Gordon playing the violin, viola and cello parts on the synth and us all giving suggestions as to the melodic direction of the part. Ultimately it's sounding really cool. The song is Gordon's baby and he's leading it really well. It's gonna sound like the anti-Strokes - big production, strings, the works compared to The Strokes back to basics rock 'n roll approach. A versatile man is our Gordo.
Next back to Fruit and Veg city (we really should look into getting a sponsorship there :) ) for lunch vibes then onto some extra guitar sheeite. We only did a few guitar overdubs (basically meaning recording certain parts again and adding them to the existing parts to make them sound fatter, especially guitar parts). Songs don't always need them and we felt that only a few parts should have so Scal doubled a few rhythms. Then on to the beastial guitar solo, or more like wall of sound and noise (the good kind), on "Unusable Block." It seems that Seattlites dig their guitar noise - see Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Soundgarden, The Melvins and countless bands in the Seattle 80's/90's grunge scene - and Gordo's no different. For more Seattle stereotypes, go here: http://dailyuw.com/2007/3/8/seattle-stereotypes/. He went to work with Juki on finding some cool ambient feedback based guitar parts. Juki's also definitely a noise fan, going back to his War on Salt punk band days :)
We ended off the day with some acoustic guitar and used a Yamaha tuned in Nashville tuning. We discovered this guitar lying around the studio somewhere and it sounds beautiful! It's strung with 5 non-coated strings (ie. all from the top 2 strings on a normal steelstring guitar) and 1 normal "bass" acoustic string. The tuning's weird cos the highest pitched string isn't at the bottom of the guitar so it gives it this sparkly voice. Which was perfect for "Caroline" as a layer so Scal set about recording it. Carel had to mute out my bass part so Scal could get a good enough mix in his headphones... which leads me to my Gordo quote of the day: "We should mute all your bass lines on the album and only have them on the special edition version. That way I can take your share of the album's profits." Old Jeremy "MOTB" Moyle dug that one!
Well, I'm pretty tired. Been working hard this past week and a bit... and I'm on leave! But couldn't think of a better way of spending my time.
Till tomorrow... same time same place...
P.S. I managed to dig up the studio diary posts on our facebook page. Check them out in the post below.
P.P.S. We're back at Zula Bar this coming Saturday the 23rd of Jan 2010 jamming with a few other cool bands so come in and let's have a party! We'll be celebrating the end of our active involvement in the album. From there on it's in Gordon and the S&M team's hands for the mixing and masterisation (sic) process.
P.P.P.S. I found a way to fix a water damaged phone - open it up and put all the parts in a cup on rice, uncooked of course and leave it for half a day. It works trust me!
P.P.P.P.S. Kidding, that's all I got :)