Monday, January 18, 2010

The diary entries from the first session - Sept-Oct 09

For those interested:

Day 1 - Monday 28 September 2009

For those of you who don't know, we're bringing out a new album next year and hit the studio today to go into production at Sound and Motion studios. The seeds for this album were sewn during our pre-production (also at S&M) a month and a bit back. We did rough recordings of 7 songs we wrote at the time and they sounded awesome! But where we are at the moment we’ve decided to only record 3 of them for now, together with 3 brand spanking new tunes, which are a bit of a departure from anything we’ve written before. But I guess that’s the nature of our band – we’re always discovering new music and wanting to take our sound in a new direction. The first step of this was expanding guitar textures via a whole bunch of new pedals that are making the new songs have a dreamy, spacey kind of vibe at times. Such a trip to hear what Scal and Juki are coming up with on their new toys! And Sash and I are trying to just lock together to create some cool grooves to keep the dancy feel we’ve always strove to get.

Well, there’s a bit of background to where we are at the moment. Today was a set-up day to make sure we get awesome tones and drum sounds so we can lay down the bones of our material. Matt James, the resident S&M guru (Sound and Motion of course, haven’t seen him in any leather get-ups… yet) spent the morning getting the drum kit to sound punchy and powerful so Bash Crash Sash could feel at home. He’s done a great job as the drums are sounding huuuuge! Juki’s playing through this Mesa Boogie stack kindly lent by Tyrone from S&M and Scal is playing through his creamy bluesy Vox. As for me, I’m using my ’82 Fender Precision through this radical preamp DI’ed. Sorry if this is too technical but just wanted to give some muso’s some inside info into the process J

The way we’re recording this album is the same process as Dirty Dancing and Tiny Islands in that we all record the basic tracks live at the same time. This will give the tracks the same kind of energy we get from playing gigs. We’ve always written stuff through jams so we feel this is the best way of going about it.

Stoked to get the process off the ground! Tomorrow we’re going to track the bones of 3 songs, looking forward to it! So it’s all on track so far! On Saturday we’ll be recording 2 or 3 of our new tracks. And of course we’ll be kept entertained by Juki Chan with his wall-to-wall piano playing lol!

Will keep you all up to date as to how it’s all going. See you all at Rocking the Daisies!


Day 2 - Tuesday 29 September 2009

Today was a day of tough graft in the studio. Our schedule's quite tight so we tracked 3 songs today but all of them sound amazing! The 3 we chose to do have been staples in our live show for a few months now so we thought we'd do them first to get a solid start on the album. What I can tell you is they were all done live, no click tracks, just the 4 of us in 1 room feeding off each other's energy to give the album's core a feel of being at a live Plastics show. It's a time-tested approach that was used back in the 60's.

We kicked off just after 10 after some coffee and a smoke and worked on getting the guitar tones and drum mic'ing right for the songs then started tracking. The tricky part of recording live is because all 4 of us are playing there's a lot of room for errors. But as long as the drum tracks are perfect (and they are, respect Sash!) you can do little fix-ups and re-do's on the guitar and bass parts. We're also going to be recording some overdubs and put some production into each song to fatten it up and create some textures, maybe some synth pads, piano and extra percussion. Looking forward to that cos I get to watch the other guys weave their magic!

Matt James, the S&M engineer, also had a rad idea to take an old song we were considering for "Kiss The Plastics" and record it totally analogue onto tape! That'll create a totally old school feel for the track which will really suit it. It's a really simple and mellow song Scal wrote which we didn't think was right for KTP but will be awesome to get onto "Shark."

We've got a couple of days break from the studio because of my work commitments before we're back in the studio to record 3 brand new tracks on Saturday. Before that though it's Kidofdoom's Cape Town launch of their brand new album at Mercury which we're excited for. If you see us there don't buy us any shots cos we gotta be perky for the next day's session... give them to our manager Jeremy instead ;)

Take it easy


Day 3 - Saturday 3 October 2009

Productive day in the studio! 3 more tracks in the bag, well the basics anyway. Our new tracks are quite tough to record, mainly cos they all have loads of dynamic subtleties so we've had to be super cohesive as a band. So it was quite a draining day for us but the results are sounding banging! These 3 in particular showcase the new direction our band is currently taking. They all have different vibes to each other - the 1 alternates between being moody and menacing and liberating, another's a slowish jam with rad guitar soundscapes and the newest (and never-before-played- live) is a hook-filled pop song with the the strangest swingy groove. Well that's the only way I can describe them!

Tomorrow I fix up a couple of bass parts and add some overdrive to a song or 2. Got some ideas of tones to make it sound nice and chunky :) Then Juki's gonna record some overdubs and textures.

So it's back to work tomorrow. Stoked with the way it's shaping up so far!

Catch ya later!

Day 4 - Sunday 4 October 2009

The recordings are really starting to develop nicely! I did all my bass fix-ups and added this really dirty overdrive part to one of the new guys which was loads of fun cos we got to tweak with my sound quite a lot. We're recording all the bass DI then Matt and Fuzzy are gonna be tweaking it to suit the song nicely when they mix the tracks. The rhythms are sounding really tight and groovy so Sash and my job's done for these 6 tracks!

Juki tracked a lot of his guitar today as well and added a lot of cool extra melodic stuff that's going to add that little bit extra to the song. He's gonna be finished by tomorrow morn then it's on to Scal to do his guitar overdubs. From there it's on to the fun stuff - production and extra layers like piano, acoustic guitar, percussion, synth pads. Sound and Motion's a rad studio for that cos they have loads of funky instruments lying around to mess around with and a beautiful baby grand piano called Agatha. I really suck at piano though - been messing around trying to figure out "Imagine" by John Lennon but not getting anywhere. So Juki will prob play any piano we need.

So it's back to another rad day in the studio tomorrow, Fruit and Veg city lunches and general hijinx :)

Take it easy - RTD is around the corner so prepare yourselves! And buy the new Kidofdoom cd, it's fookin awes-full!


Day 5 - Monday 5 October 2009

Almost finished all the basic tracking, bar some of Scal's geet and all the vocals which will be done in Jan. All the tracks are definitely starting to take shape and give us a peak as to what the final product might sound like. It's strange that - often when you start tracking you have some sort of idea what the song will be like but in the process often it takes many twists and turns, adding some extra layers, tweaking a guitar riff or bassline here and there. Plus it's often the first time the other dudes get the hear my bass lines crystal clear and they're sometimes like, "Rad" and I'm like "Well, I've been playing that for 6 months" Lol! Matt James took 2 days leave so Carel's taken over engineering duties for today and tomorrow and he's doing a good job! It must take loads of patience to be an engineer - often having to sit through take after take until the musician gets it right. They're a special breed!

We're all feeling a little tired but stoked at the outcome so far! Tomorrow's set aside for finishing Scal's guitar then production, which is what I've been looking forward to! Getting to think of the weird and wonderful things we can add to beefen up or add texture to the songs. So far, percussion, acoustic guitar and piano are what we have in mind for certain songs.

Till tomoz...

Day 6 - Tuesday 6 October 2009

Half of the album's in the bag! Spent the majority of the day working on production ideas and tracking extra instruments. I got to record some piano for the first time - really simple stuff cos I generally suck at it but it added a cool vibe to a couple of parts. Also borrowed a buddy of mine's Martin acoustic guitar which is pretty much the most amazing acoustic I've ever played on! And Sash added some percussion to a couple of the songs.

Gonna cut this short - lank tired after a long stretch in studio but can just say we're super stoked with how the cd's shaping up.

We've got a couple days rest before the big one, Rocking the Daisies. We're gonna be jamming a few tracks that we've recorded and a lot of you peeps wouldn't have heard before so looking forward to breaking them in!

Much love!

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