START... Day 1
We started Monday morning and David arrived to the studio at around 9:00. He then played me the song that he was looking to record. I often get demos of songs ahead of time but in this instance he didn't get a chance to send me anything. So that was the first time I heard the song. He had written 3 verses and a chorus but still had some work to do on the lyrics and we discussed the idea of writing a bridge. We spent the next few minutes listening to music and talking about which direction he/we wanted this song to go in. David is really into music that has personality, character, and GROOVE. We both have really been digging some recent releases that borrow heavily from the 80's and we decided to incorporate some of that influence in this recording.
At around 10:00 the drummer, Jonathan Palance, arrived. Jonathan played all the songs on David's EP and I've worked with him on a couple of other releases as well. He's a great drummer and brings a lot of creativity to the table. David played him the song, and we talked him through some of the ideas we already had. He had several idea of his own so we got to work trying several things out. I knew I wanted very "fat, dead, dry" drum sounds. We finished setting up a drum kit and I moved several absorbent sound panels around the drums to soak up the roomy sound of my live room. We tuned the snare low and loose and put moon gels on the toms to dry then up some. I had 2 mics on the kick and ran the inside mic (beta 52) through one of my UBK Electra Eq's and then through a Purple Audio Action compressor. For the top snare drum mic I used a Audix I5 and ran it though my other Electra Eq and then into my Warm Audio 76. By using the eq's and compressors while recording I did almost no processing when mixing the drums. The WA 76 gave me a huge and fat snare drum sound that we were all happy with. I had considered using samples to achieve the kick and snare sounds I was looking for, but ended up not having to add any samples to the drum kit which helped me preserve the ghost notes that Jonathan tastefully played on the snare drum. I also used ribbon mics for the overheads which added to the fat, warm and punchy sound.
An hour later we had a drum take that we were all thrilled with. I immediately went to work writing and adding the bass part. I wanted the bass to really drive the song, and Jonathan made it easy by playing such great drum parts. Most of the time I record bass through a bass amp, but for this track I decided to record it direct through a Great River pre-amp and then through an Electra and the WA76. Again I was looking for a very punchy but full sound. I used a Fender P bass that I've been loving.
After landing on the bass sound and part, David layer down the rhythm guitar part. We used my Fleur De Lis "335" style guitar through a Clark "super reverb" amp that I have for his parts. After his main part was recorded I had him double the verses and I distorted a TG-2 preamp while recording it to produce a very dirty, clipped type sound. And that wrapped up our first day of recording.
TO... Day 2
David was busy Tuesday morning so I got started without him. I recorded the "lead" guitar parts and any remaining guitar as well as the background synth parts. We had started writing the bridge the day before, and were happy with the melody, lyrics, and chord progression but it still needed some work. I tracked the main bridge synth part right before David arrived. He was pleased with my progress and we then wrote/recorded the lead synth part in the chorus. For all the synths on this recording I used NI Massive or my Moog Sub Phatty.
It was time for vocals and David never disappoints in that department. He sang though the song 3-4 times and I edited a performance from those takes. He layered an octave up part in the chorus's that really helped set the chorus apart. His friend Brian Robert was hanging out with us and he graciously agreed to add some background vocals in the "post-choruses" and in the bridge. Now it was time to mix!
We were very careful in every step of recording to commit to sounds that we liked and sounds that fit our vision for the song. This made the mixing process really quite quick. I spent about 2 hours finalizing the mix. The drums and bass were already "punchy and fat" like I wanted so I just dialed in the guitars and synths. I then worked on some vocal effects to keep David's vocals the focus of the single. By the end of our session we were really pleased with the mix and with the outcome of 2 days in the studio. Now I'm just looking forward to finishing David's next record!
Check out the video below to see some shots of the recording process and to hear a clip of the song.