Week 4, Monday 26th July
Arrived from an exhausting weekend, got my stuff unloaded into the lodge , made a cup of tea and then sat down with Rob and CT for our final week in the studio. It’s very bittersweet; on one hand, I am really looking forward to having the completed album in my hands and seeing what it will do for us and everyone’s reaction to it but, on the other, I’m going to miss the whole recording process, Dover and, it has to be said, CT!
Today there was nothing much for either me or Rob to do. This was the day that CT had been dreading, the day of drum editing. He’d done a few songs already but still had plenty to do.
We recorded everything live into Radar 24 in glorious 24 bit, via a TL Audio VTC desk. The drum takes are then transferred from this over to ProTools. This remains at 24 bit so there is no loss in quality. Within ProTools, the sound waves are then scrutinised and any mic spill is removed (the extra sound that a mic might pick up, for instance, the tom mic will also pick up snare and hi-hat, so it is best to go in and remove the excess sound). The removal of the sound makes the track clean and easier for CT to mix well. In the days of analogue and tape, this process would happen at the mixing stage and would be achieved by the use of noise gates and being quick with a fader. Often, bands would be huddled around a desk, each with buttons and faders to press/depress/slide at various points in the mix. If they missed their cue, it would have to be rewound and started again!
So, even though it is quite a laborious and thankless task, drum editing is very much worth it, especially from CT’s point of view. At the same time, a snare sample is added to the drum track. This sample is triggered off the original snare and helps make it sound awesome. It retains all the same characteristics (ie velocity) and just adds extra colour to the sound of the snare to help it stand out in the mix more.
Once all the editing for a particular song is done, it is then re-transferred back into Radar. From here, the actual mixing will take place. We should be beginning that process tomorrow, once the last couple of guitar overdubs and sound effects are completed.
Having time to think and sit around, it made sense for us to start looking at the track listing order. This is something I spent approximately 20 hours on our previous album, burning 30-odd discs in different running orders. I’d rather not do that again but, if I need to, I will. I know the album starts with “Sick!” and ends with “Dead To Me Now”, it’s how we get from 1 to 10 that remains to be seen.
We wrote all the titles onto separate post-it notes and put them on the back of the studio door. Over the course of this week, I am sure those notes will move up and down until we find the right order. It’s quite important as I am going to need to burn 50 copies on Sunday ready to take to Wacken with me.
Here is the running order as it stood at the end of close today. I’ll post it here as it’ll be interesting to see how it compares to the release!
Oh No! Here We Go!
The Life And Times Of The Suicide Kid
Zero To Sixty
Very Very Good At Being Bad
The Dumb Song
Dragged Kicking & Screaming
Dead To Me Now
See, already, I can see something I want to change!
During one of the breaks, we were talking about Girl, a band that CT recorded back in (I think), the late ’70’s. They were quite ahead of their time and very underrated. I only got into them as one of the members (Phil Collen) went on to be in Def Leppard whilst the singer (Phil Lewis) was in LA Guns! We then chatted about the Anvil movie – I think it would be cool if they made a follow-up, just so we could see what happened next. In the movie, they have day jobs but, since then, they have become full-time musicians. Which is fucking awesome! They’re playing at Wacken with us next week, would love to meet them and have a chat – totally inspirational to people like me (struggling musicians!). CT did mention that there was talk of an animated show, done by the same people as The Simpsons – I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that that happens, that’d be hysterical!
Conversation then turned round to reviews, punk and Classic Rock (the magazine). CT said that he expected great reviews for this album, I commented that our current reviews are either REALLY good or REALLY bad. I mentioned that Classic Rock NEVER give us good reviews and that I thought it was because of the punk element in our music. After all, most of those journos dug stuff like Yes back in the day, precisely the kind of band that punk came and destroyed. Now, I’m partial to a bit of prog rock (especially early Genesis) and, anyone with a keen ear, should be able to hear the influence in our music. Along with the punk influence. This record more so than previous, so it’ll be interesting to see what Classic Rock make of it. Interestingly, CT worked with some seminal punk bands and punk musicians (including 50% of the Sex Pistols) and he also recorded Lords Of The New Church, the first punk supergroup. He believes that punk paved the way for the NWOBHM so, if that theory is correct, we have a lot to thank those ‘77 punks for!
A lot of bands suffer from “Second Album Syndrome”. They spend so many years playing and perfecting the songs that become their first album, they have less time to write and record their second so it isn’t as good. This isn’t something we are going to suffer from, I promise you that. However proud I am of our first album, this new one takes it, fucks it up the arse without a rubber johnnie with an AIDS-ridden cock. That is a fact. The reason being that we were made angry by some of the injustices we suffered at the hands of the music industry. Anger leads to good music. This album pretty much documents the last couple of years, right up to – and including – the parting of ways with our last guitar player. We have set a high standard for our 3rd album! But that’s the way it should be, every album should be better than the previous. Very few bands achieve that though.
I would like to point out – mainly because it was pointed out to me – that no auto-tune has been used on the vocals. No cheating of the notes has occurred. Every bit of singing that you will hear came out of my gob. It is for real. I mention this because, on the way to the studio today, I heard Paramore for the first time. I kind of wish I was still a Paramore virgin as the vomit that came out of my speakers was only matched by the vomit that came out of my mouth. And my nose and my ears. Seriously, do people enjoy that noise? It sounds like a computer swallowed a guitar, a drum kit, an annoying girl, swirled it around it’s circuitry, took any soul, originality or uniqueness out of it then regurgitated it out in a series of 1’s and 0’s. I don’t think I have ever heard “music” sound so over-produced and fake. It made a Bon Jovi album sound like a 1930’s Blues record! Every note sounded produced to the point of extinction, until it no longer bared any resemblence to music made by humans. A real shame, as people are paying money for that shit.
I’m currently watching “Idiocracy” with Rob whilst writing this blog. Making me think that it is a movie about Paramore fans. Just sayin’…