The studio sessions #1 (30/10/08)
Today was the first day at Fab Liquid.
I brought all my tracks to the sound engineers and had a detailed discussion. At first I’m glad we started out, and I’m really excited about it. However, I’m still quite skeptical about many things.
First of all, time is totally against me. I will not be able to finish until the starting deadline – there aren’t any free days at the studio, which is totally weird as I made clear from the beginning that I needed to finish in November. It’s fine delaying for one week, but not pre-booking is not accepted. I didn’t like that at all, but in the end I believe the studio’s job is to record, mix and produce music and that’s all. Still, that wasn’t very professional…
Another thing that was not made clear from the beginning, was the final mastering. I was told that each song would cost 200 euros all included (not mentioning that mastering was not within their duties). Today, the engineer asked me where will I take it for mastering – and I was quite surprised at first, as I thought that was already arranged. No need to cry over spoilt milk though, so I need to start looking for a producer to master it… Any doable proposals?
So far, I’m a bit disappointed by the studio – they don’t call when they say they will, etc. I still hope though, and don’t believe it would be better anywhere else. I just really trust them musically.
So… that is all… Waiting for Sunday…
DAY #1 Drums Session (2/11/2008)
I just got home after a long day…I honestly have mixed feelings about the whole session…
I was really excited we were on time (we were at the studio by 11:15 and we started at noon). The Beast really proved his reputation: 8 songs performed as I wanted them to be. Not only he is a terrific drummer, but he is also a great musician. He really listens to the song’s melody and feels the atmosphere.The Beast brought all his “proika”: 3 snare drums, his hi-hats, crushes, ride, china and other fancy stuff. I loved his wooden snare drum, and the vintage Pearl one he got to exchange with Ottomo (lucky b@$t@rd!!). He also added few minor little details to the drumset which made a total difference in the end! We didn’t argue about anything, we had a great time, a real laugh. Ottomo (the sound engineer) was happier for the drummer than I was, as he made his job much easier… We all got along great and it really felt as the beginning of more things to come for all of us…
We also had time to record parts of the bass lines (thanks Agness for taking it over where I couldn’t stand it any longer…and also, for the toast you made me! yummy…). I was very happy I had around me people I could trust on the whole “sound” issue (that’s Playskool and Agness of course). They really help raise my doubts. If I was alone, I would probably still be at the studio trying to perfect the session.
Finally, I got to record few vocals on “Heaven’s Lie #3” and “The Rapist”. They should work alright. I’m really glad Ottomo doesn’t like local “laikopop” music and won’t make me sound like a “Sasa Basta” or someone similar. I HATE reverb. I LOVE chorus. He really has great ideas and I’m really surprised he’s not disgusted or bored or put down by Greekness in the music business. That’s an ideal person to have in the studio – up with fresh ideas, excited about music – especially for someone like me that will moan about the local underground scene about 132235209 times a day.
Still, I have few doubts about the guitars and classical instruments that will be later recorded. However, only time will show.
That was it then. Catch up on Wednesday 5/11…
DAY #2: Guitars, Basses, Vocals (5/11/2008)
There are times when we get the best of ourselves when we least expect it (really love those times). However, that is not always the case. It gets worse when you “create” a piece of art – consequently, your intellectual property – and you want to protect it by all means (self-quote, previous post). I often feel like explaining myself in the studio, what I expect from the recording session, of the outcome, of the musicians, of the engineers, of anyone and anything actually. But words don’t come easily! Nor does communication…
Anyway, nothing is perfect in this world – and that’s for the best! On this session, I managed to record a great amount of guitar parts – if I’m not mistaken, we finished all the songs except from “Heaven’s Lie #3”, as I need a baritone guitar to record it correctly. That was the main argument, I was supporting my point of view that the guitar sounds OK at parts where it really sounds…detuned. But I like it so I don’t mind. The guys at the studio are not to be taken for granted. They do know their job, they have more experience. So when I’m trying to “protect” my song and my personal point of view, it’s so hard to do it without even listening to their opinion and doubt myself.
On most of the songs, guitars don’t rule. Basses are ahead – most of the times – but they are not the basic musical instrument. Vocals are not so distinctive, they are there to support the lyrics as good as they can. Strings though, are quite fundamental…
DAY #3 STRINGS’ SESSION: VIOLIN, CELLO (8/11/08)
Indeed, strings are quite important for my songs in this album. I need them not only to be correct in time and pitch, but also, perform. Va.Ni.TY! and Playskool are really good in what they are doing with me (I can only judge them by their work on my songs, that would be fair in my opinion). They are extremely co-operative, they listen to me, they listen to each other, they listen to Ottomo. They are quite open-minded, and thankfully, they don’t think with their instrument…(violin and cello respectively.)
I thought it would be better to record them together, but it appeared that was not a good solution for our needs. The violin was so loud you could hear it through cello’s microphone. And that’s not good when either musician makes a mistake as they both need to stop! So we finally did the session separately. That saves time though, so we’ll keep it this way.
We started from the hardest song, that is “Clink”. It took us 2 hours to record it correctly, but the result is greater than I expected. We also finished “Sin”, which really rocks: it’s so dark it hurts… We also did a session of “You Break it” and we’re done with the hardest parts – only left the solo section which will be recorded at the end of the sessions.
Next time, we’ll work on “The Rapist” most probably and hopefully, on “Heaven’s Lie #3”.
THE RECORDING STUDIO SESSIONS #4: Cello session 12/11/08
It was not arranged, but we managed to go at the studio for a couple of hours and do some serious work. Poor Ottomo was so tired from traveling around Greece with Monica and the rest. I totally appreciate he called me last minute to go and do whatever we have time for.
Finally, we finished “The Rapist”, “Heaven’s lie #3” and “Death in the family”. We only need to add the violin parts. What is now left, is the hardest thing: “X” (we also need to finish “You break it” but that should be easy).
Hope to go again this weekend and get over with the cello parts! 😀
THE RECORDING STUDIO SESSIONS #5: OBOE+CELLO (17/11/08)
Today was a last minute session – we arranged it last night. Despite the day’s political street motivations, we managed to arrive at the studio on time.
We started with the oboe parts – they really went on like a charm. We did “X”, “Clink”, “Heaven’s Lie #3”, “The Rapist” and “Death in the family”. It took us only 2-3 hours and no sweat at all. Uncle Spur did it straight away – there’s little editing left to do. I’m sure the oboe will make a difference in the final mixing.
Also, I am happy to announce we’ve finished with the cello parts (except a tiny solo that needs some more thinking)! “X” is done-done-done! I’m quite pleased with the result, it’s more than I expected. Playskool did it as she should and I hope she didn’t exhaust herself. We also recorded “Down on my knees”. That song really rocks… It’s extremely well structured. I love Playskool’s rhythmic part, it’s what the song needs.
Next, Thursday morning I’m off to record bass and vocals… Piece of cake?!
THE RECORDING STUDIO SESSIONS #6 & #7: VOX, BASS, VIOLIN (20-21/11/2008)
Thursday morning was so hard for me. I had to prepare my low-vocals, maintain my voice really low so that I don’t miss anything. Finally, I managed to do so, but when I finished my parts in “Death in the family”, “heaven’s lie #3” and “clink” i couldn’t get a high note. Not even a proper spoken one – my voice couldn’t warm up and upgrade to a higher octave! After few terrible takes of “you break it”, “down on my knees” and “death in the family” high notes, I decided it was not my vocal day.
It turned out that it wasn’t my bass guitar day either. I wanted to play with my semi-acoustic one, when after recording 2-3 songs, I found out there was something wrong with it. Probably detuned or something similar. However, I couldn’t fix it, the harmonics were extremely detuned and I had no time or craving to fix my bass guitar. So I recorded “clink”, “the rapist” and “sin” and left the studio. I am not happy for this day – even though I managed to do the low vocals. Oh well.
Today though, was great. Friday night and Va.Ni.TY! had it all going. It was my nameday so I decided to get few drinks for everyone at the studio! Mike should feel really lucky having 7 girls around him! It went really well, we finished “X”, “The rapist”, “down on my knees” and “death in the family”.
Actually, we’re all done with the songs. There are tiny details that need to be taken care of such as a cello part on “you break it” (and perhaps violin part as well), final vocals, backing vocals and bass guitar. Oh, and baritone guitar on “heaven’s lie #3”.
Longing forward to the next day…
THE RECORDING STUDIO SESSIONS #8: BASS-TASTIC- VOCALISTIC (2/12/08)
Seems like ages since the last time I was in the studio. We are all quite busy: the guys with gigs, mixing sessions and other stuff, me with my …day life… However, after two weeks I got back in Fab Liquid to do some work.
I’m glad I’ve finished the bass guitar parts – I think there’s nothing else that needs to be added. Also, I’m done with the vocals (and backing vocals, and secondary vocals and everything actually). Mike was very helpful in the studio and we finished everything in about 3 hours.
I still need to record the baritone guitar on “Heaven’s lie #3”. Oh and re-record the guitar on “Death in the family” (I decided to use my jaguar instead of the telecaster). And finally, we need to re-record the violin parts on “the Rapist” and finish with the cello and violin on “you break it”. That will be done in one day, that’s all we need.
THE RECORDING STUDIO SESSIONS #9: FINALE (7/12/08)
Sunday was a disastrous day for Greece. I’m sure everyone by now knows what’s happening and I don’t need to say anything about that (what should be said is already posted in “another lie?”).
Playskool finished her parts on “You break it” and on “Death in the family”. She was totally in the mood, so she did few takes of “Clink”. I’m happy with all of her work.
Va.ni.ty! was the second one to go. She completed “you break it” (it really sounds as it should, the solo part rocks!) and did her stuff on “The Rapist”, “Death in the family” (lovely tremolos there…). Violin parts totally add up to the songs. 🙂
And last but hopefully not least, I recorded the baritone guitar (many thanks to My Wet Calvin’s guitarist for lending me his instrument) on “Heaven’s lie #3”. Without his baritone jaguar the song would suck! I think this is going to be the next musical instrument I’m going to buy. I also re-recorded “Death in the family” (added few muted chords with the Ottomo’s Jazzmaster) and finished with it all.
This week, we will start mixing the album. I will keep you posted on a new page, namely the Mixing studio diaries.
I’m leaving the recording studio with pleasure and hope…