We spent most of May listening through all the recorded tracks so far, (Almost 30 songs!) we made some notes and then mixed half the songs.
At the end of May, we released our first single from the album, titled ‘Hide in the shade‘, along with two b-sides and my original demo version of ‘Beast on your back’. The b-sides ‘Slugs’ & ‘Skinny Head’ could easily fit on the album, but we have so many other tracks already chosen for it.
Now, we are back into recording mode. Only 5 songs left to complete for the album, we’ve recorded about 30 songs so far and there’s still more to come.
For the past few weeks we’ve been working hard to make up for the few set backs we’ve had, but now we are flying through the list of 50 odd songs and getting back up to date.
After a few weeks tracking drums, bass, guitars and vocals, it was time for a mixing session.
Everything is sounding how it needs to before we even started mixing, so it didn’t take long to have a mix for the first track finished. Now we have a skeleton mix to work towards with the rest of the album tracks.
All the songs have now been selected along with a rough track order.
We are getting closer.
After computer issues and other set backs, we’re back in recording mode.
With everything previously recorded for this album having to be trashed, we moved our gear into a new studio (who we share with Spun) and now have a room we can leave everything set up, which makes things a lot quicker.
We started with a few test recording sessions that ended up going so well, we’ve decided to keep them. I recorded about 25 drums tracks in a few days, so we are getting back to speed pretty fast.
Lee tracked down some new bass parts, using a dual RAT distortion I made a few years ago. It sounds pretty hairy! – And it sits so nice with the new drums sound we have been getting.
Whilst we’re re-recording songs, we’ve started working on some new demos at the same time, which is keeping it fresh. There’s about 50 songs demoed for this album, and it’s getting really hard to pick what songs/direction we are going to go in.
Vocals on Thursday, can’t wait to try out that new Aston mic!
Over a month ago, our main recording computer stopped working, which has set us back a bit. We needed to work on a solution, as buying a new MacBook isn’t an option.
Time to dust off the old Mac mini. It’s old, slow, but may just get us through some recording.
Good News: The album sessions we’re backed up. Band News: When they we’re opened up on a different computer, they we’re completely messed up, playing the wrong speed, and all the tracks out of sync to each other. That explains all the error messages.
So, it’s back to square one. Re-recording on a much older machine will be a bit more restrictive, but I’m looking forward to the challenge
For the past 4 sessions we have been tracking Drums, Bass and Guitars to 8 tracks out of the ridiculous 40 song list.
This week we managed to crack through 5 tracks: Road, Hello, Lips, Skinny Head & Red Beard.
When we record vocals, we usually record 3-4 takes of lead vocals, then pick the best one. This time, we’ll pick the best bits of each take and piece together the parts that fit it best.
To record vocals, we use the Aston Origin, which doesn’t just look amazing, it sounds brilliant on pretty much anything.
Lead vocals (and backing) usually get double tracked, plus a lot of backing vocal ideas get put down, but not everything ends up in the final mix. It’s good to record more than you need and have options when mixing.
Dave also provided some backing vocals on Skinny Head & Red Beard. I didn’t realise he could sing that high, and then he says ‘I can hear another even higher vocal’ and then he actually did it. haha! It sounds huge!
Next week we have 3 tracks to starting recording Vocals too and a few left over parts to finish.
Once this session is complete, we will take a step back and start making some decisions on what tracks to release, what is next to record and also make a start mixing. It’s going to be a busy few months for us.
Tonight we finished off the two remaining tracks, Hung & Another Skeleton. I had a chance to try an new OP Amp Big Muff Fuzz Pedal (Smashing Pumpkins model) and it sounded huge, Like ripping velcro of a Yeti.
A couple of tracks had a few acoustic parts to try out, so we quickly set up 2 mics, one close and one far away, picking up the nice ambience of the room.
Once the acoustics were nailed, me and Dave laid down some shakers on Sludge, which sounds pretty sweet.
With more Drum & Bass tracked for another 8 songs, it was time to get fuzzy with some Guitars.
These songs are a little more straight forward, but we still had some cool ideas to experiment with. Different fuzzes mixed at different times create huge differences throughout one song.
It was a cold evening and the Coffee machine was broken, but we worked solid through 6 songs, each with about 6-8 guitar tracks.
On one track (Red Beard) I could hear an idea, kind of like morse code or something glitching in and out, almost like keyboard sound. – With the help of a few pedals, including a Boss Phase Shifter, we manage to get this weird, but awesome sound. I can’t really explain it, but it will be hidden in the mix somewhere!
These tracks have such a good feel to them, reminds me of music around the late 90’s. I can’t wait to hear how they’re going to sound finished.
2 more guitar tracks to finish next week, along with some overdubs and some acoustic.
When we got back together after almost 2 years, I had a pile of almost 40 demos building up. It was time to get busy!
Skeletons: Laying down the Bones
When we discussed making another album, we decided the next release should be a mini album. Something short, raw and fun.
After selecting 8 tracks from the list of 40 odd demos, we headed to the studio and jammed through them. Instantly things came together and we had shaped the demos into complete songs.
Day 1: Drums and Bass
We tried something a little different to our previous recording sessions and tracks the Drums and Bass together. Dave and Lee steam rolled through the rhythm section like beasts.
I remember, for a Drum room mic, we hid the microphone under the sofa at the back of the studio. Added a nice but trashy depth to the drums. For those interested, we used an Aston Origin mic. Same mic we used for lead vocals and acoustics.
For the drum intro to ‘Where are you?’ we recorded directly onto an a Cassette Talk Boy (As seen in Home Alone 2) This was mixed in with a recording of Robin’s (my little boy) heart beat, which I recorded in the hospital only days after he was born. You can hear this in isolation on our teaser video 1/8
Bass was tracked using an old Russian Big Muff, a few Raygun FX pedals and an MXR Bass DI+.
It is proper dirty, and sits in the mix like a 2nd guitar.
Day 2: Guitars!
I used my old Orange CR120 amp along with a Strat with a JB humbucker (usually I would only use my Jazzmaster-but this Strat is awesome!) along with a selection of Raygun Fx pedals, (including a Beast Master, Soda Drive & Fuzzbender MkIII) and a Big Muff.
Recording was a simple set up of an SM57 for all the main guitar parts.
The ‘telephone’ sounding guitars we all done using an awesome mic called the Wasaphone. It sounded so good, we used it on some vocals throughout the album.
We always like to double track the main guitars, sometimes this includes solos. Sometimes it can be a lengthy process but it can sound so good!
Day 3: Vocals
So far, we had mixed things as we had recorded so it was all coming together fast.
As most of these tracks we’re demoed, I had the Vocals ready to go, and did 2/3 takes to most songs and cut together the best bits, and then double tracking most the lead and backing Vocals to get them nice and thick sounding.
We use the Wasaphone mic again for a mix of clean/lofi vocals. It’s just so much more fun than using plugins to create sounds.
‘Skeletons’ Available on 10″ Vinyl, CD & Download
Out Fri 27th July 2018 through Instereo Records, ’Skeletons’ is now available to order on 10” Vinyl, CD and Download.