Continuing where we left off yesterday. Dave has heard the files we uploaded and is very positive about the mixes with his only suggested changes being minor details. Which is good.
First Up – Oh Genevieve, which still needs some work. The second intro, which is big and lush is too big, meaning too big of a jump from the guitars before, so we turn up Mark’s guitar a little and duck the strings, which has the effect of making the accordion more like the leader rather than just a member of the ensemble. This sounds good and makes sense. The solo section, which isn’t really a solo needs some work – we cut out the accordion for the first half to give the guitars more air, then bring the steel in loud, then more strings in the chorus along with Kendall’s la la las for more of a Serge vibe. All good. Then it’s just same as yesterday – fine tuning. Print.
Inverse Midas Touch – Mick and I were thinking the same thing – if there is to be ambient noise in the intro it should also be in the coda, or it shouldn’t be there at all. We copy it over and it’s fine. No other major changes, just a few rides on my acoustic when it gets a little to excited, lead guitar riding, last verse gang vocal balancing. All good. Print.
Man Overboard – takes a while. I let Mick get general balances and it’s good to see the violin working well with the accordion, Folk/Celtic style. Vocal harmonies fine tuned we look at the solo section which is complicated – it’s more of an ensemble solo. Everything needs to be loud, or at least seem that way. At least there is no lead vocal so there is more space to fill. Eventually we have all the parts – Mark’s mandolin guitars (an idea he laid down thinking violins or mandolins would play, but we ended up liking electric guitar doing it), accordion, pedal steel and Joan’s high vocal, but we can’t find a place for Matty’s ebow acoustics. These parts sound like brass, sort of, and they don’t really have a sacrosanct identity so M and I agree that we can fuck them up a little to make them fit with the rest of the track. M finds a distortion plug in (Trash) and we make them smaller and dirtier, but the notes are coming through. In the track, you’d never know there was a fuzz box being used… Print.
The Flipside – is nearly there – everything sound right, so it’s just a case of listening to all the instruments and making sure they are loud enough but not too loud… The Organ is lovely, very warm and fuzzy, but there are a few little lines that need to come to the fore. The great thing about mixing organ is you can pretend that the player did it all with his volume pedal… The second organ part, in the bridge, which we used more of a Vox Continental sound for, I had almost forgotten, it was almost inaudible in the mixes so far, but it takes some EQ nicely to emphasis it’s different character and the part is great! It really helps the energy of this section. The only synth on the record is on this song – it’s an Atmosphere patch which sits next to the organ and sounds like a Leslie cabinet with a broken tube. I love it and maybe I use it too much (I just put in the Writers Retreat! intro and breakdown). It’s louder than I expected but it works really well, so I just listen through and duck any overly apparent moments. Mick thinks the guitars need to come up closer to the vocal. I agree. Rather than riding the two we just turn them both up 1.5 db or so and then duck them where they poke out too much. M and M are such great players that they tend to dig and accent the parts I want louder anyway, so they virtually mix themselves. Joan’s harmony is more of a duet part than a supporting one, so we move her slightly off center. This track is great, if I say so myself. Print.
That’s all we can do until I finish Rod The Mod. I think I have enough lyrics… but I need to sing them to find out which of various alternatives work best.
Mick sets me up with a Logic session so I can record myself. We’ve rented a U 67 which Mick has routed through a Universal Audio 6176 Mic Pre/Compressor. He leaves me to it.
I get the first half of the song sounding pretty good in an hour or so, but singing something I just finished is never easy. I keep messing it up, and then Logic starts to do ghost in the machine stuff and I’m getting rather irritated. I vow, yet again, never again to work as an engineer/computer guy while trying to do music. I bring Mick down and he can’t see why the headphone mix would change itself (turns out it was some Logic internal routing thing overriding what we were trying to do). Eventually I give up. Mick will need to record me in Pro Tools. The lyric seems fine.
I call him down and tell him he needs to record me old school – no more than two takes, I’ll sing until he tells me I’ve got it. It will take him 20 minutes to set up Pro Tools, he tells me. I go to the pub. I beer, 1 bourbon.
An hour of singing later we have it finished, or so Mick tells me. I go upstairs with the guitar to try and write a part for the breakdown section. When I return with the new part, my timing is good, apparently – he’s compiled the vocal. I sing the new bit, and then the harmony, which isn’t as difficult as I expected (I’m usually awful on harmonies, but I did write this chorus with this one in mind). I play harmonica in the three sections set aside for it and we have a song.
We upload a basic mix and a vocal track so Dave can have Kendall add harmonies in NYC. I email instructions. Mick and I look at trying to make a rough mix but it’s 10.30 and we’re both exhausted. Old men…
It is after 11 when my bus gets to Marble Arch, where I change for Kilburn. Too late for proper food, I have the first junk of the trip. Big Mac and then to the hotel bar for a nightcap. Man U juniors on TV against City. Must be exhausted to sit watching that.