Mixing Writers Retreat! and fine tuning the other eleven.
Basic balancing of bass, drums and guitars had already been done, but adding vocals and harmonica changes everything on Writers Retreat! So Mick spends and hour or so on that. Dave had recorded Kendall harmonies last night in NYC and we download and audition them. Although they are not used prominently they do add the build through the song and the middle section is vastly improved by them. Once vocals are balanced my harmonica needs fine tuning. It sound better in certain parts than others, to my ear, so I screw around in Pro Tools nicking the front of one bit and sticking on another section, etc, until it sounds about right. It’s all me playing… then we add some echo (the vocal preset) and the whole thing is sounding pretty rocking in a Rod The Mod sort of way, so we move on, knowing we need to fine tune it later in the evening with fresh (hopefully) ears.
The rest of the day is simple – We already have mixes of all eleven songs. We review each one and then make changes we deem necessary, consulting Dave’s email notes.
If I Were A Song, Broken Record and Oh Genevieve are deemed to not need anything.
Double Happiness – we remove some mid from the vocal sound.
Why In The World? – Soften the bass drum, remove low end from the bass, ride the organ up on my favourite bit (the Dm over C bit in Ch2).
Rhinestones – Change vocal sound a little – remove low end from middle two verses where I’m singing a different melody and it’s busier.
That’s Alright – Turn down harmonies on Ch 1 and 2, change Joan’s guitar sound, adding a delay (neither of these ideas work).
Inverse Midas Touch – Vocal fine tuning.
Westchester County Jail – rebalancing harmony vocals – levels and panning.
Man Overboard – Electric guitars up in the chorus where my vocal is alone (no harmonies).
The Flipside – I don’t remember! We changed something…
After a food break we resume on Writers Retreat! – all simple stuff. Mick thinks the bass drum might be a little dominant, so we try turning up the rest of the kit, but no, that doesn’t work. We then spend a fair bit of time fine tuning guitars and then the harmonica which at different parts of the song sounds better or worse – it turns out that it needs to be drier here, wetter there. We automate the send accordingly. It’s tough to have any perspective on anything this new (and old – I feel like I’ve been working on it for years) but everyone seems happy with it. Dave send transatlantic enthusiasm via email and texts.
Around 9.30 Mick burns me a CD (very old school apparently – the memory stick is de rigueur these days). I’m hoping I can find Derek still up, but he’s gone to bed (he’s working too hard), so I listen on my headphones at the hotel.
I spot a few things, and I know Mick is going to say that I should pay no mind to headphones, but so many folk listen that way these days… First thing is !!! The guitars are reversed on If I Were A Song – Matt is right and Mark is left, it’s the other way around on the other songs. How did I miss that? Also, Matt’s guitar that was recorded on my amp sounds a little too transparent and is disappearing in a few places. I’m sure a little EQing will address this. A couple of other tiny things – I make notes and then fail to sleep. Thank heavens for late night poker on TV.