Olaf produces and mixes all kinds of music, but very seldom gentle pop with older guys singing. He is quite perplexed by It’s Late… Fred, Matthew and I went for a circa Tusk F Mac vibe with the drums and bass and then the rest of the arrangement is classic(al) for want of a better phrase. Timeless, hopefully. The song is clearly a nod to Orbison, but I don’t want to make a Chris Issac record here… so it’s tough. Olaf’s issue is – It’s beautiful… maybe too beautiful. It makes you (as a mixer) want to add some distortion or something… but then again, it is lovely… What to do?
Detailing would take all day, as the the procedure eventually did, but in short we found the dynamic instruments and made them louder when they were dynamic, and quieter when they were texture. We brought Joan forward as here harmonies are beautiful AND strange and we went a little Jesus and Mary Chain with the tambourine reverb. It was sounding just about there when I suggested that the la la las in the solo section might not be as great as we’d like because my singing sounded tentative. So I sang it again and then we made it two of me to go with two Daves and two Joans and viola! Much better.
It’s several hours into day two of working on it when we are finally able to say that it’s a good as we can make it. If it isn’t good enough maybe someone else should try because Olaf and I agree – it is beautiful but we never want to hear it again (unless it’s on the radio).
On to the last song – Diminished Ex. This is right down Olaf’s street, although I may mislead him by telling him I want my vocals to sound angry/bitter. There was no need, I already do. So we back the harshness he introduced off, bring back Will’s lead guitar and the mix is close. Mark Schwaber’s super fast tremolo guitars are working EXACTLY as I hoped they would and against Will’s super bright leads it is very beautiful and quite harsh – in a great way. Slight Wild Mercury vibe, I guess… from there it’s just a question of deciding what should dominate at what time, this is done with automation and cuts, and how the rhythm instruments should feel. This last thing proves trickiest – the piano is very tough to place in the mix – it seems either too loud or invisible. Eventually we boost mid range EQ, cut highs, and compress extremely, then add lots of reverb. We then get the effect I like the most – the one when you can’t be sure if it’s the guitar or the piano, or a combination of the two that played the melody you just heard… We think we have this working but it’s been a long two days. We agree to check with fresh ears on Monday morning.
I have two days free in Bochum, and it’s snowing and very cold. Only laundry really needs doing. I guess if I have time I get started on the article The Independent have commissioned for their songwriting issue.