Studio Diary 2007
Well spank my ass and call me Lucy! It's a wrap people! The album is now officially recorded: every single riff, beat, lick, sweep, fill, clap, shout and explosion sample is now on tape, and it's up to Janne to make it all work out in the mix. The lion's share of the day was spent on them leads, which are a plenty, as is accustomed to in the heavy metal world. Heck, even Erkki is getting some game time on this one! Silver also threw in one tasty solo, which is another first. Niko sang the last song of the album and a few overdubs on other songs, and that's that. Done!
The relief among the band members is clearly visible as we hop in the car and head back home just after midnight (we were supposed to be done by five o'clock, but hey...), for now the stress has finally gotten off our shoulders. Just before we left the studio we listened to the whole thing throung to make sure it's all there, and we just couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces. We are so damn proud it's embarassing.
So, next week Janne will continue with the mixing, and keep sending us rough mixes via email. I guess we'll go back to the studio one more time around thursday/friday for final touches, and if all goes well, we should have a final mix in our hands by the weekend. Then it's mastering time, which will hopefully take place in the very near future.
We'll let you know how the mixing went when it's done, so make sure to check back in a week or so!
Ski or Die! All my guitar parts are done. So my day went by among online flash games and getting nostalgic on some good old NES and computer games. Four songs are now completely recorded, and we're still lacking final lyrics of at least one song. As you might have figured out by now, Amoral is clearly not one of those bands that writes 20 songs and picks 10 of them for the album. We're just a bunch of pizza-eating-pepsi-drinking-fartknockers finishing half the stuff on the fly!
According to our schedule tommorrow is gonna be the last day of the recordings, and we're gonna stick gonna stick to that. So tommorrow we're gonna finish this crapola on our part and pour it down Janne's neck for the mixing.
Born to Adult Rock! We finally got to the recording of the clean guitar add-ons/riffs. Ben found his inner Keith Richards with the Telecaster and an old combo we found. We also came up with some spontaneous Totoish add-ons and improvisations.
Janne has already done some rough mixing on the opening track confirming our beliefs that this album-of-a-bitch will definitely sound bigger than Decrowning. At the moment it feels we have much more room to experiment with additional layers of guitars and vocals. This is much due to the fact that the songs are groovier and more straightforward in general.
So, last friday was left without a separate diary-entry... I guess we were all kinda anxious to get home and take some time off. Now, with replenished energy and vigor, let's go through what we did that day:
Come dawn, the brave guitar-duo got their hands dirty with the remaining add-ons for the cover song we're recording. Not getting into details too much, you're in for a really entertaining and different version of a good 'ol swedish-made hit. We had some brainstorms on the fly too, and recorded some extra-doodles we didn't think of during pre-production. It was nice to work on the ideas and finishing touches all four of us (Juffi is excused) together.
Niko did the vocals for the cover song too, and we ended up going alot further into uncharted territory than before. We're topping off the previous cover-song in more than one sense, I can say that much.
For today I haven't got that much to say. We got here, and tomorrow we're getting to business. Now if you'll excuse me, I'ma go finish watching a making-of vid by Lamb of God and eating my Nacho Cheese Balls.
Oh boy, oh boy! Seven out of ten vocal tracks completed! Almost. Before the vocals, Ben and Silver did a bunch of add-ons, pull-offs and other cunning stunts. To be honest, it's quite nice to witness them tracks evolving into real and rather cheerful tunes. We've come a long way from the demos made and we ain't even finished yet.
We also did some battle choir stuff, and for the first time ever the stringy ones in the band could feel the lovely headphones on their ears. So finally all of us know how it feels. Along with some additional screams and finishing touches, I'm supposed to learn and record the cover song before afternoon which is when we head back home for the weekend.
Watching a Journey-DVD at the moment, this is without a doubt the gayest moment during the whole studio session (and I'm the one that brought it along...). I guess I'm just the metrosexual one of the bunch, considering I brought my George Michael CD too. Hey, good music is good music! Getting to business, I slept late and have no idea of the stuff the guys did during my slumber. I was told some of the rhythm guitar tracks got revamped, so today was about correcting unnoticed mistakes and perfecting the material.
Niko really nailed some good choruses today, expect catchy tunes-a-plenty! This is the first day we drank beer together, so we finally implemented some of the much needed rock and roll spirit to the session. Beer/Slightly gay music/Catchy choruses... Count me in!
Headfuck! Today Erkki finished all the bass lines except a twin solo doodle he's gonna do with Ben. I got my wake up when Erkki got in trouble with the cover song. (tip of the day: practice your shit BEFORE the studio) It's gonna be a little bit different from our other songs since all of it's rhythm guitar and bass tracks are played in dropped-A tuning.
After that I re-recorded some shitty takes from yesterday and did some rhythm tracks. On this album we divided some riffs and even whole songs between me and Ben. He'll do both rhythm guitars on some riffs and songs and I'll do the same on some others. There's also an option we'll do some rhythms twice so that there would be four layers of rhythm guitars, but let's see if manage to hold it together.
What a day! Our producer decided to skip sunday and work double shift on monday instead, which is exactly what's behind us now, at 2am. Silver got the graveyard shift, meaning he was the lucky one to get up at nine for work. And work he did: a respectable 8-hour rhythm session later the dude has six songs down! Faster than a laser bullet!
While the seven-string rhythm machine pounded riffs on tape, the remaining rockers slept until 1pm. Lovely! Once up, Niko and I headed to the mall for some facial lotion, Gilette Mach3 razors and cheap DVD's. I decide to invest in Porky's I & II + a can of ridiculously expensive orange juice. You only live once, right?
Silver was starting to lose it ("I'm gonna throw this fucking guitar through the wall!") by the time we got back, so we gave him a break and got Niko in to do his thing. The singing sailorboy worked his way through one track, and Erkki finished the day off by putting the low frequencies to one of the tracks. at 11pm we call it a day. Janne, you are a champ! The boys reward themselves with an episode of Oz, Porky's and some Kummeli. No sleep till bedtime...
Booyah, weekend coming up! I get to wake up late second day in a row, as Erkki is recording bass in the morning, and I don't really have anything productive to add to the bass tracks. When I finally get up, Erkki has just finished a track he has been working on all morning. Sounds good! One more song and it's Niko's turn to start singing. We decided it would be best to do the vocals in as many separate days as possible, not to push Niko's throat too much. So we'll probably continue this way: in the mornings the string section do their thing, and the afternoons will be dedicated to singing.
Yours truly finally managed to hit Poppa Joe's this morning (the legendary second hand book store known from the Decrowning studio diary), to score some entertainment for the hardworking lads. And Joe didn't let us down this time either: I came back with a bag filled with goodies (two guitar mags, two nudie mags, Airheads soundtrack and Primus' Sailing in a Sea of Cheese). Easily the best 15€ I've spent in a long while...
We're about to head back to Helsinki now. We'll get back to work sunday morning to make up for the monday we missed, so not much rest for the wykked...
After a nice 2 minute breakfast and a cigarette I was ready to search for THE bass sound with Janne. Surprisingly it took only about an hour to get things just the way I like 'em. Proceeding to the overdubs, I finished 3 songs before Ben crawled out of bed and started recording his remainingrhythm guitars. It was a productive 4 hours for me, let's see if I can finish all the other tracks tomorrow, as I have the whole day to myself.
In other news, we found Niko's special skill today: He can make a pretty good impression of Mickey Rourke! Can't leave something like that alone, so one of the songs got spiced with a dark and eerie monologue. To the guy that dubs all the movie-trailers in Finland: Watch out, yer in for some competition...
Apart from getting things done, today was like any other day in the studio: Eating yet another fine Sergio's pizza and watching yet another classic movie. What does "dumb fuck" mean anyway?
I was awakened three hours before it was my turn to begin the vocal harassment (Why are we always sleeping during studio hours? Because we can!). Before that, Ben had finished three rhythm tracks and moved on to the fourth one. After Janne set up the mic and I had warmed up a bit, I started the vocalizing with a tune we had tried live for a few times and that went pretty well. We did some adjustments on the fly and actually discovered some notes to put here and there (in the vein of Klaus Meine) just to guarantee that we'll be touring the big arenas from now on.
It's a pumping day, but looks like someone has to lift my share also, as I'm off to hone the arrangements for tomorrow's song. Meanwhile, Ben takes a nap and the other guys seem to be practicing their parts to make sure we'll deliver a Pretty Hot And Tempting album.
After a long weekend (we left early for the Finnish Metal Expo, where Juffi had a clinic to do) me, Niko and Erkki headed back to the studio on monday around noon. Silver got sick, so he's gonna follow by train. And since Janne has a cold too, we decided to work from tuesday to saturday this week. But still we thought it would be a good idea to go back a day early to get ready for work. The day was spent stringing and fine tuning instruments, listening to last week's work and pumping iron (hey, these sexy bodies need fine tuning too!). All three of us headed to bed moderately early (around 2.30am) to get ready for the 9am wake up call...
...which - surprise surprise - is not Niko's or Erkki's main concern when the clock hits 9.00. I don't have the luxurious option of staying in bed, as it's my turn to lay down some rhythm. Silver already went through the amps we are using this time, and the VHT/Triaxis -combo is what I start with too. Axe-wise, I have the Red Dragon (Jackson Warrior USA) as my main instrument for standard tuning songs, another Warrior for the drop D tunes, and good ol' Milky, my white Japanese Jackson Rhoads, which will be the main guitar for leads. Most of the clean parts will be handled with a Fernandes Telecaster.
I get through three songs before it's time to call it a day. Damn, gotta be faster tomorrow! My only excuse is that there's some kinky riffing in these songs, and Janne makes you do take after take until it's just right. Which is of course the only way to do it.
It's 8.30pm now, Erkki and Silver (who got here about an hour ago by train) are in our "living room" doing something, Niko is practicing his vocals, and I'm also about to practice my ass off for tomorrow's rhythm session pt. II...
The quest for THE guitar sound begins...
My cellphone wakes me up at 9 am, which is way too early for me. The drums are done and today we start searching for the rhythm guitar sound. With shiny new strings and stretched fingers I find my way to the monitor room. Soon Ben joins in and with Janne, the three of us start pondering the essence of a good guitar sound. This time we have the 5150, Mesa TriAxis and SansAmp with VHT poweramp at our use.
On the cabinet front we have to manage with Krank, Marshall and Mesa. After numerous experiments we decide to use to cabinets simultaneously, namely Krank and Marshall. Of the amps our choice is the TriAxis and 5150.
The rest of the day goes by with recording test takes, listening, comparing and testing again, and again. On monday we'll return with rested ears and see if we'll start recording.
With the power of strong coffee I crawled from my bed into the mixing room where Janne was already taking care of business at 9am. He was doing some editing so I had a little time to gather myself and grab my main man Ben up from bed to do some guitar-demoing with the drums. At 5pm I had all the drum-tracks for the album nailed. Recording the drums was a nice experience as a whole, because I had the songs rehearsed pretty good and Janne is such a professional to work with. I tried to capture a little different feelings to the songs, for example there's some songs that are recorded as tight to the click-track as possible, while a couple of songs were just played rock'n'roll style without a click-track at all. There's even some cowbell on the album. One hit to be exact :)
So, my part is pretty much done, and it's time for some rhythm guitar & bass action. Later today everyone was just chilling, watching some dvd:s and Youtube vids again (editor's note: everyone chilling my ass! Niko, Silver and Ben spent two hours running around Hämeenlinna trying to find the damn dog that escaped again, the string section built up and arranged the guitar room for tomorrow and then started working on rhythm sounds, and some are still practicing their parts at 3am. So it looks like you're just about the only one chilling, homes!) Some have catched the flu, including myself. Oh well, at least I get to sleep late tomorrow!
Juffi wakes me up with a gentle "dude, get up, you have to play a guide track for me" at around 9am. Up we go then, coffee in one hand, guitar in the other, and - first and foremost - my ultrasoft metal slippers on my feet. Let's do this...
Today was the first day of recording the drums: the set was tuned properly the night before, miked up and soundchecked, so we could start recording first thing in the morning. And being the trooper that he is, Juffi decided to take this thing by the balls and start out with the two most challenging songs. Which just so happens to be the opener and the last track on the album. Weird... Four more songs (with working titles such as D-drop Pop and Punk120) were finished before it was time to call it a day. Four more tomorrow and Juffi will be done.
So, what do the rest of the guys do while Juffi and I are recording the drum tracks? Not much apparently: sleep late, eat, watch some Vanilla Ice and Skee-lo videos on Youtube, play videogames, go out to get pizza, watch American Pie 3... Yeah sure, there's guitar parts to be practiced, songs with no lyrics written and an album to be named, but you have to prioritize here people!
Ok, gotta start writing some leads for this damn thing! Let's see if tomorrow Erkki will get to start his low frequency jungle boogie...
Ok teletubbies, the ape's gone loose and the milk's gone bad! We arrived to Sound Supreme yesterday evening and Juffi set up drums while the rest of us jammed Metallica acoustically. It's now monday afternoon, Juffi is tuning the drums and Erkki's gone sleeping after spending all night working on a drum loop with Niko (Yes, people, there's going to be loops on the album!), who's still struggling not to fall asleep. Today we'll be looking for that perfect drum sound... mostly.
This time around we wanted to try some new things soundwise, and wanted Janne to participate more than before with song structures etc. Therefore, we've been sending him demos beforehand and had already some discussions about how to approach each song individually. We listened to some reference CD's to see what kind of sound we'll go after for different instruments. So far it looks like we'll combine Mayhem's "Grand Declaration of War" drum sounds with Darkthrone's "Transylvanian Hunger" rhythm guitar sound.... Dunno, could be heavy?
Ok, back to working on the drums. We'll keep you updated every step of the way, so watch this space!