Friday, June 12, 2009

In The Studio - Part 4

It's Thursday night right now and not long ago the Lakers just beat the Magic in a nail biting win in overtime. The Lakers now lead the finals series 3-1 (for those unfamiliar with the NBA the grand final is actually a 7 game series. The winner is the first to win 4 games). It's cool being in a city when there's a big time sporting event happening. Everyone gets pumped up about it and there's a buzz happening. People seem to get very patriotic about their hometown when one of their sporting teams is in a final and it's great. The only bad thing is it's just not possible to get seats at the game when it's the finals. It's just too expensive. Which is a real shame because I would have loved to have seen a Lakers game live. But enough about sport.

The last few days in the studio have started to get really great. Well everyday in the studio has been great but I guess the closer you get to the end of a record, the more complete the songs sound and, well, the stuff you've been working really hard on starts to sound good. On Tuesday we started laying all the secondary vocal tracks. I sung the backups on the songs Greg sings lead on and vice versa. I also got to lay down my final guitar parts. And that was it really. We went home and watched the Lakers game. I know it sounds like we do pretty much nothing during the day and then just go home and watch basketball but I swear we're working hard. It just so happens that a Lakers game is on every second night because of the finals.

That just left synth parts to track for the next few days. Andrew was getting all excited leading up to this part of the recording. He couldn't wait to get his hands on some really old school synths. There's been something about playing music with vintage gear that's really hard to describe. You kind of feel like you're part of a way bigger story and that somehow the geniuses who have used the gear before you will somehow impart some of their awesomeness into what you're doing. Up until this point it started to become really obvious that synths were missing and you get impatient wanting to record them. Because I work so closely with Andrew, my guitar parts sometimes don't really make all that much sense without his synth parts and so to hear synth finally being injected into the songs made me feel a lot better about life. One of the coolest synths was this really old suitcase (literally it opened like a suitcase) Moog that made crazy sounds. It had a life of its own. We couldn't really control it so we just went with what it wanted to do and got a really cool sound out of it for one of the tracks. When unplugging it though Andrew electrocuted himself and had a numb right arm for the rest of the day. It's 115 volts or something over here. I wonder whether you get a bigger electric shock back home with 240 volts?

The next day we did a taping for a music TV show. It was good fun. Performed a couple of acoustic songs and an interview. We didn't make it into the studio that day so instead, while we were in Hollywood, we took a trip to The Guitar Center on Sunset. It's a massive store and I headed straight to the vintage section and then straight to the Fender wall. I'm a die hard Fender Stratocaster loyalist and there were some amazing guitars in that store. Really old guitars with original parts. Shame they were going for between $30,000 and $100,000. One day maybe. I also saw one of the original '58 Fender Twins I'm using in the studio at the moment. It too was fetching a nice $30k. I guess it's good to have something to aim towards...

Friday and it was time for more synths. We arrived at the studio to be greeted by a CS-80. Now that probably won't mean that much to most people. But I'm not lying, this synth was the most amazing thing I've ever heard in my life. I know there are factions of people out there who believe that digital modelling of original analogue gear is just as good as the real thing. No offence to them but it's just not true. The sounds that were being generated by this thing were simply mindblowing. I was literally getting goosebumps listening to the sounds. One of the cool things about analogue gear as well is that once you get a sound you like, you'd better record it because you're unlikely to ever find that same sound again. That means no one else is likely to have ever created that exact same sound. When you're making a record, that's cool.

So we wrapped up Friday with most of the synths tracked. I also sung the backups for the last track. Oh yeah, and we decided to get a string quartet in for the last song as well. I can't wait to see/hear that in action. Kevin got busy starting the mixes so the next time we're in (hopefully tomorrow) we'll be hearing the first mixes. A most exciting time!!

One final thing. Greg and I decided to go catch a movie that night and took a massive trek by public transport to find a cinema. I'm really liking LA, but it is the worst city for getting around by public transport. Getting anywhere is a huge mission that requires intricate planning and lots of time. We didn't have either but I think people like coming to the aid of helplessly lost human beings like ourselves, and some locals aided us to our destination. We saw the new Terminator and my recommendation is to skip it. Boring boring boring. Even the action scenes were pretty boring. Looking forward to Transformers. Hot tip - Aussie actress Isbabel Lucas (ex-Home and Away star) is in it. How good!!

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