So we’re back once again at Robinwood Studios in Todmorden. Lee had arrived early with Billy, to set up and mic the drum kit. Both Steve and myself arrived an hour later. The live room was like a boiler room. Really hot, with Lee looking like he had run a marathon. It wouldn’t be long till I looked the same.
The set up was, Lee, Steve and myself in the live room. My bass was D.I’d along with Steve’s keyboard. Steve is putting down a guide keyboard, overdubbing his parts later on. The reason for this is because Steve wants to recreate a live feel. He wants the bass and drums to dominate and lead the track, so he wants us in the live room, playing live, creating lots of energy.
It is difficult to recreate that energy when your sat down with your bass in the control room, overdubbing your parts, it becomes a science. This needed to be energetic. It fires me up to see the drummer whilst I’m playing and I think the effects are reversed.
I had been practicing the three riffs Steve wanted us to record all week. I again was fairly confident. I was the most relaxed I have been in any form of recording environment. I really don’t think I have been this prepared for a recording. The piece is challenging, the most challenging I have recorded and I am the most relaxed, it just shows you what preparation can do for your confidence.
Lee completely knocked it out of the park today. He has been practicing, you can tell a mile off. He has such a confidence with these time signatures now. The first riff we recorded was the easiest out of the 13/8 riffs we had been given. We practiced them a few times before we went for a take. As soon as we went to record Lee panicked slightly. Steve had gone into the control room to have a listen from that perspective. I looked over at Lee and said “Don’t think about it man, you’ve got it.” He really seemed to appreciate that confidence boost, and was on it from there on.
The next riff was more complex. It was the newest one I had learned from last week. Steve wanted to change the ending slightly. We would really have to concentrate and count. I got it after a few run-through’s. But it was difficult to get it all together. It mashed my head in that much that I had forgotten the riff, I had to take a break. I went to the control room, telling everyone my hand was fatiguing, which was true, but my head hurt more. Billy was manning the desk, nudging me to go back in, without really saying it.
Steve and Lee recorded it after a few takes and more discussion. We all had a listen together, then as Steve and Lee went for a break. I recorded my part first time. I even had time to do an alternate take for Billy and Steve to choose from. The break cleared my head and my performance improved because of it.
The next part we recorded was in 4/4. Steve thought that it would be an easy end to the recording session. Could I play in 4/4? … Could I bollocks!! It was so hard to think in 4/4 again after all the 13/8 and additive time signatures.
By this point I was starting to tire so Steve wanted me on my feet. A great idea, I gave it some welly to try and keep the energy going. Steve wanted me to fill some holes, to improvise some bass. Usually, not a problem, but now? Let’s just say I don’t think I was happy with 90% of the takes for this section.
We recorded about 7 or 8 alternate takes so Steve could pick the best from each take. It is weird to record in this way. At this point I have no idea how this track is going to pan out. I don’t know how it is going to start, end, what the hooks are. It’s like I’m flying blind, but it also means that I don’t have to have an opinion when I am listening to it back, which is so refreshing.
My philosophy for this has been “Is Steve/Billy happy with my part?” and if they say, “Yeah, good take Adam” we move on. If they’re not happy we have a discussion, as to how I can make it right. Such a refreshing way to work I must admit.
This session was really short, although it did feel like it went a lot longer because we got so much done in that time. We’re going to take a break now until Steve has more parts and then we will start this process again. I must admit I’m looking forward to it.