Hey - So we did it!
We recorded our new EP - ‘Catch the Rising Sun’ - It is now mastered and about to be printed and copied as I write this little billet-doux!
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We went to The Premesis in the end - as we got a good deal - and because it has a really good reputation as a live studio. We were in Studio A - that is the Solar powered one - so we were very green doin our biz in there! we were very happy to be in that studio recording - it was great fun!
First session was March 3rd - and we were very well rehearsed having spent a few weeks at Pulse Rehearsal Studios getting the songs tight. It was still very ambitious tho - trying to get seven songs down in one day with a whole band - that IS very cheeky!
It always takes a lot of time to get drums set up - sounds working - foldback and monitoring levels and trying to control the spill from the guitar amp or bass amp. Keyboards were easy to record as they didn’t go thru an amp. Guitar was tricky as Col. Joski didn’t want the amp to be quiet!
Xande and engineer jason worked on getting a good modern ’70’s’ drum sound - moving kick mics and snare tunings etc until they were set - then the bass mic and D/I and same for the guitar.
We rattled off our songs usually in three or four takes so that we could choose the best one later. We did:
Catch the Rising Sun
I Know we’re from the Stars
…and that is a loty of songs in one 7 hr day!
The Premesis is a cool place to work in - lots of studios and rehearsal rooms in one rambling tenement style block on Hackney Road, East London. They even have a cat - Mrs Dawkins - who is on Twitter. Lots of names record there. While we were in they also had Skunk Anansie and Peter Green.
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The next session was to do the lead vocals. We did most of the backing vocals at home - Joski with Jenty at the home studio and Sara did her BV’s at her gaff with Xande. The lead vox are always fraught with a bit of tension but luckily Joski knows his songs quite well and pitching was good and we got all the main vocals down in about five hours. This was at the second session on 23rd March. This left about an hour to do a rough mix of ‘Catch the Rising Sun’.
Then came the third session on 3rd April. This was to mix the seven mighty songs. However it did prove a challenge and we did rush a bit in the early stages which ended up with five songs mixed but not with the best overall sound. We found the kick drum was a little wooly and the lower mid was getting indistinct. Part of the problem was aiming to undertake tooooo many songs in one day originally! Now we had spent another day (day 3) and we weren’t getting close to finishing!
Luckily jason the engineer is very experienced and we decided to do another full day (April 12th) and work on the basics first. This meant we were more able to control the sounds and get the frequencies sorted on one song before spreading that out to the other songs and mixing them.
It worked - we did a humungous amount of mixing work and managed to get all seven songs mixed and sounding really good!!! Next stage was to check everything and make sure we were all happy with the mixes.
We wondered about Mastering. Mastering is where you take the final mixes to be finished off and given that sheen and clarity that recordings you buy have. It is also the process that maximises the volume of the tracks so that they compare well when played on radio etc.
I sent one track to MediaShack in Ireland - ‘Finest’ and was very happy with the final result. I have now sent the other six tracks and am awaiting the final results. Then we can finish off the cover and get em out there!!!
I used to always record songs at home and build up tracks on seperatly recorded drum sessions. However, after recording at The Premesis, despite any challenges, I will never bother recording at home again! You just can’t get a big sound at home and need the out-board gear that they have in The Premesis and similar places. Home studio is just for rough demo’s from now on!!