Wednesday, November 24, 2010

(11/24/10): Posted "The Divided Son" last night

Since we reached our 1,000th facebook fan milestone, we put up a demo of a song from the new album, previously referred to as TDS. This is the first time I actually mixed an entire Suspyre song; I used to sort of pre-mix stuff, then Rich would finish it up, so it was a big jump for me to do the whole thing. I've done lots of mixing before, but on much different music that didn't have much stuff going on. Just for posterity, I'll try to remember the process of how we recorded this song, and what actually didn't get changed when the mix was done.

  • Drums: Recorded Gabe's playing with 15 mics originally, but by the end, it was much fewer. I wound up using two overheads, an occasional hi-hat mic during the more fancy hi-hat parts, at least three snare tracks (top, bottom, then another with a trigger on it for the crack-ier sound), three toms, and a few kick tracks (the main one is a trigger, then another track for the softer sections is another trigger sound, and there is also a natural kick sometimes).

  • Bass: Sam just DIs Andrew's Carvin six-stringer and I apply the AmpegSVX plug-in. Simple and easy.

  • Keyboards: April's keys were DId as well, but I also recorded a MIDI track just in case I wanted to run her playing through a softsynth as well. It wasn't necessary, since I really liked the sound of all of her patches. My piano sounds are way too epic; hers was lighter and more present and fit the song better. The synth sounds are sometimes a combination of patches; for the lead near the end I ran her patch through an amp-sim to give it some grit. Only the string parts were programmed; all the other synths were played, which is pretty much a first for Suspyre!

  • Vocals: Clay sang into a Shure KSM44, like we used on the last couple albums, even though I have some nicer mics now. Verses are only single-tracked, but the choruses are triple-tracked and then there are about 6-8 harmony tracks. Lots of Clays, like always.

  • Guitars: This was the experimental, yet stressful part. Andrew and I originally were going to play our respective parts through our respective amps. It sounded way too unbalanced. Ultimately, I got a DI Box and started tracking everything while capturing the clean signal as well. It also sped up the process when Andrew would borrow the DI box and track his parts at home, then bring his ENGL PowerBall to the studio and re-amp it in my live room.

    - Clean guitars are my Ibanez JPM through a Mesa/Boogie TriAxis / 2:90 rig, miced with an SM57

    - "Rhythm" distorted guitars are Andrew's Carvin through the ENGL, doubled with an Amplitubed track, and sometimes my Ibanez JPM doubling it through the Mesa. We used an SM57, a Royer 121, and an AKG 414, but I think I only kept the SM57 track for most of it

    - "Lead" guitars were either Andrew's ENGL (the smoother and brighter tone) or my TriAxis (the grittier and darker tone)

    - My solo is my custom Manne guitar through my Mesa rig.
The word "miced" means "to record with a microphone," not to throw a rodent at something. Hmm.



Sunday, August 01, 2010

(07/31/10): Some more vocals

We tracked vocals for SotC today. After doing a verse, we noticed that we're going to have to mess with the drums a little more; Gabe's beat was awesome with the guitars but when we added the vocals it just wasn't working the way we had hoped. Every album had something happen like this, so I'm not surprised! Besides that, we had fun layering harmonies and doing some vocal improvisations during the (now previously) instrumental sections.

We have one song pretty much ready to go, but we're waiting to hit our 1,000 fan milestone on Facebook before we post it. So, spread the word for us!

Side notes:
Today is the first rehearsal for our shows in September, and a BBQ at April's.

I also recently rediscovered 70's progressive rock; I can't stop listening to Jethro Tull, Genesis, and Yes. I love when I pull out old music and hear it with more mature ears; it's like hearing it for the first time again. I'm sure some of these "classic" influences make it to this record we're doing.


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Monday, June 07, 2010

(06/06/10): Bass, keyboards, guitars

This was almost a 12-hour recording session....still exhausted! I am officially getting sick, so I'm going to take it easy this week.

Andrew, Sam, and April all arrived at the studio around noon and I didn't get home until almost midnight. We started by doing the bass tracks for SotC, TFD, and TMMoS. That's over 23 minutes of music, so we have almost half of the bass done, besides editing the parts.

April began her keyboard tracks for TDS around 7pm; it was her first time recording for a release and Suspyre's first time recording an official keyboardist (all other "keyboard" parts were programmed or just a small section to add a little something to the song). We had a lot of fun with all her sounds that I don't have to program anything. Also, since she prepared the parts with a metronome, her playing was spot-on, so I really don't have to edit anything either! That's another great thing about recording keyboards, there is no noise at the end of the tracks (like on distorted guitars) that requires me to split the tracks between every rest and fade out each clip. Very tedious indeed.

After she finished this one song, which will be released in a week or so, Andrew did his parts for C1. We used a different guitar micing scheme, but I won't know how it worked until I track my parts and mix things. Still not sold on the guitar sound we're getting, but a lot has to do with the plug-ins I decide to put on them.

Anyway, Clay is scheduled to come sing on Thursday, so keep reading for updates!



Saturday, September 22, 2007

Most of you, I'm sure, have never seen Erypsus Studios. Neither have I, until today (which is strange, since I've known Clay for about 13 years and now live with him). So what more appropriate opening for the Suspyre blog than to share the awesomeness of this place with all of you?

My attention divided the instant I walked up the flight of stairs into the studio. My ears moved to the right, where Jeff was recording a drum part for the new album. Normally, all of my attention would be on that stimulus, but it's difficult to move my eyes from the wall of beautiful guitars hanging right in front of me. Even as I sit to the side writing this, I'm still glancing up at them. Personal favorites: the transparent blue PRS and the semi-hollow body Gibson. It's also tough to miss the sax lying in front of the guitars. You might remember that one from "The Breath of Gloria."

After standing in the same spot for probably seven or eight minutes, staring and listening, I headed over to the control area. Gregg has the greatest wide-screen monitor, perfect for recording purposes. I commented as such, and he replied, "Yeah, I can't wait to get a bigger desk so we can put the second monitor next to it." Yes, they're going to have a monitor roughly three and a half feet long. Mere mortals do not need this much screen space; Suspyre, however, does.

This is my favorite scene in the studio, at least from a whimsical standpoint. Gregg: "The energy drinks are from this high school band that comes in here every Friday night...they're not used to staying up past 11." He also mentions that he had thrown out all the garbage, bottles, and cans earlier this week. So you can imagine how much time is spent up in this space.

The best part of this whole trip, though, is getting to hear parts of the new album. I gotta say, the guitar riffs are freakin' killer. Jeff is inhuman on the drums, especially to the lay person's ears. He'll do a take, and then say he has to do it over again, even though it sounds perfect to the untrained ear.

Rich just showed up, so we're only minus Andrew right now. Clay is streaming the video onto Yahoo Messenger. All the sudden, this is sounding a lot more like a diary than a blog entry.