Thursday, November 09, 2006

Recording Blog 4 (November 8)

The last couple of weeks have been kind of strange because Adam and I have really been busy on our own, and just haven't connected a bunch to work on stuff. We each have worked on stuff by ourselves, but not really together. But yesterday, we were able to spend a majority of the day together.

As we have worked on our own, we had pretty much finished the tracking for the album. We have laid all the guitars after having the bass and drums laid earlier. The tough part about huge guitars is that they take up so much space...then you have to find the room to fit them into the mix....but Adam is a fantastic mix engineer, so I have no worries. But what I had decided with this album is that I wanted to pull out all the stops.

I don't think that anyone is ever entirely original or entirely derivative. But, I wanted to pull out any stops that we had and really make a conscious choice to not let anything sit dormant and fall into the trap of being predictable. If we have a punk song, let's turn it on it's ear and give it a raggae middle 8. What?!! Where did that come from? If we have a killer riff, then let's start off with it, then leave you hanging for the rest of the song, until we end with the same riff. If we use piano, how do we make the piano still fill up some space while sounding as little like a piano as possible? If we use key strings, why not throw some delay and a phaser and some distortion on it to just throw it out of whack? We are just not content to make a regular pop album.

Also, we had decided we wanted to have little instrumental interludes to kind of break the album up a little bit and keep things interesting. So, I sat down and wrote 4 instrumentals, some of them shorter, one of them about 4 minutes long. Now, I will say this: don't take these instrumentals too seriously. I wrote really cool music, but chose not-the-greatest samples on purpose...we just want it to be totally different than the rest of the album. Now, don't get me wrong...the stuff sounds really cool, but if you expect it to be orchestral stuff, you'll be dissapointed because it sounds more like cool video game music (NO - not Super Mario World music!).

So, yesterday, we only had a couple more songs to do in order to finish up the tracking for the album. Adam had to finish up a few lead parts, and then we had to lay down the guitars for Tunnel Vision. Adam laid down the lead parts on Need and once again did great stuff. His solo on that song is one of my favorites that he's done. Then we moved onto Tunnel Vision. We decided that he would go ahead and lay down all the guitar parts...because he's a better player than me and I was being lazy playing Madden as he worked. So, he laid down the rhythm and the lead parts on that one. We had decided that the 8 bars before the bridge started should be some kind of solo. So, he started messing around with this riffy thing that played off the riff we had played coming out of the 2nd chorus. As he laid down that track, I suggested that he try to play the same riff up a 3rd. He did and he took this very pop/punk song and added this element of Steely Dan or some 70's pop group with dual lead sounds so freaking cool.

After that, we did the last guitar work for the album and we laid down our parts for Cry Tonight. This is the oldest song in the HPF canon - I wrote this originally in September of 2002, after my wife and my second date. It had sat dormant for over 3 years and I pulled it back out and rewrote some of the lyrics. It is definitely one of my favorites from the album, if not all the songs I've ever written. Anyway, I laid down my guitar parts (one track took 2 takes and the other I nailed in 1 take - that's right gangsta's, I am a P.I.M.P.!!!), then Adam worked his magic and laid down his parts. This song really sounds fantastic.

After that we broke for dinner and I tried to get some sleep to rest my voice up. However, my stupid dogs (I love them, don't get me wrong) woke me up several times. After the fourth time of being asleep for 5 minutes and being woken up by frantic barking, I decided to just give up and get up. I ate some pizza from the night before and messed around with some different ideas for wierd synth stuff on some songs.

Adam showed up and I laid down the vocals for Cry Tonight. It was kind of funny because I laid down the majority of the song in 1 or 2 takes, but this one line on the first verse took me like 15 takes...very frustrating. It was just this wierd note that for some reason I couldn't get to without my voice doing this wierd flat thing. Whatever. I finally muscled it out.

I went and drank some water and then a person I shall call Bobby showed up, and we decided as we listened to "Cry Tonight" that we should lay down some gang vocals. So, Bobby, Adam and I gathered around the mic and yelled out some "Whoa-uh-ohs!!!" for the chorus and intro of Somewhere. Then we laid down the intro yells on Rise. We then laid down the repeats on the chorus of Waiting. And to finish off we laid down the hook and bridge of Tunnel Vision. I have to say that gang vocals are fun. You just get to yell into a mic and there are no consequences.

So, that is how we ended our night. The tracking for the album is (pretty much) complete. Now I just got to lay down some vocals.

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