|STUDIO DAY #1 part 2|
It took us quite a while to get this one right. I turned out to be a delicate creature that wasn’t easily captured. In the first three takes we even had added floortom for the last chorus. We decided to take this out because there was too much bleed on the sensitive vocal mic. Moreover this gave Nienke more space to focus on conveying the message at hand. In turn it made the last chorus feel more open. I don’t remember how many takes we’ve done. However at some point everybody in control room was convinced we had captured the magic. In the studio after doing a dozen takes you sometime lose the ability to judge. But even with this knowledge it’s hard to let go if you’re not a hundred percent sure. Thank god we had a great team of people around us to show us when to stop. When I listened back to the mix the next day my uncertainty disappeared and I was proud of what we created together.
|STUDIO DAY #2|
Having this ‘just the boys’ vibe, combined with the luxury of having to do one video as opposed to
two, made us all very relaxed. We started the day with coffee again whilst debating how we would
set up for the last song: “Forsake me”. We soon decided on the both of us sitting down in front of
the wall of amps. Having a similar set-up to Yesterdays video’s but using more of a close-up
camera approach. This suits the song which develops slowly to epic proportions. Wouter would try
to get a camera choreography down so that he would really have one take from his hand held
camera. As a basic track. “Forsake me” is probably the most elaborate recording of this session.
It’s a song Marlon Penn recorded on his first record Independence.
The approach was similar to the day before. As a vocal mic we used a Telefunken Elam 251 and
for the ambience a Telefunken U47, both vintage. In front of the bass amp we set up a Royer r121
(ribbon mic). The bigger part of the track is an effect pedal extravaganza. After making a basic
Loop on my Ditto X2, I overdub god knows how many parts. For the basic track I use my brand
new Höfner Club Bass with pyramid flats wounds. It gives a very smooth round low end sound.
Rock solid like everything that is German. Here I’m using a 16th rhythmic delay from the Line 6
In an very relaxed and natural manner we did about three takes and listened back to it. The only problem we kept facing was that I had too press a lot of pedals during the recording. Even when I tried to hit them a soft as possible the ‘clicks’ were clearly audible on all the microphones. So we decided to make it part of the arrangement. We put another mic right above my pedalboard to make sure we really got all the clicks. Then I challenged myself to put every click on the first count of a beat, so that we could put a rhythmic effect on it afterwards.
Then because we had plenty of time we did about five more. I think we had about three good takes to pick from. We decided to go for the second last one, because Wouter felt like he nailed that one on camera. I feel the song has a natural flow to it, building up to the ultimate ecstasy and realising it all in reverse. Please enjoy “Forsake me” by Marlon Penn and yours truly
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|STUDIO DAY #1 part 1|
First things first, we set about the vital and some what complicated task of mastering the coffee machine before we started setting up for our first recording session with Nina June. Our goal was to make a high quality live video. So we needed to set up at a spot where Wouter van Uden (video production) would be able to get good shots from several angles.
We decided to use one of the studio walls which has a great background with wooden panels. For the recording we used a Telefunken Elam 251 as a lead microphone, two Telefunken U47 (omni) as ambience mics and of course a DI (SPL Gainstation) and a Royer r121 as a mic for the bass guitar. We already decided that we would re-amp the bass afterwards to have extra control over the sound. However we wanted to be able to blend the original and ambience sound to keep that ‘live’ feel. For this song I played a fretless Music Man stingray bass. The neck is an original from one of the first years they were build. However the body is from some unknown manufacturer. It sounds like the real deal and it’s a beast. It’s strung with Dunlop Super Brights: these strings have a brutal low end and sound amazing on a fretless. As a guide effect, I’m using the Line 6 Rhythmic delay. We re-amped this signal using an original space echo. Last but not least, I’m playing my Orange Bass terror through a 1x12 EBS Classic Line Cabinet. I will go into detail about the re-amping process in the next blog post.
After the quickest soundcheck I’ve ever done in a studio, we were good to go. The process turned
out to be quick and smooth. We ran about three takes and listened back to the music. It sounded
great! After looking back at the camera footage we decided to do some more takes, just to try stuff.
We had plenty of time left until my second songwriter of the day was arriving.
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|PREPARATION OF A SONG|
To make a song work with just a bass and a vocalist, you’ll need a couple of things:
1. the right song
Although these things might seem obvious, in practice, they are sometimes a bit more hard to ﬁnd. I think I took me about a year or so from the birth of
this idea to get it to where it is today: an almost ﬁnished product. When I decided to partake in this journey which I like to call my own experiment on
bass, I approached several songwriters with the idea and told them we could either write a song together or perform an already existing song. I ended up
with three songwriters and three very different ideas for a song. I wrote a song with one of them and with the second songwriter I made an arrangement for
an existing song which he had written previously.
As a result I ended up with the song “It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back) by the Eurythmics. This is such a powerful song that has a fantastic rolling groove
and that sweet 80’s sound. However, it was Ane Brun’s version that inspired me to create mine on bass.
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