Long time no bloggin’. It’s been a busy time, and no shows really either except one in mid-April. That’s because I’m making a record!
For the past couple months I’ve been doing pre-production for a full-length Northern Thorns release; finishing some new songs, re-tracking vocals and guitars and replacing some of the MIDI percussion and bass sounds with real instruments. I’ve been working with my existing Logic Pro X demo files, and the idea is basically to just upgrade them until they sound pro, instrument by instrument. It’s been a lot of fun, and it was also kind of stressful trying to get as much done as possible (structurally at least) before doing the drum tracking.
I finally did the drums at ExEx with my good friend Bob Cheek last weekend, and I’m really thrilled with how they came out. ExEx is a great overdubbing studio but they don’t have any kind of live room with a high ceiling, just a treated room that used to be an old bank vault a century ago. But it was perfect. I wanted an old school kind of 70’s drum sound anyway and it fit the bill. I mixed and matched a bunch of drums I own to get the sounds I was envisioning, and we did 11 songs over a 4-day period.
Usually I’m in the studio recording someone else’s record, and if I have a little flub or a weird drum fill, or if I just play something that’s not composed to my satisfaction, we move on anyway half the time because it’s expensive to be in the studio. Not this time. I’ve never dug so deeply into drum performances and I think the end result will be great because of this.
Bob and I went back and fixed every fill and groove until they were just what I was hearing in my head for the song. Because that was what I did with the MIDI drums originally after all, composing drum fills at my leisure. And my mental conception of this music is very precise at this point, especially since most of these songs have kicked around in my head for months or years.
Ian came in on Sunday and laid down some trumpet for a rumba song I’ve been putting the finishing touches on. Jared had played a guitar solo on said song a few weeks prior, which I had fun editing together from 20+ takes.
Next, I fix all the punch points in the bass and guitar tracks (finally learned how to crossfade effectively), and we re-amp those. We did just a single song to make sure it would work well.