Friday, June 25, 2010

Jams Duncan.

New Rule: All blog posts must have a pun in their title.

I really want to write about some drum recording I did with James Duncan recently. Halfway through the session I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera for photographic evidence of some of the stuff that went on.

If you have been reading my blog you may remember that James has been helping out with Chelseas solo album, well he got in touch recently about helping with a bit of tracking for some of his solo stuff "we might play around with drums through amps and stuff" how could I refuse?

On Wednesday we headed down to drummer Chris O'Connors practise space armed with my laptop, digi003, mic pres and a joint effort from our Mic collections and a few drums. Chris is a really great drummer and his practise space is amazing. There must've been at least 6 marching bass drums littered around with various drum kits and walls of shelves packed full of percussive things including a very large spring, hundreds of cymbals and gongs and stupidly huge china's. I could've played all day. But no. We had serious work to do in a short amount of time.

We quickly plugged everything in and got levels before tracking various drum options to be cut in to loops/samples for 3 songs. This is not usually how I work, so was pretty interesting for me to see James producing a session like this, listening for all the various loops he wants to use.

Then we got to the fun/serious recording; running a Hi Hat mic in to a Wah pedal and in to a little guitar amp in an isolation room. We put the Wah next to Chris's HiHat pedal so Chris could slacken off his HiHat clutch and play the Wah. Probably the best use of a Wah pedal I have ever heard. We also ran a kick mic in to an amp, the snare bottom mic through a reverb and in to another amp and then a tom mic in to a hotcake and then a delay pedal that James played for a while, should be some really cool samples from that recording!

Then Chris had to leave and James and I recorded various samples of cool things like timpani, the aforementioned giant spring, snare drums out in the hallway, foot stomps, various cymbals stacked together... etc.

What a fun day recording with some very talented people (Chris and James)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Getting Frosty.

Last Thursday and Friday I had a visit from the lovely Ruby Frost who came by to track a couple of songs to maybe be released as singles.

One of the songs "Moonlight" revolved around an organ and by some sort of coincidence keyboard player Haddon was just around the corner in Glen Eden which seemed the perfect opportunity to record some Hammond. It was a joy to hear as good a musician as Haddon put it through its paces.

By the time we discovered that Haddon was just around the corner I'd started to program in the organ and even with my plug in emulation it sounded great, but it turns out you can't beat the real thing. I love the whir of a nice Leslie.

I used 2 x Beta57a's to pick up the horns in stereo and then a blue baby bottle a bit back from the lower portion of the cabinet to pick up the body of the organ, I ended up not using the condenser as I got enough low end from the Beta57's.

Another thing I could probably program in but just isn't the same is Bells. Very important. It turns out Ruby is an incredible bell player. She takes this very seriously.

We recorded some acoustic guitar and I played some electric and bass but the rest was all programmed in with my various synths in protools (except for vocals obviously). All in all a very productive 2 days. I'm just giving the tracks a mix now. FUN!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Glass Owls EP Release

Weow! Glass Owls release their EP "Dead Love" Next Friday.

I recorded it a few months ago here at Little Monster, you can find some posts about recording it HERE

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


This is probably my most exciting/excited blog post ever.

I am now in possession of a beautiful old Hammond E262 (one of the wood options on the E100) Tone Wheel organ, pretty much a B3/C3 but with lot less features and a bigger heavier cabinet. This was designed to be the home model with its built in speakers and they were made between 1964 and 1969.

Also it has a lovely Leslie (model 145) with it. I turned it on yesterday and it was the most joyous thing I have ever heard. This is something I have dreamed of owning for years. I never thought it would happen and am incredibly grateful to Mark, Roxie and the Haines family.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Drums with Alex. (Cool Rainbows and Mali Mali)

Yesterday afternoon Alex and I ventured out to Waiuku to the wonderful Revolver studios to meet Cass and Djeisan who had been there all day working hard on finishing the Cool Rainbows album.

When we arrived Djeisan was just finishing off a mix before we moved on to tracking drums and bass for 3 songs. One of which we originally recorded about a year ago! I Can't wait to hear it all done now, its sounding amazing.

By the time we finished for the evening it was about 1.30am. We decided to sleep over at Revolver and head back early the next day. So we woke at 7 and after picking up some drums from Alex's house and dropping Cass home we made our way out to my house for breakfast before starting recording drums for Mali Mali's EP.

The drummer that was booked in for the recording fell through and I recommended Alex for the Job, he did incredibly well (as I knew he would).

With the Mali Mali EP we're not really going for a full drum kit sort of sound (bar one song when we set up a full kit with the usual mics) its more based around percussive ideas I guess. I knew its the sort of area where Alex shines and he came with some great ideas but also had some really nice tonal contributions using different drums and tunings etc

We tracked drums for all the songs today and I was happy that my Highland Marching Pipe Band Drums got a look in and sounded GREAT. I think the Mali Mali EP is coming together in a way that I really hadn't anticipated (its sounding better than I thought) and its not even finished yet, Bass and Vocals next!

Overall a very productive 2 days!


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