This isn’t Salton Sea related but it is a song I wrote for my LA-based band Edison Gower. This song will be on tonight’s episode of New Girl on Fox at 9PM.
The song was produced by Edison Gower bandmate, Jake Gideon. He also takes the lead vocal on this track.
Tune in to New Girl tonight at 9 and see if you can catch the song in the show.
Well, today was the final day of tracking for a little bit. We have had a long and busy week and we are taking the weekend off. However, we are getting together tomorrow morning to do the final mix on the first Salton Sea single, "Come Back To Me". We’re figuring we should be able to knock that out in a few hours and then we will wrap up this long but productive week.
On to notes about today’s session. We started work a bit later at about 12:20PM and worked until 7:45 PM It was short but by the wend we were both burnt out. Neither of us could really go much further and it would be counterproductive to try. That said, we managed to get as far as we could on "Wake Up". It got to the point we were both pleased with t he song and all the tracking we had done and due to our exhaustion we really couldn’t think of anything to add at this point, or rather couldn’t really think at all. We’re not calling the song done just yet though, we both feel there needs to be just a few more things added, but for now we are content.
We started the day with me adding a Fender Rhodes part mimicking my original Wurlitzer riff whch we lifted directly from my demo. We started recording and we were planning to play it in a lower register but the starting note is an Eb and it just so happened that the Eb key on the Rhodes was broken. I then tried playing it up and octave. Well, it turned out that in that octave the Ab note played but when you hit it it was a bout 2 or 3db louder than the other notes due to this bright chimey bell-like tone. You know the sound effect you see in movies when something shiny appears in the movie and a lens-flare occurs, well you know that bell-like/metal sound you hear with that image. That’s what this sounded like. We opened the thing up and couldn’t figure out how to fix either issue. The producer finally came up with the brilliant idea to just play it a half-step up in E to just the drums and then he would then de-tune the part a half-step down in Pro Tools. That worked like a charm.
After we did that we then played the same part on electric guitar. The Les Paul was the chosen guitar for the day. That was relatively easy. So once we did that part we brought out the electric 12-string again and used it in much the same way we did for “She Is The Moon”. We sent it through multiple effects of reverbs and delays to give this ringing chime-like tone and then just played the chords as whole and half notes throughout the song, letting the chords ring through.
After that we felt we had enough in the song for me to start laying down vocals. Oh yes, in addition to the Wurlitzer part that we kept from my original demo we also kept the B3 organ from the original demo so those were in there too along with the new bass, drums and freshly added guitar and Rhodes. Yes, so time for vocals. These always take a while, partially because I want to get as near a perfect take as I can and because I usually have a good amount of vocal parts in my songs. I usually have a main melody, a couple harmonies that get doubled and then some oohs and ahhs and sometimes a counter-melody. This had all of those. I won’t bore you with all the details but we basically spent a good two hours on vocals tracking and doubling and so forth.
Next up, the producer heard some added percussion and rhythm elements throughout the song and on t he last chorus and outro specifically. So he did some more of his trademark drum sample/real drum loop creating thing. This took about 45 minutes or so. Once he got all that in place we got back to tracking.
We then started playing with synth ideas. There was this pulsing rhythm I heard at the end of t he song as the Rhodes chord trails off. I wanted to try to get that same sort of pulsing rhythm coming in and out of the song. With that we tried to find a blend of crazy sounds and blend them together as they played an arpeggiated rhythmic sequence timed to the tempo of the song. It didn’t work out quite like I imagined but it definitely added something unique and different to the song and worked so we kept it. We might try at a later date to get a sound to match that idea I originally had but for now that does add some extra movement to the song.
We figured since the synths were out we should add another string-like synth pad playing throughout the song. We later cut it out in places to help the song ebb and flow. Once the keyboard fun was over we went back to electric guitar as we had some previous ideas we wanted to try to introduce to the song.
Withe the electric guitar hooked back up the first order of business was to add this part that I originally heard when we were tracking bass yesterday. I wanted to have it played on bass but neither of us could nail it so we figured we’d use another instrument later on to play the part. My idea was to basically rip off the riff from Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” as it fit perfectly at the tail end of the bass groove I had. Like I said neither of us could execute it well enough on the bass so we took it to the guitar. We tried the riff, but of course played on a Les Paul it was basically an exact copy of that riff and so we had to alter it a bit but it still worked and added an extra element. I can safely say Led Zeppelin’s lawyers will not be coming after me now due to the it now sounds nothing like “Whole Lotta Love”.
Then I wanted to recreate the melodic feedback that I had on my very first sketch demo of this song that was not on the final demo. I always liked having this feedback droning guitar fade into the song. I played one instance of this feedback and the producer played the other. We combined the two and it worked out nicely. We even added it to another part of the song on the second verse.
Then there was a little production trick he wanted to do where he took the string-like synth pad we just recorded, routed it to another track where it just captured the reverb and printed that to a track. Once he had just the reverb printed to a track he then shifted it an octave up and had it play along with the original track to give it some weird blips and cutting out sounds.
The final thing we did in this session was record a constant 8th note (almost, dare I say disco) groove on the guitar. Rest assured it doesn’t make the song sound disco at all. It does however, add a nice groove to sections of the song.
We had a listen back and were both pleased and excited with where the song is at. We knew we were at a good stopping point. Honestly right now if the song were released as it is we’d be happy. However, like I said, there are a few additions we will be adding just to help get it to exactly where it needs to be. That will be at a later date though.
Tomorrow at 11AM we start the final mix of "Come Back To Me"! I hope you are as excited as I am.
Until tomorrow… Goodnight.
Today we started a bit later, we got going at 11:30 AM. This was a much shorter day than yesterday but we regardless we got a good amount of things accomplished.
Today we set out to finish up tracking for "She Is The Moon". We accomplished this goal around at around 3PM. We started the morning listenig back to what we had done yesterday and coming up with any ideas that we wanted to add to the song. Our main focus was on the ending, the second verse and a slight addition to the bridge section.
We began with more guitar overdubs. I had liked the idea of doubling my very high counter melody vocal with an over-driven electric guitar so we started with that. We had to find the right notes to play which was sort of difficult as the only place that this guitar part could possibly be played was way up the fretboard around the 17th fret or so. Luckily we had a Les Paul handy so the cutaway was very helpful, but it was still a bit difficult just do to the position. Regardless, we got that part tracked after two takes. Then I wanted to try doubling that with a Minimoog type synth sound so we happened to have access to this old Korg synth which looked to be modeled after a Minimoog in appearance. We hooked that up and I doubled the high counter melody vocal part again, only this time because it was on a keyboard it was much easier to play. Then as a final overdub to the ending of the song we tracked two passes of crazy distorted and delayed/reverbed out guitars playing frantically creating a wash of amazing noises. Once those two passes were tracked we moved on to the intro.
For the second verse we decided we wanted a synth pad but we wanted something less 80’s sounding and more gritty yet atmospheric. We finally found a perfect synth pad patch and I ran through the second verse just playing the chords to create nice atmospheres. We decided that might actually sound good on the intro as well so I added the part there. Then we went ahead and added it in the bridge section as well. That was pretty easy to do and took all of about 10 minutes once we found the right sound.
Next up and lastly was the bridge or rather the breakdown section right after the bridge. Driving home from the session last night, I was thinking about this breakdown section. Being that the lyrics mention the moon and the tides, I wanted to incorporate something into that part which gave the breakdown section some auditory cues to sort of give the vibe of both the moon and water elements mentioned in the song. I got to thinking about pedal steel guitars. It was perfect, I thought. So today that was definitely one of the ideas I really wanted to try out. I didn’t want the typical country sounding pedal steel but more a spaced out part that had lots of delay and reverb. I wanted the bends and slides to sort of give the feel of the tide and also have that spacey element for the moon. Plus that section was very sparse, as it’s intended to be so the part will be mixed fairly low. So yes, long story short I just felt it was the right addition for that part. The producer played that since I had never played a pedal steel. though it’s on my wishlist of things to own and learn to play one day. After struggling with a few faulty volume pedals we finally got up and running on the part. We tracked that in about a half hour. It totally made that section of the song for me. I was pleased. And with that it was a wrap on "She Is The Moon".
We took a short break and upon returning we started work on "Wake Up". Like “She Is The Moon”, the producer laid out a drum loop from my original demo drums mixed with real drums and a drum machine. These drum loop creations take the most time. It’s very tedious work and while he is constructing these I am sitting in the chair fighting off sleep.
After about an hour he has finally finished constructing this percussion masterpiece and we begin actually recording. As this was already planned to be a shorter session, we didn’t have too much more time to work on the song. We did re-record the bass part. It took a bit of time to relearn it but we finally got it and tracked it. Then after it was tracked we re-amped the bass through a distortion pedal and a guitar cabinet. So it gave a pretty interesting sound. The idea I think is to mix it in with the regular bass but there was talk on one section of the song just take out the DI bass and have this distorted bass play for a section. It almost sounds more like a distorted baritone guitar when re-amped through that guitar cabinet. So I’m interested to see how that all works out in the context of the song.
At 5:30, after tracking the re-amped bass, we decided to call it a day.
I think we were both a bit beat. However, we are both excited about the songs and quite excited to see where “Wake Up” ends up going and what sort of direction and style it takes on. We will know tomorrow. We will continue work on the song at noon and go until whenever. More on tomorrow’s session tomorrow night. Until then, goodnight all.
10:50 AM, I hopped in the car and headed downtown and back up to Fulton Hill for another day of of recording.
I got to the studio just after 11AM. We quickly got to work on the next song, which also happens to be my most recently written song, "She Is The Moon". I really love this song. I was quite into the vibe and mood of the chilled out, acoustic demo I recorded and so I was excited to see where this new more uptempo version we laid the basis for the previous session was going to go. We pretty much stuck to all my original demo parts we just re-recorded them all to have a new foundation on which to build.The only parts we didin’t re-record and lifted straight from the demo was the harmonium and synth pad parts and “ohs”section on the 2nd verse. Everything else was added today.
First we laid down the acoustic guitar track. Pretty straight forward. Then a bass part was quickly written and tracked. Typically, I write a bass part for my demos but for this song I never got around to it. The bass part as written and tracked in about 30 minutes.
After the bass we decided to bring in the electric guitars to build up on top of the acoustic. First we added a shimmery delayed and reverbed out 12-string electric strumming whole notes for the chorus and bridge sections. Then we doubled that with a overdriven electric 6-string. The guitar used for this part was my Fender Jazzmaster. Again, that didn’t take too long. So we quickly moved over to keys and added some Mellotron and Chamberlin voices. We used the Mellotron’s male voice and doubled the Harmonium part. We then recorded the Chamberlin’s Female “lady” voice doubling the same harmonium part only an octave higher.
We then took about an hour lunch break before tackling vocals. Around 4PM we started work on the vocals. I re-recorded my lead vocal then all of my harmony vocal parts, most of which were doubled. There are about 8 to 10 tracks of vocals going on in this song all of which we knocked out in about 2 hours.
After the vocals were done the producer wanted to work out the drum loop some more before we progressed further. He wanted to create a loop out of real drums instead of the 808 drum machine. This took about and hour. In the end he had recreated the original loop idea with real drums. The 808 is still in the song behind the real drums but it just helped give it a better feel.
At this point the song is really starting to sound quite impressive. We felt we still needed more so then I got back on guitar and laid down a delayed/reverbed tremolo guitar part which mimicked the tail end section of a particular riff I played on the original harmonium part. That worked quite well and added a nice touch to the song. While we were at that we decided maybe I should just wing in for a part to play over the bridge. So with that I played through the bridge once and the part I came up with was pretty much solid so we just listened back to it and memorized what I had done and tracked it again just to get it a bit more solid. There was one last thing that needed some work, we felt the intro to the song needed something melodic as it was at this point just chords playing the chorus progression. So we used the same guitar tone that we had just tracked and took the idea from the harmonium again and played that at the start and finish of the intro guitar riff and then I just winged it in between adding a bit of the lead vocal melody from the chorus but varying it a little in places just to keep it interesting.
After that we did a few little edits and cut some sections out on the breakdown section after the bridge. That worked out quite nicely as it really draws attention to the song’s final chorus/outro section.
It’s about 9:30 PM now and with that last guitar overdub, we felt the song was about 85 to 90% finished and decided to call it a night.
I’m really quite amazed at how this atmospheric chilled out, acoustic demo of mine has now turned into a more up-tempo, driving song. Trouble is I really like both versions of the song. I guess there are worse problems to have in the world than having a song you wrote sound great no matter how it’s arranged. I think I can live with that.
Day four in the studio begins tomorrow at 11AM. Details on that session will be posted tomorrow night. It’s time for bed, I’m beat! Goodnight.
It’s been a few weeks since our first recording session, but today we picked back up where we left off.
I headed over to the studio on Fulton Hill, which I am getting more comfortable with and seeing it’s charm and the fact that it’s not as scary as it once used to be, at least not in the area we’re located.
Today we started a bit later than last time. We began work at around 1:30PM. Once I arrived at the studio I loaded in my instruments and we instantly got down to work.
In the interim between recording sessions I had re-recorded my lead vocal parts here at my place. I brought them into the studio and we loaded them into the session. We messed around with those for a bit and then we decided we should double the vocals on the chorus sections. Mics were set up and I proceeded to double the vocals on the chorus. The producer then thought it might sound good to double them again and then we could pan them left, right and center to really fill the song out more. With that, I sang the part again. We then did some quick edits to tighten up the beginnings and ends of some of the phrasing and then moved on to acoustic guitar.
At this point it was about 3PM and stomachs were growling. We took a quick lunch break and headed out deeper into Fulton Hill and then over to Church Hill via the backside of Church Hill. This was like a whole new world for me. I was seeing areas of this city and of Church Hill that I’d never in my life seen and was always afraid of. It was actually quite a beautiful place, cobblestone streets, street lamps, unique and beautiful houses and even nice cafes and restaurants, of course the restaurants and cafes only appeared once you got closer to the actual city part of Church Hill, but still it was quite a nice drive. Oh, and the fact that the sun was finally out and you could see blue skies again made it all the more lovely. Keep in mind it had been cloudy and raining for a week straight prior to this lunch break. Even before, when I got to the studio at 1PM, the sky was covered in rain clouds. So yeah, it was a nice, eye opening experience.
Once back at the studio, we decided at this point we should try to re-record the acoustic with plans to cut the original acoustic parts I tracked at my place for the demo and use the new acoustic takes. After playing through the song and tracking the part twice we realized it actually sounded really good played along side my original acoustic recording, so we decided to leave both parts in the mix.
After that, we then decided to revisit the intro idea we I’d come up with which was to take the new parts we added at the previous recording session and put those at the start of the song as sort of a hint of things to come. Before this idea I just had a rhythm acoustic guitar strumming on a C major chord while the electric guitar was playing two arpeggio parts with a synth pad underneath. Now with this new intro the song opens with the staccato “ahhs”, strings, celeste, electric guitar arpeggios over the chorus progression and we ended up cutting the synth pad from the beginning of the song. It definitely made the intro to the song more interesting. We were pleased with the results.
At this point we pretty much knew that we had finished all tracking for "Come Back To Me". All that is left now is to mix the song which will be done this coming Friday.
The next song we decided to tackle is my newest, completed song, "She Is The Moon". This was a co-write, I wrote the music and a friend of mine supplied the lyrics and title for the song.
We didn’t really get too much into this one as it was getting late and we wanted to call it a day, but we did open the original demo session to work from, much like we did with "Come Back To Me", only we decided pretty quickly that we would re-record almost everything in the song and start from scratch. That said, the producer had an idea to base the song around a drum loop. He then started to work up a “temporary” drum loop using an 808 drum machine. It’s going to be interesting to see how this one turns out because the original demo is quite chill and acoustic based, although I did have plans to rock it up a bit. I’m pretty excited about it though.
After he finished working up a drum loop foundation with which to work, we decided to call it a night.
Actual recording of "She Is The Moon" begins tomorrow morning at 11AM. I’ll update more tomorrow night.