Recording "TSC" - Part 2: Guitars, bass, backing vocals



Diary of the second part of the recordings for the upcoming album.

25.05.06: Rhythm guitars, Erik´s leadguitars, bass and choirs are recorded!

Hello everybody! I´m back now from almost two weeks of recordings in Sweden. We´ve used our dear bassplayer Uncle Teddy´s studio Blueflame Productions in Uppsala, Sweden for the recording of guitars, bass and backing vocals. We´ve managed to come up with some really heavy sounding stuff for you. I think we´re producing a monster here...! Here´s a quick overlook on the proceedings for you.

Cheers!
ERIK


Tuesday, 09.05.06
I took the plane to Stockholm in beautiful flying weather. It´s a lot quicker and also cheaper than taking the train, eventhough it prevents me from bringing more than one guitar. But Teddy´s got a house full of gear, so we´ll sort it out anyway. Teddy and his assistant engineer (i.e. studio slave) Simon met me at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm, and it was then a relatively short drive to Uppsala and Gråmunkehöga, where Teddy and four generations of his family resides. It´s real Swedish countryside, just like the Swedish television of my childhood - or the novels of Astrid Lindgren - simply wonderful. And perfect surroundings for the creations of a new WH piece. Second engineer Niklas Kupper arrived and we starting setting up the sound for the rhythm guitars. We´re using a Peavey JSX top through a Marshall cabinet. We didn´t quite reach the desired sound this evening, though.

Wednesday, 10.05.06
Another hot, beautiful day. We continued working on the sound. Teddy got the crazy idea of opening the door to the room where the cabinet was placed and putting a microphone outside the room. This proved to be brilliant. We almost instantly got the sort of natural, woody sound, we were looking for. It might be more of a rock´n´roll sound in principle, but it sounds really heavy when you play those deep folkmetal riffs. Really cool. Teddy and Niklas think it´s probably the best guitar sound they´ve done so far.
The first song to record was "Demon Desire", which is quite tough, some very fast heavy riffing in the chorus parts. But it turned out good. Next up was "Beautifool", which was a bit easier. We soon developed the term "involuntary jazz" for wrong notes or chords :-) And then it was time to crash. How time flies...

Thursday, 11.05.06
Seems the summer decided not to arrive yet anyway. So this day we played through rain and thunder. Cool to record heavy metal with live thunder! Maybe we should have stuck a microphone outside and caught it on tape (or disk). Anyway, I fought on, recording "The Raven", "Faith", "Envy" - which proved something of a challenge, it doesn´t really sound difficult, but it´s quite tricky - and one rhythm track on "Snow". On some songs we use four layers of rhythm guitars this time, for those extra heavy viking riffs. It sounds awesome. We kept one particular part in "Envy" for later, since it requires that we move the cabinet around to obtain feedback.

Friday, 12.05.06
We finished off "Snow" and then continued with "Sleep". Most of it is relatively relaxed, but the chorus parts are a bit faster. Nothing too difficult though. We also did one rhythm track for "I Shall Not Yield", which is more difficult. Not much more of interest happened this day. When the studio is closed you´re really left in the middle of nowhere here. I rather enjoy that though, being used to deal with larger amounts of stress. So just drinking coffee, watching DVD´s or simply doing nothing is really nice for a change.

Saturday, 13.05.06
More stormy weather today as I struggle on with "I Shall Not Yield". It gets done though, only to bring me to another difficult song, "Seize The Night". This have some heavy chordwork on the deep strings, which in theory is easy, but very hard to pull of precisely and without too much noise. Also it has an insane reappearing riff, but I guess I can only blame myself for that :-) We didn´t do the ending for this song yet, since it again requires some noisy guitarwork that will probably ruin the balance of the setup, so we keep that for last.
Anyway, by this time, Teddy had decided that since it was Saturday, we needed to have a party. So while I kept working on with Niklas, he carried in supplies (mostly in the form of alcohol) and a few more people arrived. While they were having fun in the bar downstairs we managed to record two more songs, as the stinking proffesionals we are (??). "Midnight Song" and "Shadow Of A Gipsy" were finished without much trouble. As the main part of the guitars was now recorded, we joined in the festivities and had a few beers. I went to sleep relatively early though, in the middle of people drinking and playing King Diamond at full volume - but hey, I´ve slept in the weirdest of places over the years, when playing with this band.

Sunday, 14.05.06
This day started a bit slow, obviously. But we eventually got around to working on the bass sound. Two channels were recorded, through two different cabinets, and then mixed into one track. It took a while to get the bass sound to really come alive. But I think we´ve managed to get a cool sound, that´s both clear and heavy.
I think Teddy was a bit suprised at just how complex the basslines are, but he struggled on in good spirit. This day we finished off "Demon Desire" and "Beautifool", both of which is quite tough on the bass.

Monday, 15.05.06
This day Teddy and I started recording additional guitars. It´s easier for Teddy to record the bass, when Niklas is also there to engineer it, and he can´t arrive until later in the day. So, off we went with various melody lines and other additional guitarstuff. We managed to get most of it done, before Niklas arrived and we could continue with the bass. We did "The Raven" and "Faith", where Teddy came up with some cool arpeggios.

Tuesday, 16.05.06
We started working on my leadguitar sound. But we didn´t really seem to get anywhere. It all sounded a bit thin for my taste. The sound was basically OK, but it didn´t really come out of the speakers. Teddy called up a friend to borrow a different microphone, in hope that this could solve the problem. Since Niklas could pick up the microphone on his way here, we decided to skip the leadguitar for now and continue with the bass. Teddy did the bass for "Envy" and "Snow". Niklas arrived with the new microphone, and that was indeed the solution - now we had hole through! Anyway, the day was coming to an end, so we had to stop now, but at least we were feeling better now about getting the desired sound.

Wednesday, 17.05.06
Since Teddy had to leave on Friday, he wanted to get the bass done as soon as possible. And he in fact managed to finish it all this day. Starting with "Sleep", which was easy - by WH standards - he continued with "I Shall Not Yield", which was tough, but the bassdude seemed to be really rocking now. "Seize The Night", "Midnight Song" and "Shadow Of A Gipsy" was done in great style as well. You may have noted that we all record the songs in the same order. It´s not really something we´ve talked about or thought much about, I think. But it´s the order that we think will be on the album, and somehow it just feels right to record the album from start to finish. It´s like we all undertake the same journey that way. This had been a long day, especially for our dear bassist, who looked a bit worn out, I thought :-) So he at least deserved a good rest now. Anyway, Teddy has proven that besides being an outstanding drummer, guitarist and singer, he´s also an exceptional bassplayer - good job, mate! What a bonus to have such a guy in the band, and how I hate people who are that talented (NOT!)

Thursday, 18.05.06
The first part of the day was spend editing and cleaning up all the basstracks. We then went to town for some lunch, after all we hadn´t seen much else than trees and guitars for a long time. Thus refreshed we headed home to start recording my solos, which can always be a little intimidating at first. But I got off to a pretty good start, and without too much trouble I finished all my leadguitars, except for the solo in "Shadow Of A Gipsy". A few parts I had to make up as I went along, but they turned out pretty good. And all in all I´m pretty happy with my solos, especially some of the more slow, emotional ones turned out great. Some tricky parts - and a lot of "involuntary jazz" - but all in all a positive recording experience. Actually I played the solo in "Midnight Song" differently than I had prepared - I guess my fingers got ahead of my brain, but it turned out better that what I had thought of playing. These are the little things that you can´t plan and which always add to the life of a recording.

Friday, 19.05.06
We started with the solo for "Shadow Of A Gipsy", for which I use an e-bow. It´s an old hippie gadget, so it fits well with this song, I guess. We recorded three tracks, and together it sounds really beautiful in a weird way. Teddy had to leave for Copenhagen now to attend the wedding of our dear manager Lars F(ucking) Larsen. So I had some time off, before Niklas arrived. Once again I had dinner with Teddy´s huge family. Today the menu was reindeer and mushrooms - after all, this is Sweden - great! We then continued with recording a few clean guitarparts, before finishing off those few noisy parts we had kept for last. So quite fittingly I ended my recordings in a blaze of screaming guitars - it´s always great to just let it rip and be loud and obnoxious! I celebrated by having one (albeit strong) Finish beer. After so many days of hard work and virtually no other stimuli than coffee, I would probably be totally plastered if I had more.

Saturday, 20.05.06
With guitars and bass done we had one day to do some backing vocals and choir parts. Too bad Teddy wasn´t here. However, we made up a great choir of Teddy´s sister Tina, Niklas Kupper and myself. Recording on multiple channels we got some big sounding choruses. We also did a few other assorted shouts and stuff. You always feel somewhat silly singing separate voices and such stuff, that doesn´t really make sense until you hear it all together. And singing several people together someone is almost bound to make a mistake. So we had a very funny day. We finished just in time to watch Lordi perform in the Eurovision songcontest! Appropriately, I celebrated the end of the recordings with one more Finnish beer.

Sunday, 21.05.06
Niklas arrived pretty early to edit and backup the files. And he, of course brought the news of Lordi´s crushing victory in the Eurovision and the uproar it had caused. This must be the funniest thing that has happened so far this year - Hail Suomi!!
Anyway, our work here was done, and Niklas drove me to the airport so I could get back to Copenhagen and prepare for the next recording session that will take place from the 29th of May in Tommy Hansen´s Jailhouse Studios in Horsens, Denmark. More about that later.