Recording this album has been a rollercoaster ride! So much going on, It’s easy to forget what you were doing and what you had planned to do. Case in point: I almost forgot to post this particular blog. It was just sitting there, doing nothing, on my hard-drive. Fortunately, I get nostalgic from time to time and browse through some old folders,… So sit back and enjoy another great tale of studio bloggey goodness!

20-03-2013
So today we returned to the studio for recording of all the doubles, backings, triples, quadruples ect. I hope this will go faster than the initial recordings, because frankly I’m just dying to get this record out there. Today we started with two songs “Breathe to Aspire” and “Smother the Sun”. The plan is to move work ahead with these two tracks and finish them up completely so our booker/manager/pimp Wietze can go ahead and use these tracks for booking and promotion.
I must say it was surprisingly fun and relaxed revisiting the songs and I think I might have done a better job than the first time over. That’s fine. In that case the lead will become the double and the double will become the lead,… if that makes any kind of sense. Anyway, we didn’t have a lot of time today, but still I managed to complete everything we intended to record. So now we only have to record Mark, Mike and John’s vocals and then these two songs are completely finished,…. Awesome!

26-3-2013
Today is my father’s birthday (congrats, dad!) but that won’t stop me from starting the day of with some vocal recordings. I have not mentioned this before, but do you know how a lot of cool studios are built inside converted farm houses and barns? Well,… Stef lives in an actual barn. Together with a bunch of horses, goats and chickens. So if some of our songs remind you of the famous ‘Goats yelling like humans’ Youtube video, then that is why. Stef also receives special affection from one particular chicken. Stef said he only fed her once, but now she comes running every time Stef opens the door of his house. The guy is a chick magnet. Anyway, we didn’t do any screams or growls today, but just stuck to the clean parts and wrapped up two songs. It wasn’t long before I was back on the train. I had a birthday to attend, after all…

01-04-2013
I met up with Stef in my hometown of Amstelveen earlier in the day so we could pick up a bunch of cabs at my studio for re-amping. Over the years a whole bunch of my friends and former bandmates kept their stuff in my art studio, because I have a lot of space there. I never charged them any rent or anything, and in return they allowed me to use their stuff for the Selfmachine album. This meant that we had a lot of awesome gear to choose from.
Before I forget: today was the birthday of our very own drummer Ben! While he was indulging in presents, cake and lemonade, the rest of the band got together at Stef’s place to record backing vocals. All the guys needed some time getting used to the recording process and I was happy to provide them with some vocal coaching. Actually, I was kind of surprised that my suggestions were of any help at all. I’ve been a vocalist for a couple of years now, but being able to do something and being able to explain it to someone else are two different thing entirely. So a big win there! In the end, Mark decided to take a mic home with him so he could record in his own time, while Mike and John just nailed it right there and then. After all their obligatory parts were recorded, I decided to experiment a bit and try to add some vocal harmonies for the last chorus of ‘Smother The Sun’. I laid down the basics and then John and Mark just improvised some extra lines over it add some thickness. It turned out pretty sweet!
This means that (apart from Mark’s parts), ‘Breathe to Aspire’ and ‘Smother The Sun’ are now ready to be mixed so that our guy at Armada Agency can get to work on scouting labels. Yes, yes,… exciting stuff indeed.

01-04-13 Re-amp-machine

03-04-2013
Two days after the group vocals I was back again to continue my doubles and backings. As always, upon arriving at the barn I was greeted by the Love Chicken. We did two songs in clean vocals and then got back to doing some low pitched growls for backing vocals. So far every round of singing doubles for the clean parts have been a considerable improvement upon the initial leads. It feels great that the stuff that I was already quite happy with, is only getting better. I’m singing with more ease and confidence than ever. I even recorded some high pitched backing vocals that were way out of my reach the first time around. I don’t know why or how, but I guess I’ve made some kind of breakthrough, vocal wise. Awesome!

09-04-2013/16-04-2013
I’m running behind on this blog. It’s been a while since I wrote stuff for it and I can’t really remember the particulars. Vocals were done. Album proceeding as planned. Move along,…

Johnfukoff

11-05-2013
It’s been a while since we recorded vocals. We had the whole Oddland Tour (check out the other blog to know what happened there!) and just after that, Stef had to get surgery done on his shoulder. As soon as was possible (and perhaps a bit sooner) Mike, John and me went over to his place again to continue the backing vocals. It’s cool to be there with the three of us (not counting Stef), because this way, while one of us is screaming his nuts off, the other two can just joke around and have fun. Afterwards we all went out to dinner to a nearby snackbar called “De Bunker”. There I made the unfortunate decision to order the local specialty the “Bunkerburger”. This bizarre contraption made for one memorable meal.

Bunkerburger

28-05-2013
Today we recorded one of the hardest vocal parts of the album: Our ballad. Last time recording this song I did alright, in spite of having some problems with the highest parts. This time I really wanted to nail it down perfectly. I have recently started taking singing lessons and the little bits of vocal technique I got out of this really came in handy recording those tricky parts. Now a part of me just wants to go back to the first song and just record everything all over again. But if we wound do that, I will have learned even more stuff and have to record everything over and over and over again. I guess that’s just the way it works. This album is going to be killer. But the next one,… will be unbelievable!!

11-06-2013
When Stef picked me up from the train station he had the latest mix for ‘Miles Away’ blasting from his car stereo. The mix sounded great, although Stef said that he still had a lot of stuff to work on. We recently decided on a mastering studio, Split Second Sound, and this selection process shed some new light on what we want this album to sound like en how to achieve this. What really caught my ear was that there were some new vocal harmonies by Mark that I never heard before. They sounded awesome!! He really did a great job and his parts totally augment the song. Mark records his vocals at home and we really don’t have the time to go over every little detail together. But that’s fine really. This way I get to be surprised from time to time.
We recorded the doubles and backings for ‘iSybian’. I then went ahead and did some handclaps to be put over the second verse of the song. This is an idea I took from Quincy Jones’ work on Michael Jackson records. It might not be your typical sound for a metal album, but boy, that song sure sounds groovy now! After that we did a couple of verses for ‘Closing Statement’, the last song of the album. This means that next week could very well be my last day of recording…

20130511_173208

18-06-2013
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand,…. We’re DONE! First up I redid some of the bridge parts in Smother the Sun. After hearing some of the early mixes for this song I was a little annoyed by the nasal bass sound in my vocals, so this time I tried to make it sound a bit lighter and smaller. We also used a different mic to accentuate this. After that was done we did an extra ad lid in Void, that Mark came up with. Then we went back to work on Closing Statement. Man, this song is INTENSE! We are really pulling out all the stops to end this album with a bang. I tend to change my mind around quite a bit, but this song might very well be my favorite. I know for a fact that it is Stef’s favorite, since he had trouble applying his usual dose of sarcasm to the song. Now all this baby needs are some huge sounding gang vocals and we’re good for the final mixing stage!

-Steven

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