30 Dec 2015
The fourth of UNSHINE: Part 4
Hello hello from the frosty backwoods of Finland!
It's the last day of 2015.
Around one half of the current year has been spent with the recordings and planning of our forthcoming new music. The album has been recorded mainly in short pieces during summer and autumn. We all have had our comings and goings - and for logistical and financial reasons it has been sensible to do it this way - mostly in our own no-costs studio.
The demos of the new songs were written and practiced ready in April 2015. At that point, we had a reserve of around 30 demo songs, which is A LOT for us. Very many magical and odd songs had to be left out and I do not know what to do with them now. An EP or a strange mini album or something else?
The drum recordings were hammered during May at D-studio in Klaukkala, just like with the two previous albums. That session was efficient and quick.
The next thing was going to take much more time. First of all, we decided to record the guitar parts again at our studio Churchboat. Last time we had made the recordings with a commercially available isolation cab. However, it was a little bit restricted method: It was not possible to change or shift the location of the mic in relation to the speaker as it was built inside the whole thing. Actually, I still do not have an idea what kind of a speaker it had inside, not to mention the mic. The sound from it was nice and decent in a way, but we really had to blend it later with the re-amped sound at D-studio in order to get the final sound.
Ok. So, this time I decided to build an isolation cab by myself!
This took more time (not to mention the testing days) than I thought, but in the beginning of autumn, it was more or less ready to be used. It was actually pretty easy to build the whole thing as long as I could find the proper material for it. The walls of the cab were compiled from recycled material I found from a dumping place in our village. Four black plates that used to belong someone's abandonded Ikea furniture! Internet is full of instructions on how to build iso cabs, I just tried to combine the best tips when constructing the thing and in my opinion, came up with a decent result. Well, at least the beast is huge and it does not let noise out too much! I just have to add here, that once it's now inside the studio, the only way to get it out would be to break it apart...
Inside the isolation cab is the heart of the guitar voice: A customized 2x12 guitar cab by Koch. The guy from whom I bought it had changed the original speakers to two premiun 80W Celestium speakers. Inside the cab, the guitar sound is taken from the front of the speakers with Shure 58 and Sennheiser E606. The guitar amp head used for the recording is the first and original model of Koch Multitone 100. Among all the great features, it has a direct record output with cabinet simulation. So, that is the channel number 3 going in to my recording console, M-Audio Projectmix. Of course, also DI-sound is recorded simultaneously with the three other channels, in case if we have to re-amp something later.
The vocals were recorded under a different setting this time. The whole recording was done again at studio Churchboat, as it is very important to have a relaxed atmosphere and there is time to re-check from time to time what has been done so far in relation to the instruments. We used again Röde mic through M-Audio Projectmix. The 48V phantom power needed for the mic broke up at the end of the vocal recordings and I had to buy a separate Stagg phantom power unit for that purpose. The mic set looks nowadays like this:
The mic isolation shield by Thomann worked really well, however, as I bough it as a used equipment, there were no instructions on how to set it up! After several trials and errors, I did not manage to break the condenser microphone Röde and I managed to hang the shield properly event. With the last two albums, we had some immemorial hassles with "sounds" coming outside the studio. There is a large schoolyard next to our studio and it's very common that youngsters drive there now and then with their loud mopeds (this is obviously a very Finnish habit). It happened now and then that Susanna had recorded a perfect vocal take, while suddenly in the background you could hear the sound of an accelerating moped. Oh, we got some good laughs from that, but it was also extremely annoying sometimes. Once, even an aeroplane flew over the studio (the airport of Helsinki is 2 km's from here) and the jet sound could be heard in the backround of Susanna's track - just like with Led Zeppelin! Only that we did not decide to use it in the record, like they did...
The bass was laid down also at Churchboat, like last time - and again with a different twist. The recording set-up did not include amp this time. Last time we recorded the sound of bass partly at the toilet toom with a small combo amp, lots of distortion and unrelated noise. No amp, only DI and the a little bit compressed signal through big muff with a bit of distortion. Lots of experimentation with different playing styles across the drums. The DI track will be re-amped later, most likely at D-studio.
So, we are now at the point where the rhytm guitars, bass and main vocals have been recorded, also parts of the other guitars have been finished.
More guitars, synthesizers, other voices and instruments coming...
So, what is the album going to be like?
It moves between the three worlds.
There's gonna be around 11-12 songs on the album.
There's going to be one cover song by another band - first one in our recording history.
There is some kind of a leading theme in the album - a word/definition that is mentioned in every single song. Still, it's not going to be a theme album in the vein of 'Dark Half Rising'.