fredag 27 februari 2009

Interesting problem...

We've just recorded an album with the band CONSTANCIA where the members live in Sweden (Malmö, Stockholm, Karlshamn and Mörrum) and Germany (Münster). We've also just signed a deal with a great Italian label! Now, the twist to the story is that all the members have actually never met! For instance the drummer and singer have never met the bass player and vice versa. The singer hasn't met the keyboard player. Still I think we've really managed to get a great band-feel to the album, basically because we have recorded and then re-recorded some stuff to adjust to what someone else has recorded. I re-recorded a lot of my guitars for the third time after all the vocals were done. It has really paid off!
Now, here comes the tricky bit! The label now want 10 band pics! Uhuh... We managed to get it down to five at this stage, but we still have to fix 5 band pics! So, this weekend I, the drummer and the singer will meet and take a bunch of pics which we will then send to the drummer and keyboard player so they can have their photos taken in the same style and with the same background (preferably white...) and try to "pose" to make it fit with our pics. After this our singer David (who is great at Photoshop) will merge us all together and fix 5 band pics!
The beauty of today's technology :-)

Currently listening to:
CLUTCH - "From Beale Street To Oblivion" - Great riffage!!
COLDSPELL - "Infinite Stargaze" - Swedish debut of the year so far!
BLACK PEARL - s/t - Lisa Tingle rules!!
BLACK SABBATH - "Tyr" - Not their best, but just had to listen to it again

onsdag 18 februari 2009

Swedish metal (or not....?)

I'm currently, besides recording a zillion albums and writing for the mags, working on my third encyclopedia of Swedish Hard Rock 6 Heavy Metal. I've come across a shitload of Swedish bands from the 70-90s I seem to have missed out since Vol 2. I've been quite "generous" in my decisions of what should be included and what should not. Some have critizised me for being "too kind", meaning this and that band is not heavy enough to be featured. Well, I've basically been using collectors as a base for what to include. However now it seems the borders have been even more stretched. Especially by people selling records. "Super rare Swedish metal, not even in the book" it said about one record I had actually excluded because it was not hard rock. Yes, it had the occasional distorted guitar, but the music was pop/disco. I recently came across web auctions with another bunch of stuff I had missed out on, all of them labeled as "Swedish metal/hard rock". I contacted the guy who was nice enough to let me come to his home and check out the stuff. I ended up buying five singles, of which one clearly made it into the book, while the others were borderline cases which I finally decided to include. The rest of the stuff however did not pass the needle's eye. Still - he labeled them "hard rock/metal" and the prices I can assure you were quite outrageous. Some of them were simply rock or power pop, not even AOR. If I had bought these records unheard this guy would have received quite an irritated mail from me, I can assure you.

"Rare" is not the same as "great" and I'm a bit tired of people stirring up interest and prices for stuff that obviously sucks, just because the band only sold 5 copies and threw away the rest of them because noone was interested. There ARE gems out there, but this type of bahaviour makes it harder to find (or chance) on those gems.

Well, I've found some really good stuff that were hiding under the bushes :-)

Current Swedish finds:

VON PANZER - s/t - Great heavies!

COLDSPELL - "Infinite Stargazer" - Great heavy melodic

ADAMS EVE - s/t - Great Extreme type funkish harc rock

JOKE - two albums out!

onsdag 11 februari 2009

The pre-mix/demo disease

Right now the CONSTANCIA album is being mixed by Fredrik Folkare. We have just received the first version and it sounds awesome! However there's always one disturbing thing, which is my own fault. When I've finished a recording I make a, very rough and very raw, pre-mix. It's not even worth calling a mix actually, more like getting the levels up, some odd delay and compressor on some tracks. It's more of a rough mix I do to check that everything sounds fine before the final mix. Sitting in the mixing room and finding out parts are missing, files are corrupt or there are clicks on the tracks, is not good (to put it mildly). So, I compile all the tracks, clean them up, bounce them to one nice file per track starting at the same starting-point. Then I mix it down to a track, burn it onto a CD and listen the hell out of it to detect and remove any errors before it's too late.
The problem is, when I get the final mix my brain is so set on the pre-mix sound I tend to listen for the wrong things. I've grown to love that really dry and in your face sound, so when I get the final mix I need at least 4-5 times before I "adjust" and reset my brain. Then I can listen unbiased.
It sort of the same way with demo-solos. Some of the best guitar solos are on demos and it's totally impossible to recreate them in the studio. Therefore I now always record the demos with a proper solo sound and to a click, so it's possible to use it in the final recording. Sometimes you get that special feel, tone, lick or whatever that just seems impossible to recreate.

Favourites of the week:
WOLF - Devour - Classic metal!
OPETH - Watershed - Damn this is a great album!!
BLACK PEARL - s/t - Forgotten gemm with Lisa Tingle on vox!
IL ROVESIO DELLA MEDAGLIA - Io Come Io - Killer Italian prog!