Saturday, November 17, 2018

Video Single: Not Just Another Night - Zombie Roof

This was an interesting project, something I'd been toying with for a while: to do a one-day video single in a proper studio. I'd made one with Sex With Strangers on their Momento video, but that was done in a rehearsal room with a Mackie mixer. This time I had an SSL in a world class studio to play with. My goal was to record, mix and film a video all in one day. Zombie Roof was the band that agreed to do it!

Zombie Roof are from Squamish (mostly, let's say the west coast islands area). We recorded an album in two days back in 2016 at Afterlife Studio. Afterlife is the old Mushroom studio with a slightly revamped room and completely new control room. Those ten songs went down easily. I didn't have any time with them before we started recording that Saturday morning but we managed six or seven bed tracks on that first day. We were recording vocal overdubs by 4pm the next day! I couldn't believe how quickly it all came together. 

Jump to Summer 2018 and the band reached out to me once again. This time to record a single. I said yes but I wanted to use Hipposonic this time instead. I'd had two successful sessions in their earlier this year with Savanarola and wanted to keep learning that room.  Plus it would be big enough to film the band playing live. 

A couple emails back and forth, one pre-production session at Soundhouse Studio (nice people; well built rehearsal space) and then we showed up on Oct 13th to record "Not Just Another Night." I'll say big props to assistant engineer Liam Moes at Hipposonic; what a smooth running day, everything was ready and waiting and sounding good. Great work, Liam, thank you.

We tracked the song live off the floor. One guitar in the left speaker, the other in the right. Bass and vocals in the middle with some loud-ass drums filling the spaces in between. What a joy it is to work in the old Little Mountain Sound studio B again. Nothing has changed, and Rob Darch (studio owner) has even sorted out how to get the loading bay back into the equation. It's the 90's all over again. This was the room that I shadowed Tom Lord Alge while he mixed Pureafunalia in a week. This was the room that Pure made our first single "Laughing Like a Fiend" with John Webster producing, Ken Lomas engineering, and Mike Plotnikoff assisting. I think we also recorded the acoustic version of Tall Grass on that session as well. 

Back to Zombie Roof. The core of this band has been working together since the early 90's. I knew they could play, so why mess with things right? I wanted it to sound as big as it could without overdubs. A real live off the floor record. Trent, the singer, did a good job tracking with the band but even behind a baffle Enzo's drums were bleeding heavily into his mic so we retracked the lead vocals (and then doubled it as I still love that sound). The bridge was just a quick couple backing vocal overdubs with guitarist Todd's daughter on the oohs and a 12 string to give it some freshness. All told we took nine takes and then grabbed one better fill from our 8th take, fixed a bass note, a guitar bend and that was it! 

Then I mixed the song while the band was setting up to do their video performance. I was still mixing the song while Kale Beaudry and Benn McGuire were filming the band! Great work from both of them as well.  Really appreciate the gimbal work Kale.  

Printed a mix that evening at Hipposonic, along with stems, and then packed up a good days work. We had Craig Waddell master the mix and then, after several evenings at the computer editing, I came up with this Zombie Roof - Not Just Another Night.  Please have a look!  

Thanks for reading,

Monday, November 5, 2018

Simple Minds on Records In My Life

It is with a great deal of pride that I post this interview. Simple Minds were one of my favorite bands growing up. They seemed to be so far ahead of everyone else in their sound and song writing. When we confirmed this interview I was extremely excited. Meeting and talking music with Jim Kerr was easily one of the highlights of making Records In My Life. Have a watch, he gave a great interview!