Andy posted this two days ago on Facebook. My apologies for not getting it up on Progarchy sooner. My excuse: I’m on spring break!
So here’s where we are right now.
“All is safely gathered in” as the great English harvest hymn proclaims. Just over a week ago Theo Travis was up here in Yorkshire having a lot of tea and recording all his parts for the new record… the final bass sections arrived from Austria where Jonas is currently recording and the record is now in the mixdown stage.
This time it’s gonna be completely different in procedure. I decided that it was time to have a change in how we produce our records and after Luke’s excellent work for us on “A Few Steps” decided that it was time to hand over the reins to a guy who has been a colleague and friend of mine for nearly a decade now. Luke threw himself into helping me with the production of “Comm” and in the years since then I think that his talents in the production department have advanced so much that it would be senseless to ignore them in favour of satisfying my own desire to do the work myself.
Rather than do a kind of “shared” production, I decided that Luke should totally “have the Conn” as they say in all good submarining films and “Star Trek.” That was, of course, if he accepted the job – and I’m very pleased to say he did.
The album has been composed for months now and was all put together here in Yorkshire on my PC system (other than guitars, basses and Marie’s vocals) A couple of months ago, everything was normal… but then came the major task… we had to migrate the whole session, lock stock and barrel from a PC in Yorkshire to a Mac in Brighton running a totally different recording system. I’ll just take some time to explain what this involves….
One way we COULD have approached this was by me submixing a Drum track, bass track, keys track and guitars track etc… so that Luke could do a mix of – well… er… what i had already mixed. After a few discussions we decided that this isn’t what we wanted to do – we wanted Luke to have the whole enchilada available to him so he could actually do a real mix as is if had the whole multitrack archive..
So – the procedure started – of taking every single instrument, every sound, every vocal line, every drum, cymbal, hi hat and sound effect an making a full stereo or mono file of just that. In the case of Slow Rust this meant generating a 26 minute long 24 bit wav file for more than 60 instruments or microphones. Then sending these 60 half gigabyte files over the internet.
This would have all been a lot easier if I’d been a Mac user, but that’s not the case, so this way was the only way to give Luke the true freedom of the mix.
For me it’s been a weird and unsettling experience. It’s the first time that I have ever taken my hands off the wheel in one of our projects. But now, as the results start to come in, I am delighted with the way it’s all sounding – and indeed am forging a relationship with the music of this album that isn’t as tainted by my frustrations of having had to mix it. Luke understands my ideas so well, knows what I’m after yet introduces new techniques and ideas that were beyond my normal experience.
Of course I am still involved in the mix – I suggest tweaks, modifications, like ideas, reject ideas… ask for things to be done etc… but this is more of an “executive” role than the one I have played since the beginning. It’s allowed me to spend more time on the composition and playing and keep my head clear right to the end of the process.
Couple of weeks from now it will be all done.. and in July – hopefully you’ll hear the fruit of our labours. The content of the album is very much “an album I wanted to make” rather than a career move or an attempt to solidify our position in global rankings. I started writing it in 2014 while on tour with The Tangent and Karmakanic. A lot has happened since then – both to me and to the world. When it’s finally done. I’ll tell you more.