So, I’ve been spending time working on SRC2 lately and opened up an old song we were working on in 2002 at Henson studios and it was 96 tracks of complete craziness!! It has Neil Taylor playing drums,there were 13 microphones on his drum kit and 4 samples on each close mic doubling (actually quadrupling) the kick,snare and toms. There were 9 main electric guitar tracks,each with 3 mic’s on them. The bass had a direct track, a distorted direct and a mic’d amp. Two acoustic guitar tracks both with multiple mic’s, it just went on and on,theremin tracks,sitar,mellotron,Mini Moog,kettle drums……. There’s a gong for Christ’s sake. Then I got to the vocals. There were 3 lead vocal tracks and none of them were very good performances,which sucks cuz that’s what we’re stuck with and 3 tracks of screaming. This was recorded during the beginning of the end when Tobey was living at her boyfriends house in Malibu and it was almost impossible to get her to the studio to work ,so I think these takes were there as place holders we could build the track up around and replace later. This was the version of the band with Eric Hendrikx playing guitar and we were fortunate enough to still have Neil Taylor in the band,but he was reaching the end of his rope. He had done all the tours except the first club tour which was really short. He, like I, had been through a lot of bullshit in this “band” and I had always thought of him as a band member,but in reality was a hired gun and wasn’t making any money making this record as I was funding it myself and couldn’t afford to keep a band on salary. Neil,if you read this get in touch,after I recoup what I’ve spent on this record ( I should rephrase. IF I recoup what I’ve spent on this record…) I’d like to cut you in on it seeing as all the drum performances are yours. Back to the song : I was working on a big mixing console at Henson Studios and all these tracks were sent out to their own faders and I had a rough mix up at some point that I must have been happy with,it’s probably sitting on one of the 20 or so hard drives I have sitting around from that era,but going through all that old stuff is one of the reasons finishing this stuff has taken so long.
As I began to work in my current studio it became obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to split everything out to faders and was going to have to mix it in the computer. It’s interesting to me as time and taste has changed over the years,that as I started mixing the drums I realized that they sounded a lot better without all the extra doubling,maybe it’s because of all the new tools we have to work with a decade later. I threw away all the extra tracks and had the drums sounding really good after a couple hours of work. We recorded the main rhythm guitars with a prototype amp that basically was an Egnator preamp with a Marshall JCM 800 power section and a Marshall Mode 4 amp. I remember them sounding decent in the room,but after trying to mix them it became apparent that we had dialed the guitar tones in with way too much gain and it’s taking a lot of EQ to get them loud enough in the mix without the distortion tearing your head off. I ended up throwing away about half the guitar tracks. Eric Valentine hipped me to an EQ from a company called Hofa that’s been working wonders on fixing the guitars.
The bass was salvageable tone wise, but I replayed it because I’m a better player now and came up with a part that supported the guitars better….and I had just gotten a new Yamaha bass in the mail. The guitar solo just isn’t working for me,so I think I’m going to cut that section out of the song. There was really only one solo on the first record on the song Strangled and it was highly stylized and cool and wasn’t there just for the sake of having a solo,it was more of a composition within the song and made a huge difference overall,it was written and played by Greg Camp, and this solo is just a flurry of distorted notes with a wah pedal.
The hardest thing about re addressing these old recordings is that I was moving the band into a more straight ahead rock sound because we were marketed as part of the Orgy,Otep/goth thing and that wasn’t what we were at all,so I wanted to make a record that was easy to categorize. We had a hard time marketing Sonic Jihad and a harder time finding bands to tour with and I didn’t want to have those problems again. Now I’m trying to take songs that were written in that harder more rock direction and drag them kicking and screaming into the world of Sonic Jihad because that’s what SRC fans are waiting for. It won’t be Sonic Jihad 2, because Eric Valentine is only contributing some recordings that were done back in ’99. They are alternate recordings/mixes of songs from SJ.
Eric was a big part of making SJ,not just musically,but he dealt with Tobey,recorded all her vocals,and did all the tuning. I’d write lyrics,he and I would collaborate on melodies,he’d teach her the parts and record her. For the recording of the new songs I’d write the lyrics and melodies and on most of the songs Troy VanLeeuwen sang the entire song and then Tobey would come in and double what he sang,then I would erase Troys track,have her double her own track and then I would edit and tune them. It was a bit of a process,but it was the only way to get takes we could use. On this song I can get the vocals in tune,but it has that damn robot sound they use on all the hip hop records…….it’s not that bad,but some words that are really out of tune end up with the robot. I’m doing what I’ve done on other records and hiding the bad parts with some creative delay and reverb effects. Not ideal,but it’ll work. I’m almost done with this one, I just have to deal with the chorus vocals,send it out to some trusted ears and make a few adjustments from there.
In other news, you gotta check out Spiral Arms,my friend Craig’s band. Their new record is coming out on SPV Records. Check out their new video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0dD_Oflc4U&sns=em
AS I WROTE IN THE LAST INSTALLMENT,THERE ARE NO MORE T SHIRTS LEFT AND EVERYBODY THAT WROTE IN IN TIME HAS GOTTEN THEIR SHIRTS AWHILE AGO. I WILL HAVE MORE SHIRTS MADE WHEN THE RECORD IS DONE. THANKS FOR YOUR INTEREST AND PATIENCE.