I realise this post has been a long time coming, and a lot has been happening over these past few months… I feel I may be here all night if I was to sum them up in one post, so firstly I’ll dive into the Junica album.
As the previous post mentions, we tracked drums at York Street Studios in Auckland on the 31st March and 1st of April. After a few weeks break we head over to Golden Age studios in Morningside to continue on with the rest of the album. Considering this album consists of a lot of synths, some guitar, bass and vocals, we didn’t really need the space and channels that a large studio offers, plus Golden Age offered a large array of analog synthesisers – perfect for this album! After a few minor arrangements of the decor, we had a great setup that allowed easy switching between instruments, and a number of synths all connected via Midi.
Instead of the original plan of tracking everything on one song per day, we opted for tracking and finishing one instrument at a time. With Greg back in the production seat after playing the drum tracks, it was Nik Brinkman’s time to shine. As the sole writer of Junica, Nik also played all the bass, guitar and keyboard parts, as well as singing all the vocals. Also, he’s a very experienced and comfortable player, making my job easier! It’s always pleasure to be able to set up the sound and record with complete trust in the performer to give a great performance.
We began with bass, then began to fill in all the synth parts. As this album was heading in a very 80′s Pop direction, there were a massive number of synth layers! I must admit, I was just a little nipper during my time in the 80′s so never really got to appreciate the introduction and eruption of MIDI based synthesiser, but Greg Haver could not have felt more at home! We had Moogs, we had Jupiters and Junos, Nords, Korgs, basically everything you could ask for. As you can imagine, we had a fair bit of fun finding sounds, layering synths, and creating some pretty unique sounding parts. The difference between an analog synth and its digital reproduction is instantly obvious. There’s just a magical something about an analog synth has a much rounder and thicker sound – a third dimension as such – that digital plugins just can’t mimic. You can’t beat electricity through wires!
With the tracks sounding epic just with drums, bass and synth, it was time to lay down the guitars. Once again, the parts were there, and it was just a case of capturing the magic and tracking them up. It was an interesting change for me to record an album that was more synth based that guitar based. Synths seem to be lost in a lot of popular genres these days, which is a true shame as they’re such cool instruments! As we layered pieces of guitar, we finished off little parts of synths to enhance the guitar parts. Soon enough the tracks were all vocal ready!
Coming in fresh after a good night’s sleep I made sure I had a big clean up before starting vocals. It’s one of the most important parts of a record, and having a clean room and workspace makes a massive difference. After a lengthy re-arrangement of the live room, I was pretty happy with the acoustics of the room and felt it was suitable for tracking vocals. We spent a bit of time setting up, ensuring the vocal sound was right and trying a few different options. Another coffee down and we began tracking up the vocals. As with before, Nik just got straight into it and once again offered great takes one after another. After tracking the vocals, I’d sit down with the lyric sheet and the takes and spend a while ensuring we had used all the best performances. Without giving away too many of the trade secrets, the tracks were finely crafted and polished up before wrapping up the session perfectly on time. We left the studio happy as could be, with all the recording done and just some sorting out of the recorded backing vocals to do before mixing.
The internet has truly revolutionised the logistics in transferring albums to be mixed. No longer are tapes packaged and couriered around the world. No, instead it’s as easy as clicking a few buttons and trillions of 1′s and 0′s are sent digitally at an amazing speed. I still often sit back in awe and watch the little blue bar move along, amazed at the things we take for granted every day. I feel like I’m starting to get onto a bit of a rant and may begin getting all philosophical soon, so think it’s a good point to tie it off soon…
Anyway, it wasn’t too much longer that I awoke to a few new emails from Clint with download links for the mixes. I’ve always really admired Clint’s engineering and mixing skills, and base a lot of my techniques on Clint’s techniques, so knew that the mixes would sound awesome! All I can say is that the tracks sound huge, and I’m looking forward to hearing the masters! The album should be out relatively soon, and really enjoyed playing a part in this album. Spending time in the studio with Greg again was a great privilege and made for a lot of fun.
Best of luck to Junica for this coming album, and I hope the album and Junica do very well!