I met Ben from Fallen Apollo on instagram funnily enough, we talked about guitars, gear and the like and ended up talking about producing his own bands record that he had been working on for a little while. We went over the option of myself Mixing & Mastering the record and we started to put together a master plan!
We tracked at a space local to me in Yeovil. Its actually a dance rehearsal space that is disgustingly under appreciated by the college that own it. However what is their (ignorant) loss is my and the bands gain. We used a Gretsch kit along with a supraphonic snare. Evans heads (snare – heavyweight, toms g2, kick eq4) and tuned fairly high. Think suicide silence high. Yeah, that high. It was great!
Mic list looked like this;
Snare top – at23he
Snare bottom – at23he
Toms – 57s
HH – 7b
Ride – 58
OH – Oktava SDC
Room pair 1 – C414
Room pair 2 – Oktava mk319
Room Mono – some throw away ribbon
Guitars & Bass;
Ben had a little issue with his Axe fx and his DI signal first time around, had no idea but for whatever reason it was clipping the whole time he was tracking. This led to him turning the gain all the way down so when it came to re-amping it meant there was a lot of signal noise. It wasn’t ideal. So unfortunately for Ben it meant re-tracking all the guitars so that we would have a better source DI to work with. We managed to fix the gain issue (which for whatever reason didn’t show itself when tracking bass) and let rip.
I think for the sake of flexibility I kept the tone completely ITB for this one. The chaps provided me with a DI and amp tone (from the Axe fx ii) to work with.
From looking at my notes (I tend to go through multiple re-amps and different blends, mics etc trying to find a good combination that reacts well with the playing) I can see that I ended up settling with a re-amp through a KSR orthos doubled up with an instance of TSE x50 v2. So effectively taking a guitar each side and ending up with 2 tones to work with. Im guessing what I did is one side that was more KSR heavy and another that was x50 heavy so that it wasn’t boring or ‘samey’ the whole way through the record.
Rob is a beast. There isn’t a whole lot to say apart from that. I gave him a SM7b to hold, ran it through the germanium pre into a distressor (taking off 14db of gr on average) and thats essentially what you hear on the record (save for a smidge of EQ and limiting).
The mix was really straight forward. Everything straight from the off carved its own space so there wasn’t a huge need for tricks or cute effects to get things to sit. It was all down to source tones and ensuring they were correct for the performance, the material and for the bands personality.
You could expect for there to be a lot of parallel compression on the drums, I do usually do this however I decided to see what was possible for the majority of the mix without any. It was a curios more than purposeful choice. We (the band and I) also talked about trying to achieve a more live band feel for the record, trying to avoid over editing the music. So there are a few sections that push and pull, there are one or two scuffs but thats how music is, thats how a live gig is.
Again, straight forward in terms of what went on. A little tape thang here, a little compression there and all ending with a cheeky limiter.
Main Tone – KSR Orthos > Zilla v30 > Unidyne iii 545d
Secondary Tone (blended with first) – X50 v2
DI > Slate VMR > Fabfilter Saturn
SM7b > Chandler Germanium > Distressor
What Fallen Apollo Say;
Next up we recorded vocals at G1, it took just over two days of tracking but was more like a holiday then anything else, it was very smooth and pain-free. George knew exactly what he wanted from Robb (vocalist) so it didn’t take long at all.
Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to the drum tracking sessions but Joe (drummer) said that George made what is usually a very long-winded experience, very rewarding. George helped push Joe into some very clean takes and created honestly some of the best live drum tones I have ever heard.
There was a lot of back and forth throughout the mixing stage that finished up with a few hour Skype call double checking each track with each other. All in all, although it took just under a year to come to a finished album, George helped push us every step of the way to something that we are all very proud of. We will definitely be heading back to G1 for our next release.