skip to Main Content

The Arusha Accord
Juracán

Listen

Engineering & Post Production catered to by George ‘G1’ Lever

Prelude

It’s a very strange situation to find yourself in, working with a band you grew up listening to. Very hard to describe but still really really cool.

I learnt more during this session than any other. I owe a lot of my current approach to communication and application to how the sessions course ran. Some of it went really well, and in one case I dropped the ball pretty badly… yeah.

Grab a drink, I’ll walk you through it down below.

Tracking

Preparation & Tracking

i. With what we had discussed a few months earlier. Guitars were to be tracked to midi drum references ahead of us arriving at middle farm a week later to complete Drum and Bass tracking.

ii. Guitars

Clayton and Tom brought a few guitars with them for consideration. A rather nice Daemoness 7 string and a Fender Strat Slipknot sig.

The first day was spent trying to get the Daemoness and Fender into better shape and intonated. 

This highlighted for me how inexperienced I was in correcting minor faults in guitars and that I had a lot to learn in order to attend to small fixes. Unfortunately this inexperience is what led to a few mistakes on my behalf and could have set the project back had I not forgone sleep for a few days in order to fix.

The issue in short, is that this was my first time tracking such complex music that spanned multiple octaves within each passage. 

This would mean that a G on one string followed by a G in a higher octave a few strings up, could sound flat or sharp against each other, purely down to the tone of the string gauge and the octave changing. As a result the songs ended up being littered with these little tuning discrepancies that my ear just wasn’t mature enough to notice on first pass.

iii. Drums and Bass

Middle farm is where we ended up to complete tracking of the drums and bass. Adam Getgood and I setup the kit in the usual spot with Adam picking out his go to tunings and mic choices along the way. 

We used Mark’s drum kit along with Adams Grestch Bell Brass snare (standard for those in the know). Evans heavyweight on snare, g2s over g1s on toms and EMAD (I think) on kick.

For Bass we tracked the DI in using a Burl BD1, hitting some nice heat and saturation on the way in. Interestingly we tracked the bass in a rather different way. Luke would request certain bar to bar loops and then start playing. We would hit record and he would keep going over the section on repeat until it was locked in and he was happy. We’d then move onto the next loop and repeat until the song was done. I’m pretty sure that bar a few notes, we didn’t need to edit the bass takes.

iv. Synths

A week after the middle farm session, Luke, Clayton and I sat down at my studio in Somerset to go over all the synth and string arrangements that are new to TAA’s song writing approach. 

Luke had a very specific idea in mind which was something along the lines of ‘Hanz Zimmer goes to Ibiza’, something like that.

Lots of filtered Trance synths layered the main guitar riff hooks along with string arrangements that either Luke or myself wrote section by section.

v. Vocals

Tracking two vocalists back to back in short sessions is pretty intense because while one guy is resting the other is tracking. The VMS microphone was my best friend during this session as it meant I could put up one mic and then select different emulations for each vocalist. The idea behind this was to use differing ‘mics’ to balance out the tonal differences between each vocalist as much as possible before it got to the mix stage.

I compressed and eq’d along the way into a final AUX sends for mains, backing vocals and effects.

I ended up providing Adam with both the final AUX prints and the individual audio tracks separated out but it turns out he ended up using my vocal mixes for the majority of what made it to the record! 

This would make sense as some of the vocal arrangements grew to 40/50 tracks. 

The reason for this is because TAA don’t follow typical musical arrangements which in turn means that there aren’t many if any vocal sections that repeat later in the song. This results in lots of sub sections and lots of tracks as the gents were using a lot of varying vocal performance techniques. 

Gear Used

Guitars

Daemoness 7 String with Bareknuckle Juggernaughts
Wirebird Telecaster with Bareknuckle Mules

Amps & Pedals;

EVH 5153 50w
Mesa Dual Rec Blackface 2 channel
VFE Focus Pedal

Mesa & Zilla 4×12

Vocals

Paul
Slate VMS – U47 Model > Neve 1073 > Distressor

Alex
Slate VMS – C12 Model > Neve 1073 > Distressor

Drums

Kit – Yamaha Recording Custom w/ Grestch Bell Brass 14×6.5
Kick – D112 & Shure Bet1 91A & Subkick
Snare – Shure beta57
Toms – Josephson E22’s
Overheads – KM184s
HH – SM7b
Ride – Aston Starlight
Room – AEA R88 & AKG C414’s in Omni

Bass

G&L L-2000 > Darkglass B7k & Sansamp RBI in parallel > Burl Pre

Mixing & Mastering

Unfortunately, I can’t say much about the mixing process as that was taken care of by Adam – THE NOLLY – Getgood. I advise you to go and pester him on all social media outlets. (this is a joke)

He loves this /s

Ask him for his favourite flavour of soup and why he eq’s snares. (this is also a joke)

And finally, mastering was catered to by a gentleman that goes by the name of Pash Mistry!

Testimonial

The Arusha Accord

We (The Arusha Accord) worked closely with George across 2016, 2017 & 2018 for the tracking of all instruments on our 2018 release, Juracan.

We were keen to employ an engineer with the technical skill & creativity to turn our Guitar-Pro-based visions into a reality – something that we’d struggled to achieve in the past. George fulfilled this role fantastically. He was the filter through which we poured our ideas, and we felt we were on the same wavelength from day one. His attention to detail, passion for his craft, and flair were invaluable throughout the tracking process. Moreover, he’s kind, thoughtful, witty & fun to be around (most the time! haha).

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend his services 🙂

Lastly…

This record… was mental. A huge story and a rollercoaster built into one adventure.

 

Heres to the future… and EP 2?

G1.