Hi folks! Francesco here. Welcome to our band’s blog, and to the first episode of what will be a short number of “behind the scenes” of producing our debut album: “Come Naked”.
We’ve been online for only (less than) one month now, and we already received a lot of comments and love from you. In these last 3 weeks our mail and Facebook were crowded by comments, re-posts, nice critiques on the songs, and sometimes detailed, song-after-song in-depth reviews of what we did in our first album! And that was awesome. So, this first chapter of our newborn blog should start with a huge: THANK YOU! Thank you for sharing, commenting, believing in what we (are trying to) do, and above all thanks for listening to our stuff.
We started this almost a couple of years ago. When I first asked to Walter to join me in this adventure, I didn’t have any track ready, just a couple of ideas recorded with the iPhone. And we were both working hard in the daytime. Me working on soundtrack gigs, and Walt as being an exceptional architect! I still remember his reply when I wrote him an email (modern world…) to ask him if he was interested. He was immediately like: “let’s do this, send me anything and I’ll sing!”.
The very first track we recorded was “Mothership”, we didn’t have any experience at all on how to work remotely, Walter had to set up his Cubase program for the first time in his life in order to record his voice over my instrumentals that I had sent to him. He lives in Rome, I currently live in Lille, we had…. 1.634 km separating us (thanks Google maps!), and the work was slow, tiring and frustrating.
48 months after that, we have our first album: 19 tracks (and we had to discard a few!) all in good shape, we hope, all ready to be listened! We initially thought to write a 7 or 10 tracks album, we still can’t believe to this day that we did so many more.
Love for the old lady, and the cops that didn’t show up
If someone would ask me what was the most difficult part of producing this album, I have no doubt: recording the instruments, it was a nightmare! I recorded all the instruments by myself in my home studio (which is not a home-studio in the professional sense. It’s just that: a home, with some instruments and amplifiers stocked here and there….) There’s a lady in my building I have to “live with”. If you have a friend or boyfriend or uncle or grandfather or grandmother who plays a guitar or drums, you know how much noise these things are capable of. And if you’re a musician, you know that the amount of volume at which you play has an impact on recording quality, too. I had to work quick in order to have good takes recorded at the right volume, fast enough to not bother anyone (and the old lady) in the building, despite the high volumes. I rehearsed the part at bedroom volume levels, then raised the amplifier knobs from 2 to 12, and recorded them.
This means you can’t try and try and try again, but it also mean you won’t have a clean, perfect, flawless album. Which in the end would be the sure path to fail, because a rock album DOESN’T have to be polished, not too much.
My greatest accomplishment: No cops have ever knocked at my door in the 2 years of production of this album. Despite the volume of my amps. Well, they have knocked once, but it was for a party (Nique la police!), and that’s a whole other different story…
PS: Thank you old lady, you made my album better, in the end. In a crowded world of guitar layers and infinite possible recording takes, you made me bend to the old adagio that “less is more”, and having limits is good, sometimes.
The best part of recording an album, to me, was to overcome limits and difficulties, and find solutions. When you don’t have a recording budget and a recording studio, no audio engineers etc., you need solutions.
My solution was sometimes to record small (cheap) amps that saturate easily, allowing to get dirty sounds at lower volume. Another solution was to record them in a “womb” of acoustic foams (see picture below).
Thankful for the foam (and my girl)
A special mention has to be done regarding this, to the foam nightmare: acoustic reflections are a bitch, they spoil your recordings and make your sound “sound dull”. To overcome this, you need LOTS of foam or other acoustic materials to cover many surfaces and sections of the room and its walls. In order to do this, you need either:
– To live alone and accept to live in a foam world during the whole recording stages of the album.
– To be lucky enough to have a patient girlfriend that accepts to live with you in a foam world.
I’m in the 2nd category of the lucky guys! Thank you, Emilia. This album wouldn’t have been possible without your help, and this is only one of the reasons!
Well, that’s all folks for this first episode of our band’s blog! More to come soon! The next episode will sing you other incredible tales like “how inhaling tea tree and other essential oils can be crucial to save a rock album, and singer’s reputation”. 🙂
You can also buy or download the album for free through Sept.’15!