Monday, March 24, 2008

ConFused5 at Sonic Flow Studio...Continued

As I said in my last entry, the guys at Sonic Flow Studio have built a very cool recording environment. The room is large and they have plenty of large studio gobos. These are move-able walls which are used to create isolated areas in the studio. With these we were able to isolate the guitar amps from the drum microphones. They are also handy in creating a vocal booth or for changing the acoustic characteristics of the room itself. Another thing I might have missed if I hadn't taken a good look around is their extensive collection of table-top meat grinders. These are strictly old-school and are of the hand crank variety. Yes, Wolfgang and Max are have an interesting eye for visual design. There are about fifty of these beauties mounted just inside the studio entrance and what says "Rock'n'Roll" better than a platoon of meat grinders standing at attention at the gates of the tabernacle?

Markus has done an amazing job of getting the media to come out for pictures, articles, video footage and interviews. The question I enjoy answering most is "What kind of projects do you enjoy the most?" My immediate answer is always a very diplomatic, "This one!"
But my serious answer is that I really enjoy working with musicians, singers and bands who may not have had the opportunity to work in a real recording environment with an outside production influence before. Working in a professional studio with ample time to explore and develop has a way of refining the musicianship of any musician. And with the right production team a band that is ready, willing and open-minded will grow by leaps and bounds.

Many musicians with limited recording experience tend to think in terms of what their heroes might play in a given situation. All of us are influenced by what we listen to and love. But when the opportunity to make a recording presents itself, the most important thing for me is to dig deep into a musician and find out what he has to say...and then to pull that statement out of him in his own words so to speak. I've done plenty of sessions as a bassist where I've been asked to "do that Jaco thing" or "give me a Larry Graham type of slap thing." But when I'm trying to interpret what an original artist has inside of him, I simply won't stop until the musician himself can listen to the track and say, "oh...yeah, that's what I always wanted to say, I just never knew that I knew how to do that." That moment of realization is the big payoff as far as I'm concerned. If a song sells or not is often a matter of opinion and luck, but if a musician can let himself be taken to that moment he knows he is capable of more than he had dreamed of, then he can listen to the music for the rest of his life with a clear conscience.

ConFused5 is made up of excellent musicians from top to bottom. They are very capable on a technical level but have never had the chance to have an outsider look at their music under a microscope. Fortunately they are also mature grownups and have relatively open minds so we have been able to experiment quite a bit during the overdub sessions. If a musician doesn't have the chops to try different things, well, then you're dead in the water. But in every case, I think we've been able to get to the deepest recesses of the musician's original intent and the recordings will reflect a genuine musical honesty.

Today we will finish off the last of the vocals and I'll go into Sonic Flow to run up work mixes tomorrow. Man, I hate it when things start to come to a close.

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