Friday, 19 March 2010


Hello all,

I was hoping to get part 2 of 'The making of The Fierce & The Dead' up on the blog tonight (you can still read part 1 here) but as always other stuff came up so I thought i'd just fill you in on what has been happening at my end. If you don't know what i'm talking about then go have a look here.

A couple of weeks ago I found myself at The Royal Festival Hall on Londons Southbank recording a concert being performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. They were playing music composed by Azerbaijani composers, of which there are many. It was an evening organised and paid for by some hyper rich Azerbaijani fellow who was doing this to promote his countrys culture. I thought most of these guys blew it all on hookers and blow, but I guess I was wrong. I have to say, far from it being a vanity project the quality of the compositions was excellent and there are far more respected composers from there than I ever knew about. I recommend checking out Gara Garayev. Bloody good stuff. Here's a little clip of what went on.

Oh and i've just started up my own youtube channel so go subscribe and you'll get to see some of the exciting things I get to do. And share my pain with some of the less exciting things I get to do. Have a look here.

Also i've found a really nice forest near my home in South London. It's kinda cool in a huge adventure playground way. I miss the countryside sometimes.

And finally - don't lose your iPhone as they are bloody pain to replace. That's this weeks top tip.

Ta ra,


Monday, 8 March 2010

The making of The Fierce And The Dead: The Recording.

Hello all,

I've been getting quite a few requests by the various species of geeks out there asking how The Fierce & The Dead e.p. was recorded. Well i'm not one for secrets so i'll tell all. By the way - if you don't know what The Fierce & The Dead is, it's a new band project i'm involved in along with Matt Stevens and Stuart Marshall. You can see our website at

So i'll start with where it was recorded. It was in the live room of Pinna Studios in an evening session last November (2009). Pinna Studios was the room based at the Fortress studio complex in Old Street, London and I ran it as a commercial facility for 4 years with the one the only Sonny. We moved out of there in December and TFATD was one of the last band projects we did there. The room was always strangely great sounding considering that it had fairly low ceilings and was a bit of a box. We never questioned it though as we adhered to my Audio Engineer Rule#2 - If it isn't broken don't try to fix it. It's something that many people fall foul of. Rather than listening first and then deciding what to do, they fall in comfortable habits or just follow what someone else in a book/magazine/website has told them they should do. My Audio Engineering Rule#1 is - Listen!!! If you want to hear more of that particular rooms sound then you should get Polar Bears new album Peepers, which was recorded live in the room. Viva la spill!!

Anyways, I digress.

So we had Stuart with his back facing a corner and the kit facing the opposite corner off the room. Baffles behind him and to his left and right, but not closed in. They were to focus the sound going forward from the kit and elimante reflections from the corner and the window to his left. The kit was our standard house kit - a 4 piece Pearl Export, with Stuarts patented cheap shitty no name snare that sounds like a biscuit tin in the room but sounds great through a mic. Cymbal wise he only ever uses one crash and a ride. Simplicity breeds invention in his case I think. The kit was miked in fairly standard minimal set up - nothing too fancy. Can't remember all the mics but there would have been a Sennheiser E602 on the kick front, a Shure Beta 57 on the snare, and probably straight 57s or some cheap Superlux mics on the toms. Can't be sure on that as it was a while ago. Overheads were SE Electronics SE1s. There was a 57 on the hi hats and a trashy £20 Shure mic i've had for years on the ride. I think we had a vintage RCA ribbon mic up as a front of kit mic about 4 or 5 feet away. So a nice cheap 'n' nasty set up.

The bass was a 70's Fender Precision borrowed from Mr. Dan Wilson going through an old Torque amp that belongs to Sonny. That was close miked with a Beyer Dynamic Opus I think. We also took a di from the bass as well. The amp was set up just behind the baffle to Stuarts left.

Matt was playing his Mexican Fender Tele through the Line 6 DL4 delay and then into a Fender Princeton set on clean. We also took a di post delay from his guitar. The reason for taking it post delay was that we agreed his use of delay would be part of his performance and so shouldn't be edited in the mix. Miked the amp with a straight 57. That amp was set up on a chair facing 90 degrees to the drums just behind the baffles to Stuarts right.

We decided to not to use headphones and set the amp volumes in the room for our needs and then dealt with the recording levels afterwards. It was all going straight into our Soundcraft Ghost desk, with a bit of eq here. I allowed the kick and snare channels to drive the desk a little as well. I have to say that for a lo/mid range desk the Soundcraft is a great workhorse. Clean preamps, usable eq, what more do you want! It's better than a Mackie that's for sure!

No compression was used at the record stage, which is something I tend to do most of the time. I find that unless you are very familiar with a track then compression can take away some of the natural dynamics if not set correctly. So, especially in the case TFATD, I thought it would be better to leave it off.

And all of that came out of the Ghost into Apogee convertors and then into our Pro Tools HD2 rig. Lovely.

So that's the recording side of things. If you're still interested i'll write next week about the mixing.

Ta ra,


Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Fierce & The Dead - Part 1.

Hello all.

So my new project The Fierce & The Dead has finally released our first track. And when I say track I mean it's 18 minutes long. What the hell eh. If you'd like to hear what Matt Stevens, Stuart Marshall and myself get up to when we think no one is looking then you can listen, download and buy here. The site is almost finished, but most of the important stuff is up so you can have a look at that here.

We will hopefully be going into the studio in about a months time to start recording tracks for an album which should be out mid summer if all goes well. Some gigs are getting lined up to so exciting times are ahead.

Till next time,