Updated: Nov 27, 2020
I was really happy that Kite Thief contacted me about recording their next single as I had been fans of the band since I first heard their debut single a few months prior. As we had the whole global pandemic thing to deal with we had some pre-pro back and forth via email and zoom to get all the ideas refined and ready for the studio.
I actually tracked drums last on this song which isn't something I always do. The reason we did it this time was we had the programmed track from the demo and I wanted to get the guitars and bass as tight as possible. A real drummer will always have slight fluctuations in rhythm and I didn't want this to affect the guitar performance so it was as tight as possible.
We used the studio Tama Starclassic maple kit with 12", 16" and 18" Toms and 24" Kick all tuned pretty low. This kit sounds huge in a low tuning and it really suited Zac's playing. Zac brought one of his own snares what was a 14" x 6.5" Yamaha Mike Bordin signature snare. It was tuned pretty high with an Evans UV1 on the top and Snare Side 300 on the bottom with 42 strange wires. We kept it pretty ringy which sounded super cool.
Kick Sub - Subkick
Kick In - Shure Beta 52A
Kick Out - Rode NT1A
Snare Top - Shure SM57 > Neve 1073
Snare Bottom - Aston Stealth > Neve 1073
Toms - Sennheiser MD421
OHS - AKG C451 Pair > API 512C
Hats - Shure SM7B
Ride - AKG C1000
Mono Room - Neumann U87
Stereo Rooms - AKG C414
The main rhythm guitars were tracked straight into Logic taking the DI
(monitoring with a profile on the Kemper profile) and we re-amped out through Max's Victory Kraken and Josh's EVH 5150 mk iii. In front of the amp we had a Horizon Devices Precision Drive which did a great job of tightening up the low end and mid range. We went into the EVH 2x12 cab which I mic'd with an SM57 on and off axis plus a Rode NT1A. These then went through the API 512C preamps which I blended and summed to mono in logic. There were a couple of additional lead and clean parts which we used the Kemper for.
Because of Henry’s playing style I wanted to track the bass against the real drums so he could groove to the vibe of the track. I can’t remember the model of his bass (sorry Henry) but it looked and sounded awesome! We ran through Henry’s pedal setup which was Boss GE-7B Equalizer > Dark Glass Microtubes X7 > Dark Glass Super Symmetry. This went into an Ampeg SVT profile in the Kemper.
Elin is one of the best vocalists I’ve ever recorded. She has such an incredible technique that every performance could have been a winner! I split recording vocals across 2 days so that we could focus on the lead vocal first before diving into harmonies and extra layers. I pushed her really hard on the performances but she really excelled throughout. We shot out a couple of mics and went with the Neumann U87 into an API 512C preamp. Normally I track vocals through an 1176 compressor but it was colouring her vocal a little too much so I didn't use it this time. Elin had her main harmony parts worked out which made life easier but we got creative during tracking and ended up stacking a LOT of vocals.
Synths / FX
The band had written a synth line to be a hook over the intro and choruses but wanted me to play around with the overall sound. I ended up blending a few different virtual instruments to get the final sound and compressed them together. I spent a fair bit of time before we even got into the studio doing some sound design with some extra synth layers, swells and drops etc which I sent through to the band to get their ok. It doesn't suit every band but in Kite Thief's case it works so well with the song and there's a lot of ear candy throughout.
You can check Kite Thief out over on their Facebook page. I can't wait for this one to come out!