Recording with Harm [27 July ’20]

The bass recording session

The last time Harm and I were on the phone must have been late 2017. Drums for the Akelei EP had been recorded a few months before and I wanted to keep the project going. That was a difficult period for my family however and it took a while before I found the time and peace of mind to push on with Akelei. However, when we were on the phone, Harm expressed his clear interest in taking part in the recording. It felt important, because we had gigged together for four years but never recorded together. The plan was always to have him play bass on the next Akelei record but the whole project had been postponed long enough that I wasn’t sure he’d still be interested.

Then 2018 came and went (including one failed attempt at recording the guitars at home) and no progress was made with the EP. But things started happening again in 2019, with guitars, piano, violin and viola tracks laid down in January, June, October and November of that year respectively. Recording bass guitar would be a logical next step and so I went over those parts again, rewriting and trying to arrive at some sort of finalised version. I contacted Harm again in April of this year to see if he was still on board. What a relief to find out that he was! We skyped and I sent him the updated tablature and rough mixes. After some weeks, we picked a date for the studio and further finetuned the parts.

The world will remember 2020 as the year of the Corona outbreak. For a while, I wasn’t sure that any studio visits would be possible. Fortunately, Studio Moskou is a spacious studio with several rooms and Silvia knows what she’s doing. She set up an extra monitor for us so we wouldn’t have to look over her shoulder and the floor directly behind the control panel was off-limits. This way, we were able to keep our distances.

It took us about an hour and a half to set up shop and find the right tone. We got the dry signal directly from Harm’s Ibanez bass guitar, then the signal through a Darkglass B7k microtube and then through an Ampeg SVT-3 pro picked up by three different mics, giving us a lot of sounds to choose and work with. We recorded for about five hours straight, checked to see that everyone was satisfied with the work and called it a day. It was really nice to see Harm again and working together was a walk in the park. The guy’s a great team player. And Silvia, as always, was the perfect woman at the desk; saving each take and making everything sound great. I’m looking forward to recording at Moskou again.

Pics:

Next up: vocals! Or perhaps some additional guitar work first. Check back for updates.

Misha

Listening to: Sylvaine Mørklagt

 

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