Time for another update. It’s been a few months since the last one and there’s much to report. The record is actually finished now, so there’s that! We recorded vocals at Studio Moskou in early August, some more vocal and guitar lines at DSStudio, then moved on to mixing.
Recording vocals was tough as usual. I’m still not a gifted singer (damn it) and it takes me a lot of takes before I’m happy enough to keep one. Thankfully, I had the help of people more skilled than me: Lisette, Aline and Ørnulf. Lisette is the lead singer for Scarlet Stories, a great prog rock/metal band that released an amazing debut album in 2019. I invited her as a co-lead vocalist on the EP’s title track. It was so cool that she accepted! Aline and Ørnulf actually starred on an Akelei recording before, when they performed on the choir for Dwaaluur. Only the second song on the EP has no guest singers.
It was a good thing Dave handled mixing duties. His studio is here in Delft and that made it easy to visit and work on the mix together. We were off to a good start but still needed a couple of sessions to get it right. I think what really helped is that there wasn’t a real deadline for production. This project has been quite manageable because of that. After we settled on a final mix, Darius van Helfteren was brought in to master the cd. I got his name from the Scarlet Stories album and liked the impression I got of his work. The mastering process was really quick, taking only a few days in total.
Then there was still some designing to do for the cd. During the first lockdown in 2020, I had started working on a vertical tricolour with paper shades of white, olive green and black. I can’t even remember when it was, or what inspired the idea, but at some point I just decided that was going to be the cover art for the EP. So I started collecting glossy magazines and cutting the desired colours from their pages. No two pieces of paper had exactly the same colour on them of course, and I like that it prevents the design from becoming an actual flag. It just makes you think of one. By the way, I’ve looked for nation flags with the exact same combination and arrangement of colours, and as far as I know, it doesn’t exist. Last summer, when a photographer friend was in town, we took the opportunity to get the finished artwork photographed professionally.
I figured a gold logo would look good on this, so I picked that for the lettering. Now shiny materials look great on physical items but for the digital version of the EP I had to choose something resembling gold, as gold isn’t so much a colour as it is a material. Speaking of materials, The packaging for the cd is without any plastic. I’ve come to prefer the digisleeve format as it is made entirely out of cardboard and keeps the weight to a minimum, which is important with increasing postage costs. The 3-panel (six if you count both sides) digisleeve has plenty of space for lyrics and liner notes. I even dedicated one side of a panel to translations of the EP title. It features some major languages like Sanskrit and Japanese as well as lesser-known speech like Faroese and Basque. I’d say about half of these translations were crowdsourced and the rest I had to figure out by way of online search queries.
The designs were submitted to the production company, approved and then sent to the printing facility. The shipment of 500 cd’s arrived at my doorstep this week and the result is exactly what I wanted. The gold foil looks amazing, seriously. Let me show you:
I’m currently making preparations for the release of the EP. The official release date for both the physical (cd) and digital version is Sunday 12 December a.k.a. 12-12-21. They will become available through our page on Bandcamp, so grab your copy there, find a comfy chair and enjoy the music!
Listening to: Olivia Rodrigo – Traitor
2010 debut album
Recording with Josha & Matthijs [30 May ’21] – akelei.org