Originally Posted by ToneRanger
Hi Butch and Jeff, I have to join the chorus here and say that Siamese Dream is an absolute all time favorite of mine. Everything's perfect and the sound is something me and my bandmates have been chasing for years now.
A couple of questions here I'd really love if you'd have time to answer:
How much you'd say the guitar sounds come from Billy's playing per se and how much you'd account that to gear, recording techniques and technology itself? I know this might be a bit tough question to answer, but I was just wondering if Billy always sounds so damn good regardless of amps and mikes and stuff.
It's obvious he's totally obsessed with guitar playing and gear, but if you'd care to give some insight on the process it would be great. Was he patient with finding sounds or was he wanting to move along?
How much he had planned ahead concerning those guitar maps and armies or did you create it as you went along?
Could you also describe the recording process in general with Billy, was everything in general regarding arrangements etc planned out by him or by him and you or was there also happy accidents coming along? How open was he to experiment in the studio at that time?
I've read Billy is a extremely fast worker when laying down guitar tracks and makes decisions very quickly. Is that so?
You and Jeff have stated that the vocal recordings could be time consuming. I was wondering who was the main "****" in the studio at that time, when recording vocals. Was Billy always ready to commit the 8 hour sessions to getting it right or was there some tension when things got difficult when recording vocals? Who was the most critical concerning the takes and who you'd say was the "main producer" when recording vocals? I love how they're done and I love Billy's vocals.
Any special ambience/reverb treatments to get that special sound or is just Billy's unique voice that's working there?
Oops, I got carried away.. Anyway, I'm loving this Q&A and especially this thread!
Billy has a really good ear, and he was just as opinionated about the sound as I was. Most of the time, he knew what he wanted, but sometimes it took a while to get the sound. A lot of experimenting. Sometimes I would suggest and idea, and it would take hours to get the right sound.
Billy is a GREAT guitarist....some of the parts came really fast, others were a struggle: the intro for Today took a LOT of takes to get the perfect sound and feel. Remember, this is before Pro Tools, and that guitar is naked at the start of the song...I think we worked on that 4 bar intro for about 12 hours!!!!
Vocals were time consuming. Billy would do a lot of of takes, I would give him feedback and keep notes until I was satisfied we had the right performance.
Then Jeff and I woud do a vocal comp, bouncing the best bits to another track. We didn't use autotune (it didn't exist!) so I just went for what I thought had the best feel.
There are spots on the album where the vocal is not pitch perfect, but that's not the point...I was looking for an emotional quality in his singing....Billy has this ability to open his heart, so to speak, and sing with a vulnerabilty that draws you into the song.
That was more important to me than technical perfection.
Siamese Dream is a very dry record, very little reverb used on guitars and vocals.
And we seldom used ambient mics on the guitars.
The one efx we used a lot on Billy's voice was the Eventide harmonizer, to add a slight double effect. Usually 20 or 30 ms delay, with about a 10 cent pitch offset.