Third Eye Blind's First Album Mr. Eric Valentine
Old 22nd January 2010
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Third Eye Blind's First Album Mr. Eric Valentine

Please tell us some more stories and tid bits of info on the recording of 3EB's eponymous album, pretty please with sugar on top Mr. Eric Valentine!




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P.S. I just read this random person's review that was up on the web and thought that it was an interesting review from a young fans perspective.

on 2007-03-20 paperslut Said:


It was a lazy day in 2001 and all I wanted to do was to get out of my house and play basketball at the YMCA court. There's this theory I have about music and a personal context that explains its relationship with the listener. This was it. Just before we got on court, a friend of mine handed me a tape and told me to listen to the fourth song on it. It was a song called Jumper.
I didn't play any basketball that day.
If there was ever an album that truly grew on me through my 'formative years' in music, it was 3eb's eponymous debut. I was fat, not obese or horizontally challenged... fat. They say fat guys have all the personality, but I wanted the chicks. Of course, losing weight wasn't an option. Meh! If it was, the whole world would be thin. And where was a middle class, defense kid in Mumbai to go when he didn't have the friends or the money to do anything well, fun?
There's an interesting story about 3eb. In 1996, after barely recording a demo, they suddenly found themselves opening for Oasis. Apparently they were told that they should be careful and get off stage quick 'cos the crowd would throw stuff at them. As things went, they were invited for an encore, after Oasis had finished their set.
Third Eye Blind saw the pair of Kevin Cadogan and Stephan Jenkins at the pen, and this was probably the reason why this is 3eb's most successful release. Relationships, loneliness, sorrow, anger, love - the album effectively encapsulated everything I thought about, in static poetry.
Kicking off with the hook driven, almost anthemic chorus of Losing A Whole Year, Cadogan and Jenkins easily fly through verse and melody to create pop-Rock genius. Lyrically, this is the best that 3eb have ever done, and now that Cadogan's left the band, possibly will ever do. On a heavy guitar driven song like Narcolepsy, the band manages to string together meaning and melody in absolutely the most beautiful way. "I read dead Russian authors, volumes at a time, I write everything down except what's on my mind". Even the single Semi Charmed Life (yes, the "Doo doo doo" song that was the soundtrack of some Jackie Chan movie) is terribly precocious in terms of its meaning and more importantly, the meaning it is able to create.
The technique is pretty simple and is nothing new. Start/stop tunes with catchy choruses and strong hooks about sums up what musically this album is about. The post-grunge bandwagon was just about finding its feet at about the time this album was released, and with their professionalism, 3eb did manage to make a heavy mark.
The album is very guitar heavy, but Cadogan has ensured that none of the leads are out of place. The guitars complement Jenkins voice very well and the vocalist is able to jump from high-pitched shout to mellow ballad without much fuss. Even on Burning Man, possible the poorest song on the album, the bottle clinks and the heavy bass find equal place with reggae sensibility driving a song that just 'fits' well together.
At the close of the album we have three songs that summarise what Third Eye Blind were as a band, an what, had Cadogan not left, they may have remained. The Background, a song about a dead lover, floats on a simple melody and slowly builds into a downpour of fierce guitar and crashing drums. It's an execution that defines the way this album gets better with time. The song is followed by the acoustic entrance of Motorcycle Drive By which hastens into its fantastic buildup and subsequently its flawlessly abrupt collapse. The album closes with the enchanting God of Wine, following the same formula as its predecessors, only a little more consistently. Third Eye Blind is not an album that leaves you wanting more. Content is more the clincher.
There's not much you can hold against 3eb on this album. It starts excitingly enough, plateaus out nicely right in the middle, and ends on just the right note. Some songwriter once said that if he wrote the perfect album, it would be the soundtrack of his life. And though he clearly ripped off Dick Clark, he put forward a wonderful thought that 3eb executed impeccably.
Everyone's got their "go to" albums when things aren't going right or when well, everything else just sounds like crap. The sense of satisfaction or the feeling of relief it brings makes up for everything else that's missing or everything that's lost. "Music has no judgment, it won't judge you for the way you are". Times change and though the excess of weight has been replaced with an excess of music, this is one album that, for me, never gets old.

Rating: 10/10
Old 22nd January 2010
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my album cover is red
Old 22nd January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scud133 View Post
my album cover is red
The first US issue of Third Eye Blind, approximately 500,000 copies, featured a gold-tinted cover photograph with a dark red band logo. The photo was then changed to red with a yellow logo at the band's request. UK and other Continental European nations continued offering the gold edition, and Japan had a cyan, negative photo cover.

The album has been certified 6x Platinum by the RIAA.
Old 22nd January 2010
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i know the singer bought the 64 channel Wunder console....

to have that in a home studio is just crazy...

a dream come true.....

i'm jealous
Old 22nd January 2010
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To recap, here's some of the things Eric wrote already.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ev33 View Post
Hey All,

I am relatively new to this Gearsluts forum and I stumbled on to this thread. It appears I am a bit late but I thought I would answer some of the questions if anyone is still interested.

"Have always loved the drum sound on this song, anybody know anything about the production, drumkit, producer/mixer etc..

Sounds like a drumbeat loop added to the drums in the chorus, heard it was recorded at Skywalker Studios and the drummer from Smash Mouth was playing on this song? At the end of the song you can hear a huge decay from the drums, in the chorus and intro it sounds like the room is heavily compressed while in the verse it sounds clean.
"


The semi-charmed drums, along with 4 other songs on the record, were actually recorded at my studio (H.O.S. recording) when it was in redwood city, CA. The drum set was D'amico for the kick and toms and the snare was a cheap 6" chrome Pearl export. The toms had Remo coated Emperor heads on top and clear diplomats on the bottom. That snare drum had a pretty incredible run. It came with a drum kit I bought a year earlier and it fell into a tuning that was really exceptional. When drums I own do that I basically just leave them until the head breaks or it stops sounding good. That cheap Pearl snare drum has been on a lot of records. The head finally broke during QOTSA sessions in 2002 at the hands Dave Grohl. It was honorable way to go. The head was some sort of Remo powerstroke thing with a black dot in the middle and a pin stripe around the edge. I tried to put the same head back on but it was never the same. It doesn't get used any more. The kick had standard Remo white coated Bass Drum heads on it. Brad Hardgraves played the drums on semi-charmed. I would agree that his playing is a huge part of the sound. Brad was mostly playing Jazz before he started playing in 3EB. He plays with extraordinary finesse. most importantly he doesn't hit the drums too hard (A mistake a lot of drummers make).

Microphones:

Kick - 47fet blended with an ATM25
Snare Top- SM57
Snare Btm - Neumann U64A
Mono Kit - Coles 4038
OH's - AKG C12s
Rack Tom - C12A
Floor Tom - C12A (top) 47fet (btm)
Room mics - U87s
Mono Rm - 47tube (mostly to enhance kick sound)

The mics pres were Neve 1081s. I had a rack of 10 that I brought with me where ever we were recording. I rented these somewhat ridiculous Audiophile mic cables made by Wire World Gold. I would always put the mic pres right next to the drummer so most of the mic cable runs were about 10' or less to the pres. Things like that are just little drops in the bucket that start to add up through the whole process and help give the sound a musicality and immediacy that tend to slip away when using lower quality electronics and long cable runs. The drums, bass and 1st Ryth Gtr were recorded to an Ampex MM-1200 16 track 2". All the overdubs were done on a Studer A800 mkIII. Both at 30ips no noise reduction on 996 tape.

That record in general was an exercise in trying every theoretical trick in the book to get the best possible sounds. We had a healthy budget and I did everything I could think of to try and make the whole record sound as big and expansive as possible.

Semi-Charmed was mixed at The Site in Marin, CA on a large vintage Neve 8078. The change in the ambiance on the drums is mostly automation of the room mics. There is also a Fairchild spring reverb on the snare mic. That is the explosive reverb sound that gets turned up on the last hit of the song. There is a drum loop that runs through the whole song.

"i could be wrong, but i think that they had room mics that were literally submersed in water ( fishbowls) and those are automated up at the end of the song."

The microphones in the water was done for the song The Background. The drums for that song were recorded at Skywalker Ranch along with (God Of Wine, Good For You, London and Jumper). I actually used Large plastic Garbage cans. put SM57s inside condoms and lowered them about 6" into the water. I definitely used the under water mics in the final drum mix.

The "drummer from Smash Mouth" (Michael Urbano) plays on 4 songs on the debut album- Losing A Whole Year, Motorcycle Drive By (which he played in one take 1st try), How's It Gonna Be and Narcolepsy.

I only recorded the debut record.

Well, there it is.. a pretty good stream of consciousness about recording the drums on Semi-Charmed Life.

Thanks for listening!!

Eric Valentine
Old 22nd January 2010
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Here's some more gr8 info from Mr. Eric Valentine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ev33 View Post
This got a bit long, but hopefully you will find the details interesting. The first part is an overview of the general approach through out the making of the record. The second part is a detailed account of a specific song.

When tracking the basics for each song we typically had 2 amps setup. Kevin's modified marshall. It was some sort of SUPER LEAD early 70's era 100W head plugged into his vintage Marshall 4x12 that had a salt and pepper grill cloth. The other amp was this little Ampeg J-12T Jet re-issue that I had recently discovered sounds huge when you put it through a 4x12 cab. At that time I was really into 3 particular mics for close micing distorted guitar. The old standby SM57, a Sennheiser 441, and a Beyer M201. I would put all 3 mics on both 4x12 cabs for a total of 6 mics showing up on the desk. I would find a blend of the mics I was happy with and either print a blend of each amp on its own track or do a stereo spread of all the mics. Kevin was still trying to reassure himself that the money he had invested in his modified Marshall was worth it. So on every setup he would ask to come into the control room to hear how the amps were translating through the mics. I would do a blindfold A/B and ask him which amp he liked better. A good number of times he picked the little $300 Ampeg and would end up walking back to his recording spot grumbling about the expensive Marshall.

Once basics were tracked, I would cut together (yes with a razor blade) a 16 track master of Drums, Bass and the one rythm guitar pass. We would typically do a few punches for the bass and guitar and have the foundation of the song done. I would then make a 24 track slave reel. I would put a stereo drum mix on 1&2, bass on 3, and guitar on 4&5. I then would have tracks 6 - 23 available for all the additional overdubs.

The majority of the guitar overdubs were done at my studio H.O.S. A few were done at Skywalker to make use of the huge room. In either case the process was the same. We would set up pretty much every amp in a long line and just start playing with combinations until we had something that suited the part/song. Almost everything was recorded with Kevin's Music Man guitar. The guitar has active electronics and was setup to try and accommodate all of his alternate tunings. The alternate tunings are a huge part of the unique guitar sounds on the record. The main advantage of the tunings is that he is able to keep open strings going almost all the time and it helps create those chimey overtones that are usually not as prevalent in distorted guitars.

There are more setups and details than are really practical to try to cover here. I will give details on one of my favorite guitar events on the record.

God Of Wine:
These guitars were tracked entirely at Skywalker Sound. The pass that was recorded when the whole band played was not used. We wanted to make use of the truly cavernous room at skywalker for the guitars and we couldn’t do that while the drums were being recorded. We had been blending 2 or 3 amps at times on a lot of the sounds but this was the moment where I decided to take it as far as it could go. We had six amps going. All in pairs. 2 marshalls, 2 Ampeg Jets and 2 Fender Blues Devilles. The amps were setup in a symmetrical array at one end of the room. I couldn’t do my usual selection of mics on every amp because it would have gotten unmanageable. I committed to a mic on each amp and started blending. The idea was to set it up so Kevin could roll back his volume for the clean parts and simply turn up for the heavy parts. That didn’t quite work because of amp noise. We had to optimize the amp settings for the clean sounds with the guitar volume down a little, play all of those parts then change amp settings and punch in for the heavy parts. You can hear him turn up the volume leading into the heavy parts, but we actually had to punch on the downbeat. There is a particular level of focus that happens when you are punching in on a tape machine into a track that has performances and sounds that you just spent hours getting exactly the way you want. There’s no undo button, there’s no trimming regions, you are just totally screwed if you hit that button at the wrong time. I actually kind of miss how serious that made moments in the recording process.
Kevin was set up to play in the control room. Skywalker had these huge Alan Sides main monitors that were really fun to track with. It really felt like there was a band playing in the room when you cranked those things. It also made it possible for Kevin to get feedback with out being in front of the amps. I would ride the gain of the monitors in the room to help instigate feedback when he wanted it. The guitar feedback gods were definitely shining on Kevin that day. There is a moment towards the end of the song where the feedback plays a little 3 note melody. the root, then a major sixth, then the implied fifth as he starts to play a hammered trill between the fifth and the root. It was a moment when Kevin and I looked at each other thinking, “wow did that just happen?” That feedback with the accidental pick scrape at the beginning of the section is definitely my favorite guitar moment on the record. It highlights what is so special about Kevin. He is an endless supply of beautiful, chaotic, spontaneous, musical and ultimately very emotional guitar stuff. Moments that neither he, or anyone else could ever do twice.
Back to the technical stuff, there are only 2 passes of guitar on that song. Each pass consists of four tracks of audio, A stereo blend of the close mics and a stereo blend of the room mics. Room mics were recorded with Neumann M50s. They had been setup as a Decca tree style array when we did the drums and we left them up to use as room mics on other things. In this case I only used the Left and Right mics of the tree. Those room mics were sent to Lexicon Super Prime Time delays via aux sends on the console. Delays were set to an 1/8th note of the tempo and had a fair amount of modulation on them. You can really hear the modulation at the end of the song when Kevin stops playing the trill and the echoes are trailing off bending the pitch around. The song starts with a single guitar pass playing through the six amp extravaganza. About a minute in the second guitar joins as a double and I end up panning the main guitar mostly right and the double guitar mostly left by turning down the opposite fader of the stereo blend of each. The room mics remain fully stereo from both passes to help glue them together a little. In I guess what you would call the chorus, Kevin engages a morely wah pedal to play the little answering riffs. We used the morely wah to do the slow filter sweeps in the second verse, in an effort to have something new happen when the verse came back. The morely wah is used in the end of the song and is partly responsible for the beautiful feedback moment I mentioned earlier. In the mix of the song there is no additional reverb or delay on the guitars or any other instrument. The whole point of going to sky walker was to use the room and I really wanted the listener to get a sense of the space the song was recorded in. The only exception is the lead vocals. They were recorded dry and all the reverb on them was added in the mix.
Alright, there it is! What I hope are some of the important/interesting details about guitar stuff. I appreciate you all asking about it. It was fun for me to think about it again and try to put it in words.
Now its time for me to get back to cleaning my sound room!
Eric Valentine
Old 22nd January 2010
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More...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ev33 View Post
"hey what did you do as far as comps or limiting on the drums? did you do any parallel comping or other techniques? Any other artificial reverb other than snare?"

By far my favorite drum compressor is the Distressor. I had actually just discovered them not long before the 3EB record. I used them A LOT when mixing that album and still use them a lot today. I just finished a mix today and the drum mix went through a pair of Distressors. I don't recall any parallel compression going on the 3EB record. The NEVE console didn't lend it self to that type of bussing and I didn't really discover the benefits of that until later. There are a couple of tricks with the distressors. 1st - they tend to loose a little presence when they compress so I usually put an EQ after them either a GML ot NTI type eq to keep the high end open. The next thing is to have all three LEDs under the detector column lit (when using it for the drum mix). The Link, peak and HP. On the 3EB stuff I spent most of the energy getting the balance right between how much compression was happening on the individual mics and how much compression was happening on the drum mix. The goal is to have the close mics (Kick, snr, toms) have extra attack because they are being compressed both individually and in the drum mix compressor, while everything else (OH, Room mics etc.) get compressed only by the drm mix compressor. In the case of the 3EB record both were mostly Distressors (I was really excited about those things at that time). The only other reverb I was using for the drums was the sound room at The Site. They have a great sound room with a pair of Urei 813s hung from the wall. I would use an aux send to send drum mics out to the room and mic the room. Essentially a very big reverb chamber.

"I'd like to know too. Did you mix at your place? Can we ask about Smashmouth in this thread, cuz I hear a very similar sonic imprint on the drums on their first album too. Fat-splat transients instead of pokey-ice-pick transients.
In true-useless-gearslutz-guessing about what I know nothing about-fashion, it sounds more Neve than SSL. Which is probably why when I'm mixing on an SSL and I put up one of your mixes for reference, I can't get that "fat splat". Something I only seem to get when I have a 2254 or something like it at hand.
This may be divulging more than you're comfortable with..."

You're instincts about the whole SSL vs. Neve thing are spot on. Everything was tracked through Neve consoles or pres and Most of the 3EB record was mixed at The Site on their very large 8078 Neve console. One song "Burning Man" was mixed at my studio (H.O.S.) on the 8038 Neve I had at the time. It had 32 1081's in it. Three songs (Losing A Whole Year, Narcolepsy, and How's It Gonna Be) were mixed by Tom Lord Algae in Miami on an SSL. The "fat splat" sound that you refer to has been very important to me over the years. I really like to have the music not be punishing to listen to. IMO, the compression should give an apparent explosive and more focused quality to the sounds without adding that really unforgiving hard edged transient that makes it difficult to enjoy the mix when its turned up loud. The distressors are definitely really great for that. For a VCA based compressor, it is remarkably musical. The other compressor that has been really great for that is the Eclair engineering LA-LA compressor. It is essentially a stereo LA-2A. That thing distorts beautifully on the transients and really helps smooth it all together. I would frequently blend those with the distressors. The tape machines have a lot to do with it as well. They inherently do a lot of peak limiting and add a lot of harmonic distortion. Instantly the drums will sound less harsh but brighter at the same time and it makes all the sounds feel like they have more weight to them or be less transparent. It is very difficult for me to get that thick gushy sound without a tape machine involved. The "fat splat" characteristic has been harder to maintain in more recent years. The general concept of what a record is supposed to sound like has definitely been migrating towards the harder edged sound. It has been unavoidable to move in that direction when the band/label is wanting it. Ultimately, I work for them!

"Why does "Jumper" sound completely different than most of the other tracks on the record? The drums and vocals especially sound a tad thicker and tubbier than the sparkle of say "Graduate" and "Semi Charmed".
Was it a mix thing or was it a song that was tracked completely seperate of the others?"

Jumper was tracked at Skywalker, although it was a different drum setup for that song. I put the drums out in the middle of the big room to emulate a Beatles/Abby Road type approach. The song Jumper was definitely influenced by the band Oasis. The Morning Glory album was out and dominating radio with Wonder Wall while we were working on the 3EB record. Jumper was written after we had started the record. originally it had an entirely different set of lyrics and title. Everyone told Stephan that it sounded to much like Oasis so he changed the lyrics and title of the song. I would have to check my notes for the original title. In addition, I was referencing mixes from Morning Glory while I mixed Jumper.

"I've noticed that too. I always thought it was mixed that way purposely to make the track more rockin than the others. Guitars are way fatter too."

As part of the Beatles/Oasis influence for that song it was the only song where we didn't use any Marshall amps for guitars. It is was all Vox AC30 and Matchless stuff. That must be the difference you are hearing.


"There's so few interviews with you."

The lack of visibility has been very intentional. I very much enjoy being a behind the scenes guy. I have avoided pictures and interviews as much as I can over the years. Sadly my days of anonymity have to end. Recently I have been cursed with an impostor. There is a person using my name/claiming to be me to get people to pay him money to start recording projects or production companies. He has stolen a lot of money from people and probably wouldn't have been able to do it if there was more information out there about me. I will be doing more interviews, getting more pictures of myself out there and participating more in forums in the future.



"I was talking to a record exec about you many years ago, and he said that when you started out, you were actually in a hip-hop band with Stephan Jenkins, and you started as a DJ. Is that right? Also that you work so hard that there was a time you just slept under your SSL!!!"


I definitely did not play in a hip hop band with Jenkins, I have never been or ever intend to be a DJ, but I have spent many nights sleeping next to the warm radiant heat of a Class A Neve console. At the end of the day, I am simply a nerdy guy that is hopelessly obsessed with record making. I spent most of last week sleeping at my studio…. I’m 40 years old, that’s definitely not normal. I can easily spend 15 to 16 hours a day there and not even notice. I still maintain that I have not worked a single day in my life, because I just enjoy it way too much.

"I pulled out my old cd and notice that the band thanked you and called you The Super! Just wondering if you could say how that became your nick name."

That is an odd one. I had an assistant that worked for me for a period of time that was one of those people that just had a peculiar way about him and was extremely funny. He was assisting me when I was working on a Joe Satriani record and he noticed this change in the atmosphere whenever Joe was coming in to record. There was this scramble to make sure everything was “just so for Joe”. He started exaggerating the preparation by running around the studio saying "The super is coming! The super is Coming!" It was originally a reference to Joe. I don't want that story to give the impression that Joe Satriani is some sort of Diva-esque guitar god. He is a wonderfully friendly, down to earth guy. I think it was a reaction to my nervousness about not really having the experience necessary to take on that project when I was about a decade younger than all the musicians involved. I was ultimately replaced by Glenn Johns on that project. Anyway, after that the word "super" just became a part of the studio vernacular. I started working with 3EB months after that and the "super" era was still in full swing. Stephan just started calling me "The super".

"One thing that I notice with this album is the amount of depth in it. There's so much depth and separation of elements compared to most other albums that I hear. Also, as others have stated there's also a ton of mojo and vibe in this album. With the Smash Mouth album Ultra Lounge I notice that it sounds very good for a Pro Tools album that was also, (pun intended) smashed in mastering. Although it sounds good sonically I personally don't think it holds a candle to Third Eye Blinds eponymous album. Do you attribute that to the fact that 3EB was tracked to tape and mixed on Neve consoles?. Obviously your skills as an engineer are a big factor in the sound with both albums. In fact, I've got to tell you Eric, based on your work especially on this album I consider you to be one of the better engineers of the modern era, and I don't say that lightly."

I have put a lot of effort and thought into the issue of clarity and separation over the years. This is basically where I am at with it at this point:

Some of these are kind of obvious and overly simple, but it made a big difference for me when I identified this for myself and wasn't making recordings by just haphazardly trying to emulate the sound of one of my favorite Zeppelin songs. I think there are 4 main tools available to address the issue of clarity/separation: composition, timbre, distance and position.

Composition - is obviously the arrangement of the instruments/vocals. It is very difficult to separate parts that are playing or singing the exact same pitch. I pay careful attention to what instruments are playing what notes in what registers. I like to treat the band like a miniature orchestra. I pay particular attention to the lead vocals territory and try to avoid having instruments play those exact pitches.

Timbre - if there are instruments playing in the same range that need to be defined it helps to do things like, make one of them very narrow and mid rangy and one of them very big an airy with a lot of overtones/harmonics.

Distance - Parts can be separated by using the human ability to identify spatial depth in recorded sound ala put the mic 2" away for one part and 20' away for the other part.

Position - If all else fails I can always resort to the brute force method of hard panning parts that need top be defined.

On the technical side, IMO it is much easier to keep things clearer and more 3 dimensional with tape machines and consoles. There is an inherent phase/time shift in the frequency spectrum with digital recordings that tends to smear the sound and make things sound more 2D. Tom Schultz makes reference to that in this interview:

http://www.gibson.com/absolutenm/templates/FeatureTemplate.aspx?articleid=175&zoneid=2#digital I agree with most everything Tom says in that interview.

3EB was well rehearsed by the time I got involved in that project. I only went to one rehearsal before starting the recording. Stephan and the band had the parts well mapped out before we started. Once in the studio, I would make suggestions and small adjustments to parts to help enhance the clarity and punch of the songs. The vibe and mojo is entirely a result of the chemistry of that (Kevin Cadogen) version of 3EB. As to the difference between 3EB and Smash Mouth, the motivation behind those 2 projects was very different. 3EB was a completely unapologetic attempt to make a no compromises, super hi fidelity, epic “modern rock” record. Smash Mouth is intended to sound more retro, quirky and inexpensive to suit the kitschy character of the band. 3EB was entirely analog, while Astro Lounge had all of the drums recorded to pro tools for editing (except for All Star and Then The Morning Comes, which were played by Micahel Urbano. He agreed to do it un-credited, before he later became an actual member of the band).


Despite my reclusive tendencies this has really been a lot of fun for me. I have always enjoyed discussing record making with folks that are passionate about it. I sincerely appreciate the interest in the recordings and hope this information is interesting or maybe even useful.

Eric Valentine (The Real One)
Old 7th March 2011
  #8
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The Background Vocals

Hey,
I was just curious how did you get the background vocals to sit in the mix so well. Also I was curious how did you get that ghostly reverb in the same song. This album has always been a benchmark of recording for me, so thanks for taking the time to get the killer tones.

Drew
Old 7th March 2011
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapehiss View Post
i know the singer bought the 64 channel Wunder console....
Not too crazy bout the singer - different stokes I guess... Great band and songs, though.
Old 17th March 2011
  #10
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Old 20th June 2011
  #11
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Quote:
Hey,
I was just curious how did you get the background vocals to sit in the mix so well. Also I was curious how did you get that ghostly reverb in the same song. This album has always been a benchmark of recording for me, so thanks for taking the time to get the killer tones.

Drew
Drew,

On this song I was trying to make everything sound like a floaty, underwater dream sequence. The reverb on the drums is partly derived from SM57s in condoms placed in big barrels of water on either side of the drum kit. those mics ultimately had a 16th note delay put on them in the mix. That is the sort floaty slap back verb you hear on the drums.

The lead vocals were sent out to 2 guitar amps that were mic'd and blended back in with the dry signal. The amps were an Ampeg Jet (thats the one that has audible tremolo on the reverb) and a Magnatone. The magnatone I had at the time did not have a reverb tank in it so I used a rack mount spring reverb that was blended in before the signal was sent to that particular amp. The magnatone has true Vibrato on it. So the reverb effect on the lead vocal is the result of the 2 amps with their trailing spring reverb on them, one fluctuating in volume (tremolo) and one fluctuating in pitch (vibrato).

In the last chorus of the song there are some back ground vocals that are being sent to the same Ampeg Jet Amp that was then feeding a leslie speaker.

Quote:
There's an interesting story about 3eb. In 1996, after barely recording a demo, they suddenly found themselves opening for Oasis. Apparently they were told that they should be careful and get off stage quick 'cos the crowd would throw stuff at them. As things went, they were invited for an encore, after Oasis had finished their set.
That is interesting. I was at that show. I actually mixed the sound for 3EBs set that night. I have absolutely no memory of that happening. I am sure that they definitely did not play an encore after Oasis played.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MC Blind View Post
Please tell us some more stories and tid bits of info on the recording of 3EB's eponymous album, pretty please with sugar on top Mr. Eric Valentine!
I have a little more time available right now and would be happy to answer other questions.

Best,

EV
Old 20th June 2011
  #12
Gear nut
 

Hey Eric!

Thanks for answering these questions. I reference this album anytime I'm mixing because everything sounds amazing. It sounds big, but authentic. One specific question I had in regard to the drums you mentioned somewhere. You said that the close mics were getting compressed individually whereas the room mics were not. I usually do the opposite, leaving the close mics uncompressed and compressing the room mics fairly hard and then compressing the whole drum buss. Can you explain your process a little more on your compression approach? Thanks man!

-Chad
Old 20th June 2011
  #13
Gear maniac
 
ev33's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bottombunk View Post
Hey Eric!

Thanks for answering these questions. I reference this album anytime I'm mixing because everything sounds amazing. It sounds big, but authentic. One specific question I had in regard to the drums you mentioned somewhere. You said that the close mics were getting compressed individually whereas the room mics were not. I usually do the opposite, leaving the close mics uncompressed and compressing the room mics fairly hard and then compressing the whole drum buss. Can you explain your process a little more on your compression approach? Thanks man!

-Chad
Sure,

It is true that I typically have not been a fan of using a lot of compression on room mics. I find that the explosiveness of the kick and snr gets swallowed up too much by the cymbals when they get too compressed and I've never found the sound of heavily compressed cymbals particularly attractive. Whereas the heavy multiple layers of compression on the close mics adds that hyper consistency that almost sounds like samples even when not using any (something I've been accused of before I just like to be able to hear and feel all of the hits and articulation of the drum performance. It is the only way I can get that to happen when drums are fighting their way though a wall of guitars.

There is one trick I really like whenever doing a more minimal micing setup. Even if I mic a drum set intending to only use a single mono over head with a stereo room type thing, I will still record close mics for keying. Let say I want the single mono OH to sound more compressed without changing the balance between the cymbals and the drums. What i do is use an Expander and a compressor at the same time. The idea is to set the amount compression the same as the amount of expansion. So if the compressor is compressing 8db on the significant hits, than the expander should be turning down the signal 8db around those hits. The expander is being keyed by the close mics so it will respond only to the kick and snr. Once you get the release times matched up right, the net result is the kick/snr get the thicker more aggressive sound of being compressed without changing the volume relationship between the kick/snr and the cymbals. This way you can get the sound of compression only on the kick and snr from one mic. The same thing works on room mics. You can make the kick and snr sound thicker and more aggressive without losing so much of the natural air and dynamics in the cymbals.

EV
Old 20th June 2011
  #14
Gear nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ev33 View Post
Sure,

It is true that I typically have not been a fan of using a lot of compression on room mics. I find that the explosiveness of the kick and snr gets swallowed up too much by the cymbals when they get too compressed and I've never found the sound of heavily compressed cymbals particularly attractive. Whereas the heavy multiple layers of compression on the close mics adds that hyper consistency that almost sounds like samples even when not using any (something I've been accused of before I just like to be able to hear and feel all of the hits and articulation of the drum performance. It is the only way I can get that to happen when drums are fighting their way though a wall of guitars.

There is one trick I really like whenever doing a more minimal micing setup. Even if I mic a drum set intending to only use a single mono over head with a stereo room type thing, I will still record close mics for keying. Let say I want the single mono OH to sound more compressed without changing the balance between the cymbals and the drums. What i do is use an Expander and a compressor at the same time. The idea is to set the amount compression the same as the amount of expansion. So if the compressor is compressing 8db on the significant hits, than the expander should be turning down the signal 8db around those hits. The expander is being keyed by the close mics so it will respond only to the kick and snr. Once you get the release times matched up right, the net result is the kick/snr get the thicker more aggressive sound of being compressed without changing the volume relationship between the kick/snr and the cymbals. This way you can get the sound of compression only on the kick and snr from one mic. The same thing works on room mics. You can make the kick and snr sound thicker and more aggressive without losing so much of the natural air and dynamics in the cymbals.

EV
Thanks very much Eric. This makes a lot of sense. I've always used slow attacks and quick releases for compression on drums, typically. Is this your approach as well to maintain those hits, or do you attack faster for more of a thwack sound?

Also, I love the expansion/compression trick you talked about. I've tried something similar, but not to the extent you are talking about in terms of matching the reduction/expansion. I'll try that today!
Old 20th July 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
 
bcgood's Avatar
 

1st 3EB album = masterpiece

Both the music and recording of that album are at an extremely high level that few albums reach in my opinion.

A few words about space..

I'm amazed by the lush, dreamy sonic landscapes that wash around inside the sonics of that album. I would love to read about your approach to the use of reverb and delay. That is such a huge sounding album yet at the same time detailed and intimate. Not an easy feat by any stretch! Such a perfect yin yang balance! This also goes for the overall feel of the album in general, textures, relationship between bass, mids and highs etc.

P.S. I use this album as a sonic reference right besides Steely Dan - Aja and some of the amazing Bob Marley recordings of the past.
Old 24th July 2011
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Sqye's Avatar
 

Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
1st 3EB album = masterpiece

Both the music and recording of that album are at an extremely high level that few albums reach in my opinion.

A few words about space..

I'm amazed by the lush, dreamy sonic landscapes that wash around inside the sonics of that album. I would love to read about your approach to the use of reverb and delay. That is such a huge sounding album yet at the same time detailed and intimate. Not an easy feat by any stretch! Such a perfect yin yang balance! This also goes for the overall feel of the album in general, textures, relationship between bass, mids and highs etc.

P.S. I use this album as a sonic reference right besides Steely Dan - Aja and some of the amazing Bob Marley recordings of the past.
.

Again, plus one.

GREAT record!

.
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