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Pumping - 'Good For You' and Deathray
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Richard Salino
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9th August 2011
Old 9th August 2011
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Pumping - 'Good For You' and Deathray

Hey Eric, thanks for taking the time to do this. Your records always sound great and remain interesting after many listens. I'm curious about the Third Eye Blind and Deathray self-titled records.

The song 'Good For You' pumps heavily with the drums. Is that something you did or did that happen as a result of mastering?

I hear a similar sound on some tracks on the Deathray album. The drums in general on that album sound really cool. Could you please talk a little bit about that record?

If you've already covered this feel free to point me towards that info. I'm on my phone so it's not too convenient to search with great detail.
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10th August 2011
Old 10th August 2011
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bump on this, that Deathray record is incredible and sounds amazing.
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10th August 2011
Old 10th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Salino View Post
Hey Eric, thanks for taking the time to do this. Your records always sound great and remain interesting after many listens. I'm curious about the Third Eye Blind and Deathray self-titled records.

The song 'Good For You' pumps heavily with the drums. Is that something you did or did that happen as a result of mastering?
Although I didn't attend the mastering (done by Ted Jensen) I remember listening to the mastering and thinking it didn't really sound significantly different than the final mixes dynamically, which is what I am usually looking for. He did subtle but very flattering EQ moves to even things out a little. Of course, that was in the days when a mastering would come back and the mixes could actually sound better. Now with the level idiocy going on with mastering, they always come back sounding worse. It is unavoidable when everything is expected to hover around -10 or -9 RMS. Things will just sound worse. I plan on starting to master my own stuff so I can be hearing the stupid limiting while I'm mixing and adjust for it. I am also developing a plug in that will get level without limiting. So far the results have been really good.

I was using mix buss compression on those mixes. There were only 2 possibilities for that batch of mixes. It was either an Alan Smart C1 (rented from Stephan Jarvis) or my DCL-200. It sounds more like the DCL-200 to me when I listen to it now. I don't have any mix notes available on that so I am not absolutely certain. I think that low end pumping happens for me when I mix into a buss compressor. The buss compressor is always stealing low end. I have to be pushing more low end into the mix to balance it out. Good For You is by far my personal favorite of the mixes from that record. If I ever reference a mix from that album it is almost always that one.

Quote:
I hear a similar sound on some tracks on the Deathray album. The drums in general on that album sound really cool. Could you please talk a little bit about that record?
I am going to assume we are talking about the 1st Deathray record (lunatic friends, only lies, what would you do etc.) That record was recorded immediately after the Smash Mouth 'Astro Lounge' record. Michael Urbano was hired to play drums. The idea was to have the rythm section sound very angular and machine like but played by human beings. The hihat was a big deal on that record... When it came in, how hard it was played, how open it was and almost always very deliberately without any dynamics. The beginning of Only Lies is a good example of that. We would create dynamic shifts in the arrangement by just having Michael play the hihat 50% harder. Urbano is that kind of a studio drummer. You can almost program him like a drum machine. We could map out on paper where the hihat would get harder or more open and he would just sit down and do it. he plays with extraordinary control while still maintaining an energy and fire in the performance. There was a couple of other tricks I was using a lot on these drums. I was doing the gated pink noise on the snare trick. Basically you have a pink noise generator (in my case it was my Gold Line Spectrum Analyzer) it goes through a gate that is keyed from the snare track. You can use EQ to shape it into whatever... a clap type sounds, a whispy high end. In this case I was just trying to simulate the sound of a simmons analog drum sound. I was also using chandler tube drivers on the kick and snare a lot on this record. It just makes things sound very dry and dense. We wanted everything to sound very in your face on the record so the drums used a lot of gates and distortion. The compression on the drums is very much the same as a lot of other stuff. A lot of distressors. I remember using more 1176 on some of the songs. The song 'This Time" I can recall being very excited about the results I got from crushing the kick/snare mic (a U87 on the batter side of the kick drum under the snr) with an 1176 and blending that in with the other cose mics. It is responsile for the sustain on the kick drum and the trashy quality of the snare. That song definitely also has the gated pink noise on it. The song Happy New Year was kind of unique. I wanted to experiment with having the drummer play really soft and get all of the aggression in the sound from compressors. The drums on that song were a result of that. Michael was a bit skeptical when we first started trying it. It felt weird for him to play so soft against all of these loud guitars. It was one of those "just trust me... its gonna work" type moments. On that song Michael is actually playing incredibly soft on the drums and the sound is coming from massive amounts of compression.

Greg Brown is really fun to record. He is a very musical guitar player. He uses a Guild starfire III, a proco rat and a Silvertone Twin Twelve on pretty much everything. He is just constantly playing with his volume and tone knobs on the guitar, playing harder or softer, picking closer or further from the bridge to pull the sound out of the setup... Its really amazing to watch. We used that setup for pretty much everything and I just played with tons of micing variations to get different qualities through out the record. On the beginning of Lunatic Friends I put a mic inside a metal can in front of the amp. There was a lot of back cab micing and or combinations of close mics and room mics to get peculiar mid range qualities.

Sadly that record never really got its chance. The band was signed to Capricorn Records (same label as Cake). The label was imploding right as we were finishing the album and it got zero support when it was released. Basically, what was left of capricorn records had to release the record as a contractual obligation but there wasn't really a record company left to promote it when it came out.

There is a song that was left off of that record that I think was really cool. I'll see if I can dig it up and post it. It might be fun to hear for anyone that enjoys that record. I also have some drums only mixes from that record. I'll put one of those up.

EV
Richard Salino
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11th August 2011
Old 11th August 2011
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Thanks for the opportunity to learn about these records. I did mean the first Deathray album, and that info is awesome.

Good For You is definitely the standout for me on the Third Eye Blind s/t as well. I'm always amazed by how you managed to make a huge song get even bigger towards the end when the wah guitar comes in (around 2:34). You really nailed the relationship of the mix to the buss comp. Probably not possible for many reasons, but it would be amazing to hear any unmastered tracks off that album you may have.

Thanks again, it would be awesome to hear some Deathray drum stems and that unreleased track.
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14th August 2011
Old 14th August 2011
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Hey Eric - thanks so much for doing this Q&A. As others have said, this is easily the most useful session that GS has ever posted.

I'm a fan of most of your discography, but especially of the Deathray record (and the Bees record - I used to go out and see both of those bands all the time here in the East Bay).

If you do end up being able to find that extra Deathray track that you mentioned, count this as one enthusiastic vote for posting it here - I'd love to hear it !
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15th August 2011
Old 15th August 2011
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Dang. That is some good reading. Michael is a super controlled and amazing drummer. We were in a band together in the early 90's (the spent poets) and we sorta tortured him trying to make him play really loose and Ringo like. He's really an amazing musician, and his kit weirdly enough always sounded a bit like a drum machine (really nice and controlled head/muffling wise) I think we even played a show with T-Ride. Wish I'd made some of those bay area records with Eric... Hindsight. Hats off to EV for such fascinating and detailed info. Best record making stuff I've ever read on the web.
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15th August 2011
Old 15th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaboomer View Post
Hey Eric - thanks so much for doing this Q&A. As others have said, this is easily the most useful session that GS has ever posted.

I'm a fan of most of your discography, but especially of the Deathray record (and the Bees record - I used to go out and see both of those bands all the time here in the East Bay).

If you do end up being able to find that extra Deathray track that you mentioned, count this as one enthusiastic vote for posting it here - I'd love to hear it !
I am checking with the Deathray folks if it is ok to post the song here. It is possible that they ended up releasing it on an EP later. I'll try to get some info on it

EV
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16th August 2011
Old 16th August 2011
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Eric,

Thanks for taking the time to explain all of this, I've loved the Deathray album for a long time and I've used it to show different interns examples of creative production and great sounds (along with Los Lobos Colossal Head)
That aside, I have always wondered what mic and mic pre you used on the high hat for Deathray's album, and if you have special placement techniques. I love how present and articulate it sounds.

Masaki
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16th August 2011
Old 16th August 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masaki View Post
Eric,

Thanks for taking the time to explain all of this, I've loved the Deathray album for a long time and I've used it to show different interns examples of creative production and great sounds (along with Los Lobos Colossal Head)
That aside, I have always wondered what mic and mic pre you used on the high hat for Deathray's album, and if you have special placement techniques. I love how present and articulate it sounds.

Masaki
I checked my notes and unfortunately I didn't document the mic used for hihat on the session. Mics I have liked over the years are - AKG 451 or 460, SM57, Coles 4038, AKG BK5, Neumann CMV-3 (you can hear the CMV-3 on the Perspehonees Bees song 'Climbing'. I am 99% sure I used the mic pre in the console (Neve 8128).

EV
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17th August 2011
Old 17th August 2011
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I was hoping to see a Deathray thread here. Great, great band. Such good songwriting.

I never got to see them live, but saw many Cake and Little Guilt Shrine shows in the mid-nineties (they were often on the same bill). Greg Brown is a big influence on my guitar playing, BTW.
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