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Roy Thomas Baker in SOS.
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TornadoTed
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29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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Roy Thomas Baker in SOS.

I read this months issue of Sound On Sound and read the interview with Roy Thomas Baker and his recording of the new Darkness album.

I know that he has achieved more than I probably ever will so I'm knocking him but I was shocked and saddened by the interview.

Apparently they recorded nearly 10,000 tracks and used 400 reels of 2" tape! There were at some points a 100 guitars layered together but possibly only for a couple of seconds.

Is it just me or does anyone else think this is unbelievably over the top! I mean at £175 a tape in the UK that's £70,000 in tape alone.

Is it just because low priced gear and small studios can do so much now that the 'big boys' have to push it to ever more ridiculous extremes. I mean a small studio like my own with a DAW can easily run 48 tracks so they have to go further and further.

Is it me being paranoid or are albums of this scale just made to put the small studios in their place! Is there really any need for 100 odd guitar parts layered together and up to 160 vocal takes per song? I know it's all about options later on but what's wrong with getting right first time and commiting to it?

I apologize if I just don't get it, I'll probably never work on major projects like that. I'm happy running a nice friendly studio in the country and doing demos and the occasional commercial release maybe using 35-40 tracks tops!

I guess it struck home to me more because just before reading it I'd just read the thread on here about 'Rage Against The Machine' One of the most awesome, powerful album ever made IMHO and I bet it didn't use a tenth of tracks the new Darkness album used.
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#2
29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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I was greatly amused by the article and just saw it as a highly successful producer
(and well deservedly) indulging in Rock and Roll excess - he had all the time and money it seems to embark on his creative endeavour, with the full and complete backing of the band (....er Bass player excluded?!.)

The album probably did not need or truly benefit from that kind of ridiculous and vulgar excess and it seems to me to be exactly what 'Overproduced' means.

If the album and the songs are crap then RTB could have recorded 10,000 guitar tracks with 10,000 different guitars, a sh*t song is a shit song.

Just laugh at it, after all it's the Darknesses money he is spending - and they are in love with the lost era of 'high camp showbiz entertainment'

However much they spend they will only and forever be 'Queen Light' leaving that sickly sweet saccharine taste in the mouth long after you have had your drink.....yuck!
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29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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And Bohemian Rhapsody isnt overproduced?

If thats the sound they wanted then thats the sound they wanted. Personally I hate the Darkness because they've never understood that the glam/spandex throwback is what was crap about 80s metal.. not what was cool.

I might listen to this as an educational exercise tho..
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29th January 2006
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I was part of the " getting to know you" process when RTB joined the Darkness on the Eastern swing of their US tour. They demod all the new songs to Radar and I found his process to be really interesting. giant PA blowing back into the live room etc. I haven't heard the new album, but in the big picture of wretched excess, at least they paid their bill on time!
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29th January 2006
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yea he has always been over the top. one thing i like about him is how he uses tape compression. basically you push play and the meters on the tape machine peg and stay there until you hit stop on the majority of tracks.
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29th January 2006
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Even with a small DAW it is possible to goto 80-100 tracks when a producer askes for it. At this moment I am working with a producer who is driving me nuts because he wants more and more and more. A project with a rockband with lots and lots of parts, effects etc. The mixing will be extreme, because we have so many tracks.... But the fun thing is as we are working further and further, the whole thing is working more than great.

So when you know what you are doing it can be a really great thing. And possible if you have got your settings and gear working together
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29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTed
Apparently they recorded nearly 10,000 tracks and used 400 reels of 2" tape! There were at some points a 100 guitars layered together but possibly only for a couple of seconds.

Is it just me or does anyone else think this is unbelievably over the top! I mean at £175 a tape in the UK that's £70,000 in tape alone.
As rock stars with a debut album that went multi platinum, they probably loved the experience of 'over indulging' and working with a famous producer.. Probably a lifes dream for them to work with Roy, so what the heck, whats £70,000 in tape costs when you can lean up at the bar and tell folks about your session with RTB and the 400 reels of tape.

Who cares?

Besides it's all good material for their press officer and adds 'intrigue' to the record.

I am sure they enjoyed themselves...
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29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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Easy to figure this out. RTB gets paid, BY THE HOUR!

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29th January 2006
Old 29th January 2006
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I read the article too. I'm no big-shot but it seemed pretty ridiculous to me, too. Also he was talking about using 36 mics on the drum kit and having double that actually set up. Sounds like a big load of self-indulgent bullshit to me, but who knows?

At the end of the day the Darkness are always going to be tired, old and boring emulations of something that went out of fashion for a very good reason! That new single is almost identical to 'I Believe in a thing called Love', and that was never good anyway.

Just remember to take everything they say and do with a pinch of salt. No matter how much they say they aren't a joke just remember that they are. Whether that's intentional or not
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30th January 2006
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Cheers Jenre, at last someone sort of agrees with me!

Christ the 70's and early 80's are 2-3 decades behind us, surely that sort of over indulgence shouldv'e been laid to bed a LONG time ago.

Probably my main point hasn't even been mentioned though.

Are projects / press releases like this done just to put the smaller studios in their place and remind them that 'we are still the daddy!'

I mean we could probably stretch to 100+ tracks on the DAW, here but 100 times that and £70,000 worth of tape no way! I wouldn't want to, I try to get artists I have in to be brave and commit to quality and scrap a take that they say 'that's ok'ish maybe we could use a bit of that!'

Anyone care to comment on that, I still can't find any justification in my head for using 10,000 tracks for one album other than for that reason......To keep the fat cats clinging to their jobs in a faltering industry.

I've got no agenda against The Darkness or Roy Thomas Baker before anyone gets that idea. I'd never even heard of or seen RTB before I read this article yesterday. I can't honestly remember hearing The Darkness more than a handfull of times (they sounded ok, bit cheesy, nothing special) I haven't had a TV for years and usually only listen to non music radio.
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30th January 2006
Old 30th January 2006
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I think the Darkness is all about being "over the top". Their music sounds ridiculous to me, but I'm kind of impressed that they walk the walk. Good for them. And RTB.
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30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams
Easy to figure this out. RTB gets paid, BY THE HOUR!

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That crossed my mind as well
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30th January 2006
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What friggin board did they use to mix over 100 tracks??? I don't think I have ever been in the same room as a 100+ channel board.

Jules,

How big was that SSL they sold at that auction you attended not too long ago? Come to think of it wasn't the guitarist from the Darkness at that auction?

Cheers!
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30th January 2006
Old 30th January 2006
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I'm posting this reply as someone who has worked with RTB and I can tell you right now that he is lying his ass off. The man is the biggest mover of truth that I have ever seen. I could go on for days and days. Just know this the record sounds like complete shit. I can not beleive they let him mix it. The drums sound like ass and some of the rides are hoky as hell. RTB is a fraud, the man got really lucky decades ago and now his true face is glowing!!!!!
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30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pony
Just know this the record sounds like complete shit. I can not beleive they let him mix it. The drums sound like ass and some of the rides are hoky as hell.

Agreed.. ...in this case ,the excess is not justified..
I still prefer the 1st record.
I have Friend who's band RTB recorded/produced about 6 years ago..I could not believe how bad sounding,downright unlistenable their record was..
I literally threw it in the garbage..and the songs were OK..
I still love lot of the the Queen stuff though.
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30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoundBadge
I still love lot of the the Queen stuff though.
Yes, well, I think that had more to do with The band and Freddy Mercury.

Let's be honest, Freddy was the Idea guy, RTB was the guy lucky to be in the room pressing record.
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30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman
Yes, well, I think that had more to do with The band and Freddy Mercury.

Let's be honest, Freddy was the Idea guy, RTB was the guy lucky to be in the room pressing record.

prolly the truth
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30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman
Yes, well, I think that had more to do with The band and Freddy Mercury.
Let's be honest, Freddy was the Idea guy, RTB was the guy lucky to be in the room pressing record.
I'm gonna get flamed for saying this.......but 'Rhapsody' aside (which I think is a SONIC marvel, besides being IMO the best rock single ever)....well I don't think that Queen albums sound particually great. Great band, best singer ever, fantastic guitar player AND bassist (John Deacon often gets overlooked)....never really liked the drums or the sound of them, maybe that's why I think the albums are sonically not that great.

Led Zeppelin sometimes could be 'lo-fi' in a way that stills hold up in my book. With Queen I often wish it would be punchier and grittier.

The music is still great though
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30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker
I'm gonna get flamed for saying this.......but 'Rhapsody' aside (which I think is a SONIC marvel, besides being IMO the best rock single ever)....well I don't think that Queen albums sound particually great. Great band, best singer ever, fantastic guitar player AND bassist (John Deacon often gets overlooked)....never really like the drums or the sound of them, maybe that's why I think the albums are sonically not that great.

Led Zeppelin could be 'lo-fi' in a way that stills hold up in my book. With Queen I often wish it would be punchier and grittier.

The music is still great though
I woudln't flame you for that. Because I tend to agree.
Queen record wete great In SPITE of the recording.
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30th January 2006
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After reading all these threads about the mix engineers role and what makes a hit and nickelback and the darkness and over producing and all these other rules of how it should be......

I wonder...what difference does it make what other people do?
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30th January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman
Yes, well, I think that had more to do with The band and Freddy Mercury.

Let's be honest, Freddy was the Idea guy, RTB was the guy lucky to be in the room pressing record.
Yep stike
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30th January 2006
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Hang on, I am sure there was a lot of art (or artifice) to that production work

Overblown, grandiose excessive and perhaps, most envied?

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30th January 2006
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In defense of RTB and the band it could be said that the record- crap or nor-at least got released.

Wasn't there another once-famous band with a slightly eccentric singer going to probably much of the same measures as these guys here with NOTHING coming out of it eventually?

And I'm NOT gonna mention that Sgt. Pepper was recorded on.......
#24
30th January 2006
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BTW I spotted The Darkness's guitarist at the Whitfield St Studio auction in London, UK a few months back..... His hand was up and down like a yoyo - he bought a LOT of recording stuff. They must be building their own studio..

Who konws, perhaps they are Gearsslutz too!



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30th January 2006
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Am I the only one who sees the Darkness as a parody? I mean I think it's ingenius. Truely one of the funniest things I have seen. If it wasn't ver produced and over glamed, and if the videos didn't use all the cheesiest early 80s video effects, it would be pretty boring.

I think the point is that they are mocking all the excess. The fact that people take them seriously, or if they really ARE supposed to be serious is a scarey thing to me. And they got the producer of the style they mock to produce their album and mock himself even further? How genius is that??
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30th January 2006
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What isn't a joke and a parody? ....Coldplay are hysterical with all that high pitched whining and mock sincerity...Green Day are a parody of all that fake punk angst...Nickelback are a parody of serious "rock"...all that emo shit, hilarious...I don't think The Darkness are any more silly than anyone else...
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31st January 2006
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To Me, The Darkness are intentionally trying to be funny. It's meant for a good laugh. I don't get the impression that they are supposed to be taking themselves seriously. I see them in the same category as Weird Al, and equaliy as funny.

The other groups may be a parody, but not intentionally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11
What isn't a joke and a parody? ....Coldplay are hysterical with all that high pitched whining and mock sincerity...Green Day are a parody of all that fake punk angst...Nickelback are a parody of serious "rock"...all that emo shit, hilarious...I don't think The Darkness are any more silly than anyone else...
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31st January 2006
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These guys (The Darkness) are just having fun - they don't take themselves too seriously (that could be a definition for enlightenment) I heard both albums and don't really care for the material or productions - but like the early Van Halen - these guys know how to have fun - and I respect that! "Thing called love" and Randy's/Ozzy's "Crazy Train" are just simply fun tunes to crank the Marshall in a club. Are they pristine productions - no way - that wouldn't work. 4 tracks - 10,000 tracks - as the saying goes - one guy at the bar says "dude - are her tits real"? --------- the next guy says ----------- "who cares"!!!!!!
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31st January 2006
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Well I think it's called "make work".

And I think it goes on at every level of the recording industry.

C'mon everybody... you all know you've done it at least once in your careers...


And JP11, I couldn't agree more. It's really about how serious the listeners take the music. I always thought the production staff and the rockers were just in it for the fun.
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31st January 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnyclueless
To Me, The Darkness are intentionally trying to be funny. It's meant for a good laugh. I don't get the impression that they are supposed to be taking themselves seriously. I see them in the same category as Weird Al, and equaliy as funny.

The other groups may be a parody, but not intentionally.
Scary as it may sound, these guys ARE deadly serious. I spoke recently with someone who works with them and was told they get really insulted when people suggest it's a parody. To them at least, it's not. When they say Warrant are every bit as important as Dylan, they actually mean it!

Anyway, I saw them in King Tuts in Glasgow with about 400 other people before they got signed (but after the hype had hit in the UK) and I left after two and a half songs. The first track was an instumental - a pretty much perfect pastiche of "Let There Be Rock"-era AC/DC. Then for the second song he started singing - and all I could think of was Kenny Everett doing a piss-take of AC/DC. Bon Scott and Freddie Mercury could actually HIT those notes up there without resorting to ludicrous falsetto wittering.

Still, each to their own I guess! It's HUGELY succesful. I suspect the interview with RTB should be taken with a pinch of salt. Would anyone like to suggest where you could even TRY to fit 36 mics on a drum kit?
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