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Farmyard Studio, The Fixx, Stephen W. Tayler, Rupert Hine
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jdsowa
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#1
25th May 2012
Old 25th May 2012
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Farmyard Studio, The Fixx, Stephen W. Tayler, Rupert Hine

Not had any luck in finding info or photos re: Farmyard Studios.

Not too much info about The Fixx's recordings or Stephen W. Tayler's approach.

For me personally, I favor "Shuttered Room" and "Reach the Beach". Some of the best records from the 80s.

I know Jamie West-Oram has stated that for "One Thing Leads to Another" he used the Ibanez Blazer strat copy thru dynacomp and MXR chorus into two Marshall JMP combos for stereo. Lots of PPG on those records. Beyond that, don't know much and would be curious to hear more.
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21st June 2012
Old 21st June 2012
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Hello there! These records were really important to me, and represented an important milestone in my career. I have since done many other records with numerous artists, including the mixing of The Fixx's new album, 'Beautiful Friction', which I consider to be their best since 'Reach The Beach'.

Cheers

Stephen
jdsowa
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21st June 2012
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Stephen,
Thank you very much for responding! I will check out the new single when I get home.

Can you expand at all on the recording of "Reach the Beach"?

In particular, the drums--aside from one or two instances of drum machine, sound like they were recorded live, but treated in such a way as to sound synthetic. Perhaps slowed down some? Were you utilizing any room mic'ing, or are we mostly hearing certain digital reverb units? EMT 250? Lexicon? RMX16? Also, I'm curious to know what console you had at the time. Thanks again!

Jesse.
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21st June 2012
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Cor Blimey - it's such a long time ago!!

Drums on Shuttered Room were pretty much live, but on Reach The Beach we were sometimes using a Linn Drum and triggering some of Adam's drums using an AMS unit....

Reverb was usually done with AMS RX18 and Lexicon 224X. The desk was a Trident TSM, fabulous.... we later updated to an SSL 4000 for the later albums.

We worked really hard on creating Jamie's guitar sounds by mixing the two amps in stereo and compressing hard using dbx160s... with a lot of ducking of delays using keyed Kepex and Gain Brains!!

A lot of the dynamics were created by using centred mono sounds expanding to full stereo sounds......

A lot of the parts were premixed onto pairs of tracks so the mix almost took care of itself.

We had a lot of fun experimenting with the limited means available back then. Lots of flying in and triggering of backing vocals........

What can i say...

Stephen
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21st June 2012
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Oh, the new single is not my mix... but the rest of the album is.....

I think the new album sounds like classic Fixx.....

There were a ton of photos from back then, but sadly not of the recording process..... mostly all the antics the band and crew got up to while the recordings were being made.... sadly I don't have these! Farmyard was a residential studio in the country where everyone lived for the duration of the projects. Happy memories!

Cheers

Stephen
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21st June 2012
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Thanks!

Very interesting re: the drums. That would explain why certain parts sound like they're looping--must've been the sampling feature on the AMS.

What I wouldn't give to have been born a baby boomer & gone up through the peak of creative studio recording. Technology has plateaued and all we can do now is rehash and revisit. :(
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21st June 2012
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We were sampling the drum hits, not loops, although on some tracks the drums were programmed in the Linn and then retriggered... sampling times were very short back then! Back then 1 second stereo sampling in the AMS cost about £1,000, so by the time we had 10 second capability it cost about £10,000.... imagine!!! We had to do a tape pass for each triggered sound that we wanted to keep. Drum parts would be programmed with the Linn, and then the sounds would be recorded one by one.

We take so much for granted these days... it is no wonder we stretched the capabilities of tape techniques back then.

What was great was that we would commit each part and sound to tape as we went along.

S S S Saved by S S Saved by S Saved by Zero, was done in the same way!! triggered by the Linn, which was synced to the tape.

Cheers

Stephen
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21st June 2012
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Thank you for taking the time stephen. One thing leads to another has a width and depth and "groove" not even approached in today's production IMO. It stands the test of time, as does the whole record.
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21st June 2012
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Thanks guys!! I'm just listening to 'The Shuttered Room' again.

Always makes me feel emotional, and that there was so much instinct involved in those recordings. I can feel every fader move and the excitement in the room as it was mixed. Red Skies, wow, Lost Planes, which was one of the first tracks we ever did together. Amazing.

I always come back to this album to remind me of what excited me about record-making. Not perfect, but what attitude. Reality check.

I should listen to this before every album I mix!! It's not so much about the sound, but about the attitude.

Cheers

Stephen
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21st June 2012
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I always loved The Fixx and thought their records sounds great. If you put on them now they still sound fresh and modern yet still have the good 80's sensibilities to them.

Saved By Zero is still one of my fav songs.

Jason
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21st June 2012
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Saved By Zero - mixing this track was one of those moments when I got chills, it felt like it was going to be important. It doesn't happen that often.......

Cheers

Stephen
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21st June 2012
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The arrangements are truly a notch above most other records. There are little synth parts that crescendo at the end of an 8 measure section to lead into another part with some tension. A lot of bands don't even consider those sorts of dynamics. And then the songs have a lot of variety between the various sections, where there would be little background vocals and chants just to mix it up a bit 3/4 of the way through the song. I'm a big proponent of 'production'. It's nice when a band is open to outside influence to help get the most out of each arrangement.
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21st June 2012
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Recorded an instrumental a couple weeks ago in the style of these couple records:

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21st June 2012
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It is always a pleasant surprise when the person in question chimes in with the answers! Thanks Stephen for your response.

I always thought the Fixx were of the very best production back then and even now the guitar sounds are sumptuous, lovely, brilliant!

I was chatting with the front of house guy backstage in Boston when they played there in the late 80's. I had noticed that all of the guitar speaker cabinets were kept in a tall road case and the case had a mic inside and remained closed for the show.

Maybe you were doing live sound with them as well back then so it may have been you? Anyway, I thought it was curious at the time and have never seen it done by anyone since.

BTW they sounded great live.
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21st June 2012
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No, I never did live sound.

In fact, I went to visit the band when they were doing a rehearsal for their current live shows a few weeks ago. I suddenly realised that I had never had the opportunity to see them live... I've always been too busy in the studio and I was never in the same country when they were performing.

So it actually felt like they were doing a gig just for me.... I felt really emotional, and they sound absolutely brilliant!!

The Fixx are wonderful, and it means so much to me that I was there at the beginning, and am still involved with them now.

Do check the new album when it comes out.

Cheers

Stephen
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21st June 2012
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Great thread!

I truly love the FIXX.

Since I was 12, the second I hear the intro guitar chords to "Stand Or Fall"... time sort of stops for me.
I have to stop what I'm doing and just feel that vibe, it's so strong.

It's never changed to this day, that song has such a strong effect on me every time.

Great band, still underrated.
it's so cool to read these posts. Thank you Stephen!
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21st June 2012
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Stand or Fall.... shivers for me too!!

I actually played the sax on that track too!!

Stephen
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22nd June 2012
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Awesome!

Great job Stephen, those are some of the best 80's records.

I have rediscovered them on vinyl, it's great to hear them that way.

Saw The Fixx live about 6 years ago, they were completely amazing.

Kind of a fluke that I saw them, but I had that cool moment where you remember
how much you love a band, and you had totally forgotten...
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17th July 2012
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Beautiful Friction

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17th July 2012
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Props 2 u Stephen

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephentayler View Post
The new album, released today in the US

iTunes - Music - Beautiful Friction by The Fixx

cheers

Stephen
Just another who remember Fixx and agree with all the comments always great musicianship , interesting songs and the engineering and production were some of the best and when you hear a Fix Track it doesn't sound dated !

Props to u and the band good luck with the new record !

Was just watching a YT video od deep purple on the Jon Lord post live in the 60s doing sweet child in time amazing playing guess i mention cus Fixx always had great chops !

Kcat
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18th July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephentayler View Post
The new album, released today in the US

iTunes - Music - Beautiful Friction by The Fixx
I went to one of those quaint, old-fashioned places called a "record store" and bought the CD today. Only three songs in so far, but it sounds excellent, Stephen! Any fun info about the mix?

The band sounds like they are in fine form - great arrangements with lots of space, Jamie's killer tones, Cy's vocals are perfect, Rupert's got his atmosphere's percolating away better than ever, and Adam & Dan are still one of my favorite rhythm sections ever.
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29th October 2012
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Listening to the new record via itunes download as I write this.It's great.Saw them at the coach house in S.California this summer.I'ts like visiting another planet because bands like this don't really come around too often.The records are great but they bring it live too.If theres anything I'm missing from the new stuff is some of the fancy...really wide.. spacial stereo pitch shifting and chorus from Jamie's clean and compressed marshall JCM-800's.I'm being totally nit picky.Sounds like he used to get this width at the amps first with the mxr chorus and then it was recorded in stereo.Livewise it probably got too crazy expensive to lug around 2 marshall halfstacks and his rack and pedals in 2012,I'm a guitar nerd and a huge fan.
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