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-   -   The Dukes of Stratosphear (

Dr. Mordo 3rd July 2009 10:37 PM

The Dukes of Stratosphear
Two of my all time favorite albums. I am thrilled that you are fielding our questions - thanks so much.

Can you give some general tips on how you got the 'vintage' sounds?

I know that the gear played was classic stuff, but was the studio loaded with old gear as well?

Did you approach EQ differently than you would for a more modern sounding recording?

How did you mic the drumkit?

Any tips for those of us who want to make our records sound like 60s psychedelia?

Thanks again!

johnleckie 15th August 2009 03:55 PM

Re: Dukes of Stratosphear
Hi Dr Mordo
Dukes kicked off with a six track EP 25 O'Clock done at Chapel Lane Studios in Hampton Bishop near Hereford here in UK. It was run by a church guy doing gospel records and Stevie Wonder and Syreeta had been their previously. I'd done a Roy Harper record there (Work of Heart) and also Gene Loves Jezebel and later The Fall. It was great place in a chapel but pro control room. Trident TSM desk, Lyrec 24 track, Tannoy Golds or Reds 15" in Lockwoods built in and pretty standard outboard for 1985. And two Revoxes with varispeed for tape phasing.. very important for the making of psychedelic records! Mics would have been straight U87s 84s 414s 451s 58s 57s D12 etc. The credit for a lot of the sounds has to come from the band and in particular was Ian, Dave Gregory's brother, who just played weddings and really knew all the snare drum tunings and styles for different songs of the period. We worked fast doing 6 tracks and all mixed in 14 days. Recorded pretty conventionally but severe eq and treatments on mix. Everything is highly tweaked and blended. Andy P would say recording was getting all your best ingredients together and vegetables peeled and then you have to warm the oven and start to cook it. Before we started mix I made up a sound fx tape with miscellaneous sounds (farmyard. jungle, speech, doors slamming, laughing) and this was all banded and left running during mix and randomly spooled back and if we got a bit bored or there was a mistake in the playing, we'd just fade up sound fx and whatever was on there at that time we went with. Similarly with the constantly running backwards high hat loop used to create a surge.
Also lots of solos performed by me spooling tape across heads and fed into delays etc. A year later we went to Sawmills in Cornwall and this time we did 10 tracks in 3 weeks so a little more relaxed, but then we'd moved on from '65 to '68 so it was a bit more Alice in Wonderland psychedelic. Best fun was watching the band get into character to do vocals and Colin doing sawing wood solo on Collide-oscope. Cant remember much how it was all done...gearwise we didn't really go for vintage any more than I normally would if you know what I mean. All done on tape and Sawmills has Trident series 80 and the very wonderful Studer A62 held together with a piece of string!
Check out the re-issues and for crazy stuff or Andy Partridge Chats With John Leckie - Part One on Huffduffer

Dr. Mordo 17th August 2009 12:58 AM

Thanks so much for the response! I guess, as always, it isn't about having vintage gear so much as having good ears and hands manipulating whatever gear you do have.

I'll check out the podcasts, and thanks again for doing this!!!

Norman Lindsey 17th August 2009 03:12 PM

one of my favourite records as well !

VERY Psychadelic ! hooppie

i love those sound effects.the bass sounds are also very cool.

vonrichter 19th August 2009 06:53 AM

I could not resist piling on: I love the Dukes to death. I've faked people who should know better out and convinced them it's really a band from the psychedelic era. Total classic stuff.

yeloocproducer 19th August 2009 04:24 PM

Found this record in my teens and still ALWAYS love it. Really fun and one of the best retro records ever done IMO. Sounds amazing.