thread: Seigmen
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Old 18th July 2016
Seigmen and working with what you got

Seigmen brought me to a village called Spydeburg, pretty much in the middle of the beautiful but nowhere-ish Norwegian heartland where we set up our session in a tidy little place named Studio Nova. They had a decent tracking room and a vast, galactic Soundcraft board nicknamed the "Bigfoot". Not my first or even my second choice, but whatever, I was going to make a great record out of it anyway. Sometimes you just have to work with what is available and shut-up about the rest. But there was no analog multi-track tape recorder in the room! Agh! Robert, the studio owner, looked at me with disbelief. "Why in the world would anyone want to use analog tape?" Plus I also wanted to cut the tape and would need a 2" splicing block, razor blades and splicing tape. Well that was pretty much an impossibility. The studio had already upgraded to an open-reel digital Sony 3324 machine and the analog deck and accessories were long gone.

I wanted to make a thick, aggressive rock record for Seigmen and knew the digital machine wasn't going to cut it - so I threw a fit. Within an hour, Robert somehow rolled a dusty Tascam Saturn 2" tape machine into the room, and miraculously we were able to source just enough tape stock for the project... so we were set. Oh, except... no splicing equipment! I generally will record several takes of one song then splice the best parts of the takes together to make a master rough edit of the song. Then further edit that master by tediously measuring the length of time between each kick and snare, removing or adding time into the tape to make the drums sound in-time and super-human. Same thing I do today with pro-tools, but back then it was done with razor blades!!!

So how would I assemble the Seigmen masters without a splicing block? Or a decent industrial razor blade? Or a white marker or proper splicing tape? Well, again, I just worked with what was available. I drew a guide on the flat cardboard cover of a book and used scotch tape to hold down the 2" tape while cutting. I marked the two places on the tape that I wanted to put together with a pencil, stacked the two marked pieces of recorded tape on top of each other and cut the tape at an angle with a rusty razor blade straight from the manager's face razor, then taped the ends together, again with clear, office-style scotch tape. And it worked. And the band was great. Noralf really played his heart out. You can hear the passion in his playing on "Total".

So that was one good story about Seigmen. It kind of dates us as being analog tape dinosaurs... but it is fun to think that at one time we actually recorded music with oxide coated plastic strips cut with sharp objects. It seems so dangerous today... hah!