To the Batplane, Robin!
The good ole Cumulus greeted our cold- twisted faces with hotdogs and beer, which we still got from the lobby bar when we arrived there 01:00 AM. After the nightcaps, we fell back to our trusty room in order to sleep.
(Note to self- bringing your kid to swimming school, then going to sauna at home, watching tv in the sofa with a glass of wine, having a regular cozy family- oriented sunday evening....ONLY to suddenly hop into an aeroplane at 23 PM feels really awkward and otherworldy.)
As I told you earlier, it took us many days to polish the mix of the FIRST song. So, after spending half of my weekend on pondering what the fuck is *still* wrong with it, I made a huge list of "things to remove" from the mix and started my monday on doing as the list suggested. Which was nice, as after the tweaks, the song breathed way better. Even though we have a certain "progressive edge" on our music and have a lot going on in the songs, too much was too much and the butchering was necessary.
Later in the hotel room, we found the mix was now perfect after 5 versions and four days, hehe. We celebrated the evening by checking bad folk metal from Youtube. Did you know that at worst, folk metal is really the most horrible music mankind has ever invented? I´m pretty sure on that. Except for Heidevolk, which must be actually the best central European band on that matter. Suolaa, suolaa!
Oh yeah, I forgot to tell who we are. We switched Markus for Mitja this week! Marko couldn´t get any vacation from work so we have just been bombing him (and the rest of the guys, depending who´s with us and who´s not) with MP3´s of the mixes.
So, at this point we had one song ready, one 80% ready and had already spent half of our schedule. (no, there are not two songs, we were actually quite fucked, especially considering that these two were supposed to be the easiest ones to mix, heh) Next move was to finish the second song from 80% to 100%, which was done quite easily.
After the day at the studio, we got back to the hotel room only to find out it wasn´t cleaned because Mitja had slept until 12 and forced the cleaners to stay out. It´s amazing how three guys can fuck a hotel room up in one evening! It seems you only start to notice and appreciate little things in life when they´re gone. So, we bulldozed the empty beer cans, empty meal- boxes and newspapers aside and made room for creating another, even better mess. Then me and Ville headed to the sauna and had a quick swim. Ah, the glamour! Comparing a fully- equipped hotel with a sauna, swimming pool and Wlan with that gypsy camp hostel called Hullu Pohjola we stayed for the first 5 Kemi sessions (JUST LIKE REAL VIKINGS), we couldn´t help ourselves not to praise this luxury every evening again and again. Even though we´re exactly no princesses, one really appreciates clean, noiseless and functioning resting place after an exhausting day at the studio.
And as all serious rock stars do every now and then, we picked up Mitja from the hotel room (who, in his own privacy, had EMPTIED my laptop´s cookies and cache meanwhile! Probably because of...erm, virus danger? Yeah, that must be it. :D ) and went to have a late dinner in the hotel restaurant. Another piece of luxury to have a real restaurant downstairs instead of eating cold meat pies in your filthy bunk. Ville took my advice and ordered asparagus on his pizza, poor sod. While Ville and Mitja were watching Finland´s Pride from Youtube, I was doing crossword puzzles. How very metal!
Greetings from the Metal Institution!
Luckily I didn´t drink that much than some OTHER PEOPLE (ahem :D ) and I actually hit the studio with Mitja 10:30. 3 beers and soda for the rest of the evening = pure win.
After threatening Ville with violence to put the "please clean this room"- tag to the door when he bother to wake up and gets to the studio *grin* I was sent an SMS at 11:26, clearly stating that "yes, you nitpicking asshole, I DID IT. HAPPY?" with one picture and nothing else.
Being a nitpickin asshole that I am, I immediately sent him my response.
I wonder why everyone else are allowed to be lazy except for me? Oh yeah, because I´m an anally- fixated control-freak- studio führer and mixing the whole shit, how could I forgot that?
So....anyway. Aaaaand baaaaack to...business! Where was I? Yes, I still tweaked the second song and hopped to another. Reverb automation, panning, "that vocal line is 20 milliseconds too early", "that pad is one dB too loud here", automation volume curves...snare EQ tweaking from 8k up, bass compressor threshold levels.....who really gives a shit? I know you only read this for the off- the- record- stuff, don´t even try to deny it!
And frankly, I can understand it. You should have seen how bored the other guys were after listening me looping one guitar lead for 20 minutes in a row or trying to balance four different melody- instruments for one part. It´s a tough job but someone´s got to do it! I´d probably do it this way, anyway, than sleeping late myself and letting Mitja mix the album.
I think Mitja would also agree on that.
At some point, Blastmor from Thyrane (do they even exist anymore, actually? :D) ...well, anyway, Blastra Mer respectively, got the studio and we were supposed to go drinking with him. However, we were so horribly late from the schedule and he´s family needed him after all that we ditched the idea of being rock´n´roll and went to the hotel after working for almost 10 hours in a row.
Mötley Crüe would have been proud of us.
Or rather Satyricon, methinks. Where´s me fruit juice and Personal Rainer?
Luckily, we had bought (again) a crate of cheap beer to our hotel room, so we spent the rest of the evening"enjoying" that and all sorts of ÄIJÄ MUSIIKKIA we could find. Then we swithed to Killing Joke, Cure and watched Dom Joly from Youtube. This guy is pure genious. He´d prolly answer "I think it´s shite", but I respectfully disagree anyway.
We also talked about covering Killing Joke, so beat that, Legions of Play- Doh!
After drifting away from the Gothic Movement (tm) we banged some Mystifier and other fago stuff, had more beer, realized it was 4:30 AM and it was probably best to get that 5 hours of sleep before tomorrow´s studio.
Thor´s Day 18.11.2010
Last song and three cans of Red Bull. I skipped the omelette in order to sleep until 10 AM. A wise decision after last night. There´s not much to tell about this horrible, horrible day. I spent 11 hours on mixing ONE FUCKING SONG, which luckily was the last one on the list. Mitja and Ville bought me pizza (from which I praised them eternally) at some point and Ville got us some red wine and an extended sauna- session at the hotel. I wasn´t complaining- yes, I did the mixing but it wouldn´t had succeeded with the catering and moral help from the guys. Kudos!
Mitja took a plane home at the evening while Ahti banished us from the studio after being there hours for overtime. :D We had a glass of red wine with Ville, checked out the semi- ready mix of last song, were surprised how finished it already sounded, had hotdogs and went to sleep.
Last day inc, shitloads to do. Gotta be sharp!
I skipped the breakfast again in order to sleep! What´s happening to me? :(
After packing my uncanny amount of gear from the hotel room, I was ready to leave it for good and headed for the last day behind the mixing desk. After checking my THREE A4- SIZED LIST of fixes for ONE song, I decided to start with something else instead....and that was tweaks to the first song. (...) That song will never be ready. It´s cursed, really. It was ultimately the most painful to everyone to play and perform and now it seems that it was also the hardest to mix after all. (later I found out in the weekend at home that the mix had corrupted not once but TWICE, and am now having to use three different versions in order to create one perfect one for the mastering. The curse is upon us for REAL.)
Ville arrived at some point, while I was tweaking some backing vocal echo- automation.
He told me it sucks. I told him to fuck off and die in a fire.
No, my nerves weren´t starting to be wrecked at all.
The next five hours were spent tweaking the final mix of the last song, and at some point I realized I made it. I made an impossible task done and was fucking bouncing from excitement! It took me 17 hours (!!!) to TWEAK the last song alltogether, but it was now perfect and we could record it to the disk and call it a day. Except for that our CPU and RAM (Hi Jartsa and Kaitsu!!! :D ) started to tremble on the sight of the plugins, automations and track count. It took me and Ahti about an hour to figure out how to unburden the computer but we finally did it and got ourselves a mix!
After having now all songs on our backup- hard disk, we were ready to head for the airport and "Kohti Yhdeksän Nousua".
I got home friday evening at 23:00, ready to die. But as a happy man after all!
Thanks for Jukka, Ahti, and my fellow bandmates, this has been the longest studio session ever but also hands down the funniest. The music is quite far from the funniest we´ve done but probably be the heaviest and most oppressing, yet melancholic and even aggressive.
After the mixing I´d describe it as Kivenkantaja from Hell. Kivenkantaja- meets- Verisäkeet- meets Hävitetty perhaps?
You´ll hear it soon anyway.
Coming soon to a torrent service near you,
That thrilling "heart attack NOW and minus 2 years of my expected life span"- thing which feels like being kicked in the stomach? Don´t we all just love that feeling. I started my trip to Kemi with that particular seizure when I realized my wallet isn´t in my pocket where it was supposed to be after yesterday evening.
After throwing papers, clothes and whatever around our house, cursing very loudly, my spouse finally realized that it´s still in her bag as I asked her to store it due to my lack of pocket space.
Gotta admit I felt a bit stupid. Well, luckily I was to spend the next days in as stupid company!
And this is how it goes, ladies!
Captain´s log, Sunday 7.11.2010 13:30 EST.
With the audial evil of Nifelheim cranking from the car stereo, the road trip to hell was finally ready to start! Markus was driving, Ville (who blatantly stole the front seat!!!!!) was handing me cold beer and I was just feeling tired due to yesterday´s party at the Spinefarm´s new Label Manager, Mr. Teemu Suominen. Kudos for him and may he follow the footsteps in the neverending list of record label people Moonsorrow has driven crazy during the years.
So, the weather was nice and after 300 kilometers, the Koskenkorva was cracked open.
At some point the snow started to be more and more present, and suddenly we were in the middle of snowy wastelands. Did someone mention Fallout?
Then, the bad weather started....
....And we still had 400 kilometers left. Fucking ace! After several hours, Black Metal, politics and bad humour, we found ourselves from Kemi at 23:00. Check- in, unload and FOOOOOOOD!
Except that there was no food left and the restaurant was closed and we had to buy hotdogs from the front desk. The glamour of Rock´n´roll- lifestyle!
After unpacking a full studio monitor setup (two pairs of nearfield monitors and a subwoofer), a couple of laptops, ethernet hubs and all that geeky stuff, our mobile "studio reference concentration camp" was finished and we spent a couple of hours abusing Spotify, having some beers and going to bed...ahem, 4:30 AM.
Captain´s log, Monday 8.11.2010 9:30 EST.
5 hours of sleep? Really? We didn´t drink so much alcohol we´d get a hangover but the tiredness was quite crushing to be honest. However, after several mugs of coffee, omelette and fresh orange juice at the hotel breakfast we were ready to hit Ahti´s studio after 4 years of absence!
Yeah, well, nothing had really changed there. It felt like whatever year 2001 again. :D
We started with the basic sound and tweaked the drums for the first half of the day. Then I drank more Red Bull, destroyed the guitar sound and mixed the rest of the first song while Ville and Markus were smoking cigarettes and having a couple of beers. Then Ville tweaked his vocals, Markus was supervising we get angry enough sound and we finally laid down the first mix of the first song! Hurra!!!
After the studio, we went to the store and bought beer. Then the boys went to the sauna and I played World of Warcraft.
Then we did some test- mastering with the first mix in order to find out how it will behave on the final hand (yes, we are professionals ^^ ), decided to tweak it a bit more tomorrow and went finally getting some food. We found out quite fast that there is only one place that serves food after 22:30 in Monday evenings and it´s Jatan (Satan?) Burger...after walking 5 kilometers in a -10 degree snowstorm.
When we got back from our late "dinner" at 0:15 AM we had a couple of beers and watched old Finnish commercials from Youtube. Classy!
Captain´s log, Tuesday 9.11.2010 9:30 EST.
Another morning, another plate of omelette. And coffee! When we arrived to the studio, Ahti had decided he doesn´t still like the drum sound yet, and was tweaking it a bit more. During our "test- mastering" session yesterday we had also noticed some overall sound thingies that need to tweaked a bit and we had to take care of those too.
I did some overall balance tweaking with the drums after Ahti had done his stuff and we decided to make the sound a bit more violent. Ville´s vocal tracks were especially a bit problematic to fit to the final mix due to the extremity of certain frequencies.
Yeah, I save you from boring technical details. The sound is propably the most heavy and evil we´ve done, Ville sounds like he´s dying most of the time and the drums sound extremely good without using a single trigger anywhere. As usual. *grin*
After doing some reference testing and mastering in our hotel room in the evening, we felt the overall sound was superb and made a list of some small things we want to change before it´s final. Then tomorrow we´d just do those changes quickly and proceed to the next one.
After food we were watching shitloads of old Finnish comedy from Youtube and had a couple of beers. What a surprise for everyone? Yllätä itsesi- vedä läskit!!!!
Captain´s log, Wednesday 1o.11.2010 9:30 EST.
More snow! More omelette! More of the same song! More cheap beer and Red Bull!!!!
Is this a fucking Groundhog Day?
After two hours of intensive work (including notes like "Jörkkien tasaus", "Mummojen levitys" ja "Kuminauha on KVLT, älä koske siihen) we called the first one FINALLY ready and had now officially the first song 100% mixed. With all the basic sound now finally done, it was easy to hop on to the next one with the same settings.
It only took me about 4-5 hours to mix the second one into a shape it could be called somehow ready. While Ville and Markus were watching extremely absurd amateur videos from Youtube which were based on a Finnish soap opera "Salatut Elämät" and having some beers, I was desperately trying to figure out which of the 12 choir tracks is so badly out of tune. Life is fair, isn´t it! :D
We got the "first take of the second song" finished at 6 PM and went to the hotel to test it there. It sounded surprisingly good, but there is still at least 4-5 hours work left on that one. We´ll see. At 8 PM I packed my gear and headed to the airport in the snowstorm in order to catch a plane home while Ville and Markus were planning to go drinking, "this time for real".
I got home before midnight, slept 10 hours in a row, and realized I´m horribly late from work.
Captain´s log, Thursday 11.11.2010 9:30 EST.
So, due to my office- work- and family- related mundane life I was leaving Kemi a day earlier than the guys by plane, and they will start driving to Helsinki by Markus´s car on friday morning. Last day of the studio this week (we do 4 days this week) will mostly consist of putting the rest of the songs into the same "channel presets" than the others, a.k.a. the "shitty dog´s work no- one wants to do". :D I´m sure they can do it just fine with Ahti.
We will take the night- plane to Kemi with Ville and Mitja on sunday evening and if everything goes right, we´re supposed to get to the hotel just 30 minutes before the bar closes at 1:30 AM.
On monday, we start with omelette, snow, tiredness and Red Bull and continue living that cycle until friday when we should be finished.
More updates next week, peeps.
I just watched the new Triptykon video for the song "Shatter", and I'm completely speechless. That's why I decided to write this now.
Last Sunday I almost got a heart attack. I was staying in the studio after Saturday until the morning hours to patch together the files for the mixing. Everything went well, we got two songs ready to go, and then, the computer crashed. "So what", I thought, and decided to get on with it the next day.
When I woke up, I had a terrible hangover. How surprising is that! I went back to the control room, turned on the computer and went outside for a smoke. Having also had a chitchat with the studio maintenance, I was back in probably 20 minutes and somehow that goddamn computer still wasn't running. I stared back at the gray screen in disbelief, and suddenly, after a few minutes more, it started. I immediately checked that everything we did yesterday was in place and then ran the next project, which, uhmm, was...
See, that's why ProTools does automatic backup saves every 10 minutes. In the latest version everything was 99,998% in place, so I was saved of the heart attack. However, these kind of moments are NOT the ones I want to have in a hangover. If ever.
Now, everything's ready to go to the mix. I still don't know how the hell the computer erased a project no one even touched that night. Somehow I don't care either. No files are lost and everything sounds great. I actually just played it to our record label, and they were left speechless. As speechless as I was left after the "Shatter" video? How could I tell? I'm not a psychologist.
Now you'll just have to wait 4 months and you'll hear it too. Meanwhile it will probably be mixed and mastered.
So, what DID we do during those 4 mysterious days in the woods? Let me tell you in short:
Thursday, October 7th (day 19)
Sometime during the afternoon we packed our van (no, we don't have a van, it was our friend's van, capisce?) and drove to the middle of the forest in Southern Finland. The exact location will remain a mystery to you, maybe we'll launch a competition about it or something. It took some 4 hours to get there with all the stops we had for taking a piss and buying more beer. We bought lots of it. And maybe some food too, I can't remember.
When we got there, it was already dark. It was very interesting trying to get all the expensive studio gear from the car to the cabin. Luckily we have insurance. Or I don't know if we do.
When we were finally inside the cabin with all the gear, I realised Jukka had somewhat exaggerated. When I said "let's build a studio in the middle of the forest", I didn't exactly mean a studio. I thought he would probably grab a couple of mics and his computer. Well, that's how professionals work. I'm not a professional.
The studio was built within the actual room in the cabin, and a hazy storage room was transformed into a vocal booth. One night I had candles and everything there, artsy.
We didn't record anything but decided to crack some beers open and have an overlong sauna session.
Friday, October 8th (day 20)
Damn, I felt horrible when I woke up. Not because of the drinking, but probably because I had this clever idea of swimming in the 10-or-so-degrees warm (or "warm") lake water, just the night before I had to start recording my vocals! Then again, that's how professionals work.
We had a long and exhausting day just with one song. That was #5 (only a working title), a real pain in the ass. Jules was working for his money and really pushed me to the limit with every single take, consequenting in me losing my nerves not just a couple of times.
When the day was over, I sent a text message to Henri saying that I quit.
Saturday, October 9th (day 21)
I felt horrible again. This time also because of the drinking, not only because of the swimming. Which I obviously had to do again.
I decided to change one word in the lyrics for #5, so we re-recorded two lines. That's not going to affect our sales in Japan, I'm sure.
We didn't manage to start that early this time either, even though we planned to. However, this was our most productive day. We recorded two other songs and the result was somewhat mindblowing. I started to regain my "artistic integrity" and decided not to quit after all - even though we had to use the spoken parts from the original demo takes because I couldn't perform them any better, hah.
During our lunch break sometime late in the evening, when it was already dark, we ate some ribs with our fingers JUST LIKE REAL VIKINGS. Though I'm pretty sure vikings didn't have Blair's death sauces to apply on their food. Which we also applied on the vocals later on to get some authentic pain to the sound.
We had an overlong sauna session and some of us swam for the third time. The lake was getting hostile.
We also recorded some two hours of acoustic music, which will not be released anywhere anytime.
Sunday, October 10th (day 22)
Because the lake was getting hostile, we decided to record that one also. We now have it going non-stop on every track.
The day was spent with song #7, which was clearly the song with the most feeling and the most opportunities to do some "vocal acting". We all had a really good time doing this one, although "really good time" probably shouldn't be the expression used with such a song. Somehow it all felt like a piece of cake and we could quickly move on the some football choirs and random mumbling. Henri ordered from us some more vocal acting, so later on in a very drunken state, we set our inner actors free. He will probably regret that.
The last scream of the album was performed while I was strangling myself (all credit to Mitja for the idea). As I'm writing this, obviously I didn't die.
There probably isn't much more I could tell you. The rest of our time at the cabin was spent with some serious boozing, sauna and with the ever-more-hostile cold lake. Ha, "Cold Lake", now I said it!
4 days in a row in a cabin, middle of nowhere with a camera and NOT A SINGLE ENTRY ON THE DIARY. Seemingly it´s so hard to drin...ehm, perform vocal lines that there simply is no time to blog things up. Lucky for them, me and Marko were busy in Helsinki instead.
I believe you poor guys haven´t got a single clue what we´re doing, so I give you a hint.
This is not going to be your ordinary album, believe it comrade (BiC)! What was supposed to be an ordinary record with short songs turned out to be a massive concept album with sound design, acting (!!!! ) fear not, you will hear no "lines" whatsoever bullshit :D and a goddamn journey through the end of the world.
I´m so excited, and I just can´t hide it.
Yours, the fat bastard.
PS: And now, something completely different.
For those of you playing Carcassonne....have a brief look to the upper side of the picture.
Lakupaavi hasn´t left the building.
A bearded journalist No. 1
A bearded journalist No. 2
A bearded camera man.
Retardo Pagano strikes back!
Recipe for "Nasty Fisherman":
4 cl ice cold Koskenkorva
2 cl water with fish stock cube (to be boiled 1st then cool before serving)
1/2 boiled egg
1 filét of anchovy
Mix the booze and fish water together. Add the egg and anchovy in a tooth pick. Put in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving. Try not to puke!
This brainless paparazzi hits the studio every single day.
A synth wanker No. 1
A synth wanker No. 2
The sound wasn't quite there.
You can't lose with burzum sounds!
And the result was...
Today I had a blast doing some backing shrieks and I found out I wasn't 15 anymore. Couldn't do any Ihsahn, N. Culto, Nuclear Holocausto or Count. Fuck that. It's a really hard task to deliver extreme vox without sounding like a total idiot (who we all are!)