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Brian King on Tracking Layered Textures While Keeping a Live Vibe
What was your pre-production like on this project?
Pre-production was simple. We knew the sounds we wanted and mostly how to get them, although there was a lot of tweaking as we went along. There are a few sections with totally different feels throughout, so that was a challenge in how to make them blend together – yet feel distinct.
How did you choose the studio?
We tracked drums and vocals at Ice Station Zebra because Ducky Carlisle has the best drum sounds, is a great vocal producer, and all-around fantastic engineer. Everything else on the track was recorded in my home studio.
What kind of sound were you looking for and how did you achieve it?
I was looking for a 1950s calypso-meets-Spoon vibe, which equates to big roomy drums and trashy sounding, spring reverb guitars. The second half of the song is completely different but reprises the original verse melody, which to me is pretty special and tough to do well.
How does it compare to your last release in terms of style and the creative process?
This was released in conjunction with the A-side of our 7-inch single “Sweater Weather” and both songs are based around drum patterns, which is unique to my songwriting. The goal was to keep the arrangements as simple and natural as possible with a lot of vibe-y ear candy and a memorable drum part.
Did you use any special gear or recording techniques on this one?
I used a 1958 Danelectro/Silvertone guitar and a Mellotron [for] vibes and strings.
What was your philosophy on live, full-band takes versus individual tracking?
We almost always track individually. Thankfully, we’re all exploding with ideas so it’s better to not be stuck with something that one of us will inevitably one-up in the future.
Any special guests?
What did you try to accomplish in the studio that you’re not able to do live?
How to bridge the two distinctive sections. I recorded 10 tracks of various feedbacks and pasted them all together in a bizarre collage and it worked!
What were the toughest challenges you faced?
Lyrics of course, solidifying the bass part, and getting the best sounds and feel possible – but I think we nailed it.
Any funny stories from the session that you’ll be telling for a while?
Having Ducky and the entire band in the same room is always a hilarious time with too many great stories to tell. I think one of us made a joke that every band has a sponsorship waiting for them somewhere and that Fleetwood Mac’s was probably cocaine.
How did you handle final mixing and mastering?
Ducky mixed it and Roger Seibel of SAE Mastering mastered it for vinyl. The eventual album version will be sound a lot different.
What are your release plans?
We released it digitally and it’s the B-side of our 7-inch vinyl record, of which there are only 100 copies produced.
Any special packaging?
Just some amazing artwork by our keyboardist/singer Liz McBride.
ALBUM INFO & CREDITS
Band Name: Parks
Track: “Modern Fiction” (B-Side of “Sweater Weather” single)
Recording Studios: Ice Station Zebra + Motel California
Record Label: Self-released
Produced by: Brian E. King
Engineered by: Brian E. King (Motel California) + Ducky Carlisle (Ice Station Zebra)
Mastered by: Roger Seibel of SAE Mastering
Artwork: Liz McBride at www.lizmcbridephotography.com
· 1960s Ludwig drums
· Epiphone Sheraton guitar
· Matthew Girard’s custom Fiesta Red “vintage” Fender P-Bass
· Fender Nashville Deluxe Telecaster w/ Loller bridge pickups
· 1958 Danelectro/Silvertone U2 guitar
· Vox AC15 amp
· Vintage Premier Guitar Amp
· M-Tron II Pro (flutes)
· Roland Jupiter 8
· AKG BX15 Spring Reverb
· Baldwin Acrosonic (tack piano)
Have a unique studio story to share? Email editorial at performermag.com.