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Re-Amping Strings To Save Time, and Recording Intricate Parts Track by Track
In The Studio with Razormaze’s Alex Citrone
I head you guys demo new material a lot.
We demo’d this album TWICE to make sure it was where we wanted it to be. With previously releases we’ve all listened back and said, “Crap, that really should be different.” We didn’t want to run into that scenario this time around and were thus incredibly cautious during pre-production.
Why did you decide to hire Pete Rutcho to produce this record?
We choose him because of the work he’s done with our buds in Revocation. Pete puts out the cream of the crop as far as crushing and truly modern metal releases go. We knew he would compliment our sound the way we wanted. Pete employed Shane [Frisby] to do our drum tracking because of his awesome facilities at the Brick Hit House.
What kind of sound were you looking for and how did you achieve it?
The album is currently in the mixing phase and thus I’m not entirely sure of what it’s going to sound like. But I’m certain it’s going to be crushing, huge, full of beautiful nuances and full of great production techniques, just like Pete’s other releases.
“Our philosophy is that live full band takes are just a huge waste of time”
How did you handle intricate strings while working under a time crunch?
Because of time and travel constraints, all the strings were recorded direct to Pete’s portable interface and then later re-amped. This is not a totally unheard of technique, but it was the first time we’ve employed it on one of our releases. It saved a shitload of time.
What was your philosophy on live, full-band takes versus individual tracking?
Our philosophy is that live full band takes are just a huge waste of time. For the type of music we play, attention to detail is key. If we all recorded at once, we wouldn’t have the ability to pinpoint our mistakes and we’d spend the better part of a year picking them all out. Track by track, part by part we painstakingly plowed through it!
Any special guests?
Nope. Not a one. Nobody wanted to be involved with this cacophony of madness. In all seriousness, this is definitely the most solitary and confined album we’ve done. This worked out for the better as we’re trying to keep everything under wraps until release. Plus nobody wants to hang out in Fitchburg for any reason. [Editor’s note – yes, this is true.]
What did you try to accomplish in the studio that you’re not able to do live?
I think the biggest challenge for us was figuring out how to best layer vocals and where to put harmonies. That’s stuff we never have the time or patience for in the practice space, so it was nice to finally hammer it out.
What were the toughest challenges you faced?
Trying to beat the clock on this record was INSANE! We had such a limited amount of time with Pete’s personal deadline and all of our lives getting in the way. We still didn’t make our mark! Hence why two months later this album is still in post-production. We had to blast our way through nearly 100 hours of studio time. We were totally fried in the end. Money was an issue, too. This has been our most expensive release (well worth it I might add) so we set up a Kickstarter campaign and somehow managed to reach our funding goal.
Any funny stories from the session that you’ll be telling for a while?
We very much enjoyed Pete’s collage of porn in his studio. It covered an entire wall. Trying to be serious while doing vocals was a process that required a whole lot of focus.
I take it that Pete’s mixing the record, as well?
Pete’s taking care of it all. God bless that man.
How does it compare to your last release in terms of style and the creative process?
I think it shows a healthy progression. Our last release was a stepping stone for us. It was the first record that Dave [Carlino, guitar] had a big hand in writing. It also demonstrated our newfound aggression and progressive leanings and a departure from the more traditional stuff we put out on the first record. This particular release amplifies all of these qualities. It’s more of a group effort, it’s heavier, it’s more out of the box and it kicks more ASS!
What are your release plans?
We’re currently out there looking for a label to work with. We’ll sign on with anyone who will throw in a Corvette for each of us, a hefty signing bonus and a cool band house for all of us to live in.
Album name: TBA
Studios Used: Damage Studios in Fitchburg, MA and Brick Hit House in Hyannis, MA
Record Label: Self-Released (for now)
Release Date: TBA
Producer: Pete Rutcho
Engineers: Shane Frisby and Pete Rutcho
Mastering: Pete Rutcho