Saturday, April 10, 2010

Time flies by fast. Hours tick like minutes, days like weeks. We´ve only had one day off during the whole process so far. Been working really long days. Is this a complaint? Hell no. Loving every minute of it!

The method of finnishing one song at a time turned out to be really afficient way of recording. Of course, Michael knew that already, but it is all new to us. We did record the drums and basses for all the songs in the first two weeks, but no guitars, keys or vocals. Normally any one song has taken 2 days to complete.

Day one, in the morning around ten, Michael starts to do the rough mix of the song done the previous night. After he´s done, Amen and Michael choose the guitar and the sound for the rhythm guitar track 1 for the next song. Then when that one is recorded, another guitar, another amp and sound, to double the track.

Then it´s usually already lunch time. We´ve grown pretty familiar to the local restaurants here in Mount Juliet. My absolute favourite being Chili´s, because of their awesome ribs of course. Sometimes we invade Olive Garden, oriental buffet, mexican and every thursday is the producers sushi night at Wasabi. Myself, not a fan at all of eating raw fish or anything that didnt live on land, but Awa loved thursdays! Oh yeah, and we loooove to grill!!

Anyways, back to the studio, it´s time to sing the lead vocals. My right hand, or should I say my right ear, Tracy arrived here couple of weeks ago. I scream in the booth, Michael and Tracy trying to get the best possible performance out of me. On this album, I have a feeling there´s a bit more of that cleanish singing here and there, much like on some songs on Get Heavy. But you´ll be the judge of that. Been really satisfied with my performances so far, they´ve all been loose and relaxed. Which actually means more energy and ass-kicking. After lead vocal´s done, it´s usually already ten or eleven at night.


Day two starts with checking the vocal, choosing the best takes. Then, it´s Amen's turn again. He comes in and plays all the additional guitars. And solo, of course. On this album, there´s a guitar solo on almost every song. Oh, and there´s also Awa's keyboard solo on one! Let´s see if that song makes the album. It´s gonna be harder than ever to choose the ones that are gonna make it, since every new song that is finnished is the new favourite.

After the guitars are done, we do synths. Quite a lot of them were actually done already in pre-production in Helsinki at our rehearsal loft, and that saved a lot of time. But still, choosing the right sounds for every part of the song can take a lot of time. We´ve had tons of different keyboards and synthesizers in the studio here. Millions of sounds to choose from. But I think Michael and Awa have been finding the best ones!

Then I go back to the booth, to double the choruses, sometimes also the pre-choruses and even the verses. Maybe a little harmony with my voice if needed. After all that is done, Kita crawls in and does his thing. Meaning harmonies, of course. Aaand that usually ends the day two, the time being somewhat around ten or eleven again.

But few of the songs actually did take more than 2 days to complete. Discoevil had a lot of programming and synths and loops stuff on it, very much like the songs on Get Heavy, Well, that song comes from around that period so in a way, that was no surprise. Call Of The Wedding is a ballad, but nothing like you´ve heard from Lordi before. Lot of clean guitars there for example. Actually, that one is not quite finnished yet. Bruce Kulick played the solo on that, and Jeremy Rubolino wrote the string score for it. There´s gonna be REAL strings on it, and they´re gonna be recorded in L.A. any day now.

There was also at least one another 3-day song. Which one was it... Hmmm.. I guess it was Granny´s Gone Crazy. We had to record a lot of extra stuff for it. Think Halloween theme, the scissors and low synth-horns. Think Alice Cooper. There´s little girls speaking. Weirdest approach on a solo you´ve ever heard from us is probably on this one... You get the picture. Lot of work.

Few words about our producer, Mr.. He´s a character. Funny dude. He learns Finnish language surprisingly fast by mimicking us, like a kid. And now after 2 months, he has a vocabulary of dozens of nasty or dirty words and frases. And he makes us proud by making up his own words, just by combining the words he already knows. And usually his words make sense, but without himself exactly knowing what he actually says. He likes the word PIPPURI a lot. Don´t know why, but he likes to say that word many times a day.

Michael is also a big fan of licorice and salmiac. Luckily our friends have been sending us some here. But we are running dangerously low already. God knows what will happen if we don´t get any before we run out..!!

Michael also has an assistant producer, who I actually think is the real producer, cat named Bamboleo. He comes in every once in a while and sits on the producers chair. Doesn't say much though, doesn't seem to be THAT interested in the music we´re doing.

Oh, while on the subject of adorable animal stories, a little yellow rat snake came to greet me when I was smoking at the studios back porch. It let me and Michael come really close and take pics. Calm little dude. Judging by it´s size, it was a young one, born maybe last summer. And meeting that little worm made me homesick. Started missing my pet snakes back home. And now, I really want a rat snake. Got boas, king snakes and corn snakes, but no rat snake. Well, that´s gotta be corrected. -L

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We started to record the guitars for the first song on 27.2 and 28.2. Our schedule was to record rhythm tracks on the first day and solos and additional gtrs on the second day. And that's what we did. No problem. I chose one of the easiest songs, guitar wise, to do first..just to get the feeling and get into the studio mood. It doesn't make any sense to record most demanding gtrs in the beginning of the recording process. Most important thing in the studio is to have fun. Of course, the record needs to be done, but it doesn't have to be "pain in the ass" -process. I couldn't agree more what this plaque says:

As I mentioned earlier, we have enough cabinets, enough amps, enough everything to achieve a mammoth guitar sound. In total we have 48 amps! Enough? I don't think so because two more are coming :D hahaa, crazee!

Check this video clip to get an idea how loud it is in the studio room – and in this clip there's only few of the amps turned on.

We have around ten different cabinets with several different speakers (G12H, Vintage30 etc) – miked with 13 microphones - whatta lovely number, isn't it? I don't even know all those microphones we use, it is Mr.Wagener's territory. He will later probably write a line or two in here as well.

About the guitars, I've been mostly using my Gibson Les Paul for one track. And various selection for other tracks. Depends on the song, what we use. Lot of people, well, mostly young guitar players :) ask me what guitar they should buy as their first guitar. I guess there's not one right answer to that , but I can tell you that it doesn't have to be expensive. Price tag doesn't make the guitar sound good. I fell in love with one guitar here at the studio, Epiphone Junior. It costs something like 200$ and it sounds killer! I don't know how it would work on live situation, but here in the studio it really rocks! I've been using it almost in every song so far.

Another favourite of mine, well, let's say my passion, is Steinberg. Michael threw it to me and said: ”This one should work pretty well!”. I was like what is this, it looks funny” :) and he said: ”it's a guitar I've been using on every single record since 1988, many guitarists have played it”. I was like, ”that's cool! And so, what bands did use this one?” And he was: ”well, you know, Skid Row, White Lion, here we go 1-2-3-4!” And I saw the red ”recording” light in front me. I was stunned. Couldn't play a single note!! :D Hahaa, it was a bizarre moment. I salute those bands and guitarists and I salute that guitar! And how does it sound? If you open your window you´re probably gonna hear it.

That's all for now..
Oh, I almost forgot -
these two little pals are having fun in the studio as well – they're everywhere and it seems that they are enjoying the music and atmosphere :) I have to thank Zayka for this great little Amen doll, it is so cool! Thank you! -Amen

Friday, March 5, 2010

First of all, to have Michael Wagener as a producer is a dream come true. I have been here already for a couple of weeks, but it is still really surreal feeling every time I open the studio door or while I'm listening to his heavy metal war stories while having dinner! This is just one of those things I couldn't dream of. All the effort he is doing for us is just unbelievable. I mean, he has seen everything, gone through everything, worked with Gods of Heavy Metal but he is as excited and motivated to do this album as he´d be with anybody else. What can I say? He's the man. Respect.
Alright alright, so here I am with the other monsters, in country paradise, in music city, making Lordi's 5th studio album. Life and food is good. And to be honest, I think we are making the best Lordi album ever! Yea yea yea, I know it's a cliché but that's the way I feel right now. At least there are all the good signs, and evil signs, in the air for an excellent rock album. And, if we wouldn't feel it that this is the best Lordi album, then we shouldn't do it. Simple as that. No compromises.

Studio is awesome. It's a place where you can easily spend a month or two.. I took just one guitar with me, my baby, "Gibson Les Paul Standard". It's the same guitar you can hear on every Lordi album. Mr. Wagener has a "couple" of guitars in here, see pictures. I guess we'll find a right one for each track :)

Saturday 27th Feb was my first actual studio day. It was about time! You know, I've been mostly at our Nashville home, playing guitar and watching the olympic games..well, it ain't bad, not at all, but it feels good to finally turn up the amps to eleven and nail down the first riffs for the new album!

Speaking of the wasn't necessary to bring any amps or cabinets with me, or what do you think about these pictures.. ;)

We have the cabinet which Skid Row used on Slave To The Grind album, (I know Mr.Lordi already mentioned that but I have to underline it), and then we have the cabinet which Skid Row used on Slave To The Grind album, we also have the cabinet Skid Row...okay, got it? :) But how cool is this: we have the amp Jake E. Lee used during his Ozzy days! About amps, we have those, a looooooot... maybe I post an amp list later..Yes, Marshall is very well represented. Me like.
So far so good. More is yet to come, stay tuned and I'll try to stay in tune :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Days 1-11

In our search for THE big sound, (and especially the big snare I might add), we´re happy and lucky to get Michael Wagener to steer the ship. He shall deliver the right sound and guidance for Lordi. We are really confident on that.Yep. So here we are in Nashville, recording at WireWorld studios. When we first step inside the studio, there was a supercool B-day cake with the Lordi symbol on it waiting for us, since it was my birthday when we arrived! What a welcome!

Michael already had set up the drum kit when Kita arrived to do his thing on his first day. And Kita was fast, finishing the drumtracks two days ahead of schedule. The sound of the drums is gonna be thunderous. They are huge. They will echo long after you take the cd out of the player. The way it should be. Me like. Oh, and for those who are interrested in this technical stuff; we are proud to say that there will be NO beat detective used on this album. And I gotta say, the feel is much more alive without it. Bands recorded without it for decades and survived. So... yeah.

The way the Big W is producing us, is very different from what we are used to. This is the first time since Get Heavy, when all the songs were actually really truly rehearsed by the whole band before hitting the studio. I couldn´t believe it, but even the lyrics were finished and polished several weeks ago. Usually I´d still be writing the last lines while we´re already in the studio recording..!

Each song will have a lot of focus this time, thanks to Michael´s way of producing. Every song will get the time it needs to be the best possible song that it could be. Max out the potential on each track. It started already when recording the drums. Several different snares were first tested, and then used, just to find the right sound and feel for any particular song. Same thing goes for basses. Quite a few were used. Even a fretless one, to get some rrrrrreally cool slides by Ox.

So yeah, the drums are done, and now even the basses are done. And Ox did continue what Kita started, laying down the basslines ahead of schedule. Excellent. Ox finished his job the other day and is going back to Finland today. Thank you Horned Bro, see you in two months and let´s make you a new face! Another technical trivia: Ox is now stomping his hoofs on the Holy Fire pedal. Sounds quite.. errr... ”oxy”. Meaning that it rocks and growls. Duh.

Awa arrived couple of days ago, and today she and Michael set up the synth arsenal. But still, the day 11 was mainly for guitar setup. 13 mics and who knows how many amps. Let´s say trillion. I don´t know, ask Amen. Oooh, but the cool thing is that amongst the cabinets used are the exact same ones that were used for Ozzy and on Skid Row´s Slave To The Grind. So, good things to wait for, definitely.

Amen starts his journey tomorrow, and so will I, as well does Awa. From this point on, we´re working on one song at a time. This means that in two to three day periods we are recording all the guitars, vocals, keys on one song at a time. Then rough mix and on to the next one. This is totally new way for us, and we´re psyched! This way, the focus will stay on the song at hand and every song gets the equal attention. It´ll be almost as if we approach every song as we´d know we´re recording a single. The first song to get the full treatment will be Non-Stop Night.

As for myself, I´ve been spending time at the WireWorld just enjoying the ride. And at the same time I´ve already started working on the booklet! Painted full paintings of 4 songs already.

Different approach once again, the visual image of the song is being produced at the same time the song´s being recorded. Cool. And it works both ways, as stupid or artsy-fartsy it may sound. I put up the finished painting of Devil´s Lullaby on the console while Ox was playing it, and I swear his bass sounded a little bit angrier right then... Nah, I guess that´s bullshit. Would be nice story though.

I guess that´s pretty much it for now. Of course I cannot leave you without these very important pieces of information:
-I´ve been eating a lot of ribs. Chili´s have the best ones, but I knew that already.
-There are live sharks at the local mall.
-Spencer´s were dangerously low on KISS merchandise, dammit.
-Our dear friends drum tech Joey and guitar tech Adam came from Chicago to see us for a few days.
-Seen vultures eating roadkilled possums and rabbits.
-There´s plenty of Dr.Pepper and Pepsi Max in the studio fridge. And a lot of candy.
-We now have ”Always Cake In The Studio Fridge”-policy.
-I bought a lifesize Chucky doll.
-Awa sleeps with a cat.
-Michael and Tina have funny dogs.
-We have red cones to guard things in the studio.
-Michael Wagener is ALMOST as childish as I am. So he is by far the coolest legendary German
producer in America that I´ve ever known.