Posts Tagged ‘2015’

Well, I’ve noticed this blog is packed with metal releases, so why not adding another one?
I do work on various other genres, I swear, it’s just that more and more metal bands trust what I do and contact me to produce/mix their work.

Anyway…What do we have here? A unique blend of black metal with heavy metal elements from this one-man band called Deisidaemonia.

Behind all this hides a great musician, Mr. Spathas.
Does the name ring a bell?
Exactly!
The genes have something to do with this, as this is one of the finest examples of cool-sounding extreme music with TONS of musicality in it. Like Father, Like Son.

Let’s get to the technical stuff. All instruments were recorded from scratch, except from the bass, which was brought to me as a DI signal. Guitar was a Gibson flying-V, while a different guitar was used for clean and leads, can’t really remember which one.
Vocals were really interesting to record: Initially I set-up my nice AKG condenser mic, carefully calculating the height, the distance, creating a nice headphone mix for the singer, getting a good balance….
Great sound…but this music demands energy, and this set-up wouldn’t work for the performance I had in mind.. So after a few takes, there was a change of plans: A single hand-held Shure SM57, CRANKED monitors in the room and a f@ck-headphones approach. This setup worked WONDERS. As a result, most of the vocals are continuous takes without any editing (well, maybe only the audio bleeding from the cranked monitors!)

Many details were added to complete the mix, acoustic guitars, synths, gang vocals and various audio samples.

Mixing wise, black metal is a genre that demands character. So, treble-sounding guitars, big and distorted bass sound, reverb on almost every element and sample replacement, nothing out of the ordinary here. This is what I call a “carefully unpolished” mix. Tons of experimentation as well, weird reamping techniques based on the room and not-your-ordinary-EQ on the ENGL amp.

Really proud for the final outcome. I believe I spent more time asking about Mr. Spathas Sr than actually recording, but I could really listen to Deisidaemonia all day. Good times!

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered during 2015.

 

Long time no see. No wonder, as I am serving in the army for the past 6-7 months. Well, “serving” would be more appropriate, as I am currently in Athens, which allows me to keep on recording and mixing various stuff.

Anyway, enough with myself, let’s dive in this great piece of work I produced.

Skandal is a doom’n roll band I started working with 2 years ago for their “Year Of The Cicada” EP. The guys have visited my studio twice for the recordings, travelling all the way from UK in order to work together. George (who is also a member of Forsaken Memoriam) is a personal friend of mine and the main member behind this band. So, two seperate sessions and all-day/all-night long sessions to make everything work just in time.

So, not your typical stuff here, we recorded various unusual instruments like bendir, saz, a bagpige and even a throat “thai chant” singer for this EP. I was lucky enough to choose the session musicians myself, and they did a great work, adding a special flavour to the ending result.

Real drums on this one, recorded on two seperate takes (always a challenge to place everything the same way after 2-3 months have passed). Many hours on vocal tracking as well. Guitars, bass, everything was double and triple checked before I delivered to Mr. George Bokos (ex Rotting Christ) who did mixing and mastering, with great results.

Great work, that has taught me a lot. Produced, mixed and mastered during 2015.

For the past 2-3 days I’ve got a cold, so this is the perfect chance to update this blog with some of my latest work.

So, to begin with, this is the first time working with Introvert Project, an alternative goth project from Athens. The guys knew what they were aiming for before coming to the studio, which made my life easier and the ending result really smooth!

The bass player was a friend of mine from Mist Of Nihil, who once again did a great job on bass duties. Guitar sound is a blend of 2 different guitar amps. Vocals (for the most part) are two different octaves, both audible in the mix. Worked really hard automating and humanizing the other elements of the mix in order to give them a more realistic character (piano, strings etc).

This is one of the first times that I had no regrets hitting almost every channel with really heavy compression and, in some cases, limiting. I then automated the f*ck out of everything, to bring those dynamics back in the game. This method really seems to work with this kind of music, but you have to be really careful not to over-compress.

A nice collaboration, check out their DIY lyric video as well! Produced, Mixed and Mastered during Summer 2015.

This is a special one for me, as Revolted Masses is the band I have been playing with for the last 7-8 years.

We had the great honor to have Fotis Benardo come to the studio and help us with the drums tuning and sound. He was also kind enough to lend us his snare (this particular snare was used in Septic Flesh – Titan album I believe).

So, real drums with an almost completely replaced kick and 80% natural snare, which is the first time ever I do something like this for Revolted Masses. Overheads were placed REALLY close to the cymbals and spot mics for the hi hat and ride cymbals were also used.

Bass was never reamped, as I was happy with just the DI signal, duplicated and heavily saturated.

My trusty Hagstrom (emg-loaded) was used for the guitar sounds, reamped through an ENGL Fireball and a Peavey 6505+.

Most of the vocals parts are literally one-take, as George is a great screamer and one of the best I have recorded so far.

We also had the the pleasure to have several guests to come and play for the album, from flamenco guitar to female vocals, as well as the guest vocals of Fotis Benardo for the song “Murder Ex Machina”

This mix has many similarities with the full length version. Lots of stuff happening mix-wise, for example there is a distorted snare whose volume in the mix is constantly automated, and parallel compression in almost every aspect of the mix. I decided to stay away from limiting and clipping, to give a natural feel to the (already compressed) mix.

Really proud for the ending result, and a grear experience.

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered during Summer 2015.

I am really happy and proud to present to you one of the best moments of my career as a musician and audio engineer. Greek people surely know this guy, but for those of you who don’t, Vasilis Papakonstantinou is one of the best and most famous greek rock artists with a big career starting from the 70’s and still going strong.
For his new release, I was asked to reamp the guitars for the whole record as well as perform the electric guitars for a song called “Nama”. The main engineer is George Archontakis, a famous artist with countless releases under his belt, and a guy I really look up to.
Production-wise, the reamping process took place at Vintage Studios, with George giving the general guidelines and reference for the desired sound. I brought an ENGL Fireball connected to a 2×12 Vintage-30s loaded guitar cabinet. A single SM57 mic was used, on the right spot. Depending on the song/part, we changed mic placement, EQ settings, even adding my trusty Maxon OD808 in front of the amp where needed. The final result was more than pleasing and everyone was happy with the high-gain sounds.
Playing-wise, I used my Hagstrom EMG-loaded guitar, using mainly the bridge pickup, except from the guitar solo. I was free to add some ideas, but the main structure of the song was already decided.
Some trivia about the song:
*)The main “hook” lead was initially meant to be played with a whammy pedal. I decided to try a double bend (bend->slide->bend) to imitate this sound and turned out great, so we doubled this part with a lower octave and kept that!
*)The guitar solo is one-take, first-take, without me knowing that I was being recorded. George asked me to “try some things” but he was secretly recording me, in order to play freely and spontaneously. After listening to it, we decided to keep it!
Working with these guys is a life and career milestone and a dream come true. I feel I learnt more from this experience than a year to any music school.

Recorded/reamped during Summer 2015.

Here is the album production for Mist Of Nihil, a Melodic Death band from Athens. I knew the guys before, as I have also produced the vocals for 2 songs off their “Light The Fire” EP.

At the time of the recordings I was also producing/mixing Aetherian, a melodeath band that shares the same singer with these guys. The challenge for me was to differentiate the two productions, and I am glad I managed to do so.

Guitars were recorded with an entry level Ibanez (loaded with upgraded pick ups) that needed a fair amount of high pass filtering to sound nice in the mix. Bass guitar also needed a LOT of compression to sound right, even going as far as note-by-note volume riding and automating EQ settings depending on the part. All vocal growls were double tracked as usual. However, these guys are extremely tight, to the point where some parts needed un-editing to sound natural (true story)

Mixing nowadays can be really creative, so I added many elements that the guys eventually liked: viola/cello parts and extra layers on many songs.

A really nice release, and a pleasant experience.

Recorded, mixed and mastered during Spring 2015.

What we have here is the first single of Matter Of Act, a metalcore/hardcore band from Kamatero, Greece.

This is a special occasion, because one of the guitar players is also the vocalist of Revolted Masses. I know the guys for quite a long time and it was a pleasure working with them.

Real drums, recorded at the Revolted Masses headquarters, with a 10mic configuration. Some sample replacement involved to achieve the desired result, and a lot of spot micing and post-editing to the grid. A Peavey 6505+ was used for the guitar sound and a virtual Ampeg amp for the bass. Most vocal parts were double tracked which was no problem for the more-than-capable vocalist.

It would be really easy for me to super-edit and sterilize everything, both mixing and playing-wise, but I chose to stick with a more organic and natural sound. This “Sturgis” trend is beginning to get on my nerves and I prefer to stay away from it (even though I respect it, for what it is)

Mastering-wise, I went full brickwall (never go full brickwall!), even clipping the errant peaks of the stereo track before hitting the limiter.

Produced, Mixed and Mastered on May 2015.