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Battlelore Studiodiary 2010 @ sounds2move.de
This week started off with Jyri's
final adjustments for his songs on the guitar. Jyri and Kaisa had an evil and
smart plan for this - Jyri did his guitars in the mornings, so that Kaisa had
enough time to get her voice opened up and working as good as possible before
hitting the singing booth. After the first couple of days, Jyri's guitar work
was done and Kaisa was off to a brilliant start with her vocals! The best thing
about this was that we didn't have to hurry - a few songs a day was the perfect
pace to get things done in the best possible way; enough time to really focus on
the details of the songs and try to achieve perfection without having to
compromise due to lack of time. Kaisa had done some amazing arrangements for
herself, really great ideas on the demos of the songs, and with Janne's (Saksa,
the producer) "golden ears" the ideas and details were perfected until the end
result was just what we all had wanted.
On Wednesday we had a visitor in the studio. Pretty much every time we've made an album we have been hoping to get real instruments to give the orchestrations and classical instrument "solo" kind of parts the right atmosphere and feeling - Maria has played her flute on all the albums, but that has been pretty much the only classical music instrument we have been able to use - and this time around our dream came true. Markus Vuoristo, an incredibly talented young cellist, came to the studio with his cello to play for a few songs on the album. The sound of the real cello is amazing - and it truly brought the perfect atmosphere to the songs. Besides the more "solo" kind of parts, he also did some guitar stuff with a cello to bring them a nice touch as well... We love it!
This week was really nice and relaxed - Jyri finally got to play minigolf after the series of unfortunate events with Maria that led them to end up in a bar instead, when Kaisa took him to play. More pinball tournaments, but still Jyri hasn't been able to kick Henri's ass and beat the 14 million points' record... We think he'll have to stay in the studio... Maybe we'll see him again the next time we hit the studio ;)
During one the last days there was a problem when one of the cables mystically broke down on its own... It sounded like Kaisa would've been breathing through her singing (which, knowing human physics, shouldn't be possible) or like someone would've been whispering or breathing directly to the microphone while she sang (which, unless one believes in ghosts, shouldn't have been possible either, since there was no one else in the booth but Kaisa). It took a while to find out what the problem was, but luckily Janne is such a smart guy that he figured it out before anyone started calling the ghostbusters...
All in all, the week went on by perfectly and the songs got done much quicker than anticipated, so at the end of the week Tomi came to the studio to start on his singing and growling parts as well. So, after week 4, Kaisa is finished with her singing parts, Jyri is finished with the guitars, the cello parts are done and Tomi has started out with his stuff! So, next week... More of Tomi, and a bit of flute with Maria.
Maria and Jyri's week started
with Maria heading to the studio on Sunday night with all her stuff (keyboards,
flute, stands, laptop etc.) and checking up on all the sounds, notes and
orchestrations she had planned for the songs. Oh, and of course drinking the
first studio beer. Nothing can happen before that!
On Monday morning Janne (Saksa, the producer) came to the studio and the first thing was to get everything organised and ready in the recording room... So we had to do a lot before even being able to record anything - especially since we wanted to check up on some new sounds and software stuff to get the latest and most suitable sounds for us. After all the physical labour it was time to go on to the creative part of things and "mental work" (or however you want to put it). The melodies and harmonies flowed by beautifully, and everything sounded really good. The song skeletons got more flesh around them, so to say, by getting the orchestrations and harmonies. Until. Our bass master T. Honkanen had added some great bass lines on a few songs, which completely changed the chords on those particular parts and Maria had to improvise new chords/melodies etc... The great bass lines rule the world! Other than that, everything went by smoothly as it always does with Janne "the golden ears" Saksa. He has an amazing ability to hear the chords, movements of chords and changes that happen in less than half a second, and then educate us of the impossibility of certain chords or changes... Unless we absolutely want them to sound like that - for half a second or less. Our answer is usually something like: "Umm... Huh?" Amazing ears...
As you know - studio life isn't all work. Mostly we do normal working days, something between 9 am and 5 pm, sometimes a bit longer depending on the day. And all work and no play... Well, you know. So, this week we (Jyri and Maria) walked around Hämeenlinna like tourists, taking pictures of cannons and the castle etc., and decided to go and play minigolf one night. Due to a series of unfortunate events we ended up missing the minigolf and found ourselves in a bar instead. Strange indeed. After the first bar we ended up in another bar. Maria got herself a "special studio edit" drink that the bartender came up with on the spot - she was the first one to get this drink! Don't really know what was in it, though... Some blackcurrant wodka and stuff. Great drink though, not too sweet! After the bar hopping we returned to the studio to our good friend, Juno (a really nice red wine), and our beloved pinball machine ("Back to the Future", which was renamed "Back to the Torture" )... Even after such a hard mental training Jyri still wasn't able to beat Henri's record of over 14 million points in the pinball machine - he did say that he wouldn't leave the studio until he'd win... Only the future will tell if we'll ever see him again outside the studio.
By the end of the week Maria was done with all of her keyboards/orchestrations recordings, Jyri still had a few more songs to go for the next week with Kaisa. On our way home we visited Aulanko (right next to Hämeenlinna), which has one of the most beautiful natural views in Finland... The last picture is taken there. This week ended with the Midsummer's Eve Feast - rai rai! Next week... Getting the songs closer towards perfection by our vocalists Kaisa and Tomi!
Ok, week 2... Jyri
got sick, so this week started with only Timo and Jussi present. If you know
those two at all, you'll know that, well, it never gets boring around them. Timo
especially always thinks of something creative and fun to do, no matter where we
are... And Jussi is always willing to try out anything and go anywhere. With
those two, there's always something happening! So they were expecting a fun week,
loads of work in the studio and of course the extra stuff besides the studio
The week started with Jussi's guitar work. His fingers grasped the guitar tenderly and played some impressive guitar riffs and compositions! Everything went on smoothly and Janne had great ideas again. Timo's week, on the other hand, started off with him going about Hämeenlinna (town) looking for some strings to his bass... Would be quite useful to have in the studio, right? For some reason he had a bit of problems to get the strings in the right places on the bass, but that was - according to Timo - due to the "getting prepared for studio" -beers the night before.
On Monday evening Timo and Jussi took some more studio beers and recorded punk-metal-sort-of-shit by themselves (the results can be heard on the youtube videoblog Studio DOKUment Pt. I), went for a walk with a camera, and well. You'll see the end result of that... Timo said - before the "boss" (meaning Jyri) would arrive on Wednesday, they had a lot of projects to do because after that he would have to behave and sit still. Timo's bass parts started out well, and things did actually get recorded as well - even though Timo only has vague memories of the WORK part of the studio sessions. The bass lines sounded really good, so Timo and Janne (Saksa, the producer) decided to keep the bass lines and changes they made and deal with the other instruments and vocals that might have to change due to these bass lines when it would come to that. (And it did come to that!!! Dammit. Check week 3!!)
On Tuesday evening Timo and Jussi decided to do another project with Jussi's "traditional karelian Kiertele" and Timo's "uncoustic guitar" and the video camera... They went to Aulanko, which is a natural park near Hämeenlinna in Finland, and has one of the most beautiful natural views. The weather was not that good - it was raining and a little stormy. Luckily there's an old "bear cave" (built by men, as we recall...) that gave them shelter and great surroundings to do their project. They brought some candles with them, lighted them up and composed a song together - and shot a video clip of it. This is the song and project you can see in Studio DOKUment Pt. II on youtube. An unforgettable experience, "a sort of a spiritual journey through the velvet courtain of time" as the guys put it, with a bit of a grin on their faces.
On Wednesday morning they headed back to reality and Timo continued with his bass lines. A lot of work to do, so Timo played the bass like a mad man... Over and over and over again, until the next song, and again, again, again... In the evening Jussi headed back home and Jyri joined Timo in the studio. Timo says: "I had to tell Jyri what we had done and what was still left... Luckily it was ok and the boss was happy. Although taking him to see the amazing view in Aulanko and getting him some studio beers may have had something to do with it... The only thing missing from the studio is a good Finnish sauna! That would've made it completely perfect."
The rest of the week went on with more guitars and bass, pinball and the outside studio stuff. The guys wanted to go swimming but the place was closed, so they ended up drinking beer and eating out instead... Not too bad ;) The pinball machine did not want to cooperate with either Timo or Jyri, so Henkka was still in the lead with his amazing score of over 14 million points! In between the pinball playing and other activities, Jyri started off his guitar work, but due to being sick earlier in the week, didn't have time to finish everything this week. And this time around we did want to make things as perfect as possible and not hurry or have to compromise... So the next week would be a bit of guitars with Jyri and a lot of keyboards and orchestrations with Maria!
Battlelore returned to the
studio in early June, 2010, after the successfull first visit to Ibiza (with the
excellent Hard Rock Hell Road Trip). The album will be done the exact same way
as the previous one, The Last Alliance; recordings at Sound Supreme Studios
(Hämeenlinna, Finland) with Janne Saksa, who will engineer and produce the album.
Dan Swanö will do the mixing and mastering for us again and hopefully, we'll get
the whole battle package out in the fall of 2010. We'll record 12 or so songs.
The working title of the album is currently “Doombound”. Stylistically, we have
returned to the old school style of songs with grinding drums and fast guitars!
This will also be our first concept album and all the songs will relate the
story of Tolkien's tragic hero Túrin Turambar.
But, back to the studio; Henri (Vahvanen) and some of the guys went to the studio on Sunday evening, and started with setting up the drums. On Monday morning Janne (Saksa, the producer) came to the studio - and the next step was to tune the drums, test the sounds and set up the microphones. Henri and Janne did some testing with different kinds of cymbals; rides, hi-hats, crashes, splashes, chinas etc. and added an 18" floor tom to the set. They also tested several snare drums until they found the perfect one. We do really want the sounds to be excellent ;)
After all the setting up and tuning it was finally time to start working on the new songs. The guys played the guitars and Henri concentrated on making his drum tracks perfect. Janne and Henri tried out different ideas after listening to the demo recordings of the songs, so that all the aspects of the songs could be taken into account. Henri says: "Working with Janne is really easy - he is easy-going but also pays a lot of attention to detail and has loads of great ideas for drums. He can hear what works with certain kind of guitars, keyboards etc. and that makes working with him even more rewarding." On Thursday evening all the drum tracks were done - Henkka "one take" Vahvanen is just too good a drummer to spend any more time in the studio! So, next week will be all about the guitars and bass... Looking forward to that!
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