Beyond The Wall

I’ve just got back to England and started to recover after a crazy two and a half weeks in Alta, Norway. For the second time I headed up to the arctic circle to help out at a youth project called Gigant, hosted by the incredible guys at Huset in Alta. I assisted Oslo(ish) based engineer/ producer Vemund Vasshaug record three young bands and then headed to the Aronnesrocken festival to set up and run the club venues for some brilliant bands.

I was involved with Gigant last year, and it is a truly remarkable project. A huge group of engineers and producers from England, Norway and Sweden meetup to give young bands the full studio experience. I have to say, they’re a bunch of truly wonderful people who really make a big impact on these kids and help them grow their love for music. On top of this, they’re all incredibly talented.

This year I got had the pleasure to work with three bands; Free The Mooch, a Indie Folk band from Tromsø. Approaching Pluto, good friends of mine who play awesome party pop rock and Ironbound, who play a mixture of Thrash and Death Metal. Working with such a diverse range of music, with only 3 days to record and mix a track was a challenging but enjoyable experience. My best friend technology wasn’t very happy with me and Vemund and we lost a full day recording due to Logic Pro X not playing ball with our interface. Logic X really isn’t my cup of tea, and being English this is a big deal. But once we fixed everything, with the help of the Swedes we had a great time.

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12 hour work days are never fun, but having to do them in the studio with a bunch of great musicians is the best way to spend them. It really made me realise this is the right path for me and how fun all genres of music can be. I even got a chance to produce, helping Approaching Pluto write their lyrics and a new chorus for their song! I also learned some great tips from Vemund. The stand out ones were jumping in the live room with a pair of headphones you know well and moving mic positions until you are happy. This is much easier than sending in your assistant, or running between the live and control rooms. The other was using two mics on vocals. Yeah, this might sound obvious but it’s something I am now going to try 100% of the time on lead vocals. It gives you a thick, double tracked sounding vocals in one take. Especially when using contrasting mics, such as a sensitive condenser and a more dense sounding dynamic microphone.

I also did a lot of vocal and drum editing for Vemund. Logic 9 is great for converting your drum tracks to MIDI ready for some triggering (which sounded great for our Thrash/ Death Metal track). And LEAR MELODYNE!!!!! It’s fantastic. Not even for just fixing mistakes, but as a creative tool to create choirs, thicken up vocals, create backing vocals and more. I LOVE it’s formant shifting, the ability to change the tone of a sound, without effecting it’s pitch.

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The festival was also hard work, but luckily I had a great team of people working with me and it became a lot of fun. I also got to see Honningbarna and bloody amazing Norwegian punk band, it was literally one of the best gigs I’ve been too, even if they sang in Norwegian.

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Overall I had an amazing time and hope to be involved again next year. This experience has really confirmed my love for studio work and also my love for Norway.

Thanks for reading,

Liam.

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