Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Big "Thank You" s

To Andy and Vince for their friendship and positive and professional attitude throughout the production, and to my studio team of Jeff and James and Joe, likewise. Also thanks to Margret my European Manager, and to MJ and Anne in the Mute Studio Office, for all their hard work co-ordinating and facilitating - they were always there for me when I needed them, and nothing was ever too much trouble. Also to Daniel, of course, for his ever present friendly and knowledgeable criticism, and constantly pushing us to do the best we can.

Special personal thanks also to my wife for her patience and understanding and encouragement - I couldn't have done it without her. xx.

And thanks to a long list of genius talent that has built all the amazing tools that we work with.

What a pleasure and a privilege for me to work with all these amazing people and all these incredible tools.

Thank You God!

The final running order

Andy usually works very hard on the running order, and this album was no exception. He came up with a couple of good proposals but I had a particular vision for the first and last tracks, (I had produced and mixed these 2 tracks especially for this position on the album) and for the position of one of the other tracks and I really wanted to run this by him, so after the photo shoot we met up at Andy's House with the mastered versions of all tracks and I loaded them into iTunes. We quickly tried a few variations. Andy and I were both on a roll (especially because we were getting a lot of pressure from MJ to get this thing sorted out!) and we seemed to understood each other particularly well this evening. After about 90m minutes work it was clear that we were actually going to leave another 2 songs off the main album, and a beautiful running order had emerged. I burnt an audio CD and we took it into the living room to listen down to the whole thing. We cranked up the stereo and listened to the album from top to bottom, and we enjoyed it. I hope you do too!

Love from Gareth.

Erasure's biggest fan

The Photo Shoot

Last Monday I dropped in at teh Photo shoot - I wanted to have a word with V & A about the tracks on the LP and teh running order. They both seemed in high spirits even though Vince must have been very jet lagged:

I took some nice shots but I am under strict instructions from Sarah (press officer) not to load anything up that gives away "The look" of the campaign. Anyway, here are a few snippets:

Data details

So the album was delivered on two hard drives (each one containing all the Pro Tools and Logic Pro Sessions) with a third hard drive containing the complete Retrospect back up of the Logic and Tools work over the last 6 weeks. Also 2 complete AIT Retrospect backups of everything, and a DVD set of Multitrack Masters (wth Stems and Mixes) - one song per DVD. TV tracks and Instrumentals were also delivered as Audio CDs. After this I used the optical disk shredder to destroy older unwanted DVDs and CDs:

Ring Tones

Since the album started I have had "Blue Savannah" as the ring tone on my phone, and I really enjoyed the ring tones that Native Instruments gave away for Christmas, and that inspired us all, so whilst Jeff and I were beavering away at mixes, stems, multitrack masters etc we asked James to go throught the stems and create some ring tones.. I think he made about 20 - he had them all on his phone and he demo'd them to us. Basically they were little remixes of the tracks - combinations of beats and riffs. I hope everyone enjoys them as much as we did.

So much has happened

I hardly know how to wrap this Blog up, so I won't do it quite yet :-)

Jeremy did a great radio mix of the single, but I still wanted to do a mix for the album, with the original bassline and arrangement. This proved to be quite difficult for me personally because there already was such a great and big sounding radio mix. I finally made it, but in future I am always going to finish the album mixes before any other mixmasters do their radio mix thing, just for my peace of mind.

Also we had a lot of fun with running order and tryoing to decide which songs to put on the album an which ones to leave off - at times we were in completely different ballparks. For instance I initially suggested leaving off one track, and Vince said it was his favorite track. Woops. Same with Andy. I was SO surprised at this. Then the band wanted to leave off one son that Daniel and I really loved. So we spent a lot of time playing with different possibilities.

Whilst all this was going on, Jeff and I were fulfilling my contractural responsibilities by providing Instrumentals & TV tracks of all the songs, as well as "stems" for every song. ie Drums, Bass, Sequences, Riffs, Pads, Vocals and Backing Vocals all recorded seperately. Sometimes this will be 12 or 15 stems per song, depending on how much we split everything up. The stems are really useful for tweaking mixes later (should we ever need to) and for making 5.1 surround mixes.

Also we bounce out (consolidate) all the files so that we have a set of files (.wavs) that all start at the same point. This is the "multitrack master" and is useful for any remixes that might be done in the future.

All this took us quite a long time!