By Mike McGinnis
The point of no return. It’s not always the easiest concept to absorb. But approaching that point during the production of a record is both frightening and cathartic. After about a year of writing and almost half a year of demoing and recording eight new songs, we’re now approaching that point.
We left off last time with Fight Amp directly in the midst of vocal tracking, and a session that left us frustrated and spent. Well, as predicted, upon return to the studio we had exactly what we needed dialed in and belted out the remainder of these songs with relative ease.
We incorporated more of a new approach and sound vocally than ever before, adding a pinch more melody and harmony than on previous records. With the help of our engineer and co-producer Steve Poponi, we finished vocals with something that far exceeds any previous record we’ve recorded.
Now it was time to open another can of worms; mixing. We spent another week or so clearing our ears and then got to it. After some house-keeping type edits we spent a little time working with one song to get an overall tone that we could use on the rest of the tracks. The guitars and bass are always recorded extremely close to how we want them to sound in the end, so very little changed on that end. We spent most of this time on the drums, tweaking the EQ here and there to get get exactly what we wanted. We referenced two of our records for comparison quite a bit, Hungry For Nothing and Birth Control. We were basically searching for something that sits somewhere in between those two drum sounds, and we nailed it. After some vocal EQ-ing and tweaks, we used that general mix to get all of the songs close to where they should be. And that’s rough mix number one.
Mixing is a tricky process. Very stop and go. We spent another week off listening to the first mix and taking notes, then returned to the studio to spend the day going over both the general mix and specific parts. Bass drum up, cymbals too bright, etc etc.
I won’t bore you with too many more details on this end, but after about 6 more hours and going over each song with a fine tooth comb, we had rough mix #2.
Another stop. Another go. Vocals up, vocals down, vocals up, guitar down, guitar up…
When your notes start to go back and forth multiple times, it means you’re finished and it stops being a matter of what’s “better” and simply a matter of taste.
We scheduled one final session with Steve Poponi, listened to the record in it’s entirety, made a few last minute volume tweaks and called it a day with our ritual of celebratory malt liquor. Two days later we approved the final mix.
And now here we sit with a finished product waiting for the first master. Beyond the point of no return. Our job is basically done, and now we begin a whole new process working towards a record release and getting our live show back in order to support the hell out of a record that we put a ton of energy into. There’s something about this record that we’ve never captured before. Fucking energy. All killer, no filler. We can’t wait to show it to you.
** See Fight Amp Studio Report I (HERE)
** See Fight Amp Studio Report II (HERE)
** Fight Amp’s new album is out Spring 2015 on Brutal Panda Records. Keep your limbs peeled for pre-orders and other cool announcements.