In the last entry, I talked about the lead up to and the beginning of recording the songs that Skylines and the Horizon would eventually consist of. In this entry, I’ll be talking about the songs on it, what instruments I played, pedals I used, and bits and pieces of the mixing process. As these will get lengthy, I will post things in parts, based on the order that I recorded the songs in.
Without further ado…
Since “ALTG” was the most disappointing of all the songs I recorded in 2017, I decided to start with it. I wanted to be in a good place with that song after two different attempts at recording it.
I used the PRS SC245 Ted McCarty as the rhythm guitar even though the p90 pickups would generate a fair amount of hum, especially with a distorted guitar part. I went with the Muffuletta set to Ram’s Head for the rhythm guitar. After listening back to the rhythm, the e609 and r144 had a brighter and bassier sound, respectively, but I felt like I needed something in the mid range. I decided to pull one of the guitar tracks from the 2017 recordings and set it -12db and panned hard right. That track brought a nice balance to everything.
I forget exactly when I did it, and it might have been in 2011, but I added octave notes that played over the chorus in addition to the second guitar line I’ve always played. That octave part always sat more in the background, but this time around, I opted to bring it to the forefront and drop the long standing second guitar line to more of a background part. As cool as I think the old second guitar part is, I wanted the focus to be on the lyrics since the song is supposed to be a letter.
“ALTG” doesn’t have a traditional solo in it, but I still opted to use the Tele through the Angry Charlie side of the JHS Sweet Tea v3. I did the same thing for the harmonizing guitar part that occurs during the bridge of the song through the outro. Those harmonizing parts are one of my favorite moments on the EP.
The old bass line would play something that went more with the old second guitar part, but as that part was first relegated to a background guitar and has since been cut, having a walking part to match it no longer felt or sounded right and needed to change. Both the change to the bass and second guitar are relatively minor and didn’t affect the arrangement, but I think it helped tighten the song up.
Those are examples of the kind of minor tweaks I do to a song as I record and listen to it. Most of the songs on this EP have benefited from years of practice, recording, and tweaking to push in new directions as I’ve learned new tricks. I might not have that luxury with my next project, but I’ll be working on music more frequently than I have been over the years in addition to playing on Low-Fi, Nice Try’s songs. Hopefully that combination will keep my ears and imagination fresh.
Matt provided vocals for the song. Because of the difference in how we write vocal parts, he struggled with double tracking this song so I sang the double tracked and mixed his vocals to be more upfront.