Recording "Salt" - Part 2: Guitars

20.11.2009 – guitars!

Here´s the next part of our little studio diary. This time it´s all about guitars and Swedish forests.


Wednesday, 04.11.09
I was picked up at Arlanda airport near Stockholm by our dear bassplayer, engineer etc. Teddy. I had of course brought him a bottle of Danish “Gammel Dansk” bitter, so he was happy. We went to do a little shopping, preparing ourselves to be locked up in the Swedish countryside for a week. And then on it went to Uppsala and BlueFlame Productions studio, where we´re going to do a lot of the recordings for the new album.

Teddy had to run a few errands, so I got a little rest in the garage, where I´m staying (actually it´s quite a big apartment, but houses are generally large in Sweden). At about 3 pm we started soundchecking. This went surprisingly quick, but we were of course just trying to recapture the sound that we perfected on the last album, so it didn´t take a lot of experimenting. We also had to import a lot of files into Teddy´s studio system – tempotracks, midifiles etc. But I actually laid down the rhythm guitars for two songs (“Away!” and “The Mad Sailor”) this first day, so we were already working pretty fast.

Thursday, 05.11.09
I had been quite ill during the night – maybe food poisoning or maybe just an OD on coffee?? – so I wasn´t feeling too energetic this morning. But I somehow managed to lay down three more rhythm guitar tracks (“The Desperate Poet”, “Tears” and “Weather The Storm”), before I went straight back to bed.

Friday, 06.11.09
Well, I was feeling pretty fresh again this day, so now I could move on to some of the more difficult songs. I started with recording “The Last Tribe” and “The Field”, and it really sounds awesome. I must have improved my playing over the last few years, ´cause things are done pretty quickly and it´s all pretty tight. That´s nice.

Now Teddy´s co-producer Fredrik Klingvall (also the keyboard player in Loch Vostok) arrived in time to see me heading into the monumental, technically insane track that is “Lost At Sea”. Surprisingly we managed to do all of this track today too, even though we were struggling with some increasingly annoying static noise in the studio. We can´t really find out where it comes from. Teddy thinks it might be because the power company has been laying down cables into the ground lately. Anyway, we went to bed early after a good day´s work.

Saturday, 07.11.09
Today I worked with Fredrik, since Teddy is trying to give up working weekends and spending a little time with his family instead. We did rhythm tracks for the two bonustracks “Sympathy” and “Discovery” and also did most of my different additional guitars (semi-clean guitars and assorted weird noises), but now the noise problem was really getting on my nerves. It´s very hard to focus on delivering worldclass performances when you can be interrupted by static noise any time.

However, we decided to wait ´til the next day to try and fix it properly, because now it was time to celebrate Teddy´s birthday (although a few days late). And that, in Sweden, means lots of hard liqueur, meat and outdoor jacuzzi – rock´n´roll!

Sunday, 08.11.09
This day kind of started off in slow motion. The guys had really been looking into the alcohol and suffered consequently. I was more anxious to get started on fixing the sound problems and getting some work done. But in the end we got back on track, got an OK sound with one of Teddy´s guitars and finished off the rest of the additional guitars as well as most of my solos.

Monday, 09.11.09
We got off to an early start in nice weather this day. It´s really cool to wake up with the forest right outside your window. I´m trying to get Teddy to adopt me, but I don´t think he wants to…

I finished the rest of my solos, which I think have become really cool. I had feared doing these a bit, because it´s really tricky stuff, but I mostly only did a couple of takes of each solo and then picked the best bits – my playing really MUST have improved. We did a few more weird noises – some e-bow things, feedback noises and Teddy even got to do a few solo licks in “Lost At Sea”.

We had a mid-day break and then went back to do the rest of my guitars (will this never end?). I did the clean parts, including a great part for 7-string guitar. How often do you hear someone playing a 7-string without distortion? Cool. 

Tuesday, 09.11.09
This morning we had a lot of desktop work to do – loading all my keyboard and synth parts, making safety copies, starting on the rough-mix that we´re going to use for the vocal sessions etc. This time we´re gonna mix the album here at BlueFlame too, so I was a bit worried, since I haven´t worked with Teddy on this level before. But it really sounds quite amazing already – and we haven´t even started mixing properly yet.

Next thing was my vocal parts. As always I do various talking, yelling and shouting parts as well as some choirs. We got most of the vocal parts done this day, so we´re almost ahead of schedule which feels kind of strange actually.

Wednesday, 10.11.09
So, this was the last day of this session. We did the last of my vocals. Teddy also joined in on our little folk tune “Water Of Life” (guess what that one´s about…). This song was really fun, because we got to sound like drunken sailors in a pub!

We did the mixdown that I´m gonna bring to Jailhouse Studios, where Patrik is gonna do his vocals, and finished up around two pm, which gave me plenty of time to catch my plane.

Now Teddy is gonna continue with recording his bass parts, so they can be ready when I return to Uppsala soon. Which means he will probably have more grey hairs the next time I see him… 

But more on that later. Stay tuned, folks.