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Studio VLog #001 | Recording Drums with Shattered Knees

Jack Longman Studio Vlog Episode 1

Check out this little VLog I made from a fun day in the studio with my friends in Shattered Knees, recording drums for their upcoming single "Wander". (Hit the subscribe and like buttons also!)

I say recording, but what we were actually doing was re-recording. This single "Wander" is one of the bands favourite tracks to play live, but somehow never really seemed to fit on their past two EP's. It's a lot more of a stomping, mid tempo song (Slipknot - Psychosocial vibes) and therefore I felt it needed a slightly different drum sound to their other EP's full of 210bpm ragers.

We spent the morning setting up the drum kit and getting sounds right in the control room (please ignore shitty camera audio) and then Matt smashed his takes out in under 2 hours.

As it's a much slower song, I took quite a bit of time on getting the low end in the kick drum to really thump. I didn't have an NS10 sub mic to use, so I just made do with the one AKG D112 microphone, placing it just inside the kick hole, as that's where I felt I got the best balance of attack from the beater and low end from the drum. I then made sure that the other mics enforced this low end as much as possible across the board (literally lol).

His cymbal set up was quite wide (a change from last time) and I wasn't up for having loads of spot mics on the go to avoid phase nightmares, so I decided to opt for AKG-C214 large diaphragm condenser mics to capture a slightly larger image of the kit, instead of using small diaphragm/pencil microphones (my usual approach for heavy drums).

Matt Chivers Drummer recording with Jack Longman at Soundlab Studios

For room mics, I wanted a mono mic to add some bloom to the snare in the center of the mix but also felt that there would be more room for a stereo pair, as this song features a lot more 'mid tempo' long drum fills on the toms and I wanted some space around them and also wanted to change up the sound of the drums in the middle eight.

I work in a relatively small and dead sounding live room. It sounds great, but relatively boring for drum room mics (this was a conscious decision made when the studio was built, as if it were a lively room the cymbals would be hell and the room would sound awful), so in order to create the sense of more space in the room mics, I placed two SM58s at the opposite ends of the room facing away from the kit.

Now whilst SM58s are relatively unsexy to most, in my opinion the mid range on them is not to be underestimated and they are also very directional, so facing them away from the kit not only deters loads of the cymbal spill but it also creates a delay on the snare and makes the room sound just that little bit bigger than it actually is.

To dull the top end down a little bit more on these mics, I simply threw everyones hoodies over them. Yes, it looked dreadful and wouldn't get any Instagram likes if someone photographed it, but it made the drum sound better. They don't you teach you that at audio college!

We then decided to re-record guitars afterwards (which unfortunately didn't get filmed) using the custom "Roman Amplifications" boutique amp that they have at Soundlab Studios and I'm really happy with how it's sounding. We kept the pedal chain pretty simple, just a tube screamer and a noise suppressor, with an MXR EQ pedal to take out some mud, having the gain of the amp set to about 12 o clock. Frank used two guitars for the tracking, as doubling the guitar left and right with a different guitar gives you a much wider sound than changing pedals/amps does.

Roman Amplications Boutique Guitar Amp

With vocals and bass having already being recorded from previous sessions and sounding great, after a little bit of editing work all that will be left for me to do is mix it! And I can't wait! I'm really proud of how everything sounds and the song is a banger start to finish.

Jack Longman and Shattered Knees at Soundlab Studios

If you'd like me to work on some music for you, be that recording/production work or mixing, or have any questions for me please don't hesitate to get in touch:

Jack xx

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