Ozma recording blogs - 1999-2001
The following is a day-by-day recording blog of Ozma's first two studio albums. It first appeared on Ozma's official website, ozmaonline.com, which has since shut down. They were archived by a user on the OzmaFans Forum in 2006.
today, monday 10.11.99, was the first day at the studio. ryen and i arrived around 5:20 p.m. from ucla, and drums and amps were already set up by pat and jose, who had arrived an hour earlier. we waited for pat, who was out getting 3 eight-track ADAT tapes for the 24-track mixer to record to. bruce formatted the tapes (a 40 minute process); pat had locked his keys in his truck, and so called aaa. ryen and jose went to pick up drinks while pat waited for the assistance and bruce reformatted the ADAT tapes. once ready, pat, jose and i warmed up on battlescars and then laid drum/bass/rhythm guitar tracks simultaneously for: the ups and downs, if i only had a heart, rocks, shootingstars, and baseball. ryen made comments and helped decide which takes to keep while making a meticulous minute-by-minute account of exactly what was being recorded. we did rhythm section takes until 10:30, and from then until 12:15 jose doubled his heavy guitar tracks and we worked on clean-channel guitars and bass fixes for baseball. we packed up and discussed the possibility of a cardboard sleeve for our CDs instead of a jewel case and liner booklet. ryen and i drove back to ucla. approx. 8 hrs. studio time.
day 2 is finished. ryen and i arrived at 6:40, pat was already at the studio. pat and i recorded the drum and bass tracks for the song with the commuter music melody (still unnamed) and apple trees. we were preparing the keyboard/synth drum part at the beginning of natalie portman when jose arrived (around 9:20). we had some problems with the keyboard tuning - i knew the part in the key of A, which is how we play it on guitar... except we tune our guitars a half step flat, so the song actually sounds in A flat. i couldn't tune the keyboard down the entire whole step, so i took a minute to relearn the keyboard part in the key of A flat and then recorded it. then jose and pat and i played the rhythm tracks for that song, and afterwards for battlescars. battlescars wasn't sounding good, so we laid in a metronome click track and had us all play to that so we'd be on the same page as far as tempo. it worked pretty well... and at the very least, the entire song will sound professional, since it stays at the same speed throughout. bruce and i had a little chat about elvis costello, which turned into a chat about what was happening in music from 1975-1978. bruce picked on me for being an 18-year-old elvis costello fan; he's 37. jose talked about his tennis midterm, and bruce told us two stories about how he was beaten in the semifinals of a summer camp tennis tournament by a 13-year-old girl when he was 7 and about how his wife, who he has nicknamed "forrest gump," is an exceptional tennis player. she often beats him 20 games in a row before she concedes a match so he will let her get some sleep.
the 3rd studio day went particularly well. we arrived knowing we had to get relatively quick drum takes of apple trees, in search of 1988 (we had to put in a scrap metronome and acoustic guitar intro), and last dance (the transition into this song also required a scrap metronome track). apple trees was a breeze; 1988 took a little swindling since the tempo is so furious, and last dance was comparatively easy; they were all done within 2 hours after we arrived at 4:30pm. we listened to several tracks to make sure we were confident about the drum tracks, since this would be the last day to possibly redo any of pat's parts. we decided they were all quality, and i went to work on finding the glitches in my live bass tracks and redoing this or punching in where need be. we realized while listening that the entire commuter music and apple trees live bass tracks were acceptable to the utmost. fixing all the bass took until about 9:00pm. jose manned the donkey and we went through the same process for every distorted guitar track he had played live. we fixed the glitches, which were relatively minimal (he is known in some circles as coolhand felix), redoing tracks where necessary. each track was also doubled to provide for extra rock power. damien and peter showed up to keep us laughing, and we were all especially impressed with jose's guitar work on battlescars (the feedback he coaxed out of his marshall jcm 900 was particularly titillating) and in search of 1988. with doubled jose tracks in and all the bass parts fixed, the songs really started to sound like they have always sounded in our heads. we quit for the day at around 11:30. approx. 7 hrs. total studio time, making a cumulative total of 19 hours over 3 days.
ryen and i arrived around 4:35 on the 4th day of studio time; pat and jose were already there, and star got there not long after us. we began with jose getting his clean-channel guitars in at ever spot he had left spaces for them... there were small appearances of clean channel parts on almost every song, including commuter music, if i only had a heart, in search of 1988, and last dance. that took until around 6:30, at which time we switched setups to ryen's peavey amp and telecaster 50's reissue, got a good sound (which took a while - we had to work to get his tone to sound separate from the bass, and we had to run him through a noise gate to cut out a 60hz electronic ground loop hum that was occuring at a very low frequency), and started laying his rhythm tracks in on every song. it took longer than jose's tracks did, since a lot of jose's parts were live. battlescars especially took awhile; we ended up using about 3 different guitar tones and bringing in jose's donkey (a new american made stratocaster). there was a lot of comedy going on about the sports on the muted television... bruce and jose were both rooting for the mets (against the braves in the nl playoffs), but jose wanted to watch the hockey game (l.a./calgary) so bruce had to constantly ask him to switch back to channel 4. we recorded ryen's tracks for the song "baseball" while watching the playoffs... including a hilarious shot for the blooper reels in which a bunch of fans (about 25 of them) sitting on the first base line tried to lean over the flimsy barrier to catch a foul ground ball, and in the process wound up collapsing the barrier and falling face first into the warning track dirt. NBC ran the clip about 15 times... until we quit at about 11:45. approx. 7 hrs. total studio time, making a cumulative total of 26 hours over 4 days.
sunday, october 17th was our 5th day in the studio. ryen, jose, and i arrived a little bit after 2pm. bruce drove his girl veronica back home, and we began work around 2:30. ryen did clean tracks for baseball. star did all her keyboard tracks. commuter music was a little tough for her, but in the end she got the rhythm perfect and laid some very nice tracks down. we quit for the day at about 6:30; pat packed up his drum set and took jose home, kiori picked ryen up, and star drove me back to ucla. approx. 4 hrs. total studio time, making a cumulative total of 30 hours over 5 days.
the 6th studio began smoothly at around 5:30pm. ryen, my pal zach and i arrived first, followed quickly by jose and pat. the door was locked. we waited for bruce. when he arrived, we took a while getting ryen's solo guitar tone and then laid his and jose's lead tracks in on several songs. jose started with ups and downs. bruce came up with the suggestion for him to play the lead line an octave higher than he usually does (he normally doubles ryen), which added a pretty nice high end to the already gargantuan wall of sound we were trying to achieve at the end of the song. jose then played the same line 2 octaves lower, with an effects loop adding the same line 2 full octaves below that. all of that really fattened up the sound. ryen then proceeded to track if i only had a heart, baseball, shootingstars, and rocks (on which he played a rock-glory solo reminiscent of slash's golden days with guns n' roses). then bruce's power amp for his mixer blew a fuse and we had to call it for the day, at about 9pm. about 4 hours of studio time, totaling 34 hours over 6 days.
the 7th studio day got started at about 7pm after bruce finished mastering a CD for another band (the rubbernecks). we picked up immediately where we had left off 6 days ago, with jose's guitar tracks on baseball and ryen's tracks for commuter music, apple trees, and battlescars. ryen wanted the natalie portman vocal ttrack in before he recorded guitars, so we set up the vocal mic and went to work on that. the lead got done after an hour or two, and we spent the remaining hour trying to get a good background vocal track. we called it at 12:08. about 5 hours of studio time, totaling 39 hours over 7 days.
8th studio day started at 4pm. we listened to natalie portman and i doubled the background track jose had alread laid in. ryen put in his guitar track, including a good take of his solo. he then tracked the 2nd half of the battlescars solo; since it was not really a set melody going into this recording session, ryen basically improvised things and we all gave input until it was to our liking. i went through and did a couple nylon-string acoustic guitar tracks. there's an extended arrangement of the commuter music melodies at the beginning of in search of 1988 (pat played a very good creaky door - when i was playing the crap track on acoustic guitar just so we could get the rhythm tracks done correctly, jose opened the door to take a picture right before the band hits the E chord... it got erased, but we liked it so much that we re-did it with a mic on the door). the other acoustic part is over some of last dance. ryen then began his first vocal work, on the ups and downs. it was tough work, since this was his first shot at singing, but eventually we got a good track and laid in the b.g. vocals. we called it at 11:50. about 8 hours of studio time, totaling 47 hours over 8 days.
our 9th studio day started a little before 7:00pm. ryen and i arrived and chilled with bruce for a few minutes. we then listened to the vocals on the ups and downs from the previous night for ozma brand quality assurance. we went immediately to work on lead vocals for if i only had a heart, at which point jose and pat arrived. that took about an hour; we proceeded to shootingstars, which took an hour and a half. i then went in for the backgrounds on those two songs, which took some time. we ran through leads on baseball and got almost the entire song, but some of the high notes eluded us after a tough day of stress to the cords. we called it at 12:20 - about 5.5 hours of studio time, totaling 53.5 hours over 9 days.
10.29.99.1713 our 10th studio day started a little after 4:00pm. we did lead vocals for apple trees, baseball, and we attempted to do commuter music. pat made i then went in and sang a couple sections of commuter music, the leads for rocks, and the backgrounds for apple trees. to end the day, ryen, jose, and i all went in the quiet room to shout out the choruses of "rocks" while bruce stayed in the control room and made us quadruple-track our screams so it sounds like there's a whole lotta people singing. we called it at 12:00 - about 5.5 hours of studio time, totaling 61.5 hours over 10 days.
our 11th studio day began a little before 7:30. ryen and i warmed up and went straight to the vocals on commuter music. ryen was able to lay down a very nice track for commuter music relatively quickly, so i went in and sang all my parts, a couple harmonies, and that was it for that track. a notable funny - while recording vocals for commuter music, bruce went on strike, insisting to know the meaning of one our lyrics. he wrote "Bruce ON STRIKE!!!" in sharpie on a piece of paper and taped it to a pencil and walked around the room shouting demonstration chants. we sat him down and explained enough to appease him. the rest of our time, until about 11:40, was spent on our vocals for in search of 1988, which was finished by the time we called it a day. approximately 4 hours of studio time, totaling 65.5 hours over 11 days.
our 12th studio day (and last actual recording session) began a little before 5:00. i went straight in to do the leads on last dance, which went relatively smoothly, and ryen followed with his octave doublings and harmonies, which was also relatively painless. quite fun, infact. the 3rd verse was actually a discarded verse that we had planned not to use, but at the last minute we had a change of heart, and decided that it was quality enough to leave it in. many of the harmonies on this track (and even a few words) were decided at the last minute by ryen and i with bruce's advice. near the end of our work on that song, jose and lisa showed up to join the party. once last dance was finished, bruce and i went to the market for food while the others listened to older tracks and taped them for the car ride home. we ate for an hour and watched "whose line is it anyway?" which was hilarious to the utmost. battlescars lyrics came next, and again, much of this song was improvised - we went in not knowing exactly what sound we wanted to go for. hopefully it'll sound okay when it's all mixed. the verses are very soft and serene, and the choruses are purposefully as gritty and honest as possible. recording these two songs was one of my favorite studio experiences yet. bruce is a master of punching in and out of vocal tracks to assemble the best possible performance, and he knows all the studio tricks for when a note's just not coming out correctly, etc... it was a pleasure recording with him, and i think the band would agree with me on this one. anyway, it's all over now. we'll mix and master later in the month and we should have our first batch duplicated with full art by christmastime (what appears above is the tentative cover of the album - image design and photography by andrew bargeron and steven rynders of gimetzco, layout by gimetzco & daniel brummel w/ozma). approximately 6 hours of studio time, totaling 71.5 hours over 12 days.
RECORDING INFO: - OZMA: star wick (keys), ryen slegr, jose galvez (guitars), patrick edwards (drums), daniel brummel (bass). - the follow-up album to "songs of inaudible trucks and cars" - produced by ozma with bruce witkin - recorded & engineered by bruce witkin at pop squad studios, hollywood - tentative store release date: jan. 2nd, 2000 - currently untitled. possibilities:
- you know the story
- break dance
- rock and roll part three
- 20,000 tones
the first studio day for the doubble donkey disc! all of us are feeling great to be back in the studio and back hanging out with bruce, who is quite simply a fun dude to be around. we met at pat's house at 9am and got to bruce's by 10am. we set up drums in the main room, bass head (bruce's ashdown) and cab (my ampeg 4x10) in the side room, jose's marshall jcm 900 in the main room and his cab all the way in the bathroom. he first tried using his new 2x12 def leppard-signed vintage marshall cab, but we opted for a 4x12, which definitely had a fuller tone. the three of us tracked rhythm for maybe in an alternate dimension, the business of getting down, flight of the bootymechanic, and flight of the bootymadamoiselle. we took an hour break around 6pm to eat with bruce and his wife and daughter at the silver spoon, a restaurant around the block from the studio. approximately 10 hours of studio time, totaling 10 hours over 1 day.
at noon on our third day, we walked in and bruce was vacuuming the studio - we realized we had left the place in total shambles. ryen went to get coffee to wake us all up, and we got the snare drum rolls and soft cymbal hits for the "flight of yuri gagarin" at the beginning of the russian EP. then we began work on jose's guitar tracks for the bootysongs, using protools ampfarm distortion (we'll do the "naturally occurring" marshall amp distortion tracks later). when we hit the song "no one needs to know," we had to spend a fair amount of time working on getting the drum solo in the middle to sound as rad as possible - it's a very exposed part (just bass and drums) so we wanted to be sure to get the actual drum tones sounding sweet. work on jose's parts continued until 8pm, his tracks about 2/3rds done when we left. approx. 8 hrs studio time, totaling 26 hrs over 3 days.
the fourth studio day began with finishing up jose's ampfarm guitar tracks, including "the business of getting down." those got finished quickly (jose is incredible in the studio - very measured, and steady, but still really energetic), and we went to work on bass. bruce (co-producer) made the suggestion on a couple songs to take as much of the live bass (done when getting drum tracks) as possible, since the feeling of a bass player and a drummer playing together in the same room is a lot different than a bass player sitting on a chair listen to a recorded drum track and trying to groove with it. so, for the songs maybe in an alternate dimension, jose's bootysong, and star's bootysong (the airport themed song). while doing bass for tetris and no one needs to know, we realized that pat's floor tom was tuned to an E flat, except it was a slightly out of tune E flat... so it was sounding pretty funky next to the sustained A flat i play at the beginning of tetris. have no fear! pro tools fixes everything. we were able to digitally tune the floor tom up just slightly so that things didn't sound so muddy. everyone was quite happy. we wrapped around 8:00 and bruce set up 3 mics through his P.A. in the main studio room so that we could have a quick run-through of our set for the goat punishment show tomorrow. always very fun to practice in new places... though it was louder than hell in that room. approx. 8 hrs studio time, totaling 34 hrs over 4 days.
we came in at noon on our fifth studio day with only one bass track left to do - "you know the story." we set the amp and cab up and got the track, then moved on to some of jose's clean guitar parts. we used bruce's green gretsch hollow-body for a lot of these (alternate dimension, no one needs to know... and it sounded particularly good on star's bootysong). jose's guitar tracks done through his marshall cab (to double his ampfarm distortion tracks). having jose stand in the main room by his cab enabled him to get the feedback we deemed so necessary for songs like bootymaster, no one needs to know, etc. we wrapped at 8pm, for approx. 8 hrs studio time, totaling 42 hrs over 5 days.
the clock strikes 12 and we get ready to finish up work on jose's marshall tracks, for tetris, the business of getting down, and his bootysong. after that, ryen was very happy to begin work on his rhythm tracks, and it went relatively quickly until we hit the business of getting down, in which we had to spend almost a half hour doing a brian may impersonation triple-tracked guitar lead line right before the outtro. but you know the story, no one needs to know, and all the bootysongs are sounding great now that all the rhythm guitars are in. our final work of the day was done on jose's bootysong, for which we experimented with the wide variety of guitar sounds bruce's protools has to offer... approx. 8 hrs studio time, totaling 50 hrs over 6 days.
let's see, what did we do today? well, we started day 7 by finishing up ryen's clean tracks, which included the funkalicious guitar solo at the beginning of alternate dimension. we wound up with two takes we sort of liked... bruce came up with the idea of just panning one left and one right and leaving it like that, so, we did. the old ozma adage works again: if you can't decide which is better, use them both. anyway, we finished ryen's cleans, got some mexican food from los tacos, and went to work on star's keyboard tracks, which she played very efficiently (she finished them all in just a couple hours). at 6:30 we ate dinner with bruce and his family at the silver spoon around the corner from the studio. we came back and worked just a couple more hours, during which time we finally got to hear star play some flute on tape - i was so impressed with her musicianship today... she's maybe even a better flute player than keyboardist. bruce joked that he was near tears at how nice it sounded. we got a approx. 8 hrs studio time, totaling 58 hrs over 7 days.
friday, our 8th studio day, was all about ryen's solos. we did solos for a bunch of songs, although we hit sort of a roadblock when we hit the flute song, which i now think is going to be called something like "continental drift" or "this great divide." i wanted a guitar solo in a certain section, and i thought others knew that's what the section was for, but i hadn't made myself clear in our practices, because ryen didn't know what kind of solo to play. things got a little unproductive for a while. but other very good work got done, including the guitar solo on no one needs to know. our minds were on other things... like confirming the opening spot on the weezer tour, which happened around 3:45. we cut at about 4pm, totaling 62 hrs over 8 days.
had a fantastic day at the studio today, even though i'm getting sick, as is ryen, so it looks like we're going to have to postpone vocal work a day or two to let the colds blow over. we started the day with the bootymaster solo, and talk of how good bruce's show with his band supremium was the night before at the house of blues. pat and i were the buttheads of the day since we had told bruce we'd come and we didn't - he kept insisting the bass and drums were going to be a lot lower in the mix because of this. i was sick in bed at 10pm last night... anyway, i was still half asleep on bruce's couch until about 1 or 1:30, when we started work on the guitar solos in the flute song, which we were all sort of worrying about, but which turned out just fine. ryen rocks. we also ran ryen through a 10 watt squier amp to get the blues licks at the end of "the business of getting down." following that, the largest portion of today was spent working on the intro for the russian EP, which will probably be titled "flight of yuri gagarin." this work consisted of matching the samples we had of a marching russian army to the snare drum beat and rolls pat had given us, and of laying guitar, bass, and flute tracks over that. we left a little before 8pm, totaling 70 hrs over 9 days.
this friday was one of the funnest studio days yet. we went in a little after noon, and immediately got to work on vocals for the intro to the russian side. bruce set up a big blanket on a stand, to shield sound between two mics in the main studio room. that minimized the bleed when ryen and i went in to sing the "bum bum bums" you will hear at the beginning of the russian side. without the blanket, ryen's vocals would have been audible on my track, and vice versa... so in order to be able to adjust the volumes of the two tracks later, bruce set up the blanket. sounds complicated, but, simple, if you think about it. we did 12 takes of 2 of us singing the same vocals, so there are a total of 24 voices in the mix... which achieved the marching-russian-army sound we were going for. we sang the same thing (just 4 voices this time, though) for the finale of the russian side. soon after that, jose arrived with moranne as ryen and i were recording our token balalaika tracks, me on the russian intro and ryen on "no one needs to know." if you haven't ever seen one, the balalaika is a triangular-bodied guitarlike instrument from russia. they come in many sizes, although i believe they always have just three strings. ryen came into possession of a couple balalaikas, thanks to his parents, and one of them appears on this recording multiple times. we left around 6pm, to go play the surprise acoustic/electric show at no future in pasadena, which was a real treat for all of us, i think. i'd like to think it also worked as a thank you of sorts for our wonderfully supportive parents, who got to see us perform up close - at a place where they didn't have to plug their ears - for the first time in ages. we really do have the greatest parents, all five of us. i mean, not only do they buy us balalaikas, but more importantly, they support us when we decide to take time off school to do US tours with weezer. we love you very much. total studio time 76 hrs over 10 days.
we got started around 1 on vocals today. the first song to get vocals was maybe in an alternate dimension, which was for some reason harder to sing than we remembered it being... bruce suggested the "comp track" method, in which ryen records 4 vocal takes all the way through, and then we listen to those 4 and take our favorite parts and assemble one final vocal track. that worked well, and after ryen was done i laid the background vocal. i sang the line about "link the zelda warrior" all low and silly, and it gave everyone lots of laughs - but we don't know whether or not we'll keep it in the final mix. after alternate dimension we went to do the vocals for you know the story. the wailing sections at the end were particularly fun to record. any time you get to just go all out and scream into a thousand-dollar microphone, it makes you feel good, for some reason. tomorrow will see vocals for flight of the bootymaster and some others. total studio time 84 hrs over 11 days.
our 12th studio day was a bit of a bummer... we started at 2pm, all stoked to get vocal tracks on bootymaster, but when ryen got to the middle of the song, he proclaimed firmly that it was "too fast" for him to sing vocals. in the process of editing the song to make it a little easier for him to sing vocals, protools wound up crashing, and due to some inexplicable technological catastrophe, some keyboard, guitar, and vocal tracks were lost from bootymaster. i've seen a lot of stuff in my day working with computers... but this one stumped us all. we ran norton unerase on bruce's hard drive and we were able to track down almost all of the lost files... but we may still have to bring ryen's amp back to the studio to rerecord his rhythm guitar track. this whole shenanigan took from 2pm until about 6pm. somewhere along the line i had the realization that recording pre-written songs isn't really a creative process. the writing of the songs is the creative process... the recording of them is something like work (but not really, since it's fun) and something like performance (but not really, since you can take as many tries as you like to get a part sounding good). that could perhaps explain why i have recently been feeling a little unfulfilled creatively. as much as i love these songs, i am looking forward to getting this record out, performing these songs next to all our previously released songs, and starting work on more new music. anyway, i'm not going to count the time spent today in the log, since we won't be charged for it, but i am going to count the day as a day spent, since we were all at the studio and we all had to deal with the problem. total studio time 84 hrs over 12 days.
we straggled in on this glorious thursday afternoon by 1pm and began picking up the pieces after our little protools blunder yesterday. things turned out well, though - we got good bootymaster vocals (including lots of "yeah yeahs"). after that, we worked on continental drift, after lyrics were completed only minutes before they were to be recorded. bruce had to leave early to go to san diego for a 9pm show with his band supremium, so we wrapped around 6pm, making it only a 5 hour recording session. total studio time 89 hrs over 12 days.
starting at noon today, we worked on vocals for the business of getting down. bruce suggested we experiment with some doubling on certain sections, and so we did. after the verses and choruses were done, we set up two mics in the same room so ryen and i could record the ending harmonies at the same time. those were lots of fun... imagine screaming "get down to business" for 20 minutes. continuing with the double-team mic setup, we moved on to no one needs to know. ryen and i sang it once through to get a scratch backing vocal, then i spent an hour or so getting a finalized lead vocal. finally, ryen came in and fixed up the background vocal track. both songs are totally finished now, except for one jose vocal on no one needs to know, which we'll do when we record the leads for his song. with the last hour, we plugged ryen's guitar into the board to rerecord his bootymaster rhythm guitar track, and a lead on the business of getting down that we had forgotten to record earlier. we had to head into pasadena for the tibetan fundraiser show by 9, so we wrapped right at 7pm after 7 hours of recording. total studio time 96 hrs over 12 days.
finally, our first day of mixing! we're not even totally done with tracking yet - there are still odds and ends that need to get overdubbed and we still have to do the vocals on jose's song, but we decided it'd be best if we started mixing a little early so that we don't leave it all for the last minutes, when our ears may be tired. we started with no one needs to know around noon, bruce tweaked the drum sounds for about 2 hours to get them really right on... it was definitely worth it, the drums sound fantastic on this record! the entire mix was impressing us, and just when we thought bruce couldn't make it sound any better, he ran it through the "better box," a mastering plug-in for protools that bruce says "just makes everything sound better." it lived up to it's name... next was the mix for continental drift, and we wound up doing some overdubs in the process, like jose vocals and keyboards in the later parts of the song. we did a mix of that one by about 6 or 7, and we got a little work done cleaning up flight of the bootymaster before we wrapped at 8. total studio time 104 hrs over 13 days.
we took january 24th off of studio time to listen to mixes and drive down to irvine to perform on the sweater show (KUCI) which was lots of fun. camille, the host, even played a couple of the newly mixed cuts. read the show diary.
our second, very productive day of mixing started a while after noon, with the tetris cover (note: we did some research and found out that this music is actually a traditional russian folk song called "korobeiniki," meaning "merchants" or "peddlers." the words were written in 1861 by the russian poet nikolai nekreyev - though our version is instrumental only. in order to avoid being sued by pazhitnov, the maker of tetris, we will avoid using the word "tetris" in the title of the song). bruce suggested some reverb on the drums in the breakdown, we all agreed, and got a little carried away, deciding to reverse the reverb and put it before the snare hits, which makes the snare drum sound like a whip or something - a very 80s sound. perhaps a little over the top, but... hell... this is the recording we swore we would take all the risks with. anyway, tetris/korobeiniki sounds great, especially the triple-pick-slide near the end, which we ran through a light flange to make it really stand out. then we went to work on jose's vocals for flight of the bootymechanic, which was interesting and fun for all of us - ryen and i both have settled into pretty distinct, separate styles of recording vocals, but jose had never sang lead on a song before. turns out he too has a sort of style when recording. those turned out well, and i did my harmony, and then ryen did his "aah aah aah aah aahs," which were the last vocals recorded today. jose left at 6:30, after we had begun mixing "the business of getting down." ryen and i attempted handclaps for the outtro to this song, but when we left they weren't sounding as good as we wanted them to, so we'll see whether we leave them in or alter them, or what. we wrapped around 7:30pm. total studio time 111 hrs over 14 days.
today we got the bulk of the mixing work done, including maybe in an alternate dimension, bootymaster, and you know the story/outtro. a lot of it was work for bruce, so i got some good work done on the artwork for the CD, and i had some fun playing bruce's brand new upright bass! bruce, an accomplished bassist, is going on tour in europe with the french singer vanessa paradise (johnny depp's wife) in a band that includes steve nieve (keyboardist for elvis costello), and they bought him an upright bass for some of the more laid back songs they're doing. 8 hours mixing, for a total of 119 hrs over 15 days.
today, our last real studio day, was the "final mix changes" session. we had all listened previously and made notes about things we wanted to change, so we got right to it. a little more keyboards here (no one needs to know), a little less vocals there (you know the story), and more guitars everywhere! adam orth (formerly of shufflepuck) taught us one of our most important lessons as far as mixing rock records go... always keep the guitars up in the mix. in typical ozma fashion, we also left some of the actual recording until the very last possible minutes - first ryen and i dropped in our vocals in the "astronaut/cosmonaut" section of you know the story, and later on we found ourselves both in the main studio room, sitting around a single mic, ryen with bruce's beautiful gretsch acoustic and i with bruce's new doubble-bass. that's how we recorded the very first music you'll hear when you play the CD. it's a folky sound, just what we imagined for the introduction to the CD. i had to leave at 7 to get to no future cafe by 7:30 to sound check with at livingston park, a band i'm playing a little bass for (the frontman is mike elliott, formerly of tomracer). the others stayed there until 8 and burned CDs of the mixes, which we listened to over boggle at jose's house after the show. total studio time 128 hrs over 16 days.
pat and i went down to bruce's at 8pm today to do the final formatting for the CD, although bruce's practice with vanessa paradise went late and we didn't get started until 9:30. bruce had been listening to our CD over the weekend, and he had the genius suggestion to lower the EQ at 40hz, which really cleared up the sound, made things less muddier, particularly guitars. i can really hear the drum set well now, especially the kick drum, which was previously a bit clouded by the low EQ frequencies. good call, bruce! we flew the final mixes of all the songs into adaptec jam, the audio layout program, and adjusted the silences and determined where the track IDs would fall. by 12:30 we had 2 copies of what will most likely be the exact same CD our listeners will hear. we send it off to the duplicators tomorrow (or wednesday, if we find any problem with it tonight). i think i speak for the entire band when i say that it has been a pleasure recording these songs, and a wonderful few weeks with bruce's place as our 2nd home. now we send it out into the world and hope that these songs wind up meaning as much to you as they do to us. blast it. [metalsign.]
quotes from the studio:
- "what i like about [ozma] is that they don't write for radio. they don't write rock songs, they write miniature pop operas." -bruce
- "how can we record without burritos?" -ryen
- "i'm going to punch you in that big hole right there." -bruce
- "i'm sorry boston, we've failed you." -ryen
- "you guys look like you got deers in your headlights or something." -bruce (after first take of bootymaster)
- "just protoolyze it." -ryen
- "i like catherine zeta-jones... she's sexy." -dan (in russian voice)
- "it's just us and f--king bruce now!!" -ryen (after star left)
- "why does that bass drum sound like a basketball?" -bruce
- "anyone seen a king size snickers bar?" -ryen
- "your mom saw a king size snickers bar in my pants." -jose
- "that's richard simmons feedback... richard simmons played guitar on that part." -ryen
- "sleepy donkeys..." -star (paraphrasing dan's song from after the sacramento =w= show)
- "bruce doesn't have a VCR? welcome to ghetto recording." -ryen
- "is there a button in protools that will make me sound less like a little boy?" -jose
- "which part is the chorus?" -pat
- "what [nationality] is jose again?" -pat
- imatreeandurnot. "Old Recording Logs." OzmaFans Forum. 23 June 2006. https://www.ozmafans.com/index.php?topic=2012.0 Mirrored on Wayback Machine at https://web.archive.org/web/20210630222450/https://www.ozmafans.com/index.php?topic=2012.0