The studio is the purgatory of every musician. This place stands for happiness and hopelessness at the same time. You balance emotions. Long-developed tone sequences are alternately eternalized, renewed and broken up.
This was the third Dark Ride Brothers studio session. At the same time, when looking at the level and the overall atmosphere, it was probably the most structured one. On our very first visit to the studio, we jumped completely into the cold water, because until then we did not even have a drummer and we had to integrate the drums into our music first.
The songs were quite well prepared for the second studio session. In hindsight, they were probably too ready. We are still 100% satisfied with the result. And that’s why our expectations for the third session were somehow contradictory: We would need both ready and “undeveloped” material. And this is exactly how we approached the studio this time.
One thing was clear from the beginning: once again, we chose Teemu “Mutt” Aalto as our producer. Our first songs were created in Teemu’s old studio inside an old insulite fabric. This time, we were in an even rougher environment: The new studio is located in the traditional industrial park of Karhula. While we used to record our songs between thick brick walls, this time we would enjoy the magnificent view from the fourth floor.
With four songs playing in our heads we went to Karhula. We had already discussed a couple of demos by e-mail, but we did not have any detailed plans for the tracks yet. Therefore, there were still some question marks in the air when we arrived.
The first ones to be in the studio were Joni and Teemu. On Friday night, we started building the drum set and looking for the sound, which was “fuller” than before this time.
The recording process itself starts from the drums. The drummer gets to hear a clicking sound while listening to the guitar and vocals of each song. Only the the drums are recorded. At this stage, we recorded the rocky “Our Song” and “Stetson Power”, which is guided by the Shania Twain’s sound. After that, it was already so late that we just fell asleep.
On Saturday, we started with the slower song “Swallowed By Clouds”, which is a relic of bygone times as it stems from my former band “Mosesgun”. However, the song would now become an entirely new shape, and of course that’s a very relaxed thing to do when the studio clock is ticking in the background… Teemu broke up the structure and rearranged the individual parts. Moreover, he removed the drums in the very beginning and thus created a certain growth within the song.
The biggest question mark – both for the band and for the producer – was the song “Burden”. We worked our way through it bit by bit and refined it with a portion of John Bonham.
Out of the string instruments, Henkka was the first who got to play. It’s a pleasure to see Henkka’s style of playing the bass: some kind of melting, equipped with a good groove. The bass lines were recorded with minor changes that Teemu made along the way.
The first guitar was the demo guitar, on which Joni played the drums. Now, the actual guitars were added by Vesa and Sven. Unlike the other instruments, the acoustic guitars were recorded simultaneously. At the end of the day, the only thing left to was driving two hours back to Imatra.
In the course of the following week we listened to many versions of the songs that Teemu had sent us pretty soon after the session. We immediately came up with some things that definetely would have to be changed.
The second weekend started with the recording of Risto’s guitars. This time, we used the harsh sound known from our live gigs. Risto played on his Squier Stratocaster, amplified by Teemu’s Marshall Combo. Except for two solos added later, we managed to record all parts on that day.
Next Chapter: The Fiddle. Jussi and Teemu spent a whole day together recording different parts of the songs. In the studio, Jussi has always been like a fish in the water. This time, once again, a large whole was created piece by piece. In “Stetson Power” Jussi paints an almost epic soundscape. Particularly noteworthy is “Our Song”, in which Jussi and Teemu have managed to create parts in which nine different fiddle tracks are layered on top of each other.
The vocals were recorded in three stages. Keith “Keke” Laverty has been our pronunciation coach earlier, and he supported us this time as well. Keke made sure that Teemu could focus on recording. Keke, in turn, was able to pay attention to the sounds, the pronunciation and the accent. “Swallowed by Clouds” is a very melancholic song and one could actually feel it when we were recording the vocals. The mood in the studio went right under the skin, on both sides of the thick glass.
The harmonies were recorded separately, with Risto and Sven on the microphone. This time you can also hear a guest vocalist who, with her honey sweet sound, makes all the songs a real treat for the ears, but more on that later. This much can be revealed at this point: The sound is absolutely amazing!
The songs of this session were created during the year 2017, and it’s pretty funny now to listen to the first demos that we still have as short clips on our mobile phones. The vision has remained, but Teemu has provided us with our own sound. The atmosphere in the studio was indescribable, and the days were long and intensive.
Thank you all for being a part of our journey!