Pedal to the metal

Posted on Posted in news, Recording
Gunnar Frick playing his pedal-steel.
Gunnar Frick playing his pedal-steel.

Now it’s just full speed ahead for me with the recordings. And what a ride then. I am overwhelmed by the help on the drums, and can’t even think how it would have been without them. And the other day I also got some help with steel-guitar on a couple of songs by Gunnar Frick – an all-round virtuous (if there ever could be such a contradictory term, Gunnar would be the definition of it) playing most string instruments and keyboards on a level that significally increases the overall quality of my recordings. And he’s fast, and not to forget (and that goes for all people helping me with this), very encouraging and supportive. That really gives you energy.

Some background and you might get the picture: I ran into Gunnar Frick about ten years ago, when we recorded Blame it on El Niño with Hanif. Gunnar helped us out with pedal steel on a couple of songs that time (my favourite of those songs is really Halfway to hell). By that time, he was already known for being involved in most interesting recording projects in Gothenburg. Among other things, he had produced the first albums with his band at the time, Psychotic Youth, and a highly appreciated compilation album to raise money for Swedish salvation army – where many high class Swedish artists performed their versions of well known hymns (unfortunately not available online).

After the first time we met, he had gone full time professional, touring with a great number of well know (and less well known) artists – Ray Davis, Weeping Willows, Daniel Lemma and Ebbot Lundberg (from The Soundtrack if our Lives) to mention a few.

So, now you might understand how glad I am to have Gunnar’s support in my project, and I’m really running forward starting to believe this could turn out to be something now. But still, it will take a lot of effort to stand there with a finalized album in my hand. And if the logistics, coordination and basic construction of songs has required full focus, I’m now moving into a phase that is all about fine tuning and polishing to give the album a great finish. Cause even if I still have some drums to record, I have started to slightly focus on add-ons, just like pedal-steel. And when I do so, I find that everything gets more complicated in the mix. For every track you add, it gets more difficult make place for it, and it takes more and more sensitive handling to not get lost in production and end up with too much of everything.

That’s why I almost constantly listen to raw-mixes (to my family’s cheer joy, right?), in any kind of speakers and situations, when cooking, driving or just sitting in front of the open mix, testing different adjustments, and then back to some other speakers again. The actual recordings of an add-on might just take a few minutes, but I might find them un-usable and have to take a step back over and over again – not to mention the doubts you get when realizing that something sounds crappy when listening through the speakers on your laptop.

But I guess this is just normal creative headache – trying to close a project you’ve been involved in very closely. And I have promised myself to not end up drowning in details and never finish the album up. That’s why I have started this whole blog campaign, to set a deadline and tell everybody I’m really gonna finish this – until I don’t have any choice more than to actually do it too.