Being the composer of the track, lucky me got the privilege to play a wonderful Steinway and Sons piano in the Peel Hall. I’m no piano virtuoso, but I took lessons back in the day and still noodle around from time to time, so the part didn’t take TOO long to get right. The feel of the track is fairly calm and laid back, so I had the Dampening pedal on all the way through the performance – It made the sound a lot softer and less bright. I also made sure to keep a good length on the notes I was playing, as I wanted it to be as smooth as possible throughout. The natural reverb of the room was so phenomenal that I could have sat there and played all day – but we had work to do.
After some brief coaching from Me and Ben, Andreas took to the bongos to record one of the many percussive parts. We had him play fairly firmly, as the overtones of the drums came out best with harder hits. I was surprised how well the room tone played into the way the bongos sounded – it really filled out some of the space the sound was lacking. Soon after, Andreas and I warmed up our vocal chords for some on-the-spot vocal harmonies. I sang an octave below him and we overdubbed another melody line, making the whole arrangement sound pretty huge. It kinda reminded me of the Bohemian Rhapsody Choral section, but slightly flat.
Guitar wise, we chose to use a Fender deluxe (great for clean tones) and an Epiphone Les Paul (for it’s warm neck pickup). I wanted to reduce string noise, which usually lands in the higher register, so I rolled the highs off a little from the amp – This gave us a quintessentially warm and jazzy sound that worked perfectly with the drums we had already recorded. For a second guitar dub we drove the amp a little and reduced the volume on the guitar, adding a slight difference in tone that brought out more character in both tracks.
We managed to write the MIDI for the synth using an actual keyboard, meaning I once again had to channel my inner Mozart. After a bit of fumbling, we got a clean take and tidied it up in Pro-Tools.
All that’s left are the Shakers and Cabasa – fairly standard practice for both, though we used two shakers at once to bulk up the sound a little. Bish bash bosh, and we have a (mostly) finished track!