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Into the Abyss – Studio recording part 1

In December of last year we started  recording  our next EP !  We got the green light to record the drums ourselves (because Ralph was in the U.S.). Of course we had certain guidelines to  follow when recording – ala Hell’s Kitchen!

Our producer Ralph Santolla lives in the U.S. and comes every month, and at those times we  have to do as much work as possible. In December, he came over a week before Christmas to work on the  the EP, so we tried to get as much work done as we could in that time frame . Especially when one song needed to be finished ASAP, because we needed it for a music video…

Anyway, the story begins here …

The road to The Abyss studio in Dalarna was dark and cold as we went on a Friday evening in the middle of winter. Mio and Erik went and switched driving alternately. What would take 4 hours to drive took instead 6 hours due to the slippery road. All cars drove like in slow motion to not slip off the road.

Once we got there Tommy Tägtgren  seemed to have forgetten what day we would come. When we talked about it before we kept switching dates , so no wonder. He was pretty tired and hung over after the Sabaton cruise! His brother Peter helped him and opened the studio  for us. It was pretty cold because the house was not heated and it was very dark because almost all fuses except for the ones to the studio were  broken! We kept ourselves close to the elements and learned to find everything we needed in the dark by using our cell phones! We also discovered that in these parts of Sweden you have to have Telia as service your provider, otherwise you can forget about calling someone or roaming.

We sat down and took a few beers while we awaited D-Day , when the recording would begin. We walked around as it was the first time we were there and checked out all the stickers and CDs from bands that recorded there before. We picked out a few CDs in the pile of albums and turned on the mini-stereo. After a while we started to play a beer-soaked  version of the game of Ludo.

On the morning of  D-Day we had breakfast and then Mio and I got on our way to to the small town Ludvika’s single electronics market to buy a firewire hard drive. The one we had with us was not working. In that little route, we managed to get lost two times, mostly because of me not learning her motorcycle gps .. It says “turn left in 50 meters” … but it really says “turn left NOW !!!!” * Sigh * Poor Eric and Sandra had to wait for us after the rigging the drums since Mio had to bounce the click  files before the start of the recording.

Finally we could get started, Mio bounced the wav files at full speed. The ready-made files we had were in mp3 format and could not be imported for some reason. Luckily for us – Mio brought her MacBook Pro with her!

Erik went in and started to warm up,  actually he had been doing that all morning… He practically had drummed on everything in there by now.

Tommy helped us get started with mics , levels, sounds, tracks, etc. He was great with us! Erik played the first song perfectly on the very first take! It had never sounded better, since the drum sound in the Abyss studio is awesome! We stood with our chins down and just watched him. But according to the instructions Ralph gave us we needed three versions of each song, one standard, one over played and one under played. So Erik was set to work and record the rest. In one day Erik recorded four  songs for the EP ( with three versions of each song), plus two bonus tracks. Good job Erik!

Back in Stockholm! A week after we returned from the Abyss Ralph came  to Sweden. Here he found a sign he fell for, considering that Michael Schenker is his household god when it comes to guitar playing.

We are recording guitars and bass at my place. We use a DI-box to get a clean signal to be able to reamp. Since Ralph does’nt leave so much to chance we recorded the vocals in Graves’ studio because of the good compressors there. Now we have recorded the first song’s vocals over there! If you want to see more off the backstage studio work you can check out our studio diary below – made by Ralph Santolla himself!

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