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Quiet One - Engineer Thoughts

Hello all,

This will be my first post on Hurt Records, and my first post speaking as anything actively music related. Let me explain;

As some of you know, my name is Jack but I am known online as 'Boop'. Now I don't have a rich background in music like Benn does, but I am generally tech savvy and have experience with video creation and voiceovers which I do on YouTube. I have featured on albums on Hurt Records before, the small narrative pieces on the majority of the albums, and that was the extent of my involvement until the start of 2014.

The boring background stuff out of the way, I have been assisting the process of the 'Quiet One' album since it's inception... album wise. I was presented with the opportunity to become a Sound Engineer at the recording of the album, and, always interested in new projects like I am, was 100% onboard. Onboard a train to Brighton then for me, where the album was taking it's first steps into it's beautiful creation.

In the studio, we have a white board, typically filled with song titles in the rows, and aspects of each song in the columns (Piano, Acoustic, Drums, etc), also occasionally our drawn pictures of the 'Battle Hamster' toy line we are currently creating. (My designs were better). Prior to this, i had absolutely no knowledge of Pro Tools or how to correctly setup microphones and such. But I learn this stuff faster than anyone can fathom, though remembering the difference between an KM184 and U87 microphone was the toughest part of it all. 

Progressing down the board starting with Sink, we recorded one aspect at a time. The start was the acoustic guitars, very easy material to record, then electric guitar recorded from the cabinet in the live room. The piano was recorded on a beautiful 100+ year old Bösendorfer. The whole process was farily straight forward: Ensure the microphones are placed properly to avoid Phasing. Have the project open and selecting the right mics in the right channels, adjusting knobs for audio levels to avoid clipping and lots of little things that simply require memory. Not great for me since as I'm typing this, I can't remember what day it is. It's amazing how we got to this point in the first place! Also press the record button. I would say that is almost the most important part... probably.

After the basic single guitars were placed down on all the songs, we had a great session drummer called Ben come down to record some drums for us. The Double NN'd variety knows how to play drums but apparently HE'S TOO GOOD FOR THIS ALBUM. Anyway, with a basic guide to follow, and several of the songs already posted in Demo form, and a couple of practice attempts and such, progressed through all we needed, and it all sounded fantastic. He also left us the gift of a 'Kalimba', which i believe is one of the only instruments used in the intermission song. I want one. But if there's one song's drums that will stand out in my mind. it'd be 'Follow Me'. (the troll song)

After a couple more other bits of pieces, we had another guy called Steve, AKA Santa, to come and play some Violin & Viola. Not all of the songs featured have those on them, but the ones that do, I enjoy most. Ctrl+Del's ending sends shivers down my spine every time (It was my idea too!) Surprisingly, we realised that one on it's own doesn't sound as good as a group, so the day was mostly recording several times to imitate a kind of orchestral sound.

Winding down, as I would have to leave after a week of something I have never done before, but still enjoyed whole heartedly and a welcome change of pace to my normal day to day, finishing touches ensued. Background drones, cutting everything together, minor mixing, it was a great experience. Though i don't think it's something i could do day in day out, but every so often? Definitely. 

It's all sounding great from the mixes and mastering I have heard so far, and I look forward to it with great anticipation, to see how my input turns out, and your reception. If you liked the demo versions already out there, it may seem strange, but the quality shows and these are truly songs for the ages. There's no hoping that you'll love it. You WILL! 

Jack 'Boop' Andrews

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