Gold Mine is a song that Jet Tangerine brought to me a few weeks ago. It is a huge departure from the previous records we have done together: instead of sunny and playful, it is brash and emphatic. The lyrics are direct and unsweetened. It is not a folky frolic in the meadows. It is a club banger.
Before going into the studio, I met with Jet and her drummer Hugh to review the song’s arrangement and lyrics, and prepare our sessions accordingly. Hugh presented some tantalizing ideas on the ‘MicroKorg’, like the Vocoder-type robot voices in the chorus, which we all agreed would be part of the song’s hook-factor. Everyone being a multi-instrumentalist made it easy to transfer ideas and build momentum. Hugh strummed away at guitar and Jet sang while I figured out a bassline on acoustic guitar.
We booked two studio days at Vogville Recording to record and mix the song. It is the perfect studio for three people to hole up and get creative. The first day was first and foremost about the live drums and electric bass, but we had enough time to record an array of modulating, jagged synth layers with the ‘MicroKorg’ and my trusty Yamaha XS-6. I played heavy rock guitar chords to beef up the choruses. Jet and Hugh took turns playing the ‘MicroKorg’ while the other rotated the knobs. They honed in on a few sonic transitions that could only be achieved through this kind of teamwork.
On Day 2, we jumped around between vocals, synth overdubs, and extra percussions. We also discussed having DJ Rob Paul record a few scratches and spin-outs on the track. For the last three hours of the session, I got down and dirty with the mix, systematically pulling the sounds together. My assistant Corey Mann dialled in a pounding side-chain compression on the Tubetech SMC2B (engineer-speak) to really get the mix popping through the speakers.
A couple weeks later, I tracked down DJ Rob Paul. At my home studio, he setup his table, mixer and laptop. We had a short discussion and then he went right to work spinning up a storm. That drop into the second chorus finally came to life. He was definitely the man for the job.
So now, we hold our collective breath awaiting the final master version. Stay tuned!