Friday, December 17, 2010

Observations of an Innocent By-Stander

Whilst walking Bonzo around Sundbyberg today, I saw a guy pull up beside me in a military green HMV.  The "car" itself looked like it was ready to rape someone, whilst the guy behind the wheel just looked very chuffed.  The personalised registration plate simply read, "DÄRFÖR", which in English translates to, "BECAUSE", or "THAT'S WHY".

I can only imagine what an utter arse the man is...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Studio Update: Johan Loves His Iphone

I went by Nico's studio the other day to check in on how everything was going with the vocal tracks. Johan has been putting in the hours when he's been able to find them, juggling work with the studio. It's not easy and it means that the record is taking longer than hoped for, but it's coming along nonetheless...

Nico wasn't joking when he said that his studio is compact. I meet him at the cafeteria in Fryshuset, where we share a coffee and have a chat. Johan and Jon turn up a short while later and we descend into the labyrinth of corridors that is Fryshuset. I haven't been here for ages. We played here a few times with Speedhorn back in the day. Right now, Helloween are sound-checking in the big hall beside the café. Didn't even know those guys were still around. Jon assures me that everything since Pink Bubbles Go Ape has sucked...

Like I said, Nico wasn't joking about the size of his studio. It's not much bigger than a broom cupboard, with a small vocal booth inside. Nico said there would be no point in the rest of us being there when Johan is putting vocals down. I now see what he means. Before we get to listening, Andy turns up. The four of us cram in around Nico and his desk and we listen through what Johan has laid down so far.

It's a little hard to gain a true impression, since the music is set way in the background. I'm sure though, that when the vocals are bedded in in the mix, it's going to sound really great. Johan is a very solid, very controlled vocalist. He really doesn't need us to be there with him through the recording process, only for us to be able to come by and listen in now and again, and give some ideas, which I guess is what today is about.

I've already worked through the lyrics with Johan, since I'm the so called "English expert" in the band. He seems to be comfortably rolling along now. He's put down six songs. Hopefully he'll be done and the record will be mixed before Christmas. Is it really that time of year again? 

We're talking with the labels about a release in early April, so we need everything finished by the end of January to have a realistic chance of making that happen.  I don't think that's going to be a problem though.

Otherwise, Johan has been playing with his Iphone and has been sending me some pictures documenting his perspective from the vocal booth.

Anyway, we hang out for about an hour in the studio, after which time I'm completely hot and bothered and feel the need to leave. It's very claustrophobic in there with five people. We leave Nico and Johan to their work.

I take the tram home with Andy and Jon. As we're sat on the train, somebody else, in another part of town is blowing themselves up with a backpack bomb.

Thankfully, he only manages to kill himself...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day Eleven

Well, for the most part, my work in the studio is done.  Now it's back to work for a while.  The process continues to roll onwards though.  Johan and Jon are working with Nico in his small studio over in Fryshuset, putting vocals down whilst Nico mixes in between.

I'm looking forward to hearing some mixes of the album towards the end of the week.  Everything seems to be on track right now.  We've sorted things out with the record company side of things, my good friend Richey Beckett from the band Shaped By Fate, is working on the album artwork.  He's an amazing artist who has been working for a lot of bands this last couple of years, so I'm sure he's going to produce something we're going to be very happy with.  It's a bit early to plan too far ahead yet, but we're planning for the album to come out in April next year, and to be on tour shortly after that.

I worked eleven hours in the bar today.  I slept a full twelve hours and still felt knackered this morning when I woke up.  I'm not shaking any more, but I feel far from one hundred percent.  Being that today was Monday, work was pretty easy going, so with the help of a few hot cups of ginger, lemon and honey, I got through the day. 

Johan and I messaged each other back and forth during the evening and it seems like things are going well.  He's got two songs done.  So that's thirteen to go.  I got home at three in the morning to find this film that he'd mailed me...

Pretty funny, he looks kind of wild in this clip. He also looks like he's singing in a phone booth.  I haven't seen Nico's studio, but I guess it really is very small...

I don't know why, but the picture seems to have sped up somewhere between transfering it from my computer to this blog.  It's pretty funny anyway.  Like I said, computers aren't really my thing...

This is a song called Broken Bones, it's the first song I wrote for Victims.  Well, I wrote the verse riff, Jon and I concocted the chorus riff  together during one of the Balcony Sessions.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day Ten

I felt like fucking shit when I woke up this morning. How could I feel this bad?  Am I really getting that old? Maybe those days of being able to stay out until four in the morning, drinking beer and being able to shake it off enough the next day to function half way feasibly, are truly behind me.

I didn't even feel that drunk last night. A hangover like this normally comes after a night where I've been so drunk that I have lost large chunks of memory from the night before. Last night was nowhere near that. This truly fucking sucks.

I'd woken briefly this morning, on the couch, with an episode of Family Guy running on the tv. It was eight-thirty. I went straight to bed. Jen didn't even notice. When I woke up five hours later, I felt like dog shit. I've said it a hundred times before, but I'm really starting to wonder if worth drinking any more? Maybe not, if the hangover far outweighs the piss up.

We're meeting at the studio at one pm. I get up, shower, throw a cup of tea down my neck, get dressed and get out. One good thing about being in the studio, or at least having a booked schedule is that you're forced out of the door. That is why hangovers are always at the worst when you're home with nothing to do. It's too easy to lie on the couch and do fuck all all day except feel sorry for yourself.

I call Jon on the way down to Sundbyberg station. He's in the same boat as me. He tells me the works party got out of hand last night. Shocking. We arrange to meet on the train in.  It's freezing out, which actually helps a little bit.

When we get to the studio, Johan is already there. He's looking pretty tired too. We listen through some of the bass tracks from yesterday and Nico has discovered that Johan's bass is quite badly intonated. His bottom string, the big one, is way out apparently. Nico quips, “It's ok, I guess there aren't that many songs where you use that sting so much...” and winks at me as he's tuning Johan's bass up.

I wish Nico had been here with us in the studio, more day to day, throughout this week. He's really into it, and he creates a good atmosphere with his constant piss taking. I guess the way we've been doing it though has saved a lot of time in the long run.

With Johan's bass newly intonated, we listen through the fifteen songs we've recorded for the album. I think Johan picks out five that he wants to re-do. I spend the afternoon watching Johan do just that, from my view on the sofa, where I lie feeling sick. Andy comes by for a while too. It's the first time we've all been together in the studio since the first few days. When Andy was done with his drums, he got the fuck out. Typical drummer haha. Seriously though, he's got a daughter and a day job so it's hard for him to be away too much. He needs to save that free time for when we go on tour. We all do I guess...

Johan gets done with the bass for good, after dubbing some tracks with an Octave Divider pedal, which gives the bass sound a huge, fat tone, kinda like Jared's from Big Business. Again, this pleases me. When we're done, Johan, Jon, Linus and I go to Verona for one last pizza. Tomorrow, we're moving things over to Nico's studio in Fryshuset. Johan and Nico feel it will be more suited to recording the vocals there, and that is where Nico wants to mix the record. We've left Linus a bit short, since we had booked fourteen days with him and his studio. Johan had told Linus about the situation yesterday and Linus was fine with it, and they said we'd work out a fair price for his time. I feel really awkward as we sit around, eating pizza, discussing how much we're going to pay Linus. It's hard for me since Linus is a good friend of mine, and also I know that the guys haven't been totally satisfied with how the sessions have gone. There has been a lot of technical difficulties along the way. Although nothing that one could class as major.

Johan, as usual, steps up to the plate for the band, and barters a price with Linus. I really respect Johan and the way he leads this band. He's definitely the pappa in the band, much like I felt with Speedhorn a lot of the time. He has no problem talking straight and laying things out in a fair way with people. I find that hard when I'm dealing with friends. In the end though, everyone is satisfied. The recording we've laid down sounds great after all, even if the road along the way hasn't always been the smoothest, we've still managed to get where we are now right on schedule. I'm glad Linus is happy with what we can pay him and I'm glad that everyone is friends. Linus is one of the nicest guys around and I wouldn't want him to feel bad in any way about working with us. Gladly, he doesn't and everyone is pleased with the outcome.

We go back to the studio for a listen to the leads I put down yesterday. I was sure the food was going to help, but I'm feeling worse by the minute. When everything is checked off, we decide we're going to get Linus to put up a real rough mix and listen through all of the songs. I can't hold on though. I'm feeling worse and worse and I have to go home. I hug everyone goodbye and leave. I need to get home to my flat and my wife.

I get home after a train journey that feels like forever, get into cosy clothes and get under a blanket on the couch. Within thirty minutes I have to go to bed. It's eight-thirty pm. By the time I get into bed, I'm shaking with a fever. As I lie there under the covers, shaking, despite the fact that I've got a bathrobe and slippers on, I realise that this has to be more than a hangover.

Of course, the hangover hasn't helped, but it's most likely a cocktail of an intense week, sleep deprivation, work, too much coffee, not enough exercise, too much beer, not enough fresh air and too much shit food. I've been categorically weakening my own body during the course of the previous ten days.

The hardest part is over for me now though. Nico's studio is way too small for the whole band to hang out in anyway, so there's no point in us all trying to hang out there. I'm working forty five hours this week anyway. Johan and Jon have vocals to do, and then Andy and I will pop by from time to time to check on how the mixing is going. Johan has sung on five Victims lp's in the past, I'm sure he doesn't need me there the whole time, checking on him. I'll pop by when I get the chance though.

Quote of the day:  Nico - on discussing the drummer from Korn being paid nine thousand dollars a week to play in the band before he was officially a member:

" If I got nine thousand dollars a week to play in Entombed, I would look like Elvis within a minute!"

Day Nine

Finally got something close to a normal amount of sleep last night. I felt so much better for it this morning. I had no rush to get to the studio today since Johan was going to be there early, setting up his bass sound with Nico and Linus. So before I headed into town, I went out for a long walk with the dog and had time with a coffee and a sandwich with Jen in Sundbyberg. It felt good to do something normal.

I met up with Jon on the train on the way in and we turned up around one pm. Johan had already laid down a few tracks and it seemed like all was going well. His bass is sounding amazing. He's hooked it up through the Orange guitar rig, Lemmy style. Although it sounds closer to Bob Weston from Shellac's sound. This pleases me.

We spend the afternoon hanging on the sofa watching Johan put his tracks down. It's great to watch him at work. He's a really solid bass player. He gets the job done without making any fuss.

A couple of hours later and Johan has put bass down ten tracks. When he goes to pick up some lunch, I take over and set up my guitar for the last time on this album. All my rhythm tracks are done, all I have left is over-dubs and solos. The dreaded fucking solos. I hate this part. I'm not a guitar solo kind of guy. Sure, I can sit there with the guitar on my lap and widdle away for hours whilst the man at the desk is setting up sounds, but as soon at the “record button” is hit, it's a whole other story. Suddenly my fingers feel like blocks of lead.

Jon has left for the night. He has a Christmas party with work, which means bowling and then getting pissed at Ali's Bar. Ali's has to be one of the city's dingiest fucking bars and it happens to be situated right across the street from Jon's work. They're normally there for a pint after work, at which time the place isn't so bad. But at night time, it's a whole other story. Once I was there with some friends from work on the piss. I don't know why the fuck we ended up there really, but we did. We're standing at the bar trying to order another round of drinks when this skinhead cunt barges into my friend Sofia. She looks at him and asks him what his problem is. He just looks at her and then pushes her in the chest and she almost goes to ground. What the fuck? So before I know it I'm face to face with this guy and I'm asking him what the fuck is going on, realising that I'm seconds away from a kick-in. The bouncers see what's happening and intervene. Thank fuck! But then amazingly, they ask us to leave. On the way out the bouncer explains to me that even though they hate that guy, he's a friend of the owner and there is nothing they can do about it. I haven't been back there in the evening since then, since obviously the scene there is fucked.

Anyway, to get back to the studio...

Linus and I set up a guitar sound and Johan sits and eats his lunch whilst we go through each song and check out what needs to be done. I end up laying three solos and a bunch of melody parts and then I'm done. It takes a while and my fingers shake a little through the whole solo process, but Linus and Johan offer kind support and after an hour or so I'm finished. I'm very happy to be done with my parts.

Johan gets back to business and lays down the rest of his tracks. Linus has to leave around seven pm. so for the last hour, I sit at the desk whilst Johan plays bass. Now...if I'm no solo guitar guy, I'm most certainly not “Desk Engineer has a fucking clue about Pro-Tools Guy”. Linus shows me the ropes, but I'll be fucked if I can understand what he's going on about. Johan has to guide me through every step whilst he's tracking his bass. Hit Apple Z. Press 3 to punch me in. He'd be better off sitting here himself and doing it, since I just sit there like a dummy. Computers just aren't my thing. My one year at college studying “computer science” will attest to that. I spent the entire year writing up set-lists and drawing up logo's for my band at the time. Besides that, by the time Linus leaves the studio I've drunk a couple of beers and I feel a little bit tipsy.

Johan gets done around eight pm. He's not entirely convinced everything is good but he's done for today and will check it out with fresher ears tomorrow. Jen comes by just as we're finishing up and we invite Johan back to our place for dinner. Johan and I decide we're going to a gig at our friends squat club in Solna, which is not far from where I live. Local Oafs and Makarbert Fynd are playing. I want to check out the club and the show. It feels like a nice way to end an intense week of work in the studio.

We get back to our place, Jen makes a fantastic dinner and I treat Johan to some samples from my Single Malt collection. We sit around chatting and watching our favourite tv show, “På Spåret” before heading to the show around midnight.

The club is great. It's in Solna tube station. You go out of the ticket barriers, turn left up the tunnel and knock on a black door. The door opens and you go inside, giving your name and date of birth. Everybody here has to be officially a member, even though it doesn't cost anything more than contacting them in advance with your details. It's just a technicality needed to get around an eventual cop invasion. If everyone has their name and details on a piece of paper by the door, then technically it's a private party and there isn't anything the cops can do about it.

The club looks great. Our friend, Frasse, has done a great job with it. Another friend of ours, Klara, has booked the bands and is playing records. It's great to see people getting involved, keeping the scene going.

Makarbert are fucking crazy tonight. Kalle, the drummer, is pissed out of his mind and my friend Anders on guitar, normally a big quiet, shy kind of guy, is smashing his guitar into pieces on the floor. Apparently he's had enough of his guitar going out of tune. The tiny space is packed and it's hilarious watching Anders smash the shit out his guitar. Even funnier when the song is done, and the singer in the band announces they haven't finished their set yet and asks if anyone can lend them a guitar. Me and Johan piss ourselves, but of course, Local Oafs lend them a guitar without any hesitation. Great guys.

Local Oafs are as always, unbelievably entertaining. They are a great live band and always give a full on show. I love how the singer and guitarist constantly swap roles during the gig. Both guys are great at both guitar and vocals, so why not? They play for quite a while and by the time they're done it's almost two-thirty am. and, unsurprisingly the crowd has thinned out quite a bit. People have either left or have started to flake out in the bar room of the club.

Johan and I leave around four am. I don't feel that drunk but I already have a headache from the shitty cans of Åbro beer that the club was selling. I can already tell that tomorrow I'm going to be suffering.

Quote of the day: Fredrik Local Oafs - “What's the difference between the Sex Pistols and Jay Retard? Both of them were fake but the Sex Pistols were good.”

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day Eight

Barely five hours sleep the last two days I've slept less than eight hours and worked twenty three. I can barely get myself out of the sack this morning.

And then I remember I'm meeting up with Eric at eleven thirty, and before that I have to take Bonzo to my sister-in law's place. Not even time for a cup of tea this morning. Up, in the shower and out.

I'm stood on the corner by Skanstull station, waiting for a coffee and a cream cheese bagel, when I spot Eric trudging past in the snow with his suitcase. It's good to see him. We head down the road to the studio and catch up. It seems like the Black Breath tour went really well. I'm pleased to hear it. He tells me they were really shocked with how well they got treated over here, that they got hotel rooms seventy percent of the time. That would never happen in the States. In the States you have to rely on friends to let you sleep on their floors.

We want Eric to put a solo on a song called Theft, which for the longest time has gone under the working title Dismember. Obviously, it's perfect for Eric to lay a Black Breath style guitar solo on it. It's really fun watching him work. He truly is a great guitarist, certainly puts us two idiots to shame. Eric gets to work and it sounds amazing! The original idea was for Jon and Eric to do a dual solo here but I tell Eric just to do the whole thing since it's sounds so good. I know Jon would agree. He tries out a bunch of different stuff but in a very short time he's nailed it.

It seemed with Eric's schedule I was going to be the one to miss him when he was in Stockholm, but as it happened it worked out just right. Eric is going to Düsseldorf this afternoon for a couple of days before heading home to Seattle, it's really great of him to squeeze in the time to come by the studio when I know he's stressed for time. Johan comes by just as Eric gets finished up and we sit around and chat for a while, before Johan walks Eric to Södra Station, leaving me to get on with the rest of my guitar tracks.

Five songs to go.

For the most part, it all comes pretty easy. Johan comes back from the station with a new bag of coffee beans, and the afternoon is fuelled to go. Fuck how I need the coffee!

After a while Johan heads off to work for a couple of hours. He'll be back later. I know he's itching to start playing his bass on this album now. It hasn't really worked out that well for him that we're recording his bass and then his vocals at the end of the session. Tough finish for him.

By the time Jon and Andy come by around five pm. I have one song to go. Maiden, or as it's now called, Nowhere In Time. And then it happens. The fucking nemesis song. The tiredness is catching up with me now. My hands seem to have disconnected with my brain and my fingers are turning to rubber. What the fuck is going on here? I patch together one take of the song, but I'm not feeling good about it. Linus tells me to take it easy and relax but I can feel myself getting angry and frustrated. I didn't think it was going to be this song that was going to fuck me up. I try and play a second dubbed track, but it's just not happening. It's actually just getting worse. I'm now screaming all sorts of obscenities every time I come to a halt and finally I take a pause. Breathe now.

I decide to give it one more go, standing up this time to see if that will make a difference. It doesn't. Twenty seconds in and the song comes to a halt again. I throw my guitar on to the stool and announce that I'm done for today. Jon asks me if he wants me to have him play the dubbed track. I tell him to go for it. I don't have an ego when it comes to that kind of thing. Whatever is best for the record. He puts the bare bones of it down in the first take. He's not laughing though, he knows what it's like. Andy certainly knows how I feel. Mentally blocked.

As soon as I sit down and Jon finished up the track I feel better about it. I'm just glad that all the rhythm guitar tracks are done. I only have over-dubs left now, which I'll do tomorrow. That stuff is far more fun. Johan comes back in a very good mood, and he's brought glögg with him. Glögg is something else I love about Sweden. It's like muld wine. It smells like Christmas and it's beautiful. We warm some up in the coffee maker and we all share a glass. It's a very cosy moment.

Andy and I head off around seven thirty, leaving Johan and Jon to track some of Jon's solos. I'm going to meet Jen for dinner. Today is the day when we met each other, ten years ago. We're meeting at this great little French restaurant called Bergamotte on Kungsholmen. And after dinner is done, I'm going to bed to sleep.

Day Seven

The recording schedule has been a bit all over the place since everybody is working their normal jobs as well as finding time to be in the studio. That said, seven days into the recording of the album and we're pretty much on track to get it finished by the end of next week, which is our goal.

Whereas yesterday was a twelve hour shift at work, today I was back to doing both work and studio. I had a couple of spare hours before I started work at three pm, so I was aiming to get another couple of songs worth of rhythm guitar tracks down, leaving me with the daytime hours of tomorrow to get finished with the rest. And then I'm done.

I got less than five hours of sleep last night though, so I'm pretty tired. I meet Linus at the studio around one thirty and throw back a couple of cups of strong, black coffee. Nico is also there, and with those guys discussing how they're cutting all the different tracks, and how they're going to transfer them from Linus' computer to Nico's back at his place, before I know it time has crept away and I only have forty five minutes before I have to head off to work.

I only manage to get one song done, and it doesn't come easy. We're going through a song with the working title of Dio, and on hearing it I'm completely thrown by the fact it's twice as fast as the demo version we recorded in The Bunker. I can't get my head around it at first. I wasn't here when Jon and Andy lay down the drum tracks, and now I'm really regretting it, because I would have told them to slow it the fuck down.

Jon had told me yesterday that he'd gotten nine songs recorded, but had given up on Dio at the end and called it a day. Now I understand why. I discuss it with Linus and decide to just try and nail my track and then get Jon to do the same and see how it sounds. It won't be like we intended it when we wrote it on my balcony back in the summer, it will be something else, but maybe it will be great anyway.

It takes a while for me to get both guitar takes done. We're recording the guitars as two tracks each, one main track and then a dubbed track with another amp, thus making that crust punk-guitar wall thing happen. By the time I'm done and have to rush off to work, I feel really unsure about the whole thing. I tell Linus to get Jon to listen to it when he gets to the studio and see what he thinks to it. I don't cross off the track on the song worksheet just yet...

I'm not in the fucking mood for another eleven hours of work tonight. I've sorted someone to take my shift tomorrow though, so after tonight I'm off until Monday. I have to be done with my guitar stuff by then. I work alternating weeks, with one being thirty five hours and the other being forty five. Next week I'm working forty five... so if I'm still laying guitar tracks next week I guess I can forget about sleeping!

I call Jon on the way to work and tell him about what happened with Dio. He says he'll see what he can do with it today, now that he's rested. I'm not at work ten minutes before I get a text message from Jon. “Dio. Done. 10 min.” That's that sorted then... Cocky twat!
It's funny when you start out recording an album. You look through the song worksheet and you kind of automatically draw your eyes to certain songs. Some of which you think will be easy, others that you're not looking forward to so much. And it's usually always the case that there will be at least one big surprise in there, be it good or bad. I thought Dio was going to be one of the easier songs. It wasn't.

Another ten minutes go by and I get another text from Jon. “Lemmy. Done.” Fucking hell, another song done in ten minutes. He's flying. What the fuck? It seems like when I'm there I spend all my time waiting around just to play my fucking guitar. Jon turns up after work, all is good to go and he hits it.

I get text messages from Jon every ten minutes or so, each one wreaking of his self satisfaction, until all the songs are done. The last message I get from him for the night, tells he's going to start laying his solo tracks. And then it all goes quiet.

Work gets busy and I forget about him for a while. Until he turns up at the bar four hours later. I don't even notice him come in. I just look up and there he is, standing at the bar, looking pretty boats. I guess he's been hitting the sauce in the studio. I ask him how he is, he demands a beer and a shot. Well nice to see you too you cunt!

I pour him a round, regretting it as I do, and ask him again how it went. It takes him about thirty seconds to answer. “Oh no, he's at that stage”, I think to myself. I'm too busy at work to engage Jon in a conversation at this slow pace, so I leave him there with his shot and tend to some of my other customers.

I finally get it out of him about twenty minutes later. He tells me that he's done all the solos, except for a couple of songs. Great news you would think, but he doesn't seem to happy about it. He starts moaning about Linus, saying that he left him alone in the studio to track by himself for a while, since he was going for dinner. That in itself isn't a problem, it's just that one of the songs Jon had made a good take of, he'd recorded with one of the two amp heads he's using, set on standby. I don't really understand why Jon is so pissed off about it. He admits that it was his mistake but then blames Linus for not being there to notice it. I mean for fuck sakes, Linus had been there for seven hours straight, the guy is entitled to a fucking dinner break! I tell Jon to be happy for the fact that he got a lot done today and cheer the fuck up.

He sits there grumbling over another couple of beers, just as the other night, they're lower strength, but he doesn't notice.  I realise I have to get him to go home. He's working early tomorrow and then coming to the studio straight after.  I convince him to get the last train home, assuring him he'll thank me tomorrow. I love the guy, but right now I can't be arsed with his drunken nonsense. It's ok when we're drunk together, but right now we're not.

After he's gone I notice he's left me a thirty kronor tip on the bar. At which point I want to chase after the silly sod and give him a hug. I hope he gets home ok.

Just as I'm winding up the  night in the bar, about five minutes before I officially close the till, Eric walks in! I've been waiting to hear if he's going to hook up with us before he leaves for Germany tomorrow. Bad timing, but it's still great to see him! He's been staying with our friend Maria, who sings in Beast, for a couple of days, since the Black Breath tour finished. I'm really glad to see him after what has been a weird night at work. He tells me he's leaving for the airport tomorrow around one pm. We arrange to meet up at eleven, grab some coffee and head to the studio so he can lay down a one and only Eric Wallace guest guitar solo on the album. We have the perfect song for him to play on.

I know this means yet again I'm going to get less than five hours of sleep, but it will be worth it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day Six

Out of the studio and back in to work today. In all honesty, after the long day yesterday it was good with the break today.

Today Jon was taking over from where I left off yesterday. I was hoping that he would be able to hit the ground running once he arrived. We're hoping that we can get all the ground guitar tracks done before the weekend. For that we need to have a working environment today where Jon can at least catch up with me. Which means him putting nine songs down.

I keep in touch with the goings on throughout my twelve hour shift at work.

Our friend Eric Wallace, from the band Black Breath, who we toured the US with last year is supposed to be coming in to town for a few days. We're hoping he's going to have the time to put a guitar solo down on one of the songs. He's a great guitarist and it would be fun to have his touch on one of the songs. Those guys have been on tour in Europe for a few weeks and Eric is coming to Stockholm to hang out for a few days after the tour, before he goes home. Andy and I went to their show a few weeks ago when they played Stockholm with Crude. It was a great night. It was only the two of us though, since Johan was in South America working on tour with Millencolin. Jon had intended to go but ended up boats at a party before the show and had to go home...

I'm disappointed to get a message this morning from Eric, saying he's going to be in town today and tomorrow before leaving on Friday. Typical! I'm working both days and will probably miss him.

I go to work and wait for news of how it's going.

The first six hours of work drag by really slowly, with the temperature outside at -15 degrees I'm guessing most people can't be fucked leaving their warm homes to walk to the bar. But then, as usual, by eight pm. the place starts filling out and the second six hours of work go by a lot quicker.

I speak to Jon around ten-thirty when he's on his way home. He's had a good day and got down nine songs, which means he's level with me. Great news! He tells me Eric came by the studio today and hung out for a while. He didn't get the chance to play any guitar though since shortly after he turns up Jon's amp starts sounding weird and they have to spend some time fixing that. Hopefully he's coming back tomorrow and we'll get him on the record.

I'm really glad that today was a productive day in the studio. Jon tells me things with Linus and Nico are working far more amicably now too, which I'm glad to here. It's funny when I think about the difference between playing in Victims and Speedhorn. With the Victims guys everybody is really supportive of each other and when you're sitting in the studio laying guitar tracks down you constantly get a pat on the back for your efforts. With Speedhorn it was always a complete piss take. It was fun of course, but you got the feeling half the time that the guys in the band were hoping you would fuck up so they could take the piss out of you, even though it's completely against the band's best interests. In a way it worked, since you were always looking to nail that first take, just so you could shove it up their arse. With Victims everything is a lot friendlier. I guess these days we're all a lot older though..

So, good news from Jon and I get back to work. I get out of there at two-thirty and walk to Central Station in the freezing cold of night. Tomorrow I'm going into the studio for an hour or so before I go to work. It would be great to get another couple of tracks done, meaning I can finish the rest during the day on Friday.

The album is starting to come together now.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day Five

I woke up this morning ready for a full day of hard work in the studio. After getting Lifetaker nailed within a couple of takes last night, I was ready to thrash out a large chunk of my main guitar for the album today. I'm working in the bar all day tomorrow so I want to get as much done as possible today.

It was a beautiful day in town, the sun shining in a clear blue sky, the air cold and crisp. I picked up some breakfast for myself and some Lussekatter for the boys from a bakery besides Skanstull train station, and enjoyed the walk down the road to the studio. I love Lussekatter, which are these saffron and currant buns that you get in Sweden around Christmas time. I was in a great mood as I walked to the studio, ready for a days work.

Before I went down into the studio, I took one last look at the blue sky before bidding it farewell for the day. As I was stood there taking a picture of the street outside, I felt a large snowball hit me on the arm. I took it for granted that one of the guys had crept up on me and were having a laugh at my expense. I ignored them and took the photo. When I was done I turned around, only to find nobody there. I looked up at the overhanging gutter from the four story building above me and noticed some rather sharp looking icicles that were in the process of melting. Oh shit! I hurry inside, trying not to think about the fact I could have been the first horror story of the winter...

This afternoon it's Johan, Linus and I in the studio. Jon is working from nine until three every day and then coming straight here and sticking around until we finish at ten pm. Long days... Nobody can doubt his commitment to the cause, that's for sure.

Anyway, I'm hoping to get in, drink some coffee, have some chat and then get cracking...

I really don't get where all the time goes, but by six pm. we've only completed two songs. It feels once again like I've spent most of the day with my guitar on my lap, waiting to put it to use.

We need to get Linus and Nico's lines of communication working better. Nico is clipping stuff at his home studio whilst we're tracking here with Linus. When Nico comes by for a listen in the late afternoon, he finds something he doesn't like with the way Linus has laid it up on the Pro-Tools rig and an argument between the two breaks out. We sit there listening to it, getting bummed out as the atmosphere in the studio turns sour. This isn't what we need. I really like both guys but they don't seem to be able to talk to each other. We decide to take a break as it's time for some food anyway.

Johan and I go to Verona for the third time in five days. I'm pretty fucking sure I won't be eating pizza for a while after this album is done. Jon stays behind in the studio for a nap on the sofa and Linus and Nico go separate ways. Johan and I discuss the situation over a beer and a Fungi.

We conclude that this actually isn't the first time we've been in a studio and this is just how it normally works. Nothing ever runs completely smoothly or on time, and we should be used to that fact by now. What we have got so far is sounding great and that's something to be positive about. We head back down to the studio determined to get some good vibes going and thrash out some songs.

Linus comes back from his dinner break and we have a constructive discussion about how he and Nico have to work together. Linus is my friend and a really nice guy and we all feel better for the talk afterwards. To make things even better, Nico happens to ring a short while after and chats to Linus, and it seems like it's a lot friendlier between them this time around. He has an idea about the Pro Tools set up which Linus is very positive about and it seems to do the trick. I'm relieved to hear it.

Nico is a really funny guy, always laughing and cracking jokes, but he doesn't hold back if something has pissed him off. After the phone call things feel a lot better and everything starts to run a lot smoother.

In three hours I work my way through six songs and I'm really happy with my evenings work when I'm done, although my head is a little done in. It's pretty stuffy down in the control room and the days work has taken it's toll on me. We're all in good spirits as we check off the completed tracks on the song worksheet. I have six more to lay down but they'll now have to wait until Thursday at least.  Jon is going to start on his guitar tomorrow whilst I'm at work.

Jon and I take a walk to Södra Station together and jump on the train home. We discuss the pros and cons of recording at home in Stockholm as opposed to being in a studio somewhere else. There's really only one main item on the cons list: work. And that's where I'm going to be for the next two days.

Unfortunately punk rock does not pay the bills, but then, that's not why we do it.  We do it because we love it.