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Duran Duran
Old 4th July 2006
  #1
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Hysteria's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Duran Duran

So as not to divert the Extreme thread any further and following Bob St John's kind offer to start this thread himself, the least I can do is to do it for him.

So, Bob, for those two Duran albums could you tell us more please?

Perhaps we could start with Simon Le 'Bond' heh

the mic(s), recording chain, whether harmonizers were employed (either for fattening/harmonies/tuning), did he typically double-track his vocals, how many takes, was he a whole verse/song or line by line kind of guy, y'know the usual stuff

From your previous post it would appear that they were digital recordings, were they mixed to digital / analogue or both?

What kind of stuff was being done in mastering back then (I suppose it wasn't that long ago...)

How much work did Nick Rhodes do in terms of the use of keyboard, i.e. did he take an interest in it all or were any session guys used to augment what he had done. I get the impression that he keeps a close eye on the production side...was that the case.

Did Warren use his Steinberger for the whole album? Were his guitar fx recorded with the guitar or added at mixdown

Phew...that should do for a start heh

Thanks again Bob.
Old 5th July 2006
  #2
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🎧 15 years
I'll tell you one thing - Seven and the Ragged Tiger was originally mastered with severe phasing problems. One of the more amusing side bits from that album...

... of course, by the time the relevent parties had been informed, it was too late to fix it, so the first pressings were... umm... interesting.

There was a trail of burnt out engineers in Sydney a mile long after that session.
Old 5th July 2006 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 15 years
Very interesting, please please tell me now:)

I'd be very intersted in all of the above.

I do know that for their new sessions, Simon liked Dave's new Pearlman mic.

-Andrews

DIRTY HALO www.dirtyhalo.com
Old 5th July 2006 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulseta
I'll tell you one thing - Seven and the Ragged Tiger was originally mastered with severe phasing problems. One of the more amusing side bits from that album...

... of course, by the time the relevent parties had been informed, it was too late to fix it, so the first pressings were... umm... interesting.

There was a trail of burnt out engineers in Sydney a mile long after that session.
Thanks Paulseta, I believe quite a bit of time and effort went into this album, I bet the band were pissed off when the first pressings hit the street.

Seems like you might know some more about these sessions...so feel free to spill the beans heh
Old 5th July 2006 | Show parent
  #5
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🎧 15 years
I think I would like to buy one of those first pressings.
An wounder how that happened.
Is it that noticeable. Or may be slight, making it sound cooler.
Old 5th July 2006 | Show parent
  #6
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🎧 15 years
sorry it took me so long to get to this thread...life is busy

i didn't record either of these records..."thank you" was recorded just about all over the place...i think the original concept was that these songs would be b-sides or whatever...then it appears it blossomed into an album.

medazzleland was recorded at metropolis in london, as well as at warren's house just down the street.

i came to the duran duran job in a most peculiar way. anthony j. resta was working with dale bozzio (missing persons) and dale kept telling him he should hook up with warren. well ajr had a few loops and grooves he was working on for dale, and warren was going to write some music around it. anthony put his business card in the dat case, and sent it off to london. i can't say what amount of time transpired, but warren called anthony and asked if he could mix a song (for free; or "spec") on a record duran was working on. at that point, anthony called me and asked me if would be interested in working on this job...it was, sort of, a test job for a duran album. we secured the studio time (also for free) at sound techniques and went in to mix the remake of "911 is a joke."

i can't remember who did the original mix...but the mix we heard (alledgedly finished) was hideous. completely distorted and peak limited...and sounded really 80's. i believe steve ferrone played drums on this cut originally.

when the 2" reels arrived, they were a disaster. no track sheets. extra takes of vocals, guitars, you name it...no idea which ones were right. all we had to go on was the other mix...and it was distractingly distorted. on top of it...it appeared to be missing a few tracks.

we went ahead and mixed the track (took 3 days)...and when we were done. it sounded like an 80's band doing a live version of 911 is a joke. we were about to send it off to see if they liked it...but i wasn't so sure it was the right thing. i remember i was sitting in my car when anthony called me and said he wasn't sure, either. you see, warren had heard all this cool, trippy stuff that anthony does so well...and we guessed that that was what he might have liked. so we went back to the studio...took all the drums, threw 'em out. anthony performed a whole new part with loops, and some sort of weird old recording of a cowboy lady singing. and slowly...it began to mutate into what you hear on the record. mixed on an ssl with a minimal amout of outboard gear. 3 days later, we sent a copy to the band. crossed our fingers...didn't hear anything immediately so we figured we took a chance and blew it.

warren and nick called..."brilliant" was what we heard! ahhh...euphoria.

they asked if we wanted to go to london and work on a few more tracks...sure...what harm could that be?

next: "white lines"; the epic.

any questions gladly entertained or answered...
Old 5th July 2006 | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 15 years
Great, many thanks Bob. Sorry I didn't twig that you hadn't recorded the tracks...if anyone knows anything about recording Duran then please shout.

What kind of treatments did you apply to the vocals during the mix?

How much say did you get in what happened at mastering?
Old 5th July 2006 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 15 years
STi in beantown

Bob,

Just left a thread on Extreme - Porngraffiti regarding that time frame...

I was an intern at the time you were at STi. Anyway, like I said, it was great to be around you, and Anthony too! I got to talk a bit with him and you did a class for us.

Can't wait to see more on your trheads!

...aside Steve "Santoro" is a family friend.

THanks!
Old 6th July 2006 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hysteria
Thanks Paulseta, I believe quite a bit of time and effort went into this album, I bet the band were pissed off when the first pressings hit the street.

Seems like you might know some more about these sessions...so feel free to spill the beans heh
Hmmm...

Have to use some caution in what I can say. It's certainly highly amusing that the band recorded White Lines many years later, for reasons left ambiguous for the moment...I'll have to check with someone before I can tell more about the sessions...

I'll give you another quick story from the Ragged Tiger sessions - when Duran got off the plane in Sydney to use Studios 301 t... well, they were going to be mixing but they ended up re-recording a lot - they were *shocked* to discover that it wasn't summer all year round.

You see, they arrived in June (I think...) which is winter in Sydney. Yes, we have winter.

Also another story (this time from a bloke who was on the mastering session) - when the playback of The Reflex single master was happening in the small mastering room, at the end a voice was heard from the back:
"I don't like it. Don't like it at all".

Everyone turns around to see who it is (it's one of the band).

"I don't like this hamburger at all".

It was a reference to the burger he'd been munching on, rather than the all-important record.

What a decade!
Old 6th July 2006 | Show parent
  #10
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2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Hmm...foggy memory... is White Lines the tune quoted/sung in the movie Shaun of the Dead ? I know it's a Duran song, but forget which. That part of the movie is hilarious :-)
Old 6th July 2006 | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 15 years
Did'nt read the original thread so i don't know which albums you're interested in but SOS has an article about the recording of "The Reflex" here.
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul0...ssictracks.htm

And it seems they used quite a bit of harmonizers to make Simons pitch a bit more ambigous. 3 or 4 takes of vocals with words,lines,halflines comped.
Old 6th July 2006 | Show parent
  #12
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🎧 15 years
Thanks Paulseta - hopefully you can tell us some more...

Wasn't White Lines a cover of a cover?

And wasn't it supposed to be an 'anti-Charlie' song?

I think it's common knowledge (John Taylor admits it) that the band, especially John and Andy were rather partial to Columbia's finest heh

Having just read the unauthorised bio, it seems that it was on-tap day and night.

I also enjoyed reading about Warren's parties that he held in a hotel room that was decked out identically no matter where they were in the world and had strict dress code or lack of, especially for the host (Warren) who had to be naked all the time. Apparently, this enabled him in indulge in pretty much whatever and whoever he wanted. Something like 800 women during his time with Duran...amazing that he had time to play the guitar heh

Thanks for the SOS article Jupiter8, I should have known that as I subscribe to that mag, still it was a couple of years ago

So which member of the band didn't like his burger then?
Old 7th July 2006 | Show parent
  #13
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🎧 15 years
this thread is going to get MOST humorous...real fast!

301 studios was one of my favorite places to work...loved that neve room. didn't love the gml automation. story for a different time. worked there with nuno on 5 or 6 mixes for "schizophonic."

little known fact; the 8068 from 301 studios is now in the barn at long view farm in north brookfield, mass...it sounds just as nice there

warren IS quite an odd bird...but what an amazing talent. although i've worked with many...spending time with warren, nick and simon had to be the most entertaining sessions i've ever worked on. NOT that i was SUPPOSED to be recording (we were supposed to be mixing...so the aforementioned "re-recording" is no surprise).

but one of my best memories from this business (besides the day tom dowd showed up with pictures from his days working for the department of defense); was that last night anthony j. resta and me were in london, mixing "medazzleland," simon came down to the studio to listen to the mixes. he loved everything...then said it was time to go out and get kebab. we sat there in the downstairs lounge at metropolis...anthony, simon, me and the assistant on the session...eating falafel, kebab and passing a bottle of warm stoli back and forth...guzzling it out of the bottle as simon expounded on his life...just a great memory. worth 8 weeks of torture actually

regarding the vocal treatments...it depends on the song or record. EVERY vocal sounded completely different...so you'd have to ask which song specifically...

i don't remember who mastered "thank you," but we used dave collins for "medazzleland." that was my request. he RESCUED me on that one...as i wasn't accustomed to the genelec 1031a's; when i got back to the states...i was HORRIFIED...as the mixes sounded overly boxy and well...just not right. dave saved my butt on that one. there's still a few shaky moments (too much 120 xds on the toms on "got to get you out of my mind" uh, oops. wtf was *I* thinking? sounds pretty scary on my klipsch surround setup). but for the most part we got away with it. dave collins and george marino are still two of my first choices...great guys with great ears (and they don't give me back the mixes i worked so hard on COMPLETELY distorted)

the white lines you hear on thank you was definately anthony j. resta's brainchild...without that groove running in the verse, you can't imagine how stiff it sounded...
Old 7th July 2006 | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bob st john
there's still a few shaky moments (too much 120 xds on the toms on "got to get you out of my mind"
Hey Bob - I thought Out of My Mind was a great track, for what it's worth. Always sounded good on the pub jukebox at the time :-)

Tell you what - I just read that Sound on Sound article and it appears to tell quite a different story about the 301 sessions than what actually happened.

Still waiting on approval from a source to spill the rest of the beans. Should be fun!

I also just remembered that during the tour for Ragged Tiger, the sound guys had a TON of AMS gear just to use on Simon's voice. I guess it helped with the pitch ambiguity thing...
Old 7th July 2006 | Show parent
  #15
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🎧 15 years
Anyone know what happened to Colin Thurston? I would love to hear his war stories from those first two Duran albums. Surely he had as much to do with cultivating that sound as anyone else, right?
Old 7th July 2006 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 15 years
Simons vocal chain and Nick's keys

Please, any info on this would be very hekpful for a record I'm working on at the moment!

Care to mix it?

Thanks!

-Andrews

DIRTY HALO www.dirtyhalo.com


P.S. website may be getting ready fothe new alubm, perhaps check out a few tracks on iTunes.
Old 7th July 2006 | Show parent
  #17
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🎧 15 years
This is hotting up nicely. Many thanks to you guys with the inside info.

Paulseta, I really hope you can get go go-ahead to give us the real scoop on those sessions - can't wait.

Also, if anyone knows anything about the sessions for the Power Station or Arcadia spin-offs then please join in!

I must say that the Arcadia album So Red the Rose still sounds good now, seems like quite a bit of work went into it. Still that was the story for Seven too wasn't it...it took ages & lots of time invested (hopefully we'll soon know in what the time was invested heh ).

What always interests me with these mammoth album projects is how many outside parties are required to get to the final product. How much the band plays/contributes and how much the producer, the producer's musos and session guys end up doing. Still if the end result is good then maybe it doesn't matter!

Keep it coming guys.
Old 7th July 2006 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 20 years
Great thread. Let's keep it going.
Old 12th July 2006 | Show parent
  #19
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🎧 15 years
i STILL love that power station record. nothing like it before...or since.

i had the pleasure of working with robert palmer years later...great guy. too bad he's not with us anymore...but i'll never forget those 2 weeks in milan with robert and nuno.

the vocal chain with simon was different all the time. i can't say i ever did it the same way twice...as they constantly recorded stuff in different studios with these really peculiar sounding comps. a LOT of work. usually had to split it on a few channels so you couldn't hear the eq changes. protools would have helped a lot back then.

i believe that duran always sound like themselves...but it's the producer/mixer who defines the sound for each record. having heard stories...i'm sure everybody else who has worked for them has spent more time than that care to recall reinventing things. took 10 weeks to mix "medazzleland." arg. every day...a new adventure. i believe we were in london for 3 weeks to do "thank you," but my memory from that period was too hazy from stoli and cognac =)

now i can remember a few things: let's see; on "thank you," the song was "crystal ship," used an emt plate (it was downstairs in at metropolis...had to take quite a hike to adjust the time on it) with a pcm 41 for pre-delay and compressed the return; i was thinking "retro." on "white lines" used a dbx 165a and also the compressor on the ssl. yes...the one in the actual channel module. oh yes...and two de-essers (one set for a notch at 4 k and another for a notch at 8 k). on "electric barbarella," used a bel delay for that weird effect on the vocal; you can really hear it at the end of the song as i was manually adjusting the feedback...it was a "live" performance as you couldn't predict where in the sweep you'd catch it...you can hear where it just nailed it during the fade; all through the record, there is a LOT of distortion and chorusing (distortion was courtesy the ssl line input jacked up...still one of my favorite distortion devices; just crank it up and adjust the filters for minimum fuzz (or maximum...whatever blows up your skirt); most of the chorus effects were from the H-3000 or eventide 949 (i STILL love the 949...and eventide REALLY nailed the sound of it on the protools emulation; as well as the omnipressor). "buried in the sand" was just a pcm 42 set to modulate fast; and not quite a sine wave for the modulation. as i said...all the filtering and distortion was courtesy of the ssl. reverb were the lexicon 480...nothing wild or special. on "big bang generation," that is the bel delay again; that thing had a really cool analog sound. funny thing about that song...as complicated as it sounds...it only took 4 hours to mix it. gotta love that...'cause we lost money on all the other mixes =) typically, it took 2-4 days to get something finished...mainly because we (anthony j. resta and me) were either re-recording/re-perfoming or re-inventing stuff on the spot. some songs...took longer (midnight sun was actually the first song we mixed for the record; but the version you hear on the record is only 1/2 the song and complete stripped down...it was orginally an arena rock ballad; complete with guitar hero solo at end; that mix on the record that you hear was about 2 hours work; however it took 5 or 6 days to do the original version); we re-recorded the drums to "out of my mind" at sound techniques; WHILE we were mixing the song (dave di censo played that amazing drum track in nearly 1 complete take...he was like a MACHINE; it took only 90 minutes to setup and record; and get back to mixing). the drums for "who do you think you are" and "so long suicide" were recorded at bopnique (anthony j. resta's studio) on adat, then transferred to 24 tk analog. "so long suicide" was actually a mono drum track that was compressed and treated with a copious amount of eq and 120 xds...i always loved that song. the last one we mixed...and believe it or not, it was also only 6 hours of work. it's funny how the hard songs can be easy some days...

ok. so this probably doesn't say much about the vocals...got a bit carried away
Old 12th July 2006 | Show parent
  #20
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Bob it is soooooo great to have you here telling these stories..... thank you again and again!

thumbsup thumbsup
Old 12th July 2006 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 15 years
Love it! More more more...

I'd love to know about Nick's keyboards and sounds, ways of recoridng and anything.

I'd also love to know more details on Simon's mics, effects and compressors/pres... if you can grace us with that info!

Happy campers here!

-Andrews
Old 12th July 2006 | Show parent
  #22
C/G
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🎧 15 years
I'm curious about that bel delay Mr. St. John is talking about. Never heard of it.
Old 12th July 2006 | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 15 years
i just scoured the internet looking for information...didn't see anything...but i'm fairly certain that was the delay. it was in studio b at metropolis; although it's no longer on their equipment list...funky little delay, i remember that
Old 12th July 2006 | Show parent
  #24
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jwnc's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have a friend who has a Bel delay unit, its like 2 racks spaces and can do like up to 20 seconds of delay. You can do some incredible texture space with it. I dont know the model # though.

Jason
Old 13th July 2006 | Show parent
  #25
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🎧 15 years
Arcadia & the Fairlight

One thing I DO know about the entire Arcadia album is that it was perhaps one of THE best examples of what the Fairlight coould do.

Nick just doscovered it on Seven & the Ragged Tiger, but REALLY created a full musical & soundscape album with the Fairlight!

They had a ton of great other, musicians to play bits, but the genius is in the atmospheric style composition and production via Fairlight... perhaps still one of the greatest machines, samples, hard-disck keyboard workstations around.

They were (are) amazing, but particularly the Fairlight IIx-MFX3 Plus!

Lastly, I know they escaped and did almost a 100% of that album in Paris.

-a

DIRTY HALO www.dirtyhalo.com
Old 13th July 2006 | Show parent
  #26
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🎧 15 years
i can't honestly say i've even seen nick play a note on a keyboard. but he DOES have the most eclectic tastes for gear (i.e. stylophone...what a funky thing that was). there always was lots of VERY cool textural parts to work with...never had to worry about that!
Old 13th July 2006 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 15 years
Nick's playing....

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob st john
i can't honestly say i've even seen nick play a note on a keyboard. but he DOES have the most eclectic tastes for gear (i.e. stylophone...what a funky thing that was). there always was lots of VERY cool textural parts to work with...never had to worry about that!

Are you saying that Mark Tinley or someone else played all of Nick's parts? I mean, I know he's not the typicaly keyboard player, but unless you really didn't see him play anything or just don't think he did, find it hard to believe he didn't in one way or another "play" keyboards on all those albums, be it sequence, whatever.Even in the

Fairlight stuff, he must have been producing the pars he wanted to ehar out of it.
Old 13th July 2006 | Show parent
  #28
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🎧 15 years
Yeah, Fairlight...most 'organic' sampler I've ever heard!
I also wonder what they did with those 'James Bond' big-band hits in "A view to a kill".
After the 1st chorus, you hear a break, after that you hear a sample of a big-band hit, like it's being torn to pieces
When I heard it, I thought:"What the hell was that?!"
Anyone has an idea what might have been used here?
Would solve a 21 year old mystery for me!heh
Old 13th July 2006 | Show parent
  #29
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Hysteria's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Phew, for a while I thought this thread was going to die a premature death

Thanks again Bob for your great insight, that's exactly the kind of info I was hoping for...anything on the sessions, recording, mixing, mastering...or anything else that could be considered amusing...would love to hear that arena rock ballad in its original form...

Paulseta, we need to here man, I know you've some juicy stuff to tell us heh

I'd love to know about Nick Rhodes' contribution too. And specifically what he actually plays. Maybe to be diplomatic, perhaps we should ask how many other keyboard players were used and how much of an input they contributed to the overall keyboard work

And if that input is pretty much 100%, we might speculate why???? Given that Duran aren't known for having Rick Wakeman aboard (oo, that reminds me, must start a thread on Yes )

Guys feel free to let the thread take a detour to Fairlight and Synclavier land. I think it's pretty relevant anyway.

I alway thought the Synclavier was the better beast but it seems that they both got used a lot and at the same time by some producers like Trevor Horn (yep another thread I must start...in fact if I combine Yes and Trevor horn that would introduce me fave album of all time 901..) anyway I digress.

Keep it coming folks.
Old 13th July 2006 | Show parent
  #30
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DaveC's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
This thread should have started years ago
I always loved the way guys like Trevor Horn and Nile Rodgers mixed and
made incredible sounds that sounded like a zillion dollars!
Sometimes it's a bit sad that it's not hot to make those kind of sounds anymore...
but that's the way evolution goes...
I thought I came in my pants when I firstly heard the drum-intro of 'some like it hot' by the Power Station; what a sound!!!
Too bad those kind of drumsounds have slipped into oblivion (well, almost).

Keep the thread going, please!
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