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The infamous overhead cymbal on 'The Way It Is'
Old 25th November 2020
Here for the gear
🎧 5 years
The infamous overhead cymbal on 'The Way It Is'

Hey Gordon, thanks for doing this! I love those early Strokes records so much!

I read a throwaway comment once in a newspaper article that there is a ridiculous story somehow about how long it took to get the cymbals right on The Way It Is - a B-side of all things and that Julian drove you to figurative insanity trying to fix them. Would you please be able to expand/elaborate on that?

Thank you very much
Old 26th November 2020
Special Guest
Gordotronic's Avatar
🎧 10 years
I had no idea that was somehow out in the public information... haha, and I really wonder if it was me who said it?? I didn't even remember what song it was. I devote a huge paragraph to this hilarious (in hindsight, but believe me I was sweating bullets at the time) interaction between Julian and I-- in a book I just wrote and am trying to get published right now.

But,,, since you asked:
Julian was not happy with the hi-hat sound on a certain section of that song, which was already tracked and we had moved on. Normally I could adjust some eq, add or subtract texture, so it was no big deal. UNTIL, I had tried every plug in, and had moved onto trying all the hardware processing units at TMF studio. 30 minutes into the deal, and it was getting frustrating for me, and possibly amusing or frustrating for J. Casablancas. If I asked him what he didnt like about it, or what was wrong with the hi hat sound, he would simply say, "I don't know, its just not right".

An hour into me frantically trying every idea and piece of gear I could think of (and believe me I have LOTS of ideas), we were still no closer and I flet pressured and tired and, Julian noted that I was getting ANGRY. In one of the best quotes I ever heard from him.... he was sitting behind me and so he could not see my facial expressions when he came out with. "Gordon, I can feel your fist flying back behind you and punching me in the face". I certainly didnt want to do that but he must have felt something!

For no reason except necessity and exasperation, I made one last idea. "Hey Fab, go in there and hit one crash cymbal ONE time... ok?". And Fab did so, and I recorded it. Everyone was looking at me as I opened "Sound Replacer" which used to be part of Pro Tools AudioSuite. (I think it still might be, but you have to purchase it separately... yikes) In a few desperate mouse-clicks I made it so that every time a f***ing hi hat was hit on that section, one would hear a crash cymbal highly truncated. Why would that even be an idea? And why did it work perfectly enough for Julian to say "yeah, thats it". I cannot tell you.
Old 1st December 2020
Gear Maniac
SamPura's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Great story!!!

In general what type of distortion is going on with the snare / drum sound in this mix? One of the more crunchy sounding sounds. I love it!
Old 2nd December 2020
Lives for gear
Wow, great story. Wtf?!
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