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The Red Masque will be heading into the studio in late April to begin recording their new album, tentatively titled "Mythalogue".
The Red Masque will be heading into the studio in late April to begin recording their new album, tentatively titled "Mythalogue".
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Mythalogue Studio Diary and Photos (Day 1)

This past Sunday, April 22nd, my band The Red Masque drove to Baltimore to Orion Sound Studios to work with engineer Mike Potter on tracks for our forthcoming album. 

You can view photos from the studio session on the band's website here
In addition, the band took some video clips, which will be posted online later this week. View full photo set here:

from TRM vocalist Lynnette Shelley:

Brandon and I woke up around 6:30 AM that morning. We brewed up a batch of coffee, fed the kitten, and packed the car with all the equipment we'd be needing that day (two bass guitars, a moog, amplifier, Rheem organ, theremin, various pedals, effects, cables and other miscellaneous gear). Here is the kitten, Magnus, inspecting the moog before we packed it up.

We made good time to the studio, arriving about 11:15 AM after a drive of a little over 2 hours. Steve and Nick had driven up seperately as we all too much gear to fit into one car. We met Mike Potter, the engineer at Orion, soon after and started unloading the car and setting it up in the studio. Orion Studios consists of one big drum room, plus two isolation rooms, and the engineer's booth. It ended up taking Mike the better part of six hours to mic all of the instruments to his satisfaction (the drum kick alone took 1.5 hours(!). But it's better to take longer and get things done right than to a hurried job and realize the recording is compromised later on. 

Having known Mike for many years, I trusted him to do a great job with the recording and I was not disappointed.This is not to say, however, that things went 100 percent smoothly. Brandon and I joke about "The Red Masque Curse" that always seems to strike during recording sessions. Pretty much every single album, from Victoria and the Haruspex onwards has had issues (technilogical or otherwise) that have plagued the recording process. 

Yesterday was no exception and started off when Nick's amplifier head, which worked perfectly fine before we brought it into the studio, decided to break down unexpectedly. First it buzzed and then when he went to put in a new cable into the input jack, the input jack fell into the amplifier. We needed a new amplifier head fast. Ironically, though we were surrounded by rehearsal studios and plenty of amps in the area, Mike could not get a hold of anybody he knew at any of them to see if we could borrow one. 

So Nick ran off to a music store and rented an amp head for the day so we could continue recording.I was hoping that this would be "the issue" that we had to deal with and nothing else more expensive / catastrophic (probably the worst example of the Red Masque curse was from our previous studio album, Fossil Eyes, where our former Drummer Vonorn became seriously ill after being bitten by a deer tick at a photo shoot for the album and had to spend four months in the hospital. In addition, more than half the album tracks were lost / destroyed on a failed computer drive). 

Mike continued setting up mics and testing them on the gear. Nick finally got back with his new amp head and then one of Mike's pre-amps stopped working suddenly and unexplainedly. It was also his best pre-amp. While pondering this new development, Brandon walked by the engineering booth and the overhead light turned off on its own. Was it the Red Masque curse? Had it followed us to Baltimore? lol.

Thankfully, after spending several minutes fiddling with the wires on the pre-amp, Mike gave it a good smack, and the pre-amp turned back on. If it was the curse, it decided to let us off relatively unscathed. After six hours of setting up, the band was finally ready to start recording. Nick and Steve kept trying to keep themselves amped up throughout the day so that the eventual performance would have lots of energy and not get the "drag" that studio sessions can sometimes bring into a take. Having several albums under my belt now, I was very familiar with the "hurry up and wait" aspect that is a hallmark of any group creative project, like album recordings. It's hard not to get tired waiting for hours on end and still try and bring fresh energy to the recording of a song, no matter how many times you may have had to play it before hand.

One benefit of working at Orion was that we were able to all play live together as opposed to recording piece by piece each of the songs. I went into the vocal isolation booth. I could not actually see anybody playing but Mike had given everyone headphones and a mixer so that we could adjust levels for each instrument coming in through our headsets. We ran through out six or seven takes of "Dark Salt Sea" for our first song. The first few times we ran through was so that Mike could adjust some sound levels further as we played. Then we ended up doing four takes of the song and using the best version. The next song, "The Minotaur" took less time as most of the sound kinks had been worked through with "Dark Salt Sea".

It was a little after 11 PM when we finally wrapped up to go home. Because of rainy / windy weather it, Brandon and I didn't get back from the studio until almost 2:30 AM. We were exhausted but pretty pleased with the work accomplisehd so far. We will be heading back next week to do some overdubs on these previous two songs as well as working on the next few songs. 

View full photo set here: 


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