Last week I discovered that Gary Numan had released a new album this past October. It’s titled Splinter: Songs From A Broken Mind. I haven’t been following Gary since his early work so I gave it a listen. Wow! I was really impressed. At first listen you’re ready to say Gary Numan has a Nine Inch Nails influence. Historically though, I feel it’s the other way around.
Now the fact that NIN guitarist Robert Fink plays on the album may further the NIN influence theory…. but I digress.
Anyway, I really love the track titled Love Hurt Bleed. I sat down at my synthesizer and after a few minutes was playing the backing synth bass track. After that I decided to try to put the track down on tape (disc, whatever).
Before trying to lay down a copy of the album track I thought I’d look for a live version. Watching it done live shows you how the musicians actually play a song, how many instruments are required and how it can be arranged for a real-world performance. With an album version you never quite know what’s going on. I found the KEXP broadcast of his live performance of the song and worked on that arrangement.
My workflow process was sort of bass-ackward. At first I employed my usual “cheat”; I played along to the track while recording each instrument. This has worked ok in the past, however, there is a certain lack of flow in the music when recorded this way. This time I broke out the old metronome and recorded each track outside of the backing track. I think the result was better timing and more continuity.
With the click-track as my drummer I laid down the synth tracks first. The raw bass synth was done by tweaking the Prawg Rawk preset on Native Instruments Monark soft-synth. The lead synth during the chorus is the outstanding free VST plugin Synth1. I didn’t want to make this project too complex so I stuck with my two favourite software synthesizers.
After these tracks were down I moved to the bass guitar. The first thing I noticed was that the E string on the bass was tuned to D. No problem. I recorded the track on my Fender Jazz running through my new favourite toy; an Electro Harmonix Deluxe Bass Big Muff PI (wow, what a mouthful). This little distortion dream gave me two outputs. Wet and Dry. I recorded each and mixed them together for the final mix.
Next came the drums. I liked the pattern used in the live arrangement so I based my track on that. I stuck to the Kick and Snare drums but used tons of cymbals, particularly splash cymbals. I recorded with a pair of AKG C1000S overheads, an AKG D112 on the kick and a Shure SM57 each on the snare and hi-hat. I recorded on my Gretsch Renown Maple kit.
Next my nemesis; the guitar. I’m still a very weak guitar player and wasn’t sure how to approach this. My first thought was just to record the guitar parts through my keyboard and Guitar Rig by Native Instruments. I didn’t like that idea though. Too artificial. I thought of calling a guitar playing buddy (John my Fizzbin bandmate came to mind first) but I live out of the way and wanted the project completed inside of 24 hours.
I first laid down the track in the third verse where everything but the synthesizer dies out during the vocal. The guitar riff has an arabic flavour to it which I accented with some Guitar Rig delays and reverb.
Next I laid down the lead riff which runs just before the vocal. Running from my Strat through an MXR ’78 Badass Distortion into the mixing desk I got an nice raunchy sound. I further crunched it up with Guitar Rig and a nice cabinet. Because I haven’t been playing much I have difficulty transitioning from chord to chord. To solve this problem I recorded each chord, D, C and G, separately then mixed them together. The result seems to work ok.
Finally I laid down the vocal track. Rather than use my TC-Helicon Voiceworks for the final track I ran the vocals through a few effects in Guitar Rig. I use a couple of EQs, some Compression and Reverb. That’s it.
The project was mixed down in Reaper by Cockos. I really enjoy working with this DAW. Although I’ve learned a tons about it, I still haven’t scratched the surface of it’s capabilities.
So there you have it. My execution of Love Hurt Bleed. I hope you enjoy it.