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Thomas Gold Fantastic drums sounds collection, tons of good high quality stuff in there! All rights reserved. It was so punky compared to how their music had sounded before — Colin Thurston's production was very musical, whereas I didn't approach things from that direction. My technique was much more rhythmic, much more percussive; a snare that cut your ears off, distortion on Andy's guitar, taking John's stereo chorused bass and wacking it into mono.
I wasn't interested in pansy music, so I got sounds that I myself liked, and my attitude was also a little dismissive because I was so pissed off, proving that things can be a lot easier if you're true to yourself. Leaning more towards a synth-dance sound than their previous two records, this album would eventually achieve double platinum status while featuring another trio of hit singles: 'New Moon On Monday', 'Union Of The Snake' and transatlantic chart-topper 'The Reflex'.
Initial songwriting and demo sessions for Seven And The Ragged Tiger took place during a three-month spell in the South of France that began in Marchwhere everyone lived and worked in a three-storey chateau while a track mobile studio rented from North London's RAK Studios was parked outside.
With the band set up alongside a channel mixer in a large, open room on the top floor with a pitched roof and bare floorboards, Ian Little sat behind the truck's API console and recorded the jam sessions to a 3M M79 two-inch tape machine running at 15ips, while monitoring on Tannoy Red speakers. With feedback from Ian Little as to what parts of their jam sessions he considered worth developing, the band members wrote songs for the new album.
And they did so while adhering to a deadline — as the project was geared towards a Christmas release, they knew that the longer they took to write the material, the less time they'd have to record it. Ian Little with his present-day writing setup. Everyone loved that track, so Roger, Nick and I analysed it and realised that the bass drum pattern was quite unusual — although you think it's just a regular old two-bar loop, it actually doesn't repeat for eight bars.
It's quite tricky. However, it's a great beat, so Roger started playing it, got it right, John joined in and came up with the bass riff, and then the song was pounded on top of it. I mean, Bryan Ferry would often come up with a chord sequence and record 15 or 20 seconds of that sequence, put it on a cassette and number it.
After a few weeks, he'd give a cassette to their producer Rhett Davies containing, say, 75 second sequences of just two or three chords, and Rhett would then say 'Well, we could merge number 32 with number 74 and make a song.
And if you're able to combine some of those elements to make a song, all well and Drums Of Steel - Machine Drum - Now You Know (CD. As soon as you've got a structure, you'll then write parts that blend those sections together and there will be a homogeneity to the entire song. Bryan would then vamp on the keyboard and produce what he called a 'moody synth' sound, which was like a pad sound with plenty of movement and character.
That would enable him to get a lot of feeling out of a couple of chords, and Duran Duran did the same thing. I don't recall using it that much, Drums Of Steel - Machine Drum - Now You Know (CD, but once in a while, when ideas dried up and everyone was sitting around scratching their nuts, I'd create a groove and they would just bounce off it.
He would die in a car accident just four years later at the age of You lose any objectivity when you've been listening to something that long, and so it needed Alex to come in and get the thing mixed properly.
When we'd recorded it, I hadn't overseen this young engineer who was really just a tape-op, and he'd recorded the drums without compression and with no consistency of level.
Well, can you imagine how much all that cost? I was devastated. After all, can you imagine what that would have done to any career hopes I had? After producing one single, someone was brought in to mix it with me and then I was gone? I'd be dead in the water. I went to the band's management and said 'You can't do this to me. I'll be finished,' and they said 'We're sorry, but this is a big project and we can't risk it, so you're out.
I won't do it without you. But he also wasn't an idiot, and this signalled a recognition on his part that I was an integral part of Duran Duran's work process at that time. I didn't get writing credits and I don't believe I ever deserved writing credits, but I know I helped them to come up with the ideas during that time. For instance, when we started work on 'The Reflex' and adopted the drum pattern from the demo, I knew the part much more intimately than Alex.
I therefore told him what the groove was about, what I felt we needed to do with the bass drum, the snare and the hi-hat, and how I heard the groove working — when you're producing a drummer, you've got to relate to what he's doing with each of his limbs, because the groove's success depends on how he interweaves the various elements.
So, I conveyed that to Alex, who was quick on the uptake, and he then took charge of getting the right sounds. Since I was more on the band's side of the fence, making all of them more aware of the rhythmic quality of their performances, he provided us with a perfectly balanced production approach. While Ian Little loved every minute of his interaction with Alex Sadkin, he also enjoyed working with band members whose respective musical abilities stood in sharp contrast to one another.
He was more concerned with the effect a part had on the track than whether or not it was perfectly in tune, and that has always been my approach.
You can't have things that stick out like a sore thumb, but in the same way as a blue note is bent off what it should be, you can play notes that aren't traditionally meant to be there. And if they create a bit of tension and have the right effect, then so be it. I suppose what I'm saying is that Nick was not a classically trained pianist. His ability was in his taste.
He knew what he wanted to hear and I think that's what it's all about. It's about having the vision and the ideas, and knowing when something does and doesn't work. They needed each other, they needed the vehicle that Duran Duran presented them with.
Roger was a very competent drummer, he could keep good time, and John was somewhere in between Andy and Roger. He could sometimes amaze in terms of the bass lines he'd come up with, but I don't think he'd ever stand up and say 'I'm a great technician. They knew what they liked and they knew what was going on, but it was clear that their knowledge of music history had plenty of holes. Indeed, while the band's rhythm section tracked various parts, Simon Le Bon would often sit around until a song's melodic structure took shape and he felt comfortable hearing a particular chord sequence.
At that point, he would vocalise and contrive his own melody lines before later writing the lyrics. He'd 'la-di-da' and maybe have a few words or the odd line here and there, but he wasn't terribly keen on committing himself to his melody until he knew what lyrics he wanted to sing. If he could avoid tying it down, he would, and I think that was probably the best way for him to work. He Album) all Album) lyrics on his own, nobody else was involved, even though the others would tell him if they thought something was terrible.
He doesn't have a very characterful voice although it's certainly recognisable as him. It's a bit nasal and a bit forced, but I admire the way in which he stuck at it. He had to really work hard to develop a style, and eventually people grew used to him — he knew what he could and couldn't do.
He is not a naturally gifted singer, and as I'm sure he himself would admit, he doesn't have great pitch. It's not unusual for him to sing out of tune, so when I worked with him we would use quite a lot of effects on his voice; mainly Eventide Harmonizer with a very small percentage pitch-shift up or down or both, in addition to the normal step delays and reverbs and possibly even some chorus.
Remember, these were the days before Auto-Tune. By making the pitch ambiguous, the Harmonizer helped disguise the fact that his singing was flat. He needed something like a pad to which he could link himself. I mean, I can't sing in tune to save my life, so the fact that he could pull himself close enough to be acceptable was pretty amazing.
That's not an easy thing to do. I don't think he lacked objectivity in terms of his own output, and I don't think he would have been at all musical if he couldn't hear his own limitations, but one of the things about Simon as a person was that he didn't want to show any sort of vulnerability, so he'd never come into the control room after doing a take and say 'Wow, am I out of tune!
He was realistic. Still, listen to the way in which Nile Rodgers sampled and Album) Simon's 'Reflex' vocal when he did the mix for the single. Samplers were very, very new back then and we weren't using them, but for the intro on that single version Nile sampled Simon's singing and pitch-shifted it really low.
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