Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Levitation Sessions

blog2

Auditive Levitation” is our first full length cd and is the follow up to 2005’s EP “Victim of Mainstream America”. Unlike “Victim” which was recorded by Jason Suecof who’s credits include Trivium’s “Ascendancy”, Devil Drivers “The Last Kind Words” and many more. This album was to be recorded with Wayne Tourville and our newly signed to, Knoxville Tennessee indie label, Twisted Hillbilly Records. At first I was like “Wayne Tourville? Who the hell is that?” What does this guy know?” So I turned to Google to see what I could conjure up. Couldn’t find much. He was involved with a Jenna Tortures CD and helped record some of Twisted Hillbilly’s former bands. And I wasn’t really impressed with the recordings at all. I was scared and wondered what I had gotten our band into. But soon I realized that credits couldn’t trump dedication and heart.

1463141_10151811482859472_957439497_nNow “Victim”, which included 6 songs, was recorded for $5000 in two weeks. We recorded the drums at Morris Sound Studios in Tampa Florida with like 27 mic’s. Suecof taught me about click tracks, panning, harmonies, and a whole rage of things which I had no clue about. He had also helped us to record a earlier EP in 2003 and I was really happy with both recordings. I knew this time around I was going to have to take all that knowledge and apply it to the Levitation Sessions. I knew there wouldn’t be any big studios or well credited people involved, and I would have to try and feel out this Tourville cat to see what he knew. See I have a hard time trusting anybody. Especially when it comes to recording. We spent much of 2000-2001, a whole year and a lot of my personal funds to record 10 songs in Lansing MI. I scraped it all after hearing the final mixes. I didn’t feel the quality was there. I actually have all those sessions shelved and might fuck with them someday. Now we just signed with this small indie label out of state, I barely knew these people and I wanted to make sure we had complete control over everything. I even had the contract revised to state that we had a say in the engineering process cause by now I knew my way around a studio. Plus in between these 2 albums I had invested in a little studio of my own, so I was getting to know certain techniques quit well that I had learned. I wasn’t sure how involved Tourville would be! Was he doing it for some easy cash flow or would he take this project on like his own and really commit himself to our concepts and ideas.

Two weeks after we signed the 3 yr. deal with Twisted Hillbilly, Tourville called me. He was super stoked about the project and really liked what I had already been recording at home and the quality of the drums. I was surprised! We talked for a while. I was really honest with him about some of the stuff I had heard from him in the past and about how scared I was with the process this time around. He reassured me that good song writing, a good attitude and great musician ship has a lot to do with the over all out come of a recording. Its not just the equipment, engineer or producer. Its a love and feeling for music that people connect with. Its not a sound or quality of that sound or a certain riff or note. He said not everyone has that marriage with music to be able to translate a connection to the people. He felt we had that and we had a good jump into something unique. He said if you got good songs, it’s easy to record. He also said that this was going to be the only project he would be involved with and he wanted to dedicate himself to this. He continued to talk about some of the stuff he was going to be trying and techniques that he had learned over the years. Honestly a lot of the stuff he talked about I didn’t know anything about, and I knew I could learn from him. I was really impressed with our conversation but I still wasn’t sure if he was blowing smoke up my ass. Only time would tell. At least for now I was partially at ease. He thought I should go back through all 16 songs and do the drums for real. When we were ready, we could bring those tracks to the Twisted Hillbilly studio in Tennessee and lay some guitars and bass down with him.

Stay with the blog to hear the rest of the story.

If you would like to listen to samples of “Auditive Levitation” click this link to continue your auditory levitaion!

-Nick Williams
singer, guitarist, songwriter, producer

The Levitation Sessions-Continued

bolg22
blog joshSo Josh (Moore-drums) and I spent much of September and October of 2011 refining the click tracks and recording drums at my house. We also decided to put a cover song on the disc at this time. When we were all kids we looked up to this band called Deranged that was from our home town. They are now dis-banded and we thought it would be great to record one of their songs in honor of the influence they had on our life. We got a hold of them, got permission and we were all set. Once all the drum tracks were established, I was sent a couple flash drives by Tourville so I could mail my sessions to him and he could start his magic before our arrival. In November 2011 Dustin (Cook-guitar), Chad (Rabideau-Bass) d and cand I made the journey to Tourville’s home studio which was actually in the mountains of Sevierville TN. When we got there the studio was still in construction and fueled my worries. Tourville’s mixing room had half hung paneling, no sound absorbers or anything. 379926_10150400941189472_1866739577_nHe apologized for it and said it would be done before we got to the mixing process later that year. I just told myself to remain positive and record some guitars. It was decided that I was going to actually record all the guitars on the album like I did on the past EP’s. If you are familiar with the band at all, you usually just see me singing but I am also very much involved with much of the guitar riff and composition process of writing the songs we do. In the past, I played guitar and sang all the time. In 2010 I thought we should pick up another guitarist and let me just sing. I feel I sing a lot better this way and am able to react with the crowd a bit better. We spent about 3 days days there recording. We recorded mostly bass due to the fact that Tourville had some equipment that complimented the bass a bit better then I did. We then decided that I would take these updated sessions and do the guitars at my house. I’ll admit, while I was there, I was getting a bit frustrated and worried about getting stuff done efficiently. The release date we were aiming for at the time was suppose to be the summer of 2012 and we still had vocals, editing, mixing and mastering. Thats when another part of the Twisted Hillbilly team pulled me to the side. Martin Day, aka Moe Hillbilly, owner of Twisted Hillbilly. He told me, “Stay positive Nick, we got time, and money is no object. You can take the whole 3 years of your contract to record if you want. Lets not rush it.” It made me feel much better.

1457643_10151811470464472_1321241457_nSo, November-January 2012, I spent all my extra time reclusively recording guitars all the while maintaining my personal life and day job. In January 2012, I made my second visit to Tennessee to record vocals by myself for a week with Tourville. And during this time I really got to know him and how involved he was becoming in the project. It felt good to have some one recording me that cared just as much as I did. Also at this time I began to discover that Moe’s health was deteriorating. The last time I was there he briefly discussed with me that doctors didn’t know what was going on with him. They had thought he had Parkinson’s disease, then a few other things and they had him on all kinds of meds. It was also confessed to me at this time that Moe had lost his job because of his illness and Tourville was going to finish out the remainder of this project for free. Any funds that Moe had left was going towards getting me back down there to finish out the sessions. We knew I was going to have to come back at least another 2 times for a week. We also decided on a January 2013 release and we were going to take 2 songs off the disc. The 2 songs were called “Agent of Change” and “Swirl” which were songs of our self-titled EP we recorded in 2003 with Suecof. I didn’t care about it to much. When you are recording I think you are not just recording a song but you are recording a moment in time. And I didn’t want to try and recapture those songs. They are still there for people to listen to. There is no need to rewind the band.

555290_10150825233644472_20978307_n Much of the winter, spring and summer of 2012 I spent personally editing the songs, polishing electronic elements and writing harmonies for my next vocal session with him in August. Tourville and I stayed in close contact. I would share a lot of edits and techniques I was doing with him via email and dropbox. At one time my computer crashed too and i almost lost it all. Yeah, I have tracks backed up but not all the edits. I had a serious brake down when this happened. Luckily I was able to get my hands on some recovery software and gain it all back. If I hadn’t, it might have not made the January dead line. In August, Josh and I made another week long trip to Tourvilles studio to finish and polish the vocal tracks. I’ll admit this time around I drank a bit more honey whiskey and hot toddies while recording to lower inhibitions and opened up my throat. Now this techniques is not for everyone and should not be abused or taken advantage of. It’s what worked for me.487734_10150994116444472_943477071_n

In November of 2012, I returned to Tourville with all my edits to begin final mixing. in his newly finished mixing room. It was nice. We were both really surprised with what we were hearing and were excited to start adding effects, echos, delays and what not. We also received a visit form Moe Hillbilly at this time. He was better. He confessed he was on his death bed and riding around in a wheel chair, then they figured it out. He was allergic to gluten. He said he had been bouncing right back ever sense he stopped eating it. He had a new job lined up and said he should be able to swing the cd duplication process for the January 20 2013 release show. Tourville and I kept in strict contact trough out December and January for the mastering process that he did himself. He would master a song, send it via dropbox, sometimes I would change it and we would start the process all over. It was very meticulous and tedious. It all came right to the wire and I received the new discs just 2 days before the release show.

While all this was going on we lost Sean Austin on guitar, who was with us sense 2003. We picked up Jake jScott and I began to show him the songs so he could play the release show with us. Jake was really amazing at coming and picking up on my abstract solos and writing style. While keeping in the back of his mind that our CD release show would be the first time he ever played a live show. We also had to shoot a video in Oct. 2012 for “Cold Repetition” after Jake was only a week old in the band. Point being, as cliché’ as it sounds, that dedication and perseverance is what really success is. It takes a team, working as a team to make things happen.

Thanks for reading and listing. I hope this inspires you to do something unique and different in your life. Whether it be music, a career, painting or anything really.

If you would like to check out “Auditive Levitation” recorded with Wayne Tourville and Twisted Hillbilly Records. Please click the link.

-Nick Williams
singre, guitarist, songwriter, producer