Shred Talk 2 - Code Of Perfection
(24 Jun 06)
EV: Ok, let's get going. So how long did the whole production of "Last Exit For The Lost" take? From pre-production to production to mixing and mastering...
TK: Altogether, it took about 6 months, I'd say.
EV: Does this include demoing the songs?
TK: Yes, but actually, I didn't really make a lot of elaborate demos for the others. What did take some time was that I transcribed the basslines I had in mind for Keisuke (Nishimoto, the bassist of C.O.P., living in Japan).
Instead of transcribing them in actual sheet music, I tabbed them out using Powertabs, but it still was quite a lot of work to do that, considering we had 11 or 12 songs. Actually, he didn't even use too many of the bass parts I tabbed out.
EV: Which is the oldest song on LEFTL? I know a few of these songs as demos from the old days, so I was wondering what periods those songs were from.
TK: Good question. Let's see. One of the songs that is truly old is "Psychotic Nightmare". It's even older than "Shred It", and I think it's safe to say that it's the oldest song on the CD. It's one of the very first instrumentals I wrote.
Back then, I got an Tascam 4 track tape recorder, and once the creative juices started flowing (laughs), I started recording all kinds of stuff that I was planning to record. That's about 10 years ago now.
EV: And which song is the most recent one?
TK: That would definitely be "Miracle Times".
EV: Were all the vocal-tracks written for the album, during the production of it?
TK: No. "Super Woman" for example is an older song. It initially was supposed to be released the last Demon Drive album, "Four Play!" (see "Shred Talk"). We even did a demo with (former Demon Drive singer) Michael Voss in the studio back then.
For some reason, it didn't end up on "Four Play" though, and when we were working on LEFTL, Jochen Meyer remembered the song and suggested resurrecting it.
EV: When I compare the songs that I heard older demos of (for example "Hearts In Atlantis", which I have a demo of which is called "Beautiful One"), I notice that the songs have changed a bit. Is this true for the more recent songs as well? Did they change throughout the production, compared to the initial demos?
TK: I did a lot of pre-production with Jochen Meyer, and most of them were arranged differently. I gave him pretty much all demos of myself that I had laying around, and he picked whatever he liked, based on what he thought would be appropriate for the album.
Together, we picked 11 songs from all that. And it's safe to say that we did work on those songs quite a bit, rearranging and reworking them.
Listening back to those older versions, I knew I wanted to play certain parts a bit differently. That's why we re-arranged stuff, left things out in order to "streamline" them, make them more listener-friendly.
It was a good thing to collaborate on that with Jochen. As a guitar-player, you tend to go "OK, let's throw in yet another lick here". Jochen brought in a different perspective, as a listener.
EV: Did the other musicians have a say regarding arrangements and songwriting too?
TK: Yes, sure. They definitely had complete freedom when they were recording their parts, it was up to them what they'd play.
This tendency started already when we were recording the drums. Franky (Frank Kraus-drums) did change some of the drum-parts, playing them from a drummers' perspective, based on what he thought they should be like.
He used my demos as a click-track. That's what he heard in his headphones when he recorded the tracks.
Take "Miracle Times"... the beat was quite a bit different originally. He changed it to a straight, almost disco-like beat with a steady bass-drum
Or take the piano-parts in "Hearts In Atlantis"... we actually didn't even use a lot of the keyboard tracks that Ferdy (Doernberg) recorded. He had recorded quite a few tracks, most of it sounding really awesome, but we had to leave out a lot of stuff so that we wouldn't overdo it.