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Kryptos: Notes From the Studio

By Nolan Lewis | April 26, 2007

Split Magazine: Kryptos StudioYello peoples! As most of you know by now we are releasing our second album ‘The Ark of Gemini’ in May 2007 through OSM Records. We recorded the entire album right here in Bangalore at Total Accuracy studio, which happens to be owned by Ranjit and Ratish of Parousia. The entire album took eight days to record, sans mixing and mastering. It was an incredibly gruelling and at times mentally draining experience, but it was also a lot of fun. Here’s an account of all the trials, tribulations and downright weird stuff that went on during those eight days.

Day 1: We previously decided that the first two days would be kept aside entirely for laying down drum tracks, so Ryan and I woke up at the ungodly hour of 8.30am and made our way to the studio in Peenya, which happens to be so far out of town that it might as well have been on Mars. The sight of two long-haired, bearded chaps balancing all sorts of equipment on a Bullet was a pretty strange sight for most of the town folk there who are more used to seeing hoardings of hairy south Indian actors and their wide assortment of fancy lungis. Anyway we miraculously made it in one piece through all shapes and sizes of craters i.e. potholes i.e. roads and got there at around 10am.

The studio, though small, is done up incredibly well. Ranjit painstakingly put the whole place together over the last few years and you could tell right away that it was done with great care and thought. We started immediately and finished off most of the drum tracks in two takes and by the time lunch came about we were almost done. After chowing down on some awesome biryani at this place called Uncle Kitchen (que?) we got back and finished off the rest of the tracks. We decided to do the drum tracks all over again the next day to see if we could do better. So we split in the evening while getting another crash course in lunar navigation on the way.

Day 2: Today turned out to be a whole lot better since we were all pumped up and ready to really push ourselves. All those hours of practice paid off as Ryan and I flew through every single track, nailing each and every one and we were done with half a day still to spare. After a yummy lunch we got back and worked on the drum sounds a bit, fiddling with the EQs and all that jazz, to search for the right tone and balance. We left feeling quite satisfied since Ranjit clearly knew what he was doing and gave us some great inputs as well. Managed to find some time to play with some of the stray dogs there too. Woof!

Day 3: Since we were done with the drums way ahead of schedule we decided to start laying down my guitar tracks today. Rohit and I set up my Marshall DX250 and Ranjit found a sweet spot to mic it from. We had the option of using a POD XT but I’m just a stickler for the vintage, raw Marshall sound; it sounds so ’80s and earthy. Anyway I put on my Nevermore t-shirt for inspiration, cracked my knuckles and got down to business. Everything went like clockwork and I laid down the rhythm tracks for half the songs by the end of the day. Ryan’s great drum tracks made my job a hell of a lot easier. We packed it in for the day and while walking down the stairs I called out to this really awesome black Labrador in the adjoining house. The poor chap was always tied up and I whistled to get his attention when the owner of the house comes out and tells us that he doesn’t want us whistling because there are ‘girls in the house’. Like we wanted to look at his fucking hag-like daughters. Bleh!

Split Magazine Kryptos StudioDay 4: Another killer day. I laid down the guitar parts for all tracks except the title track The Ark of Gemini. As we hoped, things went smoothly and according to plan. A rather uneventful day but I did manage to sneak in a whistle or two at that nice dog. (I hope all you frustrated individuals out there don’t get any weird ideas) Too bad his owner wasn’t in the vicinity when I threw a lit cigarette butt off the terrace. Asshole flambé. That would’ve been fun.

By the end of the day we were completely drained, but in a good way. Somewhat akin to a great night of boinking and toinking (haha). But at the back of our minds we knew that the next day would be incredibly painstaking since the title track is the fastest and toughest song we’ve composed and recording it was going to be a real task.

Day 5: All our fears about recording the title track today came back to haunt us ten-fold. I had insane amounts of trouble trying to get my riffing up to speed. But once I managed to do that, I ended up with a whole new set of problems; the main one was being maintaining riffing at that speed consistently and for a sizeable duration. It was almost lunchtime and only half the song was complete. We gobbled up some gooey butter chicken and rotis and got back to the studio. By the time I had completed the rhythm track it was almost 5 p.m. The most harrowing part was yet to come since I still had to lay down twin harmonies for the main riffs at exactly the same speed. While it might sound easy to play on record, to actually do it is another ball game altogether. I must commend Ranjit for his patience throughout the entire day. If I were he, I would’ve been picking out a noose in my favourite colour. I finally finished the guitar tracks at around 8pm, completely and utterly exhausted. An entire day consumed by one song but it was all worth it, since it sounded really fantastic. The hard part was finally over and I had never been happier to be reunited with my pillow once again.

We were finally done, but it felt like we’d given birth to quintuplets over the week.

Day 6: Today Rohit and I laid down solos, harmonies and tiny fills for each track. The songs were really taking shape fantastically. Rohit showed some nerves initially since it was his first time recording in a studio, but once he settled down he completely nailed his solos and they turned out great. I had a few solos to play here and there, which didn’t take too long, thankfully. We did a lot of experimenting with tones since we were looking for a really spaced out, yet warm sound. We managed to get somewhere near what we were looking for and were more than satisfied at the end of it. Since all the pressure was off considering the previous day, we were a lot more relaxed and came up with some cool stuff on the spur of the moment. One of the better days at the studio I must say.

Day 7: Today was Jayawant’s turn to take part in the madness. Luckily for him and for us he’s a phenomenally free flowing and talented bassist. He nailed every single track by the time evening came around. His studio stint with Mutiny has really helped him and it showed here since he was rarely flustered or distracted by anything. His bass tracks really brought out that ’80s vibe in most of the songs and it was awesome to hear the contrast between his bass playing and the guitars. Rohit and I also managed to complete a small acoustic outro for the album.

Day 8: Probably the most hectic and mind-wrangling day of them all. Today was the day I laid down my vocal tracks. I had no clue what it would sound like, since I had never sung in a studio before and only a few times on stage since Ganesh left the band. Not to mention I still didn’t have any lyrics ready for two songs. But with my trusty mix of Pepsi and Khodays rum I managed to belt out the vocals for 5 tracks before lunchtime and I was pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out. (Yes, pat yourself on the back some more you lamer, hyuk.) During lunch, Jayawant and I furiously racked our brains to come up with lyrics for the remaining two songs and strangely enough we came up with probably the best lyrics of the entire record in those two hours. With that load off my back and of course my trusty rum mix I finished off the rest of the vocal tracks with time and rum to spare. My throat felt like a strip of hot coals at the end of the day.

We were finally done, but it felt like we’d given birth to quintuplets over the week. All in all it was fantastic fun and we can’t wait to get this record out. If this album doesn’t do well I’m going to go back there, pump that Labrador full of viagra and sneak it into that house. That would make up for any disappointment, yessiree! Cheers.

Comments

7 Comments. Post Yours Here.
  1. April 29, 2007, 9:39 am Abhimanyu Ghoshal

    Can’t wait for the new album. The new tracks sounded great live at March Metal Mania, and I’m sure this will be a great success. Rock on!

  2. May 6, 2007, 11:05 pm Amaresh

    Good read that, Nolan. Good luck with the album.

    Cheers there,
    Amaresh

  3. May 8, 2007, 4:16 pm Sai

    Waiting to hear the new album. Killer read .. freaking funny :D :D.

    P.S: Nolan, wish ur jokes on stage were as good :P Lol. Peace out. \m/

  4. May 10, 2007, 12:44 pm Vamsi

    The Ark of Gemini :)

    Cant wait to get the album.

  5. May 18, 2007, 8:16 am Srini

    BOOZER !!!

  6. September 11, 2007, 7:26 pm Khanirup Dutta

    Hey guys i’ve only heard ur “Descension”, “Land of forgotten ice” and “Expedition To Abnormalia” tracks…probly demos…m not sure…but have to tell u u guys are awesome…esp the track….”Descension”….Dont know how to get ur two albums…i don tink der available in india are they? if yes pls tell me wer…someboby plz help….SOS SOS! SOS! SOS! SOS!

  7. February 21, 2008, 2:17 pm Lalit

    The first album, Spiral Ascent, was good !

    This one ought to be mind blowing !!!!!!!!!!!

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