Gotch recording diary part 4

Gotch recording diary part 4


On his brand new blog, Gotch talks about the recording session of his new solo album "Good New Times", where he tries to explain the studio mood, how things took place and gives more details about some songs recorded with the band The Good New Times. The following relates the recording during day 14 to day 17.

Recording diary - Day 14

The 14th day of recording is over, we have been working for three wonderful weeks. I am grateful for the Gotch band members, staff, Chris, and Mike for their help.

Next, Chris and Mike are going to go into the studio to take care of the choruses, vocals, song editing, and re-amp. After this, the mix down should be finished at the end of the month. I'm pleased thinking about the album being soon finished.

The process seems to be very long, but it feels like the recording period has been short. Nowadays, it is common to record a full album in only one week, but I tell myself that I wish it could last another week, so I can bury myself into the vocal recording. However, to carry on with the recording might be a problem regarding the studio and staff expenditure.

Making an album costs money. We are living in a time where you can create special music with ideas and a little budget, while having a way to replicate a famous studio’s specific sound. Since famous studios are currently closing, recording costs [of available full studios] will naturally rise. On the contrary, the music creation budget has reduced.

I had read in the newspapers that a famous NY studio is going to close. John McEntire said it himself; “Famous studios around the world are collapsing. We probably cannot buck the trend. Despite everything, it would be nice if we could protect the culture of the studio. The people are gathering, the sound level increases, the enjoyment of a magical and indescribable moment, and recording it. The technical skills stay with the person and the place, and by using said skills, the cultural art of the recorded song evolves. I don't want to neglect this link like a thing coming from the past.

Beautiful studios, recording consoles, and mics would become mere detritus, as if they were thrown away. After ripping them to pieces and strewing them, you can’t build those pieces back into their initial shape again. Strangely, even if we gathered similar pieces and elements, even if the circuits looked alike, you can’t produce the same sound. The people and the locations are not the only things full of technical skills and history; the studios’ equipment also provides that.

It will be too late to be sad once everything is lost. That is why I wish the good, as well as the absurd, moments while clinging to these places.

Recording diary - Day 15

Since we are done with the vocals recorded in English, we are recording the lyrics in Japanese with the engineer Nakamura-san, who used to work with Ajikan. We a used a rather big pre-amp and compressor, that were specifically bought for the occasion. However, the amount of money spent for the record is really high, and the budget is scaring me.

It’s going well, we are done with the vocals on two songs.

Recording diary - Day 16

Chorus recording. Today, I am recording the Japanese choruses with YeYe and Symoryo. Compared to when we wrote “Lost,” a song created solo by YeYe for the first time, her voice has improved in intensity. She brings a colorful touch to chorus work, which feels as dry as an elderly person.
I am also very grateful for Symoryo and his help. Because he is implementing it efficiently, his experience with being in the band The Chef Cooks Me probably enhance  his understanding of stereo imaging, which some people use. This is also thanks to his proper temperament, of course.

Chorus, synthesizer, percussion, etc. : YeYe

The last band member to introduce is YeYe. We didn’t call and ask her to come join us during the session with Chris and others due to time restraints and recorded parts. Nonetheless, she is helping me a lot using her sensitivity and her presence.

YeYe has her own traits; she isn’t just a flower blossoming in a group of elders. She brings the right harmony by not mixing herself with the group, but by getting used to us.

She is not shy, and this makes her all the more charming.  For instance, when we ask someone to play an instrument in which they do not know how to, ordinary people decline and will tell us that they “can’t do it.” This kind of behavior can also be observed amongst professionals. For example, when I ask Kyoshi from Ajikan to take care of the percussion, he answers that he isn’t a pro in percussion, and I ask end up asking someone else to do it. Maybe it is because of their admiration for professionals of these instruments, but as people, they are letting a new opportunity go by in general, making it hard to say if whether or not this is a good thing.

However, YeYe accepts the challenge. Her mentality can be similar to people from the west, pretending to be an artist on the very first day that they learn to play rather similar to self-confidence, as well as recklessness. She ends up having her very own original style.

Many people tend to rely on a manual and authoritarian system, but we can learn a lot from her attitude.

Then, we are going to play shows to the UST, on the 11th of every month for five years. This willpower is also part of her charm; her spirit’s firmness is fantastic.

Recording diary - Day 17

Symoryo and YeYe went back home, so I am now working with the engineer Nakamura-san. We recorded the vocals and choruses for two songs. Then, we proceeded to editing the new Ajikan song. The artistic style is totally different [from the solo music]. With Ajikan songs, the recording and editing are suddenly more tiresome. How you’d say…the pressure, the sound, and the lyrics’ power are strong.

At the end of the second album songwriting session, I wrote the song, “Star Dust.” This is a song I had wrote after I had received the news that David Bowie had died. Our existence will irremediably deteriorate one day; and it is not because it is normal that I accept it. But, the death of such a star like

David Bowie has given me such a heavy heart for an unknown reason, but I suddenly realized the obvious thing, which is that one day, I will die too.
How would I be able to finish writing the last song of my life?

I created “Star Dust,” a song so beautiful with its simplicity, with little developments. The piano melody and stratified guitars easily wrap themselves. I get excited when I think about finishing the recording.


Gotch - Recording diary



Gotch nickname refers to Masafumi Gotoh solo career which started in 2012. Influenced by the American indie style of the 90's with bands like Beck, Wilco, Bright Eyes, Neil Young etc, Gotch uses a range of different instruments to compose his pop songs. His lyrics are elaborated, each of them have their own univers, story and are easily identifiable. Gotch solo career isn't a break with the band Asian Kung-Fu Generation at all and has no influence within it.

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