Another New Hop Along Single!
Today Hop Along dropped their 2nd single “Not Abel”, and it’s a bit of a stylistic departure from their rock band stuff, and you know with a reference to the Bible story of fratricide that shit is going to be epic. Out of all the songs this one came together in the most piece-meal fashion, starting with the end of the song, which was recorded along with the rest of the drums first. Most of the recordings on the album were done with our C and C kit, but for this section Mark wanted a more open sound for the kick and we ended up using our 50’s Ludwig WFL kick. This kick drum defies logic; I swear every time we pull it out I say to myself “this thing sounds terrible, we really have to get it worked on”, only to put a microphone in front of it and “BOOM” it sounds amazing. We used a dynamic mic inside the kick with the U47 backed off it a couple feet. For most of the album the song existed in two parts in the Pro Tools session; when we had an electric rock band instrument set up, we’d open up the session and record the ending, when we had something acoustic set up, we’d open up the session and do the beginning. With the beginning acoustic section, we started with France’s acoustic guitar (which was probably recorded on Joe’s Guild acoustic), and proceeded to layer a drum kit recorded in parts almost in a symphonic fashion; a layer of hi hat, kick accents, then a layer of snare rolls, cymbal swells and the like. Tyler used a hollow body bass with flat wound strings. Joe was recording his parts on some guitar (maybe the hollow body Gretsch?) in the other room while I was recording vocals for whatever song we were doing on a given day, but he actually ended up keeping the signal just direct with a compression and spring reverb plugin, though i don’t know what Ryan Schwabe did to it during mixing.
For the strings we set the Cello Player (Rachel Icenogle) and the Violin/Viola Player (Sarah Larsen) in the same room and mic’d the cello with a U47 and km184 and the violin with an AEA R44 Ribbon, both with healthy amounts of compression going in (strings are very dynamic!). We started off with pizzicato in the quieter sections and then let the two kind of just go for it on the bigger sections and comp’d the stuff we liked. Sarah had great instincts as far as what the song needed (and we’re all dummies when it comes to classical type arrangements, so it was much appreciated).
For the ending vocals, we used our normal vocal setup (Wunder CM7 going into a Calrec pre, transformer off, into the distressor – low pass, dist 2 Attack around . 5 and release somewhere between 4 and 5), but had both Chrissy and Frances sing together at the same time the mic about 5 feet away to give it some organic roominess.
I wish I could tell you a little more about the piano and Mandolin flourishes in the song, but to be completely honest, there was a 1.5 hour period of time between 3:30 am and 5 am on the very last night of recording where I sat down on the couch and just couldn’t keep my eyes open. Sorry guys! But you obviously did great without me!
Overall, we’re all really proud of it, hope you enjoy!!