Swarathma’s Blog

Three Days Down :: Notes from Swarathma in Studio

These pictures tell the story of our time in Empire Studios, Mumbai. People say that recording an album represents a watershed in the life of a band, as you come to terms with both your songs and your ability (or lack of it) in playing them. These are notes from that process.

The chai is one of the best things about Empire. Brewed in plenty by the canteen here, we have endless glasses of this invigorating fluid. Pic: Santosh Swami

Montry's drum setup is expansive and wowsome. If the studio sound is anything to go by they're going to sound big and full. Various indie scene drummers have helped - JJ of Something Relevant, The Demonstealer and Sid Coutto of ToT/Zero come to mind. Thanks guys! Pic: Nitin Joshi

What we had for lunch is irrelevant. What is remarkable is that it got Sanjeev's fountain going. Young children can also learn about the concept of night and day by this picture. Pic: Santosh Swami

An extreme-ish close up of Jishnu's Musicman bass during a warm-up session prior to the day's recording. Bass and drums were tracked together, live! Pic: Nitin Joshi

Just to give you an idea of the size of Empire's recording hall. It's MASSIVE. The height of the room gives some solid depth to the live drum sound. Pic: Nitin Joshi


Recording Live Drums: Montry’s Story in the Studio
April 25, 2009, 2:32 pm
Filed under: Album Design, Studio | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

montry-manuelMontry is Swarathma’s fiery shot of high-energy drumming. Off-stage his wonderful nature charms musicians and listeners alike. Indeed, there’s hardly a musician in Bangalore who has not jammed with Montry, or does not have his number on his phonebook!

It was a dream come true, recording our debut album. After winning the Radio City Live contest, when we finally went into the studios it felt great.

I had never recorded drums in a big studio before. I’d also never played to the metronome (the constant beat per minute reference click sound that recording is done to). I was quite nervous. We had the option of programming the drums but that wouldn’t have sounded ‘live’ or the ‘feel’ would be missing. But it was a risk. What if the drum sound was not good enough? It would be too late to do anything. I wanted to play live, and I was so happy when my band supported me through it.

Amit-KilamWhen Amit Kilam came on as producer, we did not know how much of a difference he would make. From the first day he set us at ease, and by the end of it, he was much more than a producer, he was a brother and friend.

What he did for me I’ll never forget. Swarathma could afford to spend 16 days in the studio. We were apprehensive about how long the drums would take to record. But I did it in just 3 days flat! It was all because of how Amit gave me confidence and made me give my best. He even lent me his equipment.

I must mention Aakash, the man behind Kshitiz Studios in Delhi. I really liked him; he was a peaceful guy. And he knew how bands worked, and gave us his best.

Since then we’ve recorded at Yash Raj Studios (live drums, this time with the band playing along!) we couldn’t have done that if I didn’t have the confidence from our album recording.

Drum Kit: Yamaha Pro Series
Snares: Premier, PDP
Cymbals: Sabian 18′ Ride, Paiste 16′ Crash, 10′ and 8′ Splash, China & Hi Hats
Percussions: Cowbells Rainmaker

As told to Jishnu Dasgupta