Faith No More “The Real Thing”: a thing for all time
After a long pause, the band Faith No More reunited to record “Sol Invitus”, but this year we would like to celebrate the anniversary of the most punchy album of FHM — “The Real Thing”. Both works, with a break of 30 years, were produced by Matt Wallace. Let’s talk about the sound of one of the most influential alternative metal bands.
In 1989, Matt Wallace already had experience with Faith No More, but was never completely happy with the result of recording due to the rather meager equipment. Friends brought him popular records as examples, of which Matt liked the work of Hugh Padham and Steve Lillywhite the most. But it was not so easy to repeat the success of cool mainstream sound artists when your prices are 12 dollars per hour, and only an 8 — track recorder and a spring reverb are available.He was not happy after finishing work on “The Real Thing”.By his own admission, the final mix sounded just awful on his Hi-Fi and car system. Wallace was even thinking of leaving the music business and moving closer to his realtor mother when the news of the incredible success of the single “Epic” caught up with him .
In fact, “the Real Thing” was recorded on 24 tracks of Studer A800, but the team was constantly under pressure of restrictions. Analogue media can not be infinite, and during the recording of the frame is always crammed on the brim. In other words, any new idea must be good enough to get something less important erased from the feed.
After two albums, the remaining members of Faith No More decided to break up with unstable frontman Chuck Mosley and rehearsed new material without him. The 20-year-old vocalist of the band Mr. Mike Patton’s Bungle had just two weeks to get up to speed: write lyrics and start a record session.The instruments were also sparse: Wallace’s Slingerland Radio King drum and Studio piano were accompanied by the musicians ‘ personal props-the Yamaha of drummer Mike Bordin and a Gibson Grabber bass guitar with a Peavey transistor amplifier from Billy Gould. Jim Martin used a Gibson Flying V guitar with a Marshall amp. Keyboardist Roddy Bottum brought a 12-bit E-mu Emax, which was only available when played. The samples themselves were saved in 8-bit format on a 3.5-inch floppy disk.
For drums it was decided to send a microphone Shure SM57 on snare, AKG C451 to place under him, and AKG D12 on bass drum, Sennheiser MD 421-catching Tom-Toms, Shure SM81 on top, and AKG C24 — a little closer, two feet away from the drums. Plus a pair of Omni-directional AKG 414 as long-range room microphones. Control and mixing were performed via the Trident a-Range console.Wallace pressed the drum recording down a bit on the speaker, and then squeezed the sound from the distant microphones very hard to achieve a more explicit “drum kit in the room” vibe when mixing. At this point, I would like to say Hello to the audiophile brothers.In all seriousness, they change their lamps and wires, seriously hoping to extract some authenticity in the soundtrack. As you can see, in conditions of multi-channel recording (that is, in 100% of the pop / rock repertoire), the entire “atmosphere” is created artificially — by superimposing and processing many tracks. Let’s go further on the instrumental parts.The bass guitar was recorded with Sennheiser MD 421 microphones directly next to the speaker, a condenser microphone in the hall, plus another channel through the Countryman direct box. It took an entire day and 26 microphones to choose the right circuit for recording Jim Martin’s guitar. Successful positions were marked with yellow tape on the floor. It remains to deal with the vocals. Technically, Mike Patton is able to capture a few octaves from shrieking to growling. But for “the Real Thing”, he chose to work on an otherwise nasal falsetto, rehearsing off-the-record baritone, which listeners could only hear on the following Faith No More albums.All Wallace’s attempts to persuade Patton to use his vocal abilities more widely ended in failure. At the same time, the producer later admitted that Patton was intuitively right. This manner of harmful angry teenager made the right box office for the video “Epic” on MTV and brought Faith No More to the forefront.Patton’s track was more compressed than the others. Due to the sound pressure, a transistor version of the Neumann U 47 microphone was used. The signal was passed through a dbx 166 dynamic compressor. Since this was a stereo device, compression was performed first on one channel of the dbx 166, and then from its output, the mono signal was wound up to the input of the second channel with the limiter turned on. The same was done at the mixing stage. Thus, Mike Patton’s voice was compressed over the speaker in four passes-twice during recording and twice during mixing.Wallace is still ashamed of these tricks and twisted on” the Real Thing ” high frequencies. On the next album, “Angel Dust”, he did not do this anymore, applying only General compression to the final version of the mix. But then in the 90s, the “Epic” cymbals through TV and radio speakers sounded chic — very clean and assertive. Yes, there is nothing to hide, and I then liked the unusual ringing sound for CD “The Real Thing”. Let us study it with modern eyes and ears.
As we can see, Matt Wallace was a little pale. In General, “Epic”, despite the listed internal treatment procedures, does not have modern recording diseases. The peaks of the soundtrack are not cut, there is no clipping. The dynamic range covers a perfectly acceptable 7.9 LU, and The loudness level is in the area of classic indicators 13LUFS.When listening to the tonal balance of the phonogram is really thin and has a roll in the treble area, but such a handwriting in mastering does not seem to me a big problem. So even after 30 years, we can note the phenomenon of” the Real Thing ” not only in the genre of alternative music, but also as an example of budget, but extremely attractive and effective Studio work.