Upcoming Pop-Punk Recording: Aiming to sound like Dookie

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alexdingley
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Upcoming Pop-Punk Recording: Aiming to sound like Dookie

Post by alexdingley » Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:21 am

The Project's Goal
In two weeks, I'm recording a local pop-punk band who's major influences / sonic-ideals are: Green Day - Dookie, and Early Blink182, probably Enema of the State

I'm confident that I'll give them a great sounding recording, and that I will get, at least some stylistic success in matching the sound they're looking for. I've got a few thoughts on my approach for this, and a friend linked me to a great SOS article on Green Day's Dookie project... but I'm looking for any additional thoughts / best-practices / ideas that might help make this project even better, or make it sound even closer to the style of production that the mid-90's pop-punk bands got.

Why I'm tracking it at home
Typically, I do my tracking at local Philadelphia Studios, then edit & mix at home... but I'm doing this as a pro bono project, entirely at home, for fun (and for science!). It's my upstairs neighbor, and their band can play well. We're tracking / mixing one song in a day. Pretty easy & hopefully fun. I live in a condo building (with plaster walls, carpet floors, and I've done some minimal home-spun treatments) where I have the whole floor to myself, and only one neighbor who's capable of hearing any sonic bleed, so I'm doing this for them to test the waters for myself. Once the drums are setup & playing, I'm going to head upstairs and give a listen so that I have a gauge of what kind of bleed gets through the floor of their place.

My Plans & Gear
I plan to spend plenty of time getting the sounds tracked as well as possible. I'm setting the band up in the bedroom where the singer/guitarist + the bassist will be in the room with the drummer, but the guitar amp will be isolated, and I think we'll end up using a DI for bass, likely no bass amp during tracking. Scratch vocals will be live & we'll overdub later.

I'm tracking in my home studio on a Toft ATB 16, and using some of favorite toys: Miktek CV4, Earthworks (omni) Drumkit, Beyer m160's, radial JDI's. Gonna borrow some modded Oktava's a vintage 414, SSL VHD preamp, Presonus ACP88 and a few other goodies. Gonna track it all 24/96 (maybe 24/192) with my symphony rig in Logic 9 or Pro Tools 10

Any insights, tips, or thoughts on how I can help them achieve the sound they're aiming for?

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Post by trodden » Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:24 am

I would just say keep it all live as much as possible, at least drums, bass, and guitars. Overdub vox especially. And double, triple, stack those guitars, and make sure they're played together TIGHTLY, no slop.

One of the biggest production differences I noticed when Green Day went to major label land, is not only the budget for smoother sounding records, but the guitars got REAL big, and although I was unhappy with them leaving our underground world, I did love the sounds of those early major label records.

And with guitars that big, drums are gonna have to slam through as well.

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Post by ubertar » Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:15 am

Most folks try as hard as they can not to sound like dookie. :wink:

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Post by vvv » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:15 pm

"Dookie", "Enema of the State", I see a trend here ...
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Post by JGriffin » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:26 pm

Lots of good info in that SOS article, but one major thing to take away: "Dookie" was not a live-off-the-floor document of a band playing. It was as carefully constructed as a classic rock record, with all the drum edits, re-tracking bass and guitars after the basics, etc. So if you want that sound, you may have to build the project that same way.
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Post by vvv » Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:29 pm

2 things in the article I found interesting was the use of outboard pre's (Neve and Telefunken), and the info of how Green Day wanted to sound like the first Sabbath and Pistols records, and Blink 182 copied Green Day.
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Post by trodden » Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:37 pm

JGriffin_formerlyDWLB wrote:Lots of good info in that SOS article, but one major thing to take away: "Dookie" was not a live-off-the-floor document of a band playing. It was as carefully constructed as a classic rock record, with all the drum edits, re-tracking bass and guitars after the basics, etc. So if you want that sound, you may have to build the project that same way.
Yeah, that is a cool article. I was way off on the live tracking and keeping those tracks bit.

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Post by drumsound » Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:33 pm

I'll read the SOS article, but I didn't yet. I going on sonic memory here, but here goes.

The things I think of when I think of Dookie are, aggressive midrange, a very in your face record. The drums have a TON of impace, the snare is pretty tight, the cymbals are bright, but not too thick or long. The bass is really bright, played with a pick and very deliberate. Probably had fresh strings for each song, or day. Guitars have some thump, but are more about the upper midrange, but not nasal. The vocal is very up front.

Most things on that record are compressed, a lot. BD, Bass are reigned in with compression is the best possible way. I'm hearing FAST GRABBY compression. The vocal probably had 2 or more compressors in tracking. I wouldn't doubt the LA2A>1176 thing.

Don't be afraid to commit sounds. I doubt that the cats in LA were.

now I'll go read the article and find out I'm totally wrong.

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Post by numberthirty » Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:35 pm

JGriffin_formerlyDWLB wrote:Lots of good info in that SOS article, but one major thing to take away: "Dookie" was not a live-off-the-floor document of a band playing. It was as carefully constructed as a classic rock record, with all the drum edits, re-tracking bass and guitars after the basics, etc. So if you want that sound, you may have to build the project that same way.
This is what sticks out in my head. While it seemed "nuts and bolts" from a technical standpoint, I am pretty sure you can find Tre talking about Rob beating him up on his drumming.

Also -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUbpmZciGVc

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Post by cgarges » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:06 am

When I think of that album, I immediately think, "Vocals=Distressor, 20:1." I have no idea if that's what they used, but that's that sound. Tony's right-- it's a lot of fast, super-grabby compression, probably at higher ratios. I used to have a CBS limiter that was great for this on vocals, but I'm not totally a fan of that kind of vocal sound and can get close enough with the Distressor at 20:1.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:18 pm

not a whole lot to add that hasn't been said already but....

i just listened to a couple tunes in the studio....for the most part it sounds like just two guitar tracks, panned hard left and right (actually pretty much everything seems like it's panned L C R, which is not a bad way to go). sometimes there's a third track in the center.

slightly different tones on the L and R guitars. i wouldn't go nuts multitracking the guitars, just get two really good performances and turn them up loud. have a third track for extra sauce when you need it.

kick is very defined and present at all times. maybe a sample mixed in there?

the reverb's very tastefully done. you can't really hear it most of the time. most noticeable on the drums on basketcase.

there's more movement in these mixes than you'd probably think.

for sure a lot of fast compression on the vocals.

overall the mixes are bright and aggressive BUT the hats/cymbals are never annoying and the guitars are never thin sounding. the guitars were actually a lot fuller sounding than i remembered.

spend as much time as possible getting the initial sounds as good as you can. drums especially. you're gonna have your work cut out for you getting that drum sound in a bedroom. and the drummer better be hitting really consistent rimshots!

don't bother with 192. 96 is plenty. if it were me i'd go 88.2, because i think that gets down to 44.1 better than 96 or 48, but whatever.

when mixing, you want your transients well-controlled, but you also want the drums to punch through the guitars, so don't go too crazy with the squash. the drums on this stuff are obviously compressed, but they're not OBVIOUSLY COMPRESSED they way so many things in the past decade have been. i.e. i listen to them and think about drums and the drummer and not what compressor they're using.

keep the mixes as simple and clean as you can. if they want to sound like green day, it's going to have to be mastered loud, and simple, clean mixes can take the mastering abuse A LOT better than overly-saturated/distorted mixes. a lot better. i assure you.

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Post by drumsound » Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:04 pm

After reading the SOS article, I'm totally trying the M201 on vocals this weekend.

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Post by The Scum » Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:16 pm

Dookie predates the Distressor by a couple years. Probably 1176's.
I am pretty sure you can find Tre talking about Rob beating him up on his drumming.
Any drummer who's worked with Bill Stevenson will likely say the same thing about Bill. Not that Bill knows anything about pop-punk.
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Wow!!

Post by alexdingley » Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:14 pm

Everyone, this has been great insight! I really appreciate the input and ideas. I am even more excited to record it now, and will post sound cloud links as soon as the track is finished.

In the meantime, I'm still open to any & all other ideas & thoughts.

I'm wondering if Bass through a Radial DI & then directly into the Toft Mic Pre will give me enough bass-love to get that kind of up-front sound. I have a dbx-160x... and will hopefully have more comps for the session. We'll see.

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Post by numberthirty » Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:53 pm

While this will not exactly be exciting from an "I am an engineer!" standpoint, a reasonably well respected pop punk guitar sound made it to tape by way of one of these -

http://hughes-and-kettner.com/products/redbox-5/

Here's a related thread(by way of the wayback machine) -


http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopi ... rel=-10000

Stephen actually weighs in midway through the thread.

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