|Phil Thornalley ©Julian Anderson 2011|
Philippe Gonin - The drums in the song Pornography were mixed in a different way than in the other songs : why did you choose to compressed them in only one channel ?
Was it a loop or did Tolhurst played the entire piece ?
Phil Thornalley - Lol Tolhurst played the entire piece. He had a very solid and consistent feel. Like a loop. But better. The drums were mixed that way (in one channel) to create more space for the other more artistic elements to be clearly heard. Plus it's a bit like a Beatles mix!
PG -You were Steve Lillywhite’s assistant just before this album : did Lillywhite’s way of recording drums inspire you for Tolhurst’s drumming ? Lol said that he recorded in a pretty huge piece at RAK Studios… (This question after reading this in a book : "On Peter Gabriel 3, the drums parts played by Phil Collins are recorded in a barn, with microphones placed far from the instrument. The sound is then compressed to give it an explosive character, and treated with a noise gate to reduce in a abrupt way the effect of delay engendered by it compression. This sound is also used by Lillywhite on the other records, as the album War by U2." (in Albin Zaks The Poetics of rocks)
PT - Yes. Steve Lillywhite was an inspirational producer for me. He who showed me the technique of realising the potential of a room's colour and ambience to make the tracks more exciting, more surreal, more interesting and generally more over the top and aggressive. Basically compress the ambience mic to suck up all the 'real' sound of a drummer. Loud. Noisy. Not pretty.
PG - I think that the mixing was very important in this album : did you use effects during the recording (for the voice for example) or during the mix ?
PT - Generally I was taught by my mentors to record the 'effects' - be they limiters, echo, delays or whatever. It's a far more immediate process. Is there a vibe happening? Yes? Record that. Don't wait for two weeks later and think the vibe will come back. It's music. It's magic. It's a mystery. Try and capture that 'right now' feeling.
PG - So all the drums and guitars and keyboards would be recorded with the studio tools of compression, occasional noise gates and reverb. The bass and guitars would be recorded with their effects pedals. Chorus, Delay, Flange etc.
PT - However for the vocals alone the processing was done in the mix. Eventide Harmonizer. EMT echo plate (Gold and Silver Plates). Tape delay. Although I would have recorded the compression to tape. I love compression...The key ingredient after a great song and a great performance.
PG - How many days did you work (recording + mixing) on this album ?
PT - 3 weeks I think.
PG - It seems that there's two drummers on The Hanging Garden : did Tolhurst overdubbed his own drumming or is there two players playing at the same time ?
PT - I remember that the band recorded the track together and then Simon and Lol each played Floor Tom overdubs. Plus we double-tracked Simon's Rickenbacker Bass. All done in a day. The band were unconventional in many ways but as a well-rehearsed unit they were entirely conventional.
|Thornalley aux manettes 1982|