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How It Was Made: Cathedral Bells - Velvet Spirit

Orlando, Florida-based shoegaze/dream-pop project, Cathedral Bells takes us into the studio showcase how his new album 'Velvet Spirit' was made.
Cathedral Bells

Orlando, Florida-based shoegaze/dream-pop project, Cathedral Bells has released their new album Velvet Spirit. The album is a beautiful mix of dreamy and hazy guitars, drums and vocals with a collection of sparkling electronics sprinkled on top. The term shoegaze can be used rather liberally to describe a band, but this fits right in that alley with its foggy and reverbed vocals and shimmering synths. It is light, breezy and fun all of the way through.

With all of these pieces working together, we needed to chat with Cathedral Bells about how this album was made to break down the various pieces of gear used on this project. We normally do this for straight up producers, so this is a different look at the ways music is made. He breaks it down into two phases – the music making and then the mixing and mastering by Brian Cook. 

See other How It Was Made features.

Stream the album below and get your copy here.

Phase 1:

I worked on this album at home in my bedroom. It was recorded in sessions starting in the summer of 2018 through the end of 2019 with a very minimal recording setup. First, I customized the drum samples by detuning the pitch & experimenting with various chain FX. All of the shakers, cymbals, & tambourines were tracked with an AT2020 condenser microphone. A lot of the kick and snare samples were taken from the Roland JD-xi synth. All of the guitars on side B were tracked with a JC-120 (80s model amp). The vocals were tracked with the AT2020 condenser microphone. Lastly I added reverb, delay, and chorus FX using Logic Pro and Reason customized presets.

Cathedral Bells Studio

Phase 2 Mixing (By Brian Cook):

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Cathedral Bells Brian Cook Alesis MidiVerb II

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Generally I have a different approach for each artist I work with. I felt like my job for the Cathedral Bells songs was to add shading and coloring since the songs were already tracked. For Matt’s sound, I gravitated towards using as much analog outboard gear as possible. Most of the vocals were run through an Alesis MidiVerb II, a Yamaha SPX90, and an ART ProVerb 200. For tone shaping, I used a Warm Audio EQP-WA (Pultec Clone) and a bunch of old, modified, Chameleon Labs 7602 Neve Style EQ/Preamps.

Cathedral Bells Brian Cook Chameleon Labs 7602

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Cathedral Bells Brian Cook Computer Logic

To give the songs a vintage texture, almost all of the tracks were re-amped into a Vox AC30, a Vox AC15, and/or a Fender Twin. 

Cathedral Bells Brian Cook Guitars

For dynamics, I used a Diode Bridge style compressor, a Valley People Dynamite compressor, and a DOD r825. Everything was then mixed using a Mac Pro 5,1 12-Core, running Logic Pro X and a Mackie Universal Control.

Cathedral Bells Brian Cook Guitars
Cathedral Bells Brian Cook Studio
Cathedral Bells Brian Cook Studio

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