Credit: Hymns From Nineveh (Press Photo)
This is another one of my all-time favorite productions from the 2013 album Visions by Hymns From Nineveh. HFN is a danish indie-folk band for whom I've been lucky to produce every record since their first EP from 2009.
Hymns From Nineveh is headed by the amazing songwriter Jonas Petersen and although they haven't had their breakthrough outside Scandinavia, they've well-known here in Denmark.
What I really like about this track is that it's a real opening track. You don't get to do those much anymore, but on his album, which is pretty much a concept album, the track list was almost laid out beforehand. It opens with this track "I Saw These Things Happening" and ends out in the present tense with "I See These Things Happening", and it's
build up to play as a whole from start to end. This first track is made to build your anticipation slowly before kicking off the album in a celebratory manner.
And now for some production insides:
The strings (playing harmonics) in the first half until breaking out, is actually samples. It's LA Scoring Strings but here I think it's used subtle enough that it don't stand out.
The kick drum in the first half which sounds like an orchestral bass drum is also a sample found on a record by Feist. These small touches is backed up only by some self-oscillating Roland Space Echo and the electric guitar.
Pretty much anything else was recorded live by the band. We had a week-long session at a studio facility in Copenhagen, and much of the album was recorded live with some additional overdubs later on in the process. Overdubs for this track also included the lead guitar riffing towards the end.
The drums were recorded to tape and back in the daw to give them that old school dusty vibe that I feel the album has. I don't consider the album retro though as much as timeless in sense of production.
There were some singles off this record of which A Kid On The Beach (spotify) went on to go #1 on the Airplay chart in Denmark. The singles are for the most part not the tracks I fall in love with though. Actually I advocated heavily for cutting A Kid On The Beach from the record - I still stand by it actually, even though it that has been their most successful single ever and has towards 1 million plays on Spotify. As a producer it's hard to explain the reasoning behind this, because it's a matter of taste and perception, but as I see it my job is to deliver the best album as possible. I still think the album as a whole would be stronger without that track in. Luckily for the band there are also other interests (manager, A&R eg.) that has another point of view entirely - and actually I mostly only see benefits in this dynamic between artists, producers and A&R's. That is of course if everyone knows their role and know when to speak up and know when to be quiet.
Anyway, I hope you find time to give this a spin, and feel free to give the whole album a listen if you like it!
|Band||Hymns From Nineveh|
|Song||I Saw These Things Happening|