First of all, thank you to everyone who has bought the latest single ‘Every Trick (In The Book Of Love)’ There are still some in stock and Chanel is clearly enjoying listening to them, and decided she likes both colours the same! Click here or on the picture above to get to the record page!
Squire visited Los Angeles in May 1983 to play concerts at the 321 Club in Santa Monica and Concert Factory in Costa Mesa. The concerts were sold out and the visit considered ‘some kind of event!’
The visit also opened the door to an opportunity to mix some of Get Smart in Ocean Way Studios, 6050 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood an important recording studio in that was originally United-Western and where many of The Beach Boys records were recorded, not least Pet Sounds! A significant part of the LA sound is the way they use the echo chambers, which gives the stereo a distinctive sound, and is perhaps characterised in the sounds of ‘sunshine pop’ the mid 60s records by Mamas & Papas, Harpers Bizarre, Roger Nichols, The Association etc.
In contrast to UK records of the same era, which were mainly ‘group sounds’ based on syncopated playing, the LA sound was mostly session musicians playing planned arrangements live in large studios with a ‘double helping’ of reverberation!
The difference between the UK Mod Revival sound, which borrows 60s styles and reinterprets it within a post punk cultural geography, and the Paisley Underground that was becoming prevalent in LA in 1982/3 that referenced a similar palate, was the added influence of LA ‘sunshine pop’ which is evident in the vocal harmonies of bands like The Bangles or Three O'Clock, or the more performed psychedelic overtones off the Rain Parade and Long Ryders.
While Get Smart shared the same touch points of Beatles, Beach Boys and Byrds, mixing in LA also gave the record the additional input of studio techniques by mix engineers who were versed in the sound of west coast pop. Something that could not be achieved in London.
The difference is noticeable. When we were mixing in London, the engineers relied less on effects and more on syncopation, and focused their attention on constantly checking the mix on a small mono speaker, since playback on Radio One or TV was an important consideration, the sound had to punch through. In LA, the sound was wide stereo to exploit the sound of stereo speakers in car doors! Sitting in an open top car listening to music was part of the car dominated lifestyle, and the records had to sound huge in that environment, hence the wide panning and big chamber echo. It was an education to experience and compare both approaches, and started a lifelong interest!
Eight tracks were mixed in LA and seven in London, which meant there were three tracks with an American and British mix to choose from. While Every Trick (In The Book Of Love) Ocean Way mix went on Get Smart, the British mix is on The Singles Album and the new record.
The other tracks were Stop That Girl and When I Try, I Lie. The American mix of Stop That Girl has a different vocal from the Get Smart version! It follows the original idea, first heard on The Fan Club Album. Also, the mix is wider and lush in reverb! However, back in London, it was decided to record a more syncopated vocal to replace the original, filling the gaps of the guitar and adding more punch to a potential single mix that would be aimed at a UK audience. This is the version on Get Smart.
You can enjoy below the original idea and unheard version of Stop That Girl, and hear how California added a veneer of sunshine pop to the record!
Next week we will be running a special competition to win a ‘white label’ copy of Every Trick (In The Book Of Love) so make sure you are subscribed to the newsletters. We will also be running the competition through the Facebook Squire Group so why not click on Chanel's link below and join us there too! She's waiting to pick the winner!