Artist: Fall Silent
Title: No Strength to Suffer
Year: 1996
Label: Revolutionary Power Tools
Genre: Hardcore

 
Notes:

This album is probably the most critically acclaimed and pivotal record to date. This whole album started when I was on a first date with my dear friend Marianne. Fall Silent was playing with Suckapunch and God Among Men at Casa Margaritas. After seeing Fall Silent I remember thinking, “what a sound! I just can’t get into the screeching vocals though.” After the show, Chris Davis of GAM was walking by. He was spotted by Levi who had also spotted me. I recognized Levi from a New Blood recording I’d done with him 2 years before. I could see Levi try to discreetly ask Chris, “Is that Tom from Granny’s House?” Chris confirmed the guess and Levi came up to me and said that Fall Silent was getting ready to record.

After 2 months of pre-production and waiting for Whitesnake to take a break at Sierra Sonics, we finally got Fall Silent and Convicted Innocence in the same week. I’d gotten used to the screeching by then.

Here started the tradition of having a theme for each record. The theme for this record was “Star Wars.” We all brought our old Star Wars figures and playsets out of storage and had them set-up all over the studio.

On the first day of tracking they came with a surprise cover song that we hadn’t gone through in pre-prod. They wouldn’t tell me what it was and agreed that if it sucked, they’d shelve it. Heartbreaker was the tune, we kept the second take, and I added the count off and audience of a USC Marching Band live album before and after the song. When I was at SC we did Heartbreaker as well. I’m playing bass drum in the beginning and the director, Dr. Aurther C. Bartner is counting it off. This started the tradition of doing a personality cover of some odd ball song on each record.

On a technical note, I had a bad patch cable on the kick drum that made it sound really thin. At the time I thought it was his clicks on the drumhead. So I eq’d the piss out of it and got that really striking sound. Really neat mistake.

No Strength was tracked and mixed on the Abby Road Neve console we had at that time. There was no automation on the mix and buttons were flying off while I was doing cuts. Since it’s release it’s gotten world recognition and has lowered the limbo stick on independent hardcore recording. Most importantly, it gave me an appreciation of a genre I couldn’t fathom before and a reputation as a producer who does sick hard-core. Any finally, on the “Sexy Erotic” part of the bonus track, that was recorded while Levi was cutting vocals. The afore mentioned Marianne entered the studio between takes. He started the improv off with “Hey Marianne” and sang it to her.


Artist: Fall Silent
Title: Nineteenhundredninetyseven
Year: three guesses
Label: Moo Cow Records
Genre: Hardcore

Notes:

This is a comp of two sessions and a live recording. Session one was recorded on Flag Day and was themed thusly. We covered Studio C with flags and pennants. This produced “The Rulers (Largo)” and “Sesame Street.” Sesame Street had just changed their theme song in the past year so they had to find a copy of the old theme at Recycled Records to get the lyrics and chord changes. That’s probably the only Fall Silent song that has a heavy section with all major chords.

Brian Knopf and Kenny C. did the live recording at FSU and I mixed it at Sierra Sonics, which produced the last three songs.

The third session was very near New Years so it was a “New Year’s Theme” complete with a countdown near midnight, noise makers and hats. From that session came “The Rulers (Andante)” and “Wheel of Pain.” That was the first thing recorded on Sierra Sonics’s SSL. My friend Ray was wiring two days straight prior to the session in order to have it up and running. It had been a few years since I touched an SSL so Ray was giving me pointers as I went. I messed up a cut when automating and created the accappella “The Rulers!” near the end. I went to go fix it, played it for Dan, and we agreed to keep it because it was just evil that way. The bonus track is The Rulers group vocal backwards from when I was printing the backward reverb. It sounded like “Where’s my soup?!” It had to go on!

The three classical music descriptions of The Rulers translate to Andante: brisk and forceful, Largo: slow and moving, Scherzando: Lively (quite fitting for a live recording). Metal Edge voted this record in the top 30 best hardcore discs of the 90’s.


Artist: Fall Silent
Title: Superstructure
Year: 1999
Label: Revolutionary Power Tools
Genre: Hardcore
 
Notes:

’These guys had some pretty big living up to do. Levi had managed the money from the previous efforts well and was able to put together a budget to buy a full week in the studio to do this right. The theme, BEATLEMANIA! I wore a suit and a lab coat everyday of the record, just like the engineers did on the old Beatles records. The band came in the last day in suits like the Beatles did for the photo shoot. We had Beatles records and books all around. The poses on the record were largely influenced by the “The Beatles Recording Sessions” by Lewishon.

I had a hand in the arrangements this time and the band had gone through a line-up change. They were down to one guitar player and a new bass player. But it worked. They took a lot more chances in terms of complex arrangements and the lyrics were getting very diverse, ranging from literature to politics. The tuning was in E this time that made it easier to play faster, but not as heavy as No Strength. It worked out OK though and once again the critics loved the record.

The cover of “Anyway You Want It” was the first time we used a sampler on a Fall Silent record. I had Levi sing the chorus vocals once and I flew them around with a sampler. Also new was Danny’s scratching on “Courtesy.” “Day of the Locust” is my favorite track on the record. It’s just amazing.


Artist: Fall Silent
Title: Life: Beautiful, But Heartless
Year: 2000
Label: 625 Productions
Genre: Hardcore

 
Notes:

This was Fall Silent’s first digital recording and the only record without a theme. I missed not having a theme. But the one thing that has carried on all of their sessions has been “Blue Moon Pizza.” Nothing short of bliss for the taste buds.

The band’s studio chops were really showing. They killed off the whole thing in two days. It would have been flawless if Damon hadn’t showed up with old heads on thinking they’d do the trick! Grrrrr! Needless to say, he had a last minute trip to the music store for new heads. We experimented with new guitar gear and a scoopy-er sound that sounded really thrashy. The vocals took a radical change of direction from the usual social-political theme to the pain of interpersonal relationships. With the change in themes also came a change in singing style. A lot less screeching and a lot of new and weird tones, quite different.

We returned to synth pads on this record and brought in Matt Mayhall to play Timpani on “Playing House.” The orchestra pad and timpani added a delicious texture you wouldn’t expect in a hardcore record. I hope they do more of that kind of stuff.

My favorite part of this record is the cover art by painter, William Kurelek. Levi has a book of his very tall works. The cover image just embodies the whole theme of the record. It reminds me of the Genesis “Nursery Cryme” cover.



Artist: Fall Silent
Title: Six Years in the Desert
Year: 2001
Label: Relativity Records
Genre: Hardcore

 
Notes:

’OH MY GOD! MY FIRST BAND TO GET SIGNED TO A BIG LABEL! They deserve it. They worked their asses off. This is a compilation of “Life: Beautiful, But Heartless”, “Nineteenhundredninetyseven” and “No Strength to Suffer.” We actually re-mixed “Life: Beautiful, But Heartless” for this release so it would be a closer match to the other two. So we bounced the ADATs to Analog to start with and tried to match the tones the best we could. Unfortunately, the new “thrashy” guitar tones were not meshing up with the other records at all. So we took what we could get and hoped for the best. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect these three records would be released together! In assembling the record we had to remove all of the samples that were in the originals. That was sad. So I made a small change in one song so that there was something unique about it that the real fans might pick up. I’m not saying what it is. You’ll have to find out for yourself. Those of you who have the original records, hold on to them. If any of you have doubts about getting this, don’t! Get it if only for the picture of all of the members of Fall Silent, past and present. It is priceless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!