Summer Belt, the Nashville-based singer/songwriter (and future rock & roll superstar) is making waves with her catchy sound and iconic band. When introducing the concept for her single Trigger Happy, Summer knew that what she heard in her head would be executed perfectly by the audio team here at Brain Candy. With all hands on deck, our Keeper of the Realm, Tony Chiarella led the way to bring Summer's vision to life!
By the time Summer proposed Trigger Happy, the concept and writing of the song had been complete. The production process began with recording a quick demo of vocals and guitar to establish a strong baseline, chord progression, and melody. The audio team curated three unique drumbeats in different moods and beats per minute: One fast and high energy, a slowed-down iteration with more swagger and attitude, and a combination of the two. This final rendition struck a happy balance between pumping adrenaline and swagger Summer aimed for her listeners to experience.
This drum track was ultimately programmed using a mix of EastWest Sample Library and Output Arcade. Final vocals were recorded in the Candy Land in-house studio. To achieve Summer's iconic gritty and powerful tone, the team grabbed our Telefunken TF39 Copperhead—a Large Diaphragm Tube Microphone (and our favorite mic ever!).
The bass was recorded by Dusty Live as a direct input into the BIAS Amp Mod plugin, and the lead guitar parts were recorded by Logan Coates (Summer's lead guitarist) through his Fender Deluxe Amp on an SM57 dynamic microphone.
All of the rhythm guitars were recorded with Summer’s Marshall Amp and through the SM57. Summer wanted to ensure that this song kept the old rock & roll feel, and this classic setup is as rock & roll as it gets!
At this point, the song was coming together exceptionally—but Summer felt the guitar needed more grit. To achieve this, the guitar was re-amped in post-production with the BIAS Amp Mod. Both Summer and Dusty helped in the mixing process to ensure the guitar tones felt natural while accenting the emotional response Summer was striving for.
All of the mixing was also done in the Candy Land mixing studio, consisting of Adams A7X Speakers, Apollo Twin Interface, a Custom Built PC, and Ableton Live 11.
As our Keeper of the Realm and mixing engineer, Tony utilizes a highly detailed process of technique, tailored to adapt to every song's needs. Depending on the situation, an assortment of plugins are selected; Fabfilter Suite, Izotope Ozone, Soothe2, Waves CLA Effects, and Kelvin Saturator are some of our top go-to’s.
As crucial as it is to approach a song through highly technical, analytical, and artful means to create the clarity & loudness that we all crave - there is still something to be said about the abstract, organic, and creative process known as "messing around."
No experienced audio team underestimates the power of taking a leap and following the creative journey to something completely new. Some of the most original and thought-provoking mixing techniques are discovered as happy accidents. This is how the final guitar sequence in Trigger Happy was crafted! The riff was never actually recorded but was entirely synthesized during the mixing process by chopping up and seamlessly stitching together various guitar sequences throughout the song. Upon hearing this happy accident, Summer was absolutely thrilled and helped the team get this section to hit just right!
The mastering process utilizes a more finely tuned assortment of plugins than the mixing phase, making use of the incredible Shadow Hills Master Bus Compressor and the Newfangled Elevate Mastering Limiter. The two plugins allow us to push songs to the max without compromising on quality and distortion.
Overall, Trigger Happy proves representative of the successful process of music creation. Its process perfectly exemplifies the tenacity with which we at Brain Candy work to pursue the ever-evasive "dream song." We value balance between guiding an artist through the mixing and mastering process without forcing them to cede any of their creative control.
Have questions on the mixing and mastering process? Have a song in your mind that you want to see transformed into reality? Contact us for a FREE 15-minute consultation! Reach us at Contact@braincandymgmt.com