Recording guitars for Stay Calm

Bjørn Riis - Stay Calm recording session

Most of the guitars on Lullabies in a Car Crash were recorded either in my home studio or at the Airbag rehearsal/recording studio. For Stay Calm, I did all of the leads in the Airbag studio, with the big set up.

There are two solos on the track. One acting as a bridge before the break down and one at the end of the song. Both were recorded with an Electronic Orange Pig Hoof (red MkI) Big Muff clone straight into the amp. No modulation or boosting. I wanted a classic tone similar to David Gilmour’s tone on Animals’ Pigs (Three Different Ones) and what I did on Redemption with Airbag. A silicon fuzz could have worked but the Big Muffs is slightly smoother sounding and seemed to fit the track better.

For the first solo I used the Laney Lionheart L20 for a slightly darker tone and distinct mids scoop. The Muffs sounds aggressive but sort of mellow at the same time, with a fat low-end and crispy top. The second solo was recorded with the same Big Muff but with the Reeves Custom 50 for a slightly brighter tone and more mids. This makes the two solos sounds similar but yet different, with the last one being distinctly more aggressive and brighter sounding.

Listen to the full version of Stay Calm here:

The guitar is my main Strat, with a Seymour Duncan SSL5 bridge pickup. I’m using the Laney speaker cabinet, which is loaded with two Celestion V30s. I record all high gain parts with a Shure SM57 placed 1.5″ off axis and 4 inches away from the grille. This adds a slight natural compression and warmth to the otherwise bright sounding Big Muff.

12 Replies to “Recording guitars for Stay Calm”

  1. Stay Calm – what a great song, great sound and the Big Muff is something new to me, the solo sounds great (it’s Pig Hoof, I wonder if they sell them in the U.S.). I have a feeling like you picked it up where Pink Floyd left it, what a great legacy!

  2. hi Bjorn
    absolutely amazing song and solos too! I really dig the tone. What settings did you use on the muff?
    And also, how much volume do I need on the Lionheart to get that smooooth tone?
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Thanks! Don’t really need to play that loud. I used the clean channel for this but if you’re having trouble getting the tones you want, try the drive channel and set the gain as low as possible. I think I had the volume at around 10 o’clock and if you watch the clip closely, you can see the actual settings on the amp. The Pig Hoof was set like this: volume 11:00, tone 11:00, gain 1:00. No booster.

  3. Hey Bjorn,

    That song sounds amazing! When will the album be available to purchase? And is there any chance of getting a physical copy in USA or will it only be digital? I can’t wait to hear this album.

    Thanks,
    Nihar

    1. Thanks a lot, Nihar! There will some some distribution in the US but I don’t have any info on why might be stocking it right now. It will be available to order through this site, Amazon and other major stores, as well as iTunes. We’ll have the info up soon. – Bjorn]

  4. WOW!!! Stay Calm, a great track. It clocks in at 10:11, but is certainly didn’t feel that long. A great song does that. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the album.

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