Recording guitars for Stay Calm

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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.