Week 17: Brandon Dvorak – “Kingdom”

Once again, Brandon Dvorak and Jake Anderson joined me in the studio. This time, we recorded a song by Brandon, which goes from mellow to rocking in no time flat. Fun one to produce!

Audio MP3

by Brandon Dvorak

But who could tell?
Memories haven’t served us well
And who could know
Exactly where we are to go?
From here
Skies are clear
And from here
Skies are clear

This kingdom’s falling down and I’m okay, I’m okay
Our king is crawling out of his cave, of his cave
Our home is burning down, we can’t escape
I’m not afraid
I’m not afraid

Brandon Dvorak – Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Jake Anderson – Drums
Charlie McCarron – Synths

Behind the Scenes

I recorded a quick interview with the guys to document this moment in history.

When Brandon played his song for me on just guitar, it struck me as instantly different than anything I’ve produced yet. Even though the song is really only three or four repeating chords on guitar, I didn’t get sick of them. It was very mesmerizing, thanks in part to his unique vocal lines.

So from a production standpoint, I wanted to get this ethereal sound across. I recorded some synth parts to give it a kind of creepy psychological feel at the beginning. For you Ableton Live junkies, my secret ingredient is a special Max for Live plugin called “Squirrel Parade” that you can tweak to create strange animal-like sounds. I was messing with it once before and made a pretty convincing synthesized songbird call. But for “Kingdom” I just tried crafting some spacey humming.

This is one synth I customized for the song. Yes, I am a nerd if you hadn't noticed.

Another trick I used was to distort the guitar in a way that sounds like controlled feedback. I used an effect that pinpoints a certain pitch and cranks it up, as if you were holding an electric guitar next to a really loud amp. The cool thing is, you can change that pitch over time, so you can almost create a melody out of the guitar feedback. Kind of like auto-tuning a guitar. I created two feedback tracks and panned them left and right. Have a listen to this feedback by itself:

Audio MP3

And in context:

Audio MP3

Here's the feedback effect I used on the guitar. The green line above is the pitch being distorted, which varies wildly during the choruses.

It was great to work with these guys again. If you missed Jake Anderson’s song from Week 14, check it out. You can also hear more music from Brandon and Jake in their band, With A Gun For A Face.

Jake Anderson, back on drums.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.