You would never know listening to Finding Elysium’s newest single, “Alone” (Heart’s classic #1 smash hit) that the song was recorded, mixed, and mastered in separate stages with band members and engineers in different parts of the world during the pandemic.
“Since starting Finding Elysium with Angie, the comparison we most often receive is to the band Heart,” explains singer/guitarist Noel Waters. “Ann and Nancy Wilson have been huge influences on us since we were old enough to make sound out of our vocal cords or hold an instrument. I thought it would be fun to take one of their hits and try to put our own spin on it. I believe that a song contains hooks that aren’t just found in the vocals. For example, when people hear Heart’s version of ‘Alone,’ they often think of that piano motif in the intro. I basically kept that same melody throughout as a recurring ostinato theme, and completely started from scratch around it. I kept the harmonic progression the same while reharmonizing wherever I felt it was necessary. I really wanted to honor the rock ballad vibe of the original, while adding some programmed synth layers to break up some of the live instruments. For the solo, I wanted to pay homage to the original, but also bring a little of my own style into it.”
The 2020 pandemic put a sudden halt to performing live and the ways musicians work together, especially during the recording process. For Finding Elysium, to make matters more complicated, many of their band and creative team members returned to distant homes after the start of the lockdown. “We’re not joking when we tell people that this band is from all over the world,” said producer/guitarist Noel Waters, the only native of Los Angeles in the band. “When facing the lockdown, we knew we needed to have the recording process strategically well thought-out to give this alt-rock version of such a classic song a cohesive band sound.”
While lead singer Angie Grayfox is originally from Moscow, Russia, she remained in Los Angeles with Waters to track her lead vocals. The recording was ultimately completed with guitarist/singer Niko Kiknadze at his home in Batumi, Republic of Georgia, bassist Alfie Lucero-Canaan in Mexico, and drummer Adam Soucy in New Hampshire.
With all of their respective tracks completed, Waters sent the completed session to recording engineer Raul Lopez (Grouplove, Lennon Stella, Lewis Capaldi) at Larrabee Studios in North Hollywood, CA. Working at a distance, Waters and Lopez completed the mix and then it was off to famed Grammy® award-winning mastering engineer, Joe LaPorta (David Bowie, Vampire Weekend, Royal Blood) at Sterling Sound in Edgewater, NJ. “It’s amazing that when you listen to the recording, none of participants in the recording, mixing and mastering process except Angie and I were in the same room at the same time, but we were still able to still make it sound like a band thanks to modern technology,” says Waters.