Neumann, Neve, Saturation, Coffee and Emigration • Recording “Stealing Chameleons” by Kamikaze Test Pilots

I. The Migration

In November I came to Berlin with my beloved woman, and a good ol’ friend o’mine helped us drive all the way to this magic city and we settled in a tiny apartment in Ostkreuz in F’hain, bringing all our stuff like a convoy… We were carrying mostly instruments, preamps, compressors, amps and soundproofing material. Crazy. 

II. God **** the queen!

After a few days tho, actually, we flew to Oxfordshire (UK) where I reached the crazy English/Zimbabwean band Kamikaze Test Pilots to record and produce their album “Stealing Chameleons”, in the beautiful Henwood Studios, filled with beautiful vintage microphones and instruments and a pretty nice neve console. We recorded everything LIVE and LOUD.

III. Harder! Rougher!

One of the cool aspects of recording these guys is that they are not afraid to push it till it sounds rough and basically they like to enjoy being in the studio, so we ended up experimenting quite a bit.
We were basically not only agreeing but also hyped about wanting to try not to edit stuff too much, using as much acoustic sounds as we could, delivering as much as possible the raw energy of their playing.

So we got everything cabled up, a bunch of good mics such as cascade fatheads, neumann u87s, sm7s, md421, all straight into the neve preamps and started recording takes and takes, coffee upon coffee, blasphemy upon blasphemy we ended up having some cool stuff recorded and taped into a massive studer tape recorder, ready to be mixed in my home studio Lullaby Productions in Berlin and to be mastered by mastering wizard Pete Maher.


Emigre’, one of the most beautiful and at the same time experimental tracks of this album, reflects completely this kind of laidback attitude to producing we shared… I ended up playing the accordion on this one, Valeria ended up singing la-la-la…, Ryan singing Bom Bom Bom, and the result is clearly something which goes far beyond the classic rock sound.

Kamikaze Test Pilots – Emigré

When you’re given new shoes they will shine
When you’re given good news you will shine
I know how nice it is
It’s all new, and that’s what it is

When they shout out “non grata!” you must smile
When they shout out nasty things you must smile
I know how hard it is
It’s all new, and that’s what it is

Do these guys rock?