Not one to shy away from showcasing his love for the various forms of production, Italian producer, DJ and label boss Dr. Shiver has surely been looking to end 2017 with a strong presence all over the internet. With various interviews and performances, the Art&Music Recording head honcho has made sure that his own music and artists from his label make the grade they deserve. And to that end he has dominated 2017 with releases such as ‘Brave Love‘ featuring Jmi Sissoko on his Art&Music Recording imprint and ‘Something‘ featuring Kazi on Nicky Romero’s Protocol Recordings.
But just as the Christmas bells chime in, Dr. Shiver had another exciting gift for his followers. Taking from his career long attachment and involvement in different styles of production, the Italian producer decide to give a more organic take to ‘Something‘. To that end, he comprised an impromptu band featuring the likes of Luca Marchesin, Orlando Barbuto, Francesco Vecchia, Enrico Allavena, Piero Vallero, Sarà Kari, Giotto, Gianluca Aria, Ivan Appella, Giulietta Testa and Sergio Meola – all in all, few of the biggest Italian acts in their respective spheres. Jamming over a full day, the band produced an enchanting unplugged version of Dr. Shiver’s ‘Something’. Not letting go of such an opportunity, we took time out to sit with Dr. Shiver himself and helped learn about the process of recording such a performance.
Ours being an industry where we do not get an opportunity to see such an act, can you explain to our readers how different preparation becomes when you shift to work in a recording environment like this?
There are several aspects that have to be considered before trying to make such a thing: as a starting point you must understand that if you want to achieve this result, you can not consider, even for a second, to make it all on your own. As soon as you get this point, you will immediately understand that you need a solid team to make it through.
For this specific track I have involved all of my Art&Music Studios Crew and these outstanding musicians. After “assembling” this group of fantastic people, I have used some of my skills: as a sound engineer, I supervised the writing process of the whole band and once the track was done, I made the final mix and mastering. As a producer, I slightly retouched the drawing of the track, chose the drums sound for our digital drums and tweaked every singular channel of the track to have a unique “hybrid analogue” sound. As a musical director, I wrote scores for the whole band and made them play together. Last but not least, I played my Hammond.
You say that none of the musicians had played together before. How did you get everyone on the same page before starting to jam and record?
The first important thing is that all of these musicians are really some of the finest you can get here in Italy. Without this essential ingredient it would have been impossible to cook my cake.
Two weeks before the recording, I wrote scores for each of these guys as well as played their parts in midi, exported and send it to the musicians via MP3. Once the whole band was there, we did not really have that much time to play together: we used the first 6 hours only for wiring the studios using about 46 channels of our SSL Duality. Once this step was done, I started to test each musician’s dedicated part one by one, amending or modifying scores where needed. At that point, we started rehearsing in small groups: the horns session was the first together with the violin. Then we had keyboards, then guitars and so on. Once everyone was sure about their part, we finally started rehearsing all together. After a few tries (it was already 6 in the morning and we were working since 8 am of the previous day) we simply recorded the whole track 5 times: audio and video were recorded at the same time. At that point, we finally thanked all the musicians, fixed the studio and finally went to sleep at 1 pm. The following day I made a nice compo of the best of each musician and the track was ready to be mixed.
It’s one of the few times we get to see you play the beloved Hammond. What has your relationship been like with the instrument? How much does it influence your productions?
I just love my B3. It is like my baby. It is an original vintage one from California built in 1969. Its sound is so unique that there are no synthesizer that can properly emulate it.
I have been playing it for almost 20 years and I also had the honor to play it with the legendary B.B. King.
Today I try to use it as much as possible in all of my productions. Generally it is just a layer of something else, sometimes is a solo instrument, but whenever I use it, if it is well tweaked, it brings a magic touch to the productions giving to them a unique sound identity that says “this is a Dr. Shiver track”.
Not taking away from either of your productions, do you prefer a more organic style of presenting a song such as this or to play the original mix in front of an audience?
Honestly, I love them both. They are two totally different kinds of feelings. But if I really have to choose between doing a Dj set or playing my Hammond / piano… I’ll probably go with the Hammond and the piano. It simply is the best way I know to express myself: music speaks more than a thousand words. But this is just an extreme case: the emotion you have when you are in front of a huge crowd and you play your own tracks from a nice Dj booth is incomparable.
Lastly, that looks like a band you’ve put together. Any plans to have them together for any of your other recordings or releases? Maybe a new record itself?
Well, that should be a secret but… yes! There is something going on with these guys. So expect to see something very cool for the the upcoming 2018 and if you want to know more just keep an eye on my socials.
You can purchase ‘Something’ on Protocol Recordings from Beatport here.