Originally from Leeds, England, Christian “Leggy” Langdon is now based in Los Angeles. A producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and engineer, Langdon started in the industry over 15 years ago as an artist himself. He signed his first major record deal at 16 years old and has been making music ever since. Langdon has worked with various new artists such as Rick Rubin's signing, the Skins, UK singer/songwriter Charlotte OC, Swedish Grammy winner Laleh, and Amy Winehouse's god-daughter Dionne Bromfield to name a few.
In this Producer's Corner, Langdon takes us through The Pierces’ new single, “Believe In Me” from their album Creation. He explains how UAD plug-ins help to create a sense of space, emotion, and energy.
“Believe In Me” by The Pierces
Initially, I was intending to also mix the Pierces’ album, but after six months of tracking, playing, and mixing as I went, it became apparent that we should have someone else do the final mix. I was too close to the project by then. To me, part of the producer’s job is to have a clear idea of how to get the best results, even if that means removing yourself from the equation.BELIEVE IN ME TRACK HERE
The song was originally written in the hip-hop feel of the chorus, but it needed more energy. So the first thing was to look at the beat. Ultimately, the strong tom groove in the verses became a calling card for the rest of the song. I then worked hard at making sure the chorus didn't lose energy when it drops into the half time feel. With the help of UAD plugins, I was able to achieve this.
To that end, I bused all of the toms to an aux and processed them together. I do that a lot — especially when I’m tracking and trying to get a vibe quickly. I also wanted to control the dynamics, correct problem frequencies, and add energy.
Here are the Toms dry:
And here are the toms with UAD plug-ins:
I used the Sonnox® Oxford EQ plug-in, the 1176LN Rev E from the 1176 Classic Limiter Plug-in Collection, the Pultec Pro EQ, Studer® A800 Multichannel Tape Recorder plug-in, and finally the Precision Buss Compressor plug-in.
On the send of the tom auxiliary I sent a large helping to the wonderful EMT® 250 Classic Electronic Reverb plug-in's plate reverb. I really slammed the 1176, adding nice grit and energy, while the large amounts of digital plate reverb help create a vintage-sounding, ethereal space.
Ghostly Background Vocals
The Pierces’ vocals are the number one priority for me when approaching their music. They are so intertwined with each other musically and it comes completely naturally to them, the magic that only sisters can achieve.
This “response” background vocal is one of the hooks in the track, and I wanted it to standout — not just a normal vocal — but a vocal with an ethereal, ghostly feeling to it.
I used an SSL E Series Channel Strip plug-in and LA-2A Legacy on each track, and then sent an aux with Sonnox® Oxford EQ plug-in, Pultec Pro EQ, plug-in, the Teletronix® LA-3A Classic Audio Leveler plug-in, Precision De-Esser plug-in and the Precision Buss Compressor plug-in. I had a Roland® RE-201 Space Echo Tape Delay plug-in and the EMT® 140 Classic Plate Reverberator plug-in on sends for added ambience.
Here are the vocals dry:VOCALS DRY
And here are the vocals with UAD plug-ins:VOCALS WET
The Precision Limiter helps keep things in place while the Space Echo and EMT 140 help create that “voice in the back of your head trying to tell you what to do” effect.
Vintage 80's Synths
Although there wasn't an actual manifesto of what type of sound we were wanted for this record, it became apparent after we had finished pre-production that we were making a genuine 80’s album. There was no “80's irony” involved — we just love the way the guitars and synths sound on great 80's records from bands like the Cocteau Twins, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the Cure.
I treated a synth that needed a little help bringing it into our sonic world. To do this I relied heavily on both the Roland® Dimension D plug-in and the BOSS® CE-1 Chorus Ensemble plug-in. These plug-ins appeared all over the guitars and synths on the entire album.
Here is the synth track dry:SYNTH DRY
And here it is with the UAD plug-ins:SYNTH WET
Chorus is a tricky effect for me because if done wrong, it just sounds tacky, if done right, it adds emotion. UAD plug-ins helped us with time travel back to the 80s in the most authentic way I have ever heard.