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Old 01-05-2020, 06:21 PM   #1
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Default Old Flood Q&A about working with Smashing Pumpkins

Eventide held a Q&A with Flood on their forums in 2011. There weren't that many questions asked (I think people largely didn't know it was happening), but he did give some interesting information about working with the Smashing Pumpkins.

Eventide changed their forum software long ago and the Q&A forum disappeared, but I had previously added a couple of the threads about Smashing Pumpkins to I was recently looking at them again, and I thought that they should be posted here.

Here's the view of the main forum, but AFAIK only two threads about SP are archived:

I wish that I had backed up all of the threads.

First archived thread:

Q 1:

Hi Flood, I am curious as to what kind of work went into the recordings of Mellon Collie and Machina.

1. on what songs did Darcy perform bass on? were there any songs that she had recorded some parts, only to have them redone by corgan? was there an overall band working together vibe on either of the records?

2. how about james and his parts? also, how much involvement did the rest of the band have on the songs written by james? (take me down, etc)

3. Which songs were recorded live with some over dubs added later?

4. what were the most difficult aspects of recording both of those records? what were the easiest aspects?

A 1:

Hi, on Melon Collie pretty much all the bass is Darcy and certainly no replays by Billy. The first record is mostly live backing tracks, as one of the goals was to capture the feel of them as a live band.

As for James he played all his parts, with James leading the way on most of his songs.

As mentioned above a lot of the record was tracked live- in fact I would say the majority but there was always a lot of overdubbing.

I dont think for me there were any difficult aspects, possibly keeping on top of the sheer volume of material, but overall it was a thoroughly creative and fun album to make.

As for Machina with the exception of my comments about James, it was pretty much the opposite, tho' Jimmy and Billy did do a lot of the backing tracks together.

All the best


Q 2:

Corgan recently stated that he played drums on Cupid De Locke.. I was always under the impression that the kit sound was chamberlin playing as it sounds like his approach. What did Corgan do drum wise on this song?

How much of a presence did Darcy have on Machina? How badly did her leaving the band hamper the recording process? did the band have to essentially start over? I also read reports that James did some of the bass tracks.. any truth to this?

of all the tracks you recorded with SP, which was your favorite to work on and why? least favorite to work on?

How much presense do you have on the Adore record? any interesting insights you could share on the process of creating that record (it is probably my favorite from SP).

A 2:

Hi, my memory is a little woolly about certain specifics on Melon Collie. I think on Cupid it was a series of loops by Jimmy that Billy put together but I could have remembered incorrectly!

Sadly Darcy's presence on Machina declined over the first 3 months of recording. This meant we had to completely rethink and redo everything. James did play some of the bass tracks.

I have neither a best or worst track they all had their own lives, though 1979 coming through was very gratifying.

On Adore I came into finish off and mix the record but I was also there to help Billy finish as I think he felt isolated. There was a lot of tension and no Jimmy, all of which are reflected in the overall sound and feel of the record. But the songs are some of Billy's best and most personal.

Q 3:

The process you describe on Cupid sounds like it may have been used on songs like Beautiful, and 1979 as well. Obviously you would know better than me though! I have always wondered if the live drum set on 1979 was looped or Jimmy playing along with the machine stuff. I know Billy has said that 1979 has sampled gtr parts, so it's seems like of all the tracks this one was the most likely of being BC/JC only, especially since it has been described as a last minute addition.

On a quick personal note - Thank you Flood for all the great albums you have been a part of over the years. Looking at my collection the names that come up the most are yours, and Alan Moulder. I plan to try out your presets on the Space pedal when I can get my hands on one!

A 3:

Hi, you are right about Beautiful and 1979. With 1979 Jimmy drummed over the drum machine loop. Also we sampled gtrs, voices and drums to make this track. However this track was not last minute but had been around for a while but I kept on pushing Billy to come up with better arrangements. It reached a point where it had one last chance to work and the rest as they say is history!

Second archived thread:

Q 1:

Hi Flood. Big appreciator of your work since 1995 (and before but unknowingly).

I enjoy finding different ways to do things in the studio. Sometimes saying 'no' to typical sounds leads to great discoveries, and sometimes it leads down dead-end streets. Are there any memorable times when you went against the grain and came up with something you were really proud of, such as a miking technique or a layering/ overdubbing technique? Do you have any warnings about dead-ends?

Can you remember how you captured the live sound of Mellon Collie?

Billy jokingly mentioned that he may remix Machina 1 and 2 because he's had many complaints over the years about it. I really like the warm fuzziness of it, and would not care if he ever remixed it. The album obviously sounds different in general, not just in relation to the Pumpkins. What was your role in finding the sound and vibe of Machina?

Thanks, Flood, for answering everyone's questions. Big Fan.

A 1:

Hi Vince, I pretty much never like using typical sounds as quite often it leads to complacency. I think all the work that Billy and I did on guitar tones was very pleasing. Also on arrival and setting up for the Achtung Baby sessions, my H3000 wiped all its memory, so I had to start from scratch making loads of new sounds, most of which got used on the album and were in a small way part of the sound of the album- the drums on You're so cruel' being a good example. As for dead ends,give yourself a time limit and if no-one is being inspired by what they are hearing move on.

For capturing a live sound the band setup in their rehearsal room, there were no baffles between people, everyone had monitors and they all their amps right next to them. In other exactly as they would be for a live gig!

Machina sounds so different for the pumpkins because we basically had to record it twice and there are almost no tracks where the band are all playing together. I could understand Billy's desire to maybe remix it but personally I think it is a great sonic record of what was happening to the band at that time.

All the best


Q 2:

Are you able to remember and explain the mic selection, placement and recording techniques used for the heavier tracks on that album?

Also, are there any styles of projects you haven't yet worked on but would like to some day?

A 2:

Hi, for recording pretty much all the guitars we used an Sm57 and a sennheiser 421 on a marshall cab. However to arrive at this decision we spent at least a day testing all the amp/cab/mic possibilities. So much of the heavier songs sound is based on careful layering and fine tuning of the bass sound to fit the overall harmonic spectrum.

Q 3:

there is very little info on the machina recordings.. so why did you need to record machina twice? was there initially another specific vision for the album, and if so, what was it? how dramatic of a difference was there from the first recording to what we know as machina now? who decided to record it again? are the first recorded tracks some of what we hear on machina II? are there plenty of other takes that have yet to be heard? what track best represents the whole band playing? Did Corgan and/or the band have confidence in the record? if not, who was not happy with how things were going, and why?

A 3:

Hi, I think the simple answer to this question is that we originally intended to rehearse and refine the songs over a period of about 6 weeks. Then the band were going to do a short tour and then come into the studio to record the whole album in a week as live as possible.

However in the middle of the short tour all the issues with Darcey came to a head and the basic premise for making the record was no longer achievable. It was a collective decision to start again, though I believe some of the earlier versions have seen the light of day.

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Old 01-05-2020, 06:52 PM   #2
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never knew the bit about Machina meaning to be a whole live runthrough

fuck if only Darcy stayed. actually, why did that even hamper the approach? just get some guy to play bass and keep the concept

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Old 01-11-2020, 12:33 AM   #3
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Always great to hear Flood talk about MCIS. I remember Billy talking to Matt Pinfield when the reissue was coming out, and he was once again trying to minimize James and Darcy's contribution, so its always nice to hear Flood tell the truth and give all the band members their cred.

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Old 01-19-2020, 12:21 AM   #4
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such a shame Darcey came to a head

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Old 01-19-2020, 03:43 AM   #5
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So, when D'arcy had the chance to be on the recordings, she was even able to play live in the studio with the whole band simultanously.
How could Corgan get along with this...

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