Artist Name: Gargoyle Circus Title: Killroy Was Here Genre: Pop-Punk Rating:
DAW – Cubase 12; Interfaces – Focusrite Clarett+ 4Pre (PC) and Steinberg UR22 mkII (Mac); Virtual Instruments – EZdrummer 2 and EZbass; Guitars – PRS 24 Se, Fender Telecaster, Gibson Les Paul and Ibanez RG652AHM-NGB (all recorded through IK Multimedia AmpliTube 4); Microphones – Neumann TLM 103 (vocals); Monitors – Yamaha HS8; Headphones – Beyerdynamic DT 700ProX.
“Killroy Was Here” is a pop-punk track written by Andrea Parigi and performed by Parigi (Guitar and vox) and Cristiano Trionfera (guitar), as Gargoyle Circus.
Reviewed By Dave Martin
Given that the two performers on this track are guitarists, it should come as no surprise that the song is guitar-heavy. What is interesting is how well the drum track (created with EZdrummer 2) complements the song, driving the music with energy that was so much a part of the punk era.
I like the varied guitar sounds on the recording, which range from the very dry (and clean-ish) opening riff to a number of high-gain tones. Those sounds, in combination with panning, effects and the way that the different guitars were used throughout the song, nicely make it possible to differentiate between the instruments.
The guitars, a PRS 24 Se, a Fender Telecaster, a Gibson Les Paul and an Ibanez RG652AHM-NGB were all recorded through AmpliTube 4, which shows not only the versatility of the current iteration of AmpliTube but the way that each guitar’s distinct voice can be used to carve out its own space in the track—well done.
The lead and background vocals were recorded with a Neumann TLM 103, and the judicious use of effects on the vocals works very well. I thought that the filtering on the bridge—with a bit of distorted edge—worked especially well.
Special mention should be made of the song itself. Structurally, it makes sense, with the different sections flowing seamlessly into one another. And from an arranging viewpoint, the scene changes between the verses, the full-on choruses and the down sections add interest to the song—some of this comes from the drum programming, some from the vocal treatment and the rest from the guitars chosen for each section.
I liked the performances, I liked the programming and I liked the way the vocals sit in the overall tracks. The primary suggestion that I would make is that when mixing, it’s worth making it a practice to listen to the recording at very low volume as well as at “rock and roll levels.” If you turn the mix down to the point that it’s barely audible, some subtleties can show up that are not noticeable when listening loud. In my listening to “Killroy Was Here,” it seems to me that one of the verse guitars (the one panned to the right) perhaps was a bit overpowering.
Another approach you might try, since the guitars are such a big part of the production, is to try listening to all the guitars with the bass and drums muted. If one instrument is poking out, it’s easier to notice that sort of issue when listening to a few instruments at a time. I use this approach with layered keyboards as well as stacked background vocals to make sure that both levels and panning work in isolation as well as within the whole track.
A well-written and well-performed song that is energetic and lots of fun; I will listen to some more Gargoyle Circus.
Dave Martin is a producer, engineer and bassist. Dave owned Nashville’s Java Jive Studio for close to 25 years. Dave has recorded, produced and/or played with symphony orchestras, rock and roll icons and country music legends ranging from the Old Crow Medicine Show, The Dead Pickers Society, Porter Wagoner, Robben Ford, Billy Cobham, The Box Tops, Carl Verheyen, Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest), Adrian Belew, Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick), Eric Johnson, Robbie Fulks, Steve Vai, The Coasters and others. Dave is also a member of the Western Swing Hall of Fame.