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That freaky synth sound

“Helene had sketched an arrangement out with a guide vocal in Logic. The song felt like it needed to be bigger, so I started embellishing things. I added a chorus intro and a falling drum machine pattern heavily saturated with Audio Damage's Kombinat plugin, then switched Helene’s arpeggio line to a percussive sounding Hammond organ and a Roland SH101 synthesizer — adding a short LFO pulse to give it some character.

At this point I started messing around with the drums using my Acetone Rhythm Ace and Boss DR 202. On the pre-chorus I added a flute sound with a 1/8 note delay so it fell down on top of the pizzicato strings, then re-amped Helene's string section through a '90s boombox to get an old film score feel.

“After that, I thought the track needed more vertical height, so I added a light synth pad and also a secondary hook line to harmonize with her humming parts. To lift the chorus further, I recorded some guitar going through a tremolo pedal. The bridge was an ARP2600 synth pad, an analog delay and another arpeggiated chord sequence to give the section a dreamlike quality and width in the mix.

“The zaps that can be heard are a Prophet going through a SoundToys Crystallizer plugin with a panner. The synth noises on the outro are my Sequential Circuits six-track, double-tracked, varying the filters while recording.

“I recorded all Helene's vocals through a Neumann M149, going through my UA 6176 mic pre, and for the backing vocals I just adjusted distance relative to how I wanted them to sit in the track. We then took the song to New York and mixed it with Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend, The Strokes). We overdubbed some drums there because I wanted more of a live feel, and mixed it on a G series SSL console with a lot of outboard gear. Justin managed to bring real urgency to the track, which I don't think we could have achieved quite the same way in the box. It just gives everything this large stage sound and amazing sense of depth.”