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“Call Me When You’re Sober” | Evanescence
 
by Strother Bullins, 11.15.2006    
Strother Bullins is a North Carolina-based freelance writer specializing in the professional audio, music and entertainment industries.


ENGINEER’S DIARY

Single: “Call Me When You’re Sober”

Album: The Open Door (Wind-Up Entertainment)

Dates: Recorded from November 2005 through March 2006 at the Record Plant in Hollywood: Mixed in March 2006 at Ocean Way in Hollywood

Producer: Dave Fortman

Engineer: Dave Fortman

Mixer: Dave Fortman

Pro Tools Op: Jeremy Parker

Mastering: Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound in New York City

Other Projects: Following his role as guitarist for Ugly Kid Joe, Fortman has evolved into a producer, engineer, and mixer for artists such as Boy Sets Fire, 12 Stones, Superjoint Ritual, Mudvayne, Soilent Green, and Stereo Fuse.

Single Songwriters: Amy Lee and Terry Balsamo

Consoles: Solid State Logic 9000K (playback) and Neve 88R (mix)

Recorder: Pro Tools|HD

Monitors: Dynaudio Acoustics BM6A and Yamaha NS-10

Vocal microphone: Sony C-800G

Vocal chain: Telefunken V72 mic preamp and UREI 1176 (blackface) limiter

Other mic preamps: Neve 1073 and Neve 31102
Everyone at Wind-Up Entertainment can now breathe: “Call Me When You’re Sober” is proof positive that Evanescence —†the sonically-epic, gothically-tinged hard rock band fronted by Amy Lee, a dramatic vocal powerhouse — did not suffer from the oft-dreaded “sophomore slump.” Crafting a full-length release to follow Evanescence’s debut album entitled Fallen was no small project, as the world’s first impression of the band was made via “Bring Me To Life,” a huge and rather unique-sounding multiformat radio hit in 2003.

Dave Fortman — the producer, engineer, and mixer of The Open Door upon which “Call Me…” is featured — explains that the song came together in the midst of album preproduction. “It all started with an idea that Amy had recorded,” tells Fortman. “It was only a verse and the bridge part – with the ‘call me when you’re sober’ line – which was then a pre-chorus. The song was fairly unstructured.” However, Lee and new Evanescence guitarist Terry Balsamo quickly whipped it into shape. The result was a catchy, powerful song and a perfect vehicle for Lee’s soaring signature vocal style.

From a shootout that included U 47 and ELAM 251 microphones and Fortman’s favorite Neve 1073 preamplifiers, Lee’s vocal chain was chosen, which consisted of a Sony C-800G tube microphone, Telefunken V72 mic preamp, and a “blackface” UREI 1176 limiter. “The Sony through the V72 seemed to be the largest, warmest sound for her voice,” offers Fortman. “Due to the V72, it gave us a very warm midrange.”

If Lee’s vocals sound pure and naked, explains Fortman proudly, it’s because they are —†the current trend of rampant pitch correction was simply skipped. “The album is just her singing her ass off,” he boasts. “The tracks were amazing. There was no need to tune —†going in on graph mode, re-drawing lines, and all that. I think we proved with this single that, with a great singer tearing it up, you don’t need to do that just because you can.”

A slight bit of superstition brought the mix to Ocean Way’s Neve 88R console, where Fortman had last been while working on the band’s debut. “I really liked the 88R and decided to use it again, just for luck,” offers Fortman, a regular user of SSL 4000 G+ mix desks. “With the 88R, you can get that Neve tone without the darkness of the 80 Series consoles.”

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