Recording: Day Five

It was vocal day today. The weather wasn’t too kind though. One moment it was burning hot and the next thing we knew, the sky opened with rage, pouring waterfalls accompanied by sounds of angry thunder and blinding lightning. It beats the sub woofers of all the clubs in the country put together.

We started off recording the lead vocals for Scratch. Recording instruments are a lot easier than vocals. It is by far the most difficult to nail. The pitch has to be just right, not too emphasized as it may sound like one is trying too hard and not too effortlessly as it may come in short of the target pitch. Then comes the tempo and timing of the vocal lines against the tempo of the song itself has to be just right. Each word would also require attention for proper pronunciation to ensure the flow of the diction. With all that in mind sometimes, it could be a little difficult to set the right “feel” and mood for the particular tune. All I did was dimmed the lights in the vocal room, close my eyes and spill the lines straight from the heart.

It could get a little frustrating when the flow just doesn’t move. “Cut, one more time. Watch the pitching. Watch the tempo. Timing’s out. One more take. Yes, that’s good, but a little faster. Timing’s good, but you need to hit the pitch. One more” You get the idea? But it’s all good. I’d prefer nailing the tracks on pitch and on time as close to perfect as possible rather than leaving them sloppy.

Kim is such a brilliant engineer and he as a sharp ear for pitch, timing and tempo.

After the lead vocals were recorded, we headed out for lunch.

We resumed with backup vocals after lunch. Now this was interesting, harmonizing to the chorus which I have never done before for the entire duration of Scratch’s existence. It was fun and refreshing. It can get a little tricky, synchronizing each word of the chorus.

I also did some electric guitar fills for Silence since we had a little time left to kill.

All in all, the vocals sound pretty satisfying, but there needs to be some tweaking and re-recording here and there. All is good though.

Head Charge

Jamming earlier this evening was excellent!

It's been so long since the Broken Scar band jammed that we don't even remember when the last time was. It felt so distant.

However, musically, the long silence and the break did not slow us down. In fact, we picked up where we left off and were right on track, head-charging at full speed ahead.

We had a plan. Work out and finalise the parts for Zero and Soul Reaper. Two songs, period.

The band sounded as tight as ever, well, at least to me it did. My acoustic guitar sounded a lot better now after the recent set-up job. This is actually the first jam session after the set-up. It was definitely pleasing to my ears, what more open chords?

What tuning is Soul Reaper on, may I ask? I'd now say, it's in open Dm7 thanks to Alda.

Nineteen Ninety Four

8th April 1994

This is the year I had a dream that would have changed my entire life. I dreamt of a rocker, now a legend by the name of Kurt Cobain.

I saw his face as he walked towards me and said something. The words were a blur. I didn’t have the faintest idea who he was or what he was saying.

I realised it was just a dream, but the next thing I knew, Nevermind was heavily in demand and his face was all over the press and media. What happened? Who was he? He was Kurt Cobain and he was found dead on 8th April 1994.

Nevermind had a very unique album cover design and his songs were heavily rotated on radio. Despite all the hype, I did not get into grunge or even near rock.

It was only in 1996 that I had another encounter. Here he was again, this time speaking with much clearer words in a brighter light. The words were simple, but it changed everything from then on. He said, “Why don’t you just pick up the guitar, listen to some Nirvana and we’ll see what happens?” With those words ringing in my ears even after I was wide awake, I went around school asking about Nirvana.

Nirvana was big back then and I was too much of a geek to know who he was. Everyone listened to Kurt and picked up the guitar to his tunes. I learned as much as I could from my seniors and peers. I learnt every song on Unplugged In New York and jammed as much as I could.

Those words ring through until today. It can get a little scary. I wonder if it were a big coincidence or it was meant to be. It could have well been the power of the media that crept into my mind and created those images and words. It could have been a wild imagination from too many movies.

Nevertheless, I had nothing to lose and all to gain.

This post is for the benefit of those who missed the John's Mistress interview on Xfresh FM on 21st April 2005 where I told this story to the masses.

From The Sessions

Pictures of the very talented musicians that played for the Broken Scar recording sessions.

Manshaan, my camera was dead during your session. Will take more during the next session, I promise.

Recording: Day Two. 8th April 2005.

Recording: Day Four. 18th April 2005

Levi's Battle Of The Bands

Please vote for my bother's band, Army Of Three for the Levi's Battle Of the bands by typing:


and send it to 36600.

You will receive more details about the event when you send a vote.

Thanks a million!


Dear All,

John's Mistress is now on the verge of getting on the charts on Xfresh FM with the latest release "Picking The Pieces".

Please vote for us at:

We're also going to be live on air tonight for an interview on Xfresh FM 103.0 at 10:45pm.


Recording: Day Four

This session started after a long working day. It was a good thing I wasn’t recording my parts. Today is Paul’s day.

I asked Paul Chuah, Qings & Kueens guitarist casually at one of the Starbucks gigs after he came back from UK, whether he’d be interested to contribute his guitar solo on some songs on the EP. Everything else led up to today.

I once jammed “Scratch” with Qings & Kueens and performed it live with them at their single launch. When I heard Paul’s solo on Scratch, I knew I wanted him for the recording.

I am truly blessed to be able to work with Paul. He is talented in all areas including his unique and precise guitar playing, fantastic ear for tone, song writing, arrangement and producing.

Before we went in to record, Paul has already recorded his parts over the track I sent to him on Cakewalk, burnt it and we previewed it. Everything was just great.

We then proceeded to the recording. The clean electric guitar parts were the easiest to nail. Each part only took one take and it was done.

Then came the distortion parts where we had to spend a little more time tweaking for the right sound and tone. It could have been better with a tube amp but we’ll make the best out of what we have within our means. We then got all the distortion rhythm parts down and proceeded to finish up some fills.

It normally feels more tense and pressured when you know that the record button is blinking. Every part seems right before the Engineer hits the record button, but once it’s hit, the pressure comes again.

Then we proceeded to the solo. Paul had to do the solo a few times but we nailed it.

I then added a small clean guitar part for the bridge with Paul’s beautiful Talman Ibanez guitar. It sounded great, it looked good and felt right.

All in all, it was another productive session where ideas were flowing all over the place. We ended up with almost fifty tracks on the recorded for everything from drums, bass, guide tracks, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, fills, solo, etc.

The next session would either be vocals for “Scratch” or the rest of the guitar parts for the rest of the songs. Will keep you posted.

Until the next session….

Swimming Butterflies

Everything was all set. All four radio tuners were tuned in to 103.0 fm. So what’s next? Sit back, relax and wait for the song to play.

I kicked back, continued doing whatever I was doing with the radio blaring in the background without a care in the world and all of a sudden something started stirring in my stomach as it got nearer to the time the song was scheduled to play.

Time slowed down. “Is it going to play? Or was I mistaken for another time and day?” these thoughts suddenly kept circling round and the butterflies in my stomach decided to become more aggressive. It felt like the butterflies were having a jolly good time swimming. Yes, I said swimming. It felt a lot like that.

I never expected this to happen. After all, I’ve heard the song through all its developments and stages. I guess these are just the little wonders that music does to a person.

Fast forward the drama and the song played. All was calm after that.

John’s Mistress – Picking The Pieces finally made it to the air!

John's Mistress Song On-Air Tonight!

To listen to the latest John’s Mistress release, Picking The Pieces please tune in to Xfresh FM 103.0 in the Klang Valley tonight (13/04/05) at around 7:45 pm and tomorrow (14/04/05) at around 2:00 am where the song is scheduled to air.


Recording: Day Three

Recording is such a great experience. Now that the bass and drums are done, it's time to lay the acoustic guitar tracks.

I can’t remember much of the recording in terms of timing, so I’ll type whatever I remember.

Started recording “Bleeding”. I thought it’ll be good to record a simpler song to start with. It ended up being the most difficult to nail. Getting the intro down itself was difficult. We needed to set the right feel and tempo. Boy it felt like I was doing the intro for ages. The rest of the song was pretty alright until we got to the breakdown where there was a time change as well as a tempo speed up. That was a first and it was challenging. After the first acoustic guitar track was done, we laid a second acoustic guitar track as a layer. All in all, we used up about two hours laying these two tracks.

We then moved on to record “Scratch”. This was a less painful process. We layered two acoustic guitar tracks, one being the usual Scratch chords and the other was a set of alternate, open chords. This took up about an hour for both the tracks.

Next up was “Silence”. This would be the most enjoyable song to do. Silence now sounds a little different from how I used to play it live as the groove has changed just a little with the whole band coming in. This song required only one main acoustic guitar track so we decided to add additional two-note lines for the verses and pre-chorus to spice things up. Magic really does happen in the studio! A lot of the lines were spontaneous and there’s just this fun feeling about hearing new lines.

After that, we went on to do some “clean” electric guitar parts for Bleeding. With advanced technology these days, adding effects and previewing them almost close to real time really makes a huge difference on getting the "big picture" of the song.

It wasn't all work and no play though, we slipped in lunch at the mamak coupled with great talks with Kim.

All in all, I should say that this was a very productive session. Not only was there music involved, but God was there all the time, all the while. I can’t imagine how else to put it, but to close with this word, awesome!

The Diary That Was Never Written

I hope you're not getting bored of the studio diaries already. I don't really know how to write a proper studio diary, so I'll try my best to keep it interesting.

I'll be going to the studio tomorrow to lay the acoustic guitar tracks. Let's see what happens.

Stay tuned for updates tomorrow...

Recording: Day Two

Here we are at the studio again on a delayed day two. There’s just this great feeling about being at the studio every single time and somehow after every session I’d be overwhelmed and end up not knowing how to write a proper studio diary.

Today is the bass man’s day. It was Kim, Alda and I at the studio. Not forgetting Alda’s ever delicious looking and sounding Warwick.

4:00 pm: Arrived at the studio and had a bite at the mamak first before we started the session.

4:30 pm: Went up to the studio, set up and got ready to record. Recorded bass for “Scratch” first. Alda ran through the song and started laying down the bass tracks. He laid a few versions mostly with a picking technique. It sounded alright, but it didn’t sound the same once it was recorded compared to playing it at the jamming studio. We decided to try the fingering technique and it worked perfect! If I remember correctly, we took about an hour to get this down as Alda was trying a few options and also getting used to the studio and working with Kim.

5:30 pm: Recorded bass for “The Bleeding Confession”. The time signature change confused everyone, but eventually we got it down.

6:00 pm: Recorded bass for “Silence”. Alda hated this song because it was taxing and demanding for him. But I love the funky bassline he came up with. Alda normally played it quite straight and simple during the rehearsals but somehow he played this line that really caught my ear and that was how the funky bassline started. I went, “Alda, can you keep that bassline? Do exactly what you did! It sounds excellent!”. After figuring out the entire bassline, Alda got it down in no time. All in all about four takes? I can’t really remember because I was simply adoring the bassline.

7:00 pm: Session ended.

I am blessed to be able to work with such talented people in this musical journey of mine. It may seem odd, that I decided to work with Manshaan, a metal drummer and Alda, a jazz and funk influenced bassist for this Broken Scar project. I thought it’ll be interesting to bring in different elements into my music and I’ve not been disappointed and only been left happy. Both Manshaan and Alda are such talented musicians and great people to work with.

It’s also a great experience to work with Kim to produce this effort. I am thankful I have the freedom to produce.

Alda and I had a delicious dinner after the session. Marmite prawns!

I shall stop now before everything becomes cheesy.

Until the next session…

The Bleeding Red

Current Listen: My Chemical Romance

Firstly, it’s been a week now since my last entry, my mind is cloudy and therefore this post will be just as cloudy and random.

I saw such a huge orange bleeding red sunset bursting the clouds and sky into orange bleeding red all around. Burn!

There were so many potential “quote of the day” lines in the past week but somehow I just can’t seem to surface them out of my head.

One of those days in the week that passed, I was transported back to the good old high school days where team mates worked together like a brotherhood where very little politics was involved. For a moment there I felt a splash of renewed hope in the midst of this current state of nothingness, pretentiousness and how superficial this world can be. I felt the unity, I felt the oneness.

Keep in mind that not all words that sound negative mean that the situation is depressing.

I’m eager, I’m now riding a cloud and I’m floating.

Tomorrow will be day two of the Broken Scar recordings. We’re going in to the studio to lay Alda’s bass tracks down and hopefully take loads of pictures. Fingers crossed. Let’s hope for a fruitful session.

A New Release

John's Mistress will be releasing a new single called Picking The Pieces from a self produced indie EP to be aired on Monday or Tuesday (04/04/05 or 05/04/05) on Xfresh FM 103.0

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    Who Is Broken Scar:

    Loves Jesus. Singer. Guitarist. Songwriter. Audio Engineer. Producer. Wears band t-shirts. Wears red t-shirts. Based in Melbourne.



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