NEW YORK â€“ December 7, 2010: The top Fox show â€œGleeâ€? added to its hit-making track record via its November 9th episode, scoring its first #1 iTunes single ever with its cover of Katy Perryâ€™s â€œTeenage Dream.” Robert L. Smith of Defy Recordings recorded and mixed the project, helping to make the daring choral version into a radio-ready smash in its own right.
RECORDING THE â€œDREAMâ€? CHORUS
Tommy Faragher produced the track, with Smith recording the showâ€™s newest star Darren Criss and Tuftsâ€™ famed Beelzebubs menâ€™s choir at NYCâ€™s Avatar Studios. â€œThe scene this song appears in is empowering and socially-minded,â€? Smith says. â€œAn amazing choir presenting a great pop/dance song in this way really captured something special.â€?
Smith oversaw a fast-paced but meticulous recording session that recorded each vocal performance one at a time, an intensive process that
yielded over 140 tracks. â€œâ€™Teenage Dreamâ€™ was about getting it super-clean â€“ the best, tightest recording possible,â€? he explains. â€œPeople keep asking me, â€˜Where did you get that bass drum sample?â€™ but in fact thereâ€™s not a single instrument on the track. The drums, synth parts, and everything else on the original were reproduced vocally by The Beelzebubs. Itâ€™s a 12-man choir, and each guy has his role in the â€˜bandâ€™ they create. We all took the same approach for Gleeâ€™s version of â€˜Hey Soul Sisterâ€™ by Train, which also made Top Ten on iTunes.â€?Â
MIXING AS YOU MAKE IT
A highly experienced producer, engineer and mixer (Lady Gaga, Aerosmith, David Bowie), Smith made sure that â€œTeenage Dreamâ€? was coming together as it was captured. â€œYou have to mix as you record, making parts into stereo pairs immediately on the console,â€? says Smith. â€œThat way, when youâ€™re done recording, you have a rough mix already constructed.
â€œWhen I was mixing on the SSL 4000G+ at Avatarâ€™s Studio G, I went to work with my proven mix system. Itâ€™s a basic template with a couple of delays, a couple of reverbs, and an Eventide Harmonizer â€“ some of the best mixes ever made have been done with that simple combination of tools.â€?Â Â Â Â Â
With the showâ€™s first #1 resulting, â€œTeenage Dreamâ€? accomplished its mission and then some. â€œThe goal was to make a real pop record,â€? Robert L. Smith says. â€œKaty Perry gave us all the inspiration to match her creativity with a just-voices version of her song. When you compare the two, they match up extremely well.â€?